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Do Gamers Really Need HDTV? 167

Posted by Zonk
from the robert-deniro's-mole-has-got-to-be-ten-feet-wide dept.
Gamasutra has up an article, their latest in the 'Analyze This' series, exploring whether gamers are really clamoring for the HD era ... or if the only people looking forward to HD gaming are the game makers. All three analysts seem to think HD is very important, but with varying levels of fervency. From the article: "On the Nintendo front, Nintendo has sacrificed graphics that can be viewed by the minority for a price that can benefit the majority. So, no, I don't think that they've made a mistake in the short run. Over the long run, we'll have to see: If HDTV adoption rates accelerate, the differences between the Wii and the Xbox 360 and PS3 may become more important, and it may end up that sell-through of the Wii begins to decline. That's a couple of years away, and my crystal ball isn't quite that clear."
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Do Gamers Really Need HDTV?

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  • by revlayle (964221) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:40PM (#16368511) Homepage
    Wide-spread HDTV penetration will happen when they become commonplace in a variety of retail outlets for a comparable price to what one could purchase a classic CRT-based TV now. Maybe in 4-6 years??? (pure speculation there on my part) By then, Nintendo would recongize that trend and have thier next console take advantage of HDTV resolutions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LoverOfJoy (820058)
      I could see this potentially happening sooner than the 4-6 years you guess at but even if it happens sooner I don't think Nintendo would find it too difficult to make the switch with a WiiHD if they already made a killing on the regular Wii. As it is, Wii is set to be backward-compatible with gamecube games. It could end up like the shift to a color gameboy.
    • by thebdj (768618) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:50PM (#16368691) Journal
      You mean ccommon place enough to already be in Wal-Mart? I mean this place is usually far behind technology, and they are the largest retailer in the US. Actually, many HDTV products are available there with 17" LCDs on their website going for around $299. Granted this is almost $100-$150 over comparable sized televisions that are standard definition, but the point is it might not be as far off as some people think.

      I think the true test is going to be getting TV stations to broadcast in HD and to get less 4:3 content. This is a problem since most HDTVs are widescreen aspects, so the black bars are on the sides now, and that small widescreen TV looks even smaller with 4:3 content showing. I do think Nintendo was smart though. While Microsoft and Sony expect these things to last in the long haul, Nintendo can sit back and sell consoles without HD and make money. They can also avoid the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray war and release their next console 4 or 5 years down the road (if not less) once a potential winner has been anounced. I think they are smart to avoid direct competition so as to avoid the fate of Sega.
      • by plover (150551) *
        Nintendo can sit back and sell consoles without HD and make money. They can also avoid the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray war

        This is very insightful. By delaying the choice of which expensive technology to embrace, they leave themselves with the guaranteed lowest price point of all major console systems. Also, Nintendo has also traditionally held the children's market, and parents of young children are definitely more price sensitive than the average gamer.

    • by SpookyFish (195418) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:59PM (#16368849)
      Um, no. They are commonplace enough. HDTV sales will outpace SD sales for the first time this year. Morgan Stanley estimates that approximately 26% of households will have at least one set by the end of the year. That number rises to ~68% in 2010.

      You can say that 26% this year and 33+% next year isn't wide spread enough, but I beg to differ. Those are also the households with the disposable income to afford not only the console, but the real expense of accessories and games for it.

      Nintendo is making a mistake. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean the games won't be fun, but based on perception alone they are missing a major marketing 'checkmark'.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Tankko (911999)
        Yes, and I've seen these HDTV's and they are HD in that they accept HD input, but the resolution is NTSC. You see them all over the place at Sears and Walmark. That is what most people are buying, and they do look nicer than CRT's because they are digital and LCD. But they are not HD as most people here would think of it.
      • by revlayle (964221)
        Man i must be living in the wrong part of the coutry - i just don't see it happening. Maybe it's me and NONE of my friends have the disposable income anymore. Then again, those of us NOT buying HDTVs aren't buying any SDTVs either.
      • by non0score (890022)
        Really? I think you got it a little mixed up. That's the part of the reason why Nintendo went with a cheaper console and respective games: so they can sell to those without HDTVs. The households with enough disposable income to afford HDTVs are the exact same ones who can afford the 360 and PS3, with a Wii as a second (or third) console. And no, 67% next year is by far bigger than the 33%, not to mention that kids probably play games in their rooms with a SDTV.

        I think your argument can't be more wrong.
      • by Lumpy (12016)
        out of 100 people....

        10 are rich and can afford anything. 20 are semi rich and can afford most anything.
        70 are poor and haveto make careful decisions on expenses...

        If i made a product, I would make a product that is desireable and within reach of the bottom 70 people.

        I'll make a crapload more money than anyone aiming for the top 30 based on sheer volume alone.

        Maybe if you have some economics background you would have noticed that. Nintendo is going for the most common Denomoniator, poor and lower middle
    • by Optic7 (688717)
      Wide-spread HDTV penetration

      That would be awesome! But I'm sure the FCC would censor all that pr0n...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kolding (55685)
      Actually, Nintendo is probably safe. If I remember correctly, they are supporting 480p TV in 16:9 aspect ratio. That, realistically, will support the vast majority of gamers just fine.

      IMHO, HDTV provides 4 major video improvements over "Standard Def" TV, or more precisely, over standard NTSC TV. These are:
      1: Improved color model and accuracy. NTSC color is hideous (people say NTSC stands for Never The Same Color). HD's color system allows more accurate color, and more precise changes in the color from
  • ...umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:41PM (#16368513)
    go ahead and ask any PC gamer if to choose between 640x480 or 1600x1200.
    • by merreborn (853723)
      go ahead and ask any PC gamer if to choose between 640x480 or 1600x1200.

      Exactly. HDTV is just bringing console gamers up to the resolutions PC gamers have been playing at for years.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kolding (55685)
        Not really.
        PC gamers sit 2 feet from their screen.
        Console gamers sit 5 to 15 feet away from their screens.

        It's a very different way of interacting with your game.

        Heck, when I play games on my PC, I hardly ever play more than about 1280x1024 resolution. Beyond that, it doesn't provide significant improvements.
    • okay bad form to reply to myself, but I should have also said that its pretty much the same as the console world. . . The higher the resolution in the games the better, but I think HDTV will be a necessity once they get to a price that is reasonable for families to choose as their main tv.
    • On my 2Ghz? Umm 640x480 any day!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mishotaki (957104)
      It depends on if my machine can run it fluidly at 1600X1200...

      I would sacrifice a big part of the resolution for better graphics often , as you don't see that much of a difference after 1024X768 compared to all the options you can put on to get the same framerate....
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nlawalker (804108)
      A better question would be to ask a PC gamer to choose between a 18 or 19 inch monitor and a 40 inch behemoth, considering all factors such as price, space, heat, etc.

      It's stupid to hold televisions and monitors to the same standards because they evolved in very different directions. TV's got bigger and not clearer because the medium doesn't have a great emphasis on text or fine detail, and people enjoy their large home theaters. Monitors got clearer because no one needed the size when you are inches awa
      • If you really want more space, you can even get two regular size monitors for cheaper than one huge one and have more screen real estate.

        But do PC games support more than one monitor? Can I plug in four joypads and have players 1 and 2 look at monitor 1 and players 3 and 4 look at monitor 2?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727)
      Now ask the question of Joe Bob, who bought a new 45" Plasma and watched SD content on it thinking it's HD because he has no clue.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eno2001 (527078)
        Exactly. Most people have no clue what HDTV actually is other than a bigger wider screen. Then they wonder why they either have black bars on both sides of their picture, or everything looks fat (as in wide, and not hip and cool), or why things widen at the left and right edges of the screen while things in the middle look normal. I'll even go so far as to say that most Slashdotters don't have a clue, they only think they do. To answer the main question that this submission asks: Real hardcore gamers (t
        • ut I didn't buy it for gaming, I bought it for something much more important:

          Just for a moment there, I thought you were going to say for HD Hockey broadcasts. I had my first experience with HD hockey on the weekend, and now I can't think of a better use of the technology.
          • by LKM (227954)

            Don't tell me it's finally possible to see the puck!

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by de Siem (840522)
            Just for a moment there, I thought you were going to say for HD Hockey broadcasts. I had my first experience with HD hockey on the weekend, and now I can't think of a better use of the technology.

            HD ladies Beach Volleyball

    • by marktoml (48712) *
      >go ahead and ask any PC gamer if to choose between 640x480 or 1600x1200.

      Hell yes I want cheezy poofs!
    • by springbox (853816)
      I choose 800x600. Most people don't have monitors large enough to justify using really high resolutions, but they use them anyway.
      • by mcvos (645701)

        choose 800x600. Most people don't have monitors large enough to justify using really high resolutions, but they use them anyway.

        For a 15" monitor that's great, but for a 19" one, I'd hate to use anything less than 1600x1200.

        But the real reason for high resolution isn't games (many games automatically reduce the resolution my PC is using), but programming. It's practical to have lots of information on your screen. For most games that aren't Stars!, that's not much of an issue.

        • holy crap another Stars! fan? I like that game so much I keep copies of its install file in pretty much every game/music/other folder on each of my harddrives. . .
          • by mcvos (645701)

            holy crap another Stars! fan?

            Some of us are still around. In fact, there's still a small but active community. Best 4X game ever, after all.

            But to get this back on topic, the way games like Stars! are distributed can also be very effective: give away a free playable demo, and by entering an activation code, you can turn it into the complete game. Anyone can try it out, and by paying you get more. Most importantly the ability to play against others, which is what the game is all about.

  • No, but it's nice to have. I didn't really realize what I was missing until I had HD.
    • No, but it's nice to have. I didn't really realize what I was missing until I had HD.

      The problem is that a lot of the XBOX360 games are being designed with HD in mind. This observation of mine is especially apparent in most of the newer 360 titles (Dead Rising is the first that comes to mind). The text in that game is completely unreadable on non-HD displays. I've played the game on several non-HD TVs and have always had the problem, so it's not a matter of mine just being fuzzy.

      In fact, I wonder if any pla
      • by linefeed0 (550967)
        I guess you haven't watched much sports on TV lately. The people doing the HUDs for some networks (actually, cough cough NBC is a big culprit) seem to also have forgotten that most of their audience doesn't have HD. The winter olympics were particularly bad this way -- the flag icons (already at a horrible aspect ratio) and much of the text was unreadable in standard definition, probably having been designed for European DTV, which is not as high resolution as HDTV but has a much higher adoption rate. Appar
        • I guess it's obvious that I don't watch sports much.

          i know NBC has sports (because I worked on the art for Football Night in America; a cheap ripoff of Hockey Night in Cananda, at first glance), but I know there was some football game I watched where I was like "dude! THAT's a decent HUD!"

          oh well. I guess I gotta get an HDTV, now.
  • ...gamers who want HD have been using their PCs as their primary platform with a phat 20"+ LCD attached that can do 1680x1050 or more widescreen. The only thing the next gen consoles promise different from this are console experiences (gamepads, Xbox Live, etc.) and higher poly counts - which we get every 8-12 months when the next generation of video cards come out. But come on, I ran Red Alert 2 at 1280x1024 5 years ago - isn't that technically HD? Running at high res is not going to be some grand new t
    • by p0tat03 (985078) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:49PM (#16368673)

      "...gamers who want HD have been using their PCs as their primary platform with a phat 20"+ LCD attached that can do 1680x1050 or more widescreen."

      That's an amazing generalization. Being able to run new top-of-line games on a 20"+ LCD doing 1680x1050 costs quite a bit, both in initial investment and constantly chasing the upgrade curve. I never did it - my PC is still too crappy to play Half-Life 2 at anything above 800x600. I am not inclined to sink thousands into such a machine when now a console can do HD for a fraction of the price.

      Assuming a console lifetime of 5 years... $600 for consoles plus some accessories.

      vs... $4K+ to maintain a system at good game-ability (ability to run all new games at relative high resolution and settings) over 5 years.

      One is affordable for me. The other never was.

  • Since when does anything about gaming have anything to do with need. The question is whether or not gamers want HDTV. And you only have to look at the history of increasing PC graphics resolutions to get the answer to that.
    • The question is whether or not gamers want HDTV. And you only have to look at the history of increasing PC graphics resolutions to get the answer to that.

      Umm, no. That is not the conclusion to draw from the recent history of increasing resolutions -- rather, the conclusion to draw is that video game makers believe that's what gamers want.

      Not to digress too far, but the reason I'm more of a console gamer now than a PC gamer is because gaming PCs are too expensive, and most of the newer games require expens

  • Yes and No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p0tat03 (985078) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:45PM (#16368579)

    Disclaimer: I have an "HDTV" in the form of LCD hooked up to Xbox360.

    The whole HDTV argument is kind of moot. The status quo of video gamings certainly do not demand HDTVs, but IMHO that's a limitation that game developers are trying to overcome. For years we've been stuck in the world of ultra-huge text just so it's readable on a crappy tube set. We've been unable to communicate detailed information to the gamer. Think about the resolution as a mode of information bandwidth. The more resolution you have to work with (within limits) means the more data you can pass to the gamer. This is why RTS games work on PCs but not on consoles (beyond the obvious control difficulties) - these games demand that a lot of information (unit health, unit selection, unit status, squads, tactics, waypoints, etc) be visible all at once, which before the HD era has simply not been possible.

    The way I see it, the HDTV thing is good. It further reduces the gap between PC and console gaming, allowing game developers to put games that would never have worked on a 480i tube TV on a console. To me this is a lot more than being able to see the tiny glint on a suit of armour - there is more to the HD issue than mere aesthetics.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Osty (16825)

      This is why RTS games work on PCs but not on consoles (beyond the obvious control difficulties) - these games demand that a lot of information (unit health, unit selection, unit status, squads, tactics, waypoints, etc) be visible all at once, which before the HD era has simply not been possible.

      While I don't disagree with your point as a whole, I don't think this is the best example. RTS games worked well enough back in the days of 320x240 resolutions (Dune 2, Command & Conquer, Warcraft I). Perha

    • by tourvil (103765)

      For years we've been stuck in the world of ultra-huge text just so it's readable on a crappy tube set. We've been unable to communicate detailed information to the gamer. Think about the resolution as a mode of information bandwidth. The more resolution you have to work with (within limits) means the more data you can pass to the gamer.

      I love pushing the resolution on my computer when I'm sitting 2 feet from the monitor so I can see more stuff on the screen at once. But I'm not so sure I want to max out pu

      • by lubricated (49106)
        Most 43 inch tv's are native at 720p, some of the newer ones might be 1080p. 1080i is interlaced so it may actually be worse than 720p and may be the reason you aren't seeing it as good.
        • by Babbster (107076)
          If the TV is fixed pixel (usually in a resolution around 720p) it would probably be less about the interlacing and more about the scaling from 1080i to the resolution of the panel. Done poorly, this scaling can produce artifacting that would make discerning smaller details (like small test) problematic. I've been playing Dead Rising (an example of a small-text HD game) in widescreen 1080i on my 27" 4:3 HDTV from 6-7 feet away and haven't had a big problem reading the text - this despite even my corrected
    • We've been unable to communicate detailed information to the gamer. Think about the resolution as a mode of information bandwidth. The more resolution you have to work with (within limits) means the more data you can pass to the gamer.

      This is a fine argument for eventually making HD-exclusive games - which would be enabled by pushing the HD standard to where it actually is standard. It doesn't work so well with systems that have to simultaneously deal with 480i and HD, though.

  • by steveo777 (183629) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:46PM (#16368609) Homepage Journal
    or photography at least. Not sure what you would call a bad screenshot. But on the second page they complain for the second time about how Capcom's Dead Rising had illegible print on standard (even 480p) TVs. Yet, they do not show what the text looks like, just a shot of Frank smooshing some zombies with a park bench. I'm not in need an example, I've played it on a 36" 480p TV (and yes it's still very difficult to decypher most of the words). The game has text on the bottom of the screen well over half the time you're playing, it wouldn't be hard to get a screen capture of the script.
    • Thing is, if you have a SD TV in the UK, you can have your 360 connected via a scart cable. Which is as sharp a picture as you can get on a SD telly, and the text is entirely legible in that mode. As for HD games, my thoughts on it mirror my thoughts on HD movies. If a game needs to me HD to be worth playing, then it isn't worth playing at all.
      • I play numerous game types that will benefit hugely from HD resolutions. War games with large numbers of characters on screen at once are one, RPGs and games of their ilk with many objects in inventories are another (more items with smaller icons that are just as easy to see at HD as their counterparts were in SD (think Morrowind vs. Oblivion on XBox vs. 360).

        I've always thought the "needs HD" argument was stupid in the first place. Nobody needs HD like nobody needs a faster car or a nicer coloured iPod o
        • by steveo777 (183629)
          I agree that Sony and MS are giving us what they think we want. But they're missing the fact that many of us do not or can not. The post you responded to had a very good point. If it's not playable on standard def, it's not worth playing. But to continue the point, I would add that if your game is not playable, or has reduced functionality at low resolutions, then label it clearly, so people don't buy it thinking it'll be just fine.
          • Thief was a great PC game a few years back, but if you didn't have a good sound card and good speakers, you wouldn't enjoy it half as much as someone who did. It was one of the first games to truly immerse you in your audio environment and use it as cues in the game so thoroughly.

            If the next version of Dynasty Warriors has thousands of dudes on the battlefield at once (I sure hope it does), they're going to look like crap in SD and that's to be expected. Do you truly believe that any game released on a 'h
  • I've seen King Kong running on the XBox 360 on an LCD screen at Walmart and was underwhelmed. Everything looked "sharp but jaggy". We can't even get HD in our rural area, so I'm not even looking at HD televisions. That, and everything is either humungous (40"+) or small (20" LCD screens). I can't put the first set in my house, and I can't view the smaller ones. I'm sure they're out there, but where's the 27"-32" screens? Anyway, HD isn't going to catch on overnight just because our high overlords in Congre
    • You're not looking hard enough. CNet lets you search for TVs based on a wide variety of criteria. Here's the page [cnet.com] that shows you all HDTVs broken down by screen size. There are over 250 models that are between 25" and 40".

      Satellite solves the problem of no local HD programming. And are you really sure that your rural area receives no HDTV over the air? Unless you're in the mountains, chances are that you can receive over-the-air signals. HDTV signals travel farther & with much less opportunity for
    • by Jartan (219704)

      That, and everything is either humungous (40"+) or small (20" LCD screens). I can't put the first set in my house, and I can't view the smaller ones. I'm sure they're out there, but where's the 27"-32" screens?

      This has been my problem as well. The truth is you can probably find any size of HDTV you want but if you are shopping for something inbetween $300 and $4000 you are going to get poor value for your money.

      People quote cheap HDTV's but they are usually talking about tiny 17" inch sets that nobody rea

    • Anyway, HD isn't going to catch on overnight just because our high overlords in Congress have made a mandate

      Note that Congress is mandating a switch to digital television [wikipedia.org], not high-definition television [wikipedia.org]. SDTV can be digital, too.
  • by Jerf (17166) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:48PM (#16368659) Journal
    One of the things I've wondered is if Nintendo has looked into the feasibility of releasing the HDWii in, say, three years. The Wii is supposed to already support widescreen at 480p (I think; google searching was a bit inconclusive but pointed to widescreen support), and the hardest part of upscaling to HD resolutions would be handling varying aspect ratios sanely in the game, as there would be no way whatsoever to hack that in later. (You can handle them non-sanely, but not sanely.)

    If they decided to design a new graphics card that was designed from day one to have the exact same performance as the current one, only at a higher resolution, it could be feasible.

    Then, once HD adoption has improved and once the graphics card prices have dropped, they could release an HD Wii that played the old games, only at higher resolution, and the games should mostly work. (A few small patches may be needed, and the odd game may not work at all.) This way, they don't go to market with expensive new features most people can't use until most people can use them; best of both worlds.

    Polygon-based 3D game scale up really nicely. You wouldn't get higher-resolution textures magically out of the deal, but just actually rendering the whole HD space, rather than upsampling an SD-sized signal, would look much sharper. You might see a bit more pop-in and it's faintly possible the balance of some games might be broken by being able to see a bit farther, but mostly it ought to work.

    Yes, there are technical issues, but I don't think they are insurmountable, and even if there is some set of games that just don't work in HD, you can always just run them in SD mode, which the HDWii would need to support anyhow. (Especially if they completely replace the Wii with the HDWii, instead of maintaining two product lines.) Probably the biggest issue would be if games strongly assume SD resolution with some sort of pointer, although it's still possible that such games would still work, it's just that you'd still only be able to point with SD-pixel resolution, which probably most people wouldn't even notice. (Any game that asks for pixel-perfect pointing almost certainly won't be fun anyhow...)
    • by brkello (642429)
      No no no no no no. The Wii will not have HD support. The Wii is betting that HD won't be important this generation just like they bet that Internet gaming would not be important on the gamecube. If and when HD has become common place, they will integrate it with their next console. Having an upgraded version of your console mid generation is just a way to piss a lot of your consumers off. So I buy a Wii now...they come up with this a year or two later? Am I supposed to buy the thing again? Next conso
      • Having an upgraded version of your console mid generation is just a way to piss a lot of your consumers off.

        Maybe you're forgetting that they've already done this, multiple times: Gameboy -> Gameboy Pocket; Gameboy Advance -> Gameboy Advance SP -> Gameboy Micro; DS -> DS Lite.

        I don't think they've done it with a non-handheld yet, but many people that owned an original Gameboy Advance or DS seemed quite willing to buy the newer ones when they came out.
  • by MeanderingMind (884641) on Monday October 09, 2006 @03:54PM (#16368777) Homepage Journal
    To harp entirely on the semantic, there is probably a near zero number of gamers who "need" HDTV. These people should be found and given treatment for their unhealthy obsession.

    For the rest of us, we'll either make do without and enjoy looking like a nutcase swingling an oblong white doohickey around or we'll get 57.352" wide screen dilithium concentrate HD TVs and enjoy killing zombies in glorious resolutions.

    Either way I'm stoked.
  • Note: I just bought an HDTV on Saturday.

    I really don't care. I'm glad I can play Dead Rising in HD (as soon as I buy it and a 360). But I don't really care that much. The 'cube looks fine already, and it would actually look BETTER on my new TV because I could run it in progressive scan. Then again I still thing Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island are two of the best looking games ever. I wouldn't care if new games were released that looked just like those. If they were just as fun, I'd be thrilled.

    I'm gl

    • Ok, I got a HDTV 6 months ago, and the GameCube seriously got an upgrade in Sharpness even through S-Video (I do have component cables, and an early modle GC so I can get Progressive scan). I highly recommend the Component cables.

      F-Zero GX is glorious in 16:9 + 480p and it STILL pushes 60 FPS. If you don't have the component cables for the GC, I'd recommend them for the Wii and to replay some of the GC games that support it.

  • by jchenx (267053) on Monday October 09, 2006 @04:01PM (#16368873) Journal
    IMHO, it's TV viewers that will drive this whole HDTV-debate, not gamers. So to talk about whether or not gamers really need HDTV is moot.

    We all seem to forget that the primary use for the TV in most households, is to view TV shows. If Joe Bob is going to get an HDTV, it's not because he or his kids want to play video games in HD, but because the whole family has this need: Mom wants to see her prime-time shows in all HD glory, Dad wants to catch his football shows in HD, the kids want to play games in HD, etc.

    So, is HD adoption in general growing in the US? It certainly is. Every holiday season, it seems like HDTV is the "big gift" to save up for. If not then, its the tax-return season. Or around the time of the Superbowl (guys want to get a new TV in time for the "big game"). Eventually we'll get to the point where half the country now has some sort of HD TV set. It's anyone's guess how long it will be (I'm betting it won't be for another 5-10 years).
    • by duerra (684053) *
      I have an HDTV, but no HD programming. Why? Because it is too expensive (imagine that). I'll get HD the day I can get my basic cable, without a cable box, in HD, for only marginally higher cost. As it turns out, instead of paying $12/month for cable, I would have to jump up to something like $60/month to get any HD. Not acceptable for me.
  • Do Gamers Really Need HDTV?

    I think the question is obvious and pointless. Of course we can live without it, but what we all have in common is that we're paying for what we're getting. Nintendo isn't launching a high-end station and this reflects the price of the console too. So a person who is willing to piss away $500 on a graphics card is also more likely going to need HDTV resolution on a gaming console, while a guy who spends $100 on a GeForce 6600GT can settle for less.

    No one really needs anythin
  • by The-Bus (138060)
    Need? No. I don't need HDTV. I don't need games. But once you've played games in HD or seen TV/movies in HD, it's difficult to go back. Certainly, I still play a lot of games not in HD but beyond the increased resolution there's also a wider canvas, which makes any good game better.
  • I bought a 15" LCD HDTV for a few different reasons, I had a decent sized (27") CRT TV in the living room already, and a 5 year old bulky 13" TV from college in my room (which I was replacing). I wanted to maximize space and get something that will still be useful in the future (in 10 years I can see this TV being mounted in the wall in my bathroom.) It's useful as a midrange computer monitor with cable TV picture in picture while surfing the web, and HD cable is only a $5 a month more. Going HD is 100%
  • Short answer: No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ant P. (974313) on Monday October 09, 2006 @04:23PM (#16369277) Homepage
    Long answer: Game Boy.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)
      For those interested, the Game Boy display was 160x144 pixels, the Game Boy Advance is 240x160 and the Nintendo DS is 256x192 (each display).
  • No, there's no need to lock out SD sets right away, but if the US TV is ever going to move to an HD economy gaming will be a large reason why it does. HD gaming will mean HD programming on TV and sales of HDTV's.

    Next generation gaming can't be complete without HDTV. I think it is smart to fall back to SD for now, and ween people off those terrible SD sets. While I don't advocate shutting out the SD players of the world for numerous reasons, I think HD is the very definition of next generation gaming. As suc
    • by Al Dimond (792444)
      Let's have a counterpoint to this. Clearly you care about having great graphics. I have a 20" SDTV, I don't get good enough reception to justify a bigger/better set and I don't watch enough to justify a cable/sat. subscription. I care about being able to get basic cheap TV.

      For you to get your great graphics you have to "ween people off" of SD sets; that is, you want to force me to spend lots of money (I'd bet my TV will be working long after SD broadcasts go dead, and I don't plan on getting a new one un
  • Will people have a HD display? Maybe so, but it won't really be mainstream any earlier than 1-2 years from now. Will people want a new console? Ya bet. Do people buy more than one console? Some do, if they have the dough. If they don't, they don't buy consoles costing 600 bucks in the first place.

    What I see happen is that people will buy a Wii now and a PS3 later. Because the choice is to either throw down 600 bucks for a console now and have a PS3, or lay down 200 now for a Wii, enjoy it for the 2-3 years
  • Yoshi's Island was fun in 320x240, I dont see how it could be more fun in 720x1280.

    Revolutions in graphics can drive innovation (see 2d -> 3d), but HD, while nice, does not change anything.
    Graphics are nice, but eventually you stop noticing because youre either having fun playing or you turned it off because it isnt fun.
    • Yoshi's Island was fun in 320x240,

      Actually the SNES ran at the very crappy resoluton of 256x224! Yoshi's Island still looked awesome though (and IMHO still does).
  • High definition television, while quite impressively crisp, clear, and sharp, is about as necessary for gaming as it is necessary for watching television. The only people I know who actually own or want to buy high definition televisions are sports buffs, oddly enough, and like to use their screens to view an entirely different kind of game. You know, a real one. Most people I know, gamers included, not only don't care about high definition televisions, they don't want them. They're too expensive, and there
  • Not really, so why would we *NEED* HDTVs either.

    But then, I want to play games and I want to play them on an HDTV.
  • asking "do gamers really need..." is really stupid. gamers don't even really need games! shock! shock! they won't die without them. i imagine though that gamers make up a higher fraction of hd owners than the general population.
  • Multi-player games of the split-screen type benefit greatly from high definition.
  • Console Jokes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Explodo (743412)
    As a PC and Console gamer (XBox 360), and an HDTV owner, I can say that consoles at 1080i are still disappointing, not so much for how they look, but for how they perform. Several of the BIG xbox 360 titles show signs of slowdown when run at 1080i. Need for Speed: Most Wanted gets really nasty if you try to play split screen at 1080i. Madden 07 seems a little bit slower at 1080. Not all games slow down, but the fact that 1080 is pushing the "next-gen" console system's abilities reflects poorly on rushin
  • IMHO POST.

    As far as I'm concerned, games DO need HDTV - we look at games far more than we do movies.
    When I say look I mean examine the finer detail, need the ability to look at clear, crisp inventory menu's for example.
    Need to distinguish between a bad guy in light green with a small yellow * on his uniform or a good guy in dark green with a small red * on his uniform.

    Etc, etc etc.

    Also sometimes the pictue is sitting still, same scene for a minute or two, a movie however is generally always moving and you a
  • Anti-aliasing! I hope at least ONE next gen system will make good use of it, because the jagged edges are quite noticable in some games. (It would be hilarious if the PS3's games bypass FSAA for speed.)
    • by donaldm (919619)
      As far as anti aliasing goes this is an issue for the console. When the PS2 first came out some of the first gen games had very noticeable jagged edges which in-turn caused many people to rubbish the PS2. There were many red faces when Sony came out with a simple fix which the designers should have known about in the first place.
  • by GWBasic (900357)
    No, gamers are perfectly happy playing their Atari 2600s on their black and white Zeniths.
    • The picture on our Zenith got more and more squished until it finally died.

      Nowadays I'm very happy playing my Atari 2600 on my 36' Wega ;)
  • I've tried HD. It's good, it's really worth it, it really makes a huge difference in graphical quality. Of course gamers want HDTV, they just might not be able to afford it. But they will be within 2 years, guaranteed. Heck, HDTVs are already available at walmart for less than $500.

  • There is a kind of games that certainly need HD...these games are those that offer a view of action from a distance: sports games, strategy games, FPSs with lots of open spaces and others. In these types of games, high definition certainly plays a role: it allows the player to see what the enemy is up to from far away, thus affecting the gameplay.
  • definitely not (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rabbot (740825) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:16AM (#16377469)
    I've had an HDTV for a few years now, and I still couldn't care less about console gaming in HD. Sure, I like watching movies and sports in HD, but that doesn't mean everything else is garbage now.

    There are a lot of people now trying to justify their Xbox360 and future PS3 purchases by telling everyone that we need HD and that HD is the future of gaming. It doesn't make a difference gameplay wise. You're not going to get some life altering experience from playing games at higher resolutions.

    We don't need it and it's not what the majority of people have, or will have in the next 5 years. When they can deliver consoles that support HD for a reasonable price to consumers who actually have HDTVs, then obviously things will be different...but for now it's just not worth it for the average consumer.

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