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Microsoft

More on the MS "X-Box" 236

The Hulkster pointed us at an article at sharkyextreme that talks about microsoft's rumored X Box, their x86/WinCE gaming box designed to compete with the Playstation/Dreamcast home gaming console market. The most interesting tidbits are the rumors that will use a .18 micron K6-2+ and possibly a GeForce 256. Its all speculation, but its still interesting.
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More on the MS "X-Box"

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Microsoft is an immoral company.

    I have taken a solemn vow to never use any of there products for any reason whatsoever.

    Most of us know the kind of damage using their products can cause; the wasted time, the miserable interfaces, the throw-it-over-the-wall slipshod programming behind it. Why anyone would humiliate themselves to even boot-up a machine with Microsoft software on it is beyond me.

    I won't use a Microsoft mouse either.
  • It needs something to read the OS off the disk. Think BIOS in a PC, only you can cut down on the functionality even more. That doesn't count as an OS.
  • ..had it left the direct hands of MS when it became a huge hit in Japan? The MSX2, MSX+, etc. standards don't seem to have that much of MS's hands in them, and since the two Metal Gear games and the Gradius/Nemesis sequels were for them...
  • As someone on a different message board pointed out, many DVD players have support for DTS, and wear it proudly. But discs don't always use it.
    Heck, there are cases out there with "Designed for Windows 95" plastered on and people are running Linux on the computers inside. It's all about marketing.
  • Look at the situation. They are clearly ready to dump the hardware. The flip side is this- they can compete in game availability by dumping access to games- the others make their money through licensing, and MS can choose to try and proliferate tools for writing the games, and set up licensing that's a lot more appealing than, say, Sony does.
    Then when do they make their money? They don't. This is a loss leader for the PC platform, but there are some _fatal_ problems with this approach:
    • people don't necessarily trust Windows and Microsoft well enough to consider them a competitor in consoles- consoles are about not having to reinstall Windows on, about being troublefree. The perception will be that it's a PC with the floppy drive welded shut :)
    • although they can get some development by making it appealing to develop for Windows and ship on this as well by clicking a few checkboxes in the IDE, again, this is a loss leader strategy. Why are they acting threatened in this area? It looks very much like the only way they can make it fly is to take _serious_ losses on it for the sake of proliferation- and they can't reasonably be doing that. MS can't afford to squander its money- that money is the sole source of its power.
    • finally, the biggie: every single one of these things made and sold, assuming a world in which all or most of the Windows games are also released for this thing (i.e. marketer's wet dream of _success_ for it), means one more reason to not run a PC with Windows on it. If you can get The Games on a little box with a CD-Rom slot in it, you don't need to beat yourself into the ground making a Windows PC do both that and email and web browsing and spreadsheets etc etc. You can specialise and use something else for the 'real computer' stuff- a Mac, Linux, Be, whatever!
    Microsoft can't afford to do this. At all. Not even a little bit. I wonder if this project is even real, or if they've considered the implications: "Get Windows- you need to be able to run the games, games are only for Windows!" "But wait, I got a *whatever-it's-called*, and it can run all the Windows games, so I don't need to run Windows anymore!" "Oh." It seems unbelievable that they wouldn't clue to this problem. I guess we'll see, or not see, in the long run. Might be the purest vapor... if they know what's good for them. They _must_ maintain the PC or basically die. There are too many other things that are a lot easier to manage and keep happy than a PC for consumer computing purposes, and giving away the dominance of the PC in numbers of games is a _bad_ mistake.
  • Direct3D, as far as I can tell, is just much, much easier to write drivers for--more stuff is left to the game developer to implement. Are there any experts out there who can verify?

    John Carmack hates Direct3D. While his original rant seems to have disappeared from ID's page there is a news article here [gamecenter.com]. John's arguments basicly centered around that A) Direct3D requires you to write more lines of code and B) The lines of code are significantly harder to read.

    The point was that Direct3D was mush lower-level than OpenGL, and was a bad choice because of software manageability issues. So it would appear that you have your argument mixed up. :^)

    It should also be noted that MS is trying to "fix" this by either funding or actually working on getting OpenGL to work on top of Direct3D with some sort of abstraction layer. I haven't been tracking this, so I could be wrong (or the effort may have been abandoned).

  • So, um... why? Why is VS ill-suited, as you say, to game development? What IDE is better suited for game development anyway? CodeWarrior? Emacs???

    I happen to like Emacs... Emacs is well-suited for everything (hence its bloatedness). Yet Emacs is minimal. It doesn't assume anything (well actually assumes a lot but you can redefine the assumptions in your .emacs file (what's that I hear? you don't want to learn E-LISP? neither do I, but I manage okay anyways setting up my own colors and funkified emacsisms. so there's no excuse for not learning a language that you can put in your resume and impress employers with (hey I know a heavily parenthisized scripting language (hmmm it appears that I have gratuitously nested too many parentheses (this is a joke only we E-LISP'ers know... get used to it))))).

