Next Generation Gaming is Here!

Three new video game systems are on the horizon, the XBOX 360, which will be unveiled in the fourth quarter this year, the PlayStation 3, which comes out next year and the Nintendo Revolution; Nintendo isn’t releasing any specs and we do not know when that will be released. We do know that the Revolution has an extra stand that allows us to sit it up on its end. This is what you need to know, however, without all of the fancy techno-jargon.

Nintendo Revolution

  • Approximately 3 times faster than the Game Cube. Nintendo wants to concentrate on exactly what one does with the extra power, rather than exploit the market for new technology.
  • Broadband service through something comparable to Xbox Live, that may or may not be free.
  • Download their entire library or rather, those thousands of titles that Nintendo has released over the years, and save it to your hard drive or burn it to disc.
  • A front-loading slot for discs similar to that of the CD player in your automobile.
  • Backwards capability with the mini-DVDs that the Game Cube used.
  • Everything is wireless here, unless you just have to use their older wired controllers.

Nintendo is going to stick to their legacy strategy of appealing to hard core gamers who are after titles that do better overseas. These gamers cannot get enough of Mario, Zelda and Pikmin. So, expect to see Metroid 15, or Zelda 20, or whatever, on this system. The system itself is very, very thin, about the size of three DVD cases stacked together. They still are not releasing any specs, however. The only thing I’ve leared is that it has 512 MB of flash memory.

PlayStation 3

  • Supporting every conceivable read, read-write, and write only format for CD or DVD.
  • Seven wireless BlueTooth controllers.
  • Nvidia technology, Nvidia has long been a leader in graphics chips for PCs, and Microsoft used their technology before with the Xbox, now they have worked with Sony to create a “Reality Synthesizer”, which produces “movie-quality” graphics at 60 frames per second. Although personally, I believe that it will be a while before you can truly expect that from a gaming system, although from the trailers I have seen, this system is truly awesome.
  • Backwards compatibility, no surprise to anyone as the PS2 was compatible with PlayStation software.
  • 1080 progressive scan image. If you are into high-definition, this system is the one for you.
  • USB technology and WiFi compatibility with the portable system.
  • The Cell Processor is basically a PowerPC chip running at 3.2 Ghz, their GPU is only 550 MHz, however.
  • 256 MB ram
  • Compatibility with 21 different audio/video formats including SACD and all Dual Layer technology.
  • The DVDs are Blue-ray, which can hold 6 times as much information as a regular DVD. Therefore, you are good to go for those High Definition DVDs once they are released to the public.
  • Processing is at 1.8 teraflops

If you have already invested thousands of dollars in PlayStation games keeps your existing library and upgrade to the PS3 next year. So far, it will be the most powerful system available, from what I can gather. In addition, it can play all of your media out of the box, which is something you will have to pay extra for with competitors’ systems. PS3 appears to be the only system which will actually have games that might appeal to novice gamers, which is important if you’re a casual gamer like myself who is more impressed with the graphics than the actual game play. The PS3 also has the front loading system that grabs at the disc and pulls it in, rather the tray that is the standard in the XBOX 360.

XBOX 360

Microsoft went to great lengths to display the XBOX to the world in a major way, choosing to exploit the MTV audience rather than the one at the E3. Unorthodox, yet intriguing, the way they chose to unveil the box to the world is how best to describe the system itself. Microsoft’s promotional strategies appear to have more to do with marketing their attempts to bring the gaming community together through technological advances that have more to do with communications rather than game play. They have a Gamer Guide, which they describe as an “entertainment gateway” that connects you to “games, friends, music, movies, and downloadable content”. Ease of use is great for the novice gamer, yet it is of little interest to veterans who are more interested in exactly what this system is capable of.

They also mentioned a “Marketplace” for the Xbox Live community, betting that developers will exploit the platform to create games, characters, and anything else that can be digitally reproduced on the fly and reach out to hard-core gamers over the network. This could only be a problem if the Marketplace persuades more voyeurs to the XBOX than hard-core enthusiasts. “Gaming”, for lack of a better term, is a complex world, however, and it is good that someone is doing something to make it interesting to the novice than simply create dumber titles, in which the game play is entirely too simple, and not challenging.

  • Watch progressive-scan DVDs right out of the box.
  • Connect with Media Center PCs or Windows XP PCs.
  • Three ‘symmetrical cores’ running at 3.2 Ghz, or in layman’s terms, triple processing. This is a big leap from the 700 MHz processing we saw on the old XBOX.
  • 10 MB of DRAM on the graphics chip! Yes you heard it, 10 MB of video ram.
  • 700 MHz memory! Yes memory running at that speed, 512 MB worth.
  • 20 GB hard drive and 12 speed dual-layer DVD-ROM.
  • 64 MB memory units.
  • Wireless controllers are a staple here too, although only 4 (the PS3 has up to 7), but if you are not into tournaments or anything like that this will be more than enough.
  • 3 USB ports.
  • 2 slots for those 64 MB cards.
  • Out of the box – broadband access, no upgrading here, plus the “Marketplace” allows you to chat with other users. Ethernet too, interesting.
  • In addition, Wi-Fi Internet access too, for your home-networking needs, (if you wish), or just doing what you normally do with your laptop at the bookstore or cafÃ?© with your 360.
  • Support for many the same formats PS3 is capable of running, although they also mentioned support for WMA (of course), MP3, and JPEG photo CDs.
  • You can rip music onto the hard drive, and of course, Media Center Extender as an OS for your multimedia needs.
  • High definition support with entirely too much audio support; 320 independent decompression channels for over 256 audio channels, (that is a lot of mixing!), 32-bit audio and 48 kHz 16-bit audio (for your sampling freaks!).

There are even customizable faceplates, for something other than your cell phone. This fun system should be available Holiday 2005.

There you have it, three systems, of which you will most likely only use like 5% of their true functionality, truly revolutionize the future of gaming, and just personal computing in general.

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