    Certainly you can't create texture-maps in VS, but that's not a function of the IDE, and I wouldn't want it in mine.

    I would definitely choose GIMP. Yeah yeah I hear everyone crying "Photoshop is so much better!!!" Other than support for hardware, I believe GIMP has some really funky features that blow photoshop away (can I use photoshop to write my own perl scripts to automagicly process images?). Now all GIMP needs is support for printers and scanning devices, but from what I hear from time to time things like this are coming along.

  • Most of Microsoft Games (the good ones anyway, not the "Return of the Arcade" serieses) are licenced by Microsoft or published through them. I wonder why such a large company can't get its shit together when it comes to actually making a good game.

    (Although they do make a good flight game, MS Flight Simulator being this one exception, though my coworker who works on the project says there are so many people working on it, it's any wonder things get done. It would be cheaper for them to outsource it as well.)

    I don't know in fact, but it's likely the hardware is made by a seperate entity. Anyway, the hardware is decent, but definitely not ergonomic, it just looks that way.
  • "The only problem with it is
    that it's tied to Windows. But if this console runs it... Well that's fine by me"

    well, it's NOT fine with me. I don't care if Bill Clinton's cigar runs it, if it's tied to Windows, it's just not good.

    The EVIL is - single-platform dominance, it allows monopolies, from which follow all kinds of abuses.
    To eliminate that EVIL, the market needs multiple platforms, and developers have to "buckle down" and write for and support multiple platforms. It's the only way to avoid the obvious abuses that come with a monopoly that single-platform dominance brings with it.
    NOT convenient for developers.
    Not really convenient for consumers (faced with having to make technical choices they're not really qualified to make).
    But definately beneficial to us all in the long run.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • "and she'll claw the eyes
    out of anyone else who tries to do the same on her corner. "

    needless to say, clawing another hooker's eyes out, or having her pimp chase the others away with a .45, is still illegal. Or, we'll find out when Judge Jackson renders his judgement.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • Did MS destroy the Spreadsheet market?

    Did MS destroy the Messaging market?

    Did MS destroy the Word Processor market?

    Did MS destroy the Compiler/IDE market?

    There are many, many, many good examples. I wonder why the DOJ limited their case only to the browser market?


    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • Aw, fresh out of moderator points eh? Well, at least you have the tag. Not quite as obnoxious as ALL CAPS - but we get the point. You're shouting.

    Okay, so if this console ran only programs that used OpenGL, I'd be fine with that, because OpenGL is cross platform, so if Google Games wanted to write a game for this box, they could fairly easily port their code to other platforms, at least computer platforms where there are OpenGL implementations, or where Mesa works.

    But we're talking about tying developers into a platform-specific API that was designed first and formost to lock people onto one platform (DirectX). Games written first for DirectX will rarely get ported to other platforms, because they'll cover 90% of the PC market, and the rest is economically inconvenient for developers. So, say you buy a PSXII. Google Games writes a killer game for X-Box, and you have to buy X-Box to play that game, or, you can play it on your PC if you have one. Either way, it's Microsoft leveraging their PC platform dominance to edge out competitors in the game console market. It stinks, and if you've heard this argument a few times before, it's because there are a bunch of folks out there like you who just don't seem to "get it".

    It's more than just hating Microsoft. It's fearing the likely future that's in store if Microsoft "wins". If you're not afraid of the kind of world that will likely be, then you have no imagination.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • um - no more cc:Mail or Lotus Notes. Pretty much the game is owned by MS Exchange. Although Notes seems to pretty much have bottomed out and stabilized. . .

    I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said "Information wants to be free".
  • No, it'd simply take Microsoft to add a few hardware specific catches in there, and not publish them. Offer an SDK, and do the same thing 3dfx does with Glide.. FORCE them to use it. If another company truies to write something compatible, sue their pants off.

    And this has NOTHING TO DO with OSS. Personally, I see more promise in OpenGL then DirectX. I see better hardware support for OpenGL, and I see better performance out of OpenGL.
  • If you consider autocompletion and MSDN 'invaluable' tools, you're programming style needs work.. ;-P

    A) Autocompletion is a new addition to 6.0. It also happens to slow down actual work you're trying to do.

    B) Integrated docs is really, REALLY nothing to brag about. It's nothing more then a bloated addition to something that already has a HUGE footprint.
  • An 'Invaluable Tool' is NOT a 'handy feature', as you now call it.. ;-P

    MSDN IS a hog for what it is. It's simply a library of Microsoft documentation, that's it. Visual Studio shouldn't 'require' it for operation, as it does.

    And the reason I rank on Visual Studio is becouse Microsoft takes the opertunity to customize it for every little Microsoft component, and tries to basically shove MFC down your gullet. Granted, it's a damned nice IDE, but that's the ONLY nice thing about it. That was my original point. It's nice to use for pretty much RAD design, but getting down and dirty with it can get bad, 'spec when you start messing with things it's 'automagically' generated for you..
  • I do find it interesting that they are supposedly looking at an AMD chip, much to the chagrin most likely of their long time buddy Intel.

    But I must say, WinAMD isn't nearly as catchy as Wintel.. ;-P

    You also have to wonder what they want to use for graphics on this machine. Even with a 500Mhz processor, they really would also need a dedicated graphics processor to stand ANY chance of beating something like the PS 2. zthis machine may be able to compete with current game consoles out there, but they will all soon be in a whole new playing field then the one they are in now..
  • I disagree that this will ever be as 'open' as you say, and certainly no more open then Sony using Linux as it's primary development platform for the PS 2.

    You automagically locked in to, more then likely, Visual Studio for development, and Direct X as the primary graphics library, neither of which are noted for being superb for game development.
  • Yes, but at the same time, it'd most likely run Windows CE, which anyone can develope for, as long as they (*TADA!*) buy Visual Studio. Not to mention the likelyhood that they sell Microsoft Office, etc, to run on the beast. It's a system that they can NEVER WORRY ABOUT THE MANUFACTURES with, as they are them, and they can PUT that roadblock up that says they will ALL run Windows..
  • DirectX has been beat to death my many of todays leading game developers as being one of the worst systems to work with. I'll have to dig thru some pages to find exact stories, but I can, and most certainly will. Carmack himself slaughters it regulary when people ask him about it.

    And Quake is most CERTAINLY not written in Visual Studio. Some of the Windows specific code is, but not the primary codebase. And the IDE is very, VERY nice, but the actual environment is ill suited for game development. I use Visual C++ 6.0 regularly, and I simply LOVE it, but it is not a very good system for game development. As proof, notice the lack of developers swarming to writing games for Sega Drewamcast. It supports CE, whose primary development platform would be, you guessed it, Visual Studio.
  • This X-Box is, for now, so much vapourware. In all probability, aliens are more likely to land on the front lawn of the White House than the X-Box on the shelves of the local computer store.

    Having said that, the console market is very restricted. I know of one company in the UK that sells (unlicenced) games, and has made itself a fortune. I believe they were taken to court, but the restrictions were (I believe) deemed too restrictive to be legal.

    However, if a GPLed console were to be produced, THAT could turn the entire market upside-down. It shouldn't be too hard, either. There are plenty of very powerful GPLed graphics toolkits, and no shortage of affordable high-speed graphics cards. Plug in a real-time Linux kernel, or (better still) an Exokernel, and you'll have something that can blow the socks off anything already out there.

  • by Malc ( 1751 )
    "X is the uniX windowing system... "

    X is a network protocol. I have X on my NT box... which allows me to use X applications remotely (on a UNIX box!). :)
  • www.kdevelop.org

    It's close enough to visual studio that I think you would be satisfied.
  • Whoaoooaaaaa, Sharky's missing a bit of history in their report.


    3dfx' partnership with SEGA for the Dural (Sega's code name two years ago for the Dreamcast) fell apart some 18 months ago and although both parties seemed to be satisfied with the end result the real reason for the 'split' then came down to capabilities in terms of supply and yield levels.


    Oh, my ass both sides were satisfied!

    This was nothing short of a minor scandal some time back. Turned out Sega got some pressure from someone, somewhere, and decided to go with a Japanese company(NEC, in a beautiful twist of irony for those who remember the NEC TurboGraphix 16) for the core chipset in their Dreamcast.

    This was after signing with 3DFX and extracting detailed technical specifications out of them.

    Needless to say, 3DFX went ballistic, and (probably correctly) accused Sega of delivering their prized designs to NEC, who at the time was still theoretically going to release their tile based PowerVR2 monster chip.

    I actually don't think that chipset ended being used in the DreamCast(I lost track--so sue me), but I definitely remember a pretty massive settlement for breach of contract etc. against Sega for their 3DFX fiasco.

    Lots of drama, somebody go post some links.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com



  • I disagree that this will ever be as 'open' as you say, and certainly no more open then Sony using Linux as it's primary development platform for the PS 2.

    You automagically locked in to, more then likely, Visual Studio for development, and Direct X as the primary graphics library, neither of which are noted for being superb for game development.


    Those are the standard development tools. If other people want to use other environments, it would take some serious anticompetitive hardware that wouldn't survive a moment of legal/PR scrutiny to literally MANDATE the usage of the Windows OS on otherwise standard PC Hardware.

    Microsoft is likely to actually Do The Right Thing for one reason or another here and posit that game developers would rather develop their high end code using the many services embedded in DirectX7 than use whatever the OSS guys are doing.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com

  • No it won't. The idea is that it will be on millions and millions of homes and will run _Windows_.

    It'll run an open PC platform. Whatever OS is loaded is whatever OS is loaded.

    The anticompetitive hardware that would prevent this would attract farrrrrr too much legal/PR flack that MS doesn't need for any reason.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com

  • I'm confused.

    Don't worry about it. Understanding the "enemy" is much more fulfilling than hating a bogeyman. I actually agree with most of your analysis.

    You think MS should be credited for competing?

    Heh, when did I say this? I said it's cool that they're creating a much more open platform than what we've got now.

    What's so noble about that?

    Cool Product != Noble Aims. Embrace and Extend is about as ignoble as it gets.

    The only reason MS is offering this "open and free" development platform is because they have no choice. Sony and Sega have the market locked down. Microsoft's original plan to make the PC the premier gaming platform hasn't exactly panned out and they're not too happy about that.

    Sure, they've got a choice. Kick Sega, Sony, and Nintendo around for their relatively ridiculous developer relation$, or don't.

    Look. The X-Box isn't something like...say, removing Knowledge Base entries that help Windows work with Samba. Or removing critical files from their online archives, demanding that you call tech $upport to get the patch to a PPTP bug. Or revoking Compaq's right to sell Windows because they dared to remove the Internet Explorer icon.

    Complaining about the X-Box because it's a Windows compatible platform is kinda like complaining about those FreePC deals because, my god, they're free PC's that can run WINDOWS!

    MS is in this to make sure that developers work on MS platforms, using MS development products. They only care about openess and freedom when it's the only way to enter a market.


    MS keeps you as open and free as possible as long as you're using their tools. Openness and Freedom is historically their major selling point, and they'll be as closed and violent as they can get away with to prevent others from intruding on their domain in this regard.

    [WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ANALOGY IS OFFENSIVE BEYOND BELIEF.] Microsoft is really no more complicated than your average hooker--she's got the goods, it's $49.95, and she'll claw the eyes out of anyone else who tries to do the same on her corner.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
  • Most of Microsoft Games (the good ones anyway, not the "Return of the Arcade" serieses) are licenced by Microsoft or published through them. I wonder why such a large company can't get its shit together when it comes to actually making a good game.

    According to John Carmack, size is actually a detractor in making really good games. He's been quoted as saying that "Three programmers, three artists, and three level designers can make the greatest games in the world."

    Too many designers spoil the vision.

    (Although they do make a good flight game, MS Flight Simulator being this one exception, though my coworker who works on the project says there are so many people working on it, it's any wonder things get done. It would be cheaper for them to outsource it as well.)

    Flight Sim is a legacy game--it's part of the definition of what Microsoft is. It may be an albatross of a division, but most of the people in there probably grew up playing it. It's part of their corporate identity, I'm sure.

    I don't know in fact, but it's likely the hardware is made by a seperate entity.

    It's definitely separately managed; they don't do everything perfect but their quality is noticably higher than the software divisions'.

    Anyway, the hardware is decent, but definitely not ergonomic, it just looks that way.

    No, the iMac mouse is definitely not ergonomic. What complaints do you levy against MS hardware?

    The scrollwheel is just brilliantly implemented, down to the steppage to provide the stop.

    The Windows key is tragically named but is an amazing concession to a design concept I wish Linux subscribed more to--everything should be doable via keyboard. I use the Windows key all the time in 98(is there a KDE patch yet?), and respect the Right Mouse Key for what it is.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com

  • No, it'd simply take Microsoft to add a few hardware specific catches in there, and not publish them.

    Hardware specific catches break compatibility, lead to lots of headaches down the road, and don't even stand up to a decent amount of reverse engineering on a (wide) open platform like Windows, where every call is just a SoftICE away.

    Offer an SDK, and do the same thing 3dfx does with Glide.. FORCE them to use it. If another company truies to write something compatible, sue their pants off.

    Not their style. They're using standard hardware for a reason.

    This isn't the first time MS has entered a market with overly restrictive incumbents. They're counting on the fact that they'll be much more open than their competitors to make them money.

    And this has NOTHING TO DO with OSS. Personally, I see more promise in OpenGL then DirectX. I see better hardware support for OpenGL, and I see better performance out of OpenGL.

    I don't know about this. OpenGL seems to be all about having the driver authors do more work, presuming they're much more knowledgable about how their product wants to draw a primitive.

    Direct3D, as far as I can tell, is just much, much easier to write drivers for--more stuff is left to the game developer to implement. Are there any experts out there who can verify?

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com

  • John Carmack hates Direct3D. While his original rant seems to have disappeared from ID's page there is a news article here. John's arguments basicly centered around that A) Direct3D requires you to write more lines of code and B) The lines of code are significantly harder to read.

    The article is from 1997. Things change.

    Give MS some credit. Carmack ripped DirectX a new orifice back in the days of DirectX1. By DirectX3, they ditched their horrific Talisman-defined Execute Buffer architecture(which even Carmack had problems figuring out) for a rather standard interface game designers could just throw tri's at.

    Yes, that specific .plan remains one of my favorite flamages of all time.

    It should also be noted that MS is trying to "fix" this by either funding or actually working on getting OpenGL to work on top of Direct3D with some sort of abstraction layer. I haven't been tracking this, so I could be wrong (or the effort may have been abandoned).


    Ah yes, Fareinheit(I'm too lazy to spell this right at the moment). Standard MS Vapor, best I can tell. Too bad, it'd be *very* nice to have standard things like Interface Enumeration for OpenGL games.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Thursday November 04, 1999 @04:04AM (#1564742) Homepage
    I've been saying this for a while: Most actions of Microsoft can be analyzed under a "Chains For Freedom" Philosophy: Microsoft wants to make the general public as free as possible, as long as they're the ones to deliver the freedom.

    That in mind, consider the values of the X-Box. Whereas most console makers tightly restrict development on their machines, game developers will likely be free to release whatever they like for the X-Box.

    Expect, of course, an extremely quickloading and game-customized version of Windows to have a per unit cost on each Game DVD. Also expect this to be significantly cheaper than Sony or Sega mandates per unit.

    Don't expect non-standard media. Microsoft, for all the embracing and extending it's accused of(justifiably), has an excellent hardware department. I've never, ever been more embarassed of Slashdotters as when I watched them rip apart the touch-mouse--this was an impressive technology that would have been worshipped had it come from Logitech and shipped with Linux drivers. Anyway, expect their department to build in an industry standard DVD-ROM, likely one that can play DVD-RAM disks so as to facilitate ease of use for system developers.

    Developers become "free" from propietary startup hardware costs, and "shackled" by having to code to Microsoft standards. It's pretty interesting to watch.

    Linux is the wildcard. While Sony is releasing Linux development code for PS2, Linux should actually *run* on this K6(!!!) based system. This, above all else, should excite the heck out of us. Here we have a cheap system that will very likely be in millions and millions of homes, have 10/100 Ethernet built in(oops, Sega!), significant processing power($20 says they put the SB Live audio chipset in it, btw), and will run Linux.

    Beyond the fact that we will see developers using Linux as their game OS rather than the one-off Windows from MS, here's a console that one can actually pawn computational work on. It's a console free of almost any legal demands and enforcements of its creator.

    It's an open platform, from Microsoft.

    Recognizing that this is a cool thing gives us more credibility when we accuse MS of the kind of junk described in the Halloween papers.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
  • Sega use wince in their console, then MS turn around and become a principal competitor?

    How on earth will Sega compete against the company that owns the OS they are using?

    Ouch! Wince is definitely the right word for it.

  • Gday Tet.

    In that case, why does the dreamcast have the MS logo plastered all over it?
  • Now we have X Windows

    No, we don't. We have "The X Window System", alternatively called "X11" or just "X", but never "X Windows".

    Pedant, and proud of it :-)

  • The console manufacturers have had it coming for a while now. Unless they open up development for their machines, they're going to be crushed by someone that does allow free (as in unencumbered) development. The disappointing thing is that it looks like Micros~1 will be the one to do it.
  • Besdies, isn't MS getting kickbacks from licensing WinCE to Sega for the DreamCast?

    No, not really. Since the dreamcast OS is supplied on each disc, rather than in the console itself, game developers can choose whether to use WinCE or Sega's own OS. So far, it looks like most developers are avoiding CE.

  • Here is a transcript from The Milhouse Financial Newsletter [nai.net]:

    MicroSoft is supposedly planning to release a gaming system:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/991026 -000014.html [theregister.co.uk]

    Didn't they learn from their DreamCast fiasco? Anyway, I'm predicting that this project will be killed anyway and if it does make the light of day it will be lackluster. It's way too late for MicroSoft to get into the game.

    Sony is the clear winner in this space and the fact that they already have a base for connectivity with their consumer appliances makes them tough to beat. Sony is very serious about becoming not only the defacto standard for gaming but the defacto standard for home entertainment. They've been putting FireWire (a method of connecting media devices) into their digital cameras, PCs, Laptops, televisions, stereo components, etc.. The (MIPS-based) video chip in PlayStation has nothing that comes close to it. This could also be used to make a settop box out of the PlayStation II as well.

    Let's also not forget that PlayStation I has about 80% market share. I believe the new PlayStation II will blow away the records set by DreamCast.

    That said Sony is forecasting lower than expected earnings due to PlayStation's costs and competition:

    http://dailynews.yaho o.com/h/nm/19991026/tc/japan_sony_1.html [yahoo.com]

    I was hoping something like this would drive the stock down but I'm having no luck there. I guess no one's buying it. I'm not either.

    You can read about Sony's plans in this month's Wired [wired.com] (which I still haven't read myself ).



    "The lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths."

  • "Here we have a cheap system that will very likely be in millions and millions of homes, have 10/100 Ethernet built in(oops, Sega!), significant processing power($20 says they put the SB Live audio chipset in it, btw), and will run Linux. " No it won't. The idea is that it will be on millions and millions of homes and will run _Windows_. Linux or any other OS won't have a chance
  • Microsoft are very good at hiding the bodies from their previous failures.

    Back in 90-91 they announced (and developed all the way to release) the same thing, back then it was a 286-tweaked Windows-3.1-in-ROM based console with a CD-ROM.

    Anyone remember what it was called ?? I don't think it was the "3DO" failed console, but it was about the same time.

    The idea was the same, leverage all those MS developers and tools to dominate the consumer games market.

    The only thing left of that is the "autoplay.inf" mechanism that tells Windows machines what to do when you insert a CD-ROM.

    Anyone remember Pen Windows, Microsoft Bob, the first attempts at PDA's (jaguar was it called?), the Microsoft Programmers Editor, OS/2, Lan Manager (LanMan for HP-UX), MSN ?

    They might recycle the ideas, but don't think there'll be anything new in it. And when it dies, it'll disappear without a trace.

    Tim
  • So true! But wouldn't MS name it something like Active Toaster ?
  • Could this be some extremely belated (like 2 years) news/rumors about the Sega Dreamcast? That runs WinCE and seems to be positioned as a PSX-killer...

    The one and (thankfully) only,

    LafinJack
  • While I do agree that M$ is evil, etc. they do make a couple good products, including their joysticks, some of their mice, and some games (CC, AOE). But, I will never use Office (bloated more than their OS itself) and will not use Windowze without provocation.

    The one and (thankfully) only,

    LafinJack
  • Hey kid, here's a nickel. Go get yourself a Slashdot login id.

    (Poor paraphrase of my favorite Dilbert Cartoon!)

  • The simple fact that the software would be easy to port to the PC goes the other way too... just about any PC game would be easy to port to this console. So it could develop a steady stream of titles from day one.

    That means the plethora of PC game development teams would have a lower barrier to enter the console market, which has a history of making money (unlike PC games).

    Personally, I prefer the standard PC, and I'm willing to fork over the extra money to have one. I'm also more excited about PSX2 in theory. But in practice, the PSX2 development boxes are still nowhere to be found. Your hair doesn't even need to be very pointy before you start to look seriously at this rumor.

  • I think if you want to look at what consoles systems will sell, you have to look at little bit of history, and why the current systems are where they are. In cronological order......

    1) Saturn - failed, why? Sega of America. Every good Japanese game that came out for Saturn never made it to the US. The old CEO of SOA is no longer there, and the Dreamcast will get it's Japapnese games that caused the Saturn to fail in the US(by the way, it's still somewhat stong in Japan)

    2) the PSX - success, why? Timing Timing Timing. and don't forget Marketing Marketing Marketing. Sautrn is still waivering there, but people want something better. Sony comes along with a brilliant marketing campaign and gets all the people that wanted a "next-gen" system, but didn't like the Saturn. And don't forget that cd-r prices are comming down and copying doesn't seem so impracitcal. So Sony already has a decent market now thanks to Sega and our next company, Nintendo.

    Ninendo 64 - surviving, why? Nintendo. Nintendo is always late with systems, and this time they were too late. Sony picked up loyal Nintendo fans because the 64 was so late. And lack of games didn't help sell may 64's either. With the goof-up of Nintendo, someone has to pick up the customers, and they went to the system with the games. Sony. And lets not forget the goof-up of using carts over cds so they could try and make more $$ in cart production.

    Dreamcast - success - Due to Sony FUD, every videogame mag and site said it was doomed from the start. And so-so sales in Japan of the DC, and the failure of the Saturn didn't do much to change their minds. Before realease people had one thing on their minds..PSX2. The Dreamcast is breaking sales records beause it's delivering what the other promise "next-year" now. And at $200, it's not out of anyone's price range. And not to mention the US is getting the Japanese releases the Saturn ddn't get.

    X-box - will fail, why? Because people want a console, not a computer. The people that don't have a computer they could upgrade to X-Box power for $300 or less, and want to play PC games is small. Too small. And that Microsoft can't make a good game to save it's life, and it you can't push out good titles for your own system, it will fail. And PC games don't really go well with consoles. Play Quake2 on the psx or 64? that anything close to what the PC is? Starcraft or C&C 2? And for those couple games that will be decent, people will just get thier PC port.

    PSX2 - survive, but won't be another psx-like success. Sony is getting away from the "console" now. They want an "all-in-one" unit that plays games, dvds, cds, surfs the web, washes your dog, and clears your house. These kinda of things never really sell, and at the $400 price too far out in price, when the DC will be in full swing and probably at $99. Their saving grace maybe Squaresoft(FF7 sold ALOT of PSX units), but there are rumors that they be going DC(they dev for whatever sytem is big)

    "Project Dolphin" - ??? - it's Nintendo, it will do at least as well as the N64 did now. There are always a huge group of people that will buy anything Nintendo. And Nintendo can bring out it's own good games to try and sell the system based on that and do well. Microsoft can't do the same. And at what's rumored to be a $99 pricetag, people will hold off on getting the $400 psx2 and see what turns out.

    So my call is the DC will be here for years to come, the X-Box is doomed to fail(not only because of MS) PSX2 will probably do about what the N64 is now. and what Nintendo does is all up to them.

  • Anyone here remember the Apple Pippen? When it was announced, the specs looked pretty decent (basically a PowerMac 6100 minus the keyboard), however by the time it shipped it looked pretty weak compared to the then current 604 Macs. The titles that shipped for Pippen were largely edutainment, not games.

    A 500Mhz machine might look appealing to developers right now, but what about in 2 years when games target 1 Ghz CPUs and Voodoo 6000s? Would it worth it for developers to downgrade their PC games for the XBox? Only if the installed base is really large.

    (Of course, they could solve this dillema by making the box upgradeable, but then you have a PC again, with no savings in cost or simplicity.)
    --
  • Sega use wince in their console, then MS turn around and become a principal competitor?

    Sega doesn't really "use" WinCE, they just support it as an option.

    How on earth will Sega compete against the company that owns the OS they are using?

    Microsoft had better learn soon, you *never* compete against your clients.

    -Brent
    --
  • There's this distressing "cave man grunt" mentality to the way a lot of people just dismiss the notion that Microsoft is successful because they competed and won in the marketplace.

    If Microsoft was successful because they competed in the market and won, then there'd be no problems. I mean, consider AOL. They were successful. They competed in the market, against all odds, and won. But they didn't win by preventing Prodigy and Compuserve from competing, or use their market dominance to prevent competition.

    Microsoft's idea of competition, really is to buy or bury all competitors. IOW, Microsoft has convinced themselves and other that anti-competitive practices is really competition. You notice that both Compuserve and Prodigy no longer exist. This is the goal that they, of course, wanted, yet they didn't have to do things like prevent Prodigy bundling their software with OEM's, or other things like that.

    Also, note that AOL has competition that is vying to replace AOL's market dominance. Yet even with that we see nothing from AOL indicating that they are using their market domenince to keep others out. AOL could do things like prevent OEM's to bunding other online services software, or prevent it from being bundled with magazines and other marketable areas. But they don't.

    You see, it's not success that's a problem. If Microsoft were just successful like AOL is, I'd probably still be using some of their products that are better then the competition. But when they do things like prevent Compaq from bundling Netscape, charge IBM 4 times the amount to license Windows 95 as they would have if IBM didn't sell OS/2, developed Windows to be "incompatible" with competing DOS's, and force ISV's to ship unnecessary Microsoft products with their software, then I think that's going beyond what a successful, competing company would do.

    -Brent
    --
  • Microsoft has convinced themselves and other that anti-competitive practices is really competition. You notice that both Compuserve and Prodigy no longer exist.
    This had very little to do with MS.

    I didn't do to well piecing sentences together there. I didn't meant that Compuserve and Prodigy crumbled because Microsoft had anything to do with it. I meant that they didn't crumble because AOL was dominant and used that anti-competitively. AOL was better, but they did nothing to prevent CIS and Prodigy from being better. That they were failures, is purely their fault.

    Unlike several of Microsoft's customers, who did fail, not solely of their own mistakes, but due to Microsoft preventing them from competing.

    Note that Bill Gates wanted to buy or bury AOL too, but AOL trounced MSN easily. Notice the surprising failure of Windows CE. I predict that Microsoft's console box will be a failure too. So Microsoft doesn't have the power to destroy every market, but they do all they can in the market they do have power in to prevent competition. Even then, Linux, Mozilla, Samba, KDE/Gnome, have the ability to compete, against all odds and beat Microsoft. But simply because Microsoft can be beaten doesn't mean that they didn't do anything wrong. And it doesn't negate wrongs they've done in the past.

    Then how come I can't use my MSN Messenger to talk to my AOL IM buddies?

    This has been bashed out in the past. That's like asking how come Dominoes won't delivery Pizza Hut pizza's for free. After all, who's to deny Pizza Hut to right to have delivery service. AIM is AOL's Service. Like a delivery service, they provide value, and like a delievery service they can work with however they want, but on their terms.

    There are many IM services that I could use that I'm able to communicate with AIM users with. I'm not talking about the open source clients. I'm talking about, for instance, Real's IM service? You heard of it before? If you have the G2 player, you can see the icon for the service in the player window. See it there? Yep, that's right, it's the standard AIM service, licensed from AOL. AOL has licensed their IM service to many commercial companies.

    It's not AOL who's preventing Microsoft from interopolating with AIM users. It's your bright shining company, Microsoft themselves that prevents this from happening. Microsoft needs to do what the others have done, go to AOL with the dollars, and set up a licensing deal. Of course, that doesn't mean that AOL *has* to accept it. Seeing Microsoft's so-called "licensing" agreements in the past (Spyglass anyone?), I'd make sure that there was a lot of good stuff for me, before accepting anything from Microsoft.

    And no, you can't use the excuse that because AOL freely allowed Open Source clients to use their service that they *must* allow anyone to freely use their service. The local pizza shop may give free pizzas to the local childrens foundation, but I've still got to pony up the cash.

    I'm not saying that MS is a paragon of virtue -- but holding AOL up as a respectable model is just ludicrous. I was going to add additional /. articles dealing with AOL here, but there were so many that you might as well just pick some out yourself.

    I looked through the list and didn't see anything that had anything to do with the subject at hand. You show me one thing that AOL did that was solely anti-competitive, and served nothing but preventing better online services from competing in the market.

    -Brent
    --
  • I'd argue that locking out the MS client, while not preventing other clients to access the AIM userbase, is anticompetitive.

    The other companies that bundle AIM compatible clients, worked out deals with AOL. (ie. licensed, paid, partnered, worked with) Microsoft, on the other hand didn't talk to AOL at all. They just barged their way in and did what they wanted.

    Also, just because AOL chooses to let some clients freely connect, does not demand that every client must be allowed to freely connect. Think of it this way. Microsoft gives software to educational facilities, and other "charitable" causes. Yet if Dell were to insist that that means that Microsoft *must* license Windows to them for free also, we'd all be having a good laugh. We should have the same response when Microsoft implies that AOL must "license" access to the AIM service for free.

    Now, if when Microsoft would talk with AOL about licensing the AIM service, AOL would demand that Microsoft shut down MSN to license it, then I think we'd all agree that that is going beyong natural competitive practices. Yet it is actions like that that Microsoft has taken that they are now being sued for.

    -Brent
    --
  • I profess to know none of the details of Microsofts rumored gaming system, but here goes...

    We've seen great progress in the gaming market due to the battle of equals in Nintendo and Sega... Sony hopped into the fray as well, and though they dwarf the other two in size, they play by the rules (my idea, anyways) of releasing better hardware rather than simply lowering prices.

    If Microsoft indeed enters the market, I wouldn't be suprised if they delivered an inferior solution which they sold at cost or at a loss in order to gain market share. They'ed somehow make their systems require WinCE disks... It'd be trully embarrasing for them if Linux somehow runs on it. Plus, their revenue stream from such a device would be solely from WinCE royalties from game developers. So, don't expect Linux disks for this machine.

    So far as hoping for a Microsoft machine to support both DVD and DVD RAM, dream on. Their entire revenue base is from OEM deals. If they let their machine read DVD RAM devices, then that can shoot themselves in the foot so far as capturing revenue from developers.

    Though the system will be built from "commodity" parts, I highly doubt one will ever be able to call it "open". It's just not in Microsoft's interest to have a trully open platform.
  • And they've been missing out all these years. The only thing I use my Windows box for is playing games.

    I am skeptical about Microsoft's success in the console world against established vendors like Nintendo, Sony, and Sega. Who knows.
  • A Microsoft console could definitely sell. It can compete with the Sega's, Nintendo's, and Sony's just fine. Here's why:

    1. Microsoft has a track record of out-selling most publishers out the gate with a new product solely on the strength of their branding. Even as a newbie game publisher, they consistently outsold the leading game publishers by a factor of 2x out of the chute.

    2. Game developers love developing games for fixed architectures. Designing games for "PC"'s is a nightmare by comparison. With a fixed architecture, you can really push the game design, which is why Playstation titles often seem so much more exciting and complete than PC titles despite running on a gutless 34MHz MIPS R3000 with 2Mb of RAM.

    3. The first game developers to ship product for a system, no matter how lame that system is, will sell close to a 1:1 ratio with the platforms. That means even if the product is a real stinker, like the Atari Jaguar, and it only ships on the order of 100k units, you'll sell 100k games. That's considered to be near-hit volume. Why do you sell 1:1? It's a weird phenomenon which I associate very much with being American- buying a new platform gives you a kind of "fever" to buy any available titles for it immediately.

    4. A console architecture based on an x86 means game developers don't have to learn a new asm, and they can probably enjoy far more mature debugging tools. Debugging is the biggest pain in the butt when it comes to consoles. The tools are usually really weak, so it takes a strong (and expensive) coder to successfully write them.

    So if Microsoft approaches EA and says, "We're making this console, here's the architecture, would you please write games for it," you'd better believe they'd get started immediately. You don't need to retool, you don't need to rehire. The race is on. Can you be one of the first titles out there? If not, you have to make a quality game, which is a lot harder, but either way, you win big. That can't be said of a mature medium where the competition is incredibly fierce and profits are dwindling.

    The reason you don't see 20 different consoles popping up all the time is that it takes a huge investment. Most consoles sell for cost or even at a loss, and the advertising campaigns are incredibly expensive because they have to reach children and 20-somethings everywhere. All the money is made in licensing fees, so you have to wait a while for the profit to roll back in, and if you're up against a monster, odds are good you'll fall over in the long run.

    In Japan, by the way, consoles dramatically outnumber PC's. PC game sales in Japan are completely limp. But if you can make a hit console game in Japan, it's possible to beat both the worldwide sales and the worldwide margins in a single territory. Final Fantasy VII (albeit an extreme example) sold over 7M units in Japan. That's more volume than any PC game, including the undying sales of Myst, has ever sold worldwide.

    Console game development is really interesting and responsible for most of the $6B+ game industry.

    If you get the opportunity to be the first to write anything for any new Microsoft platform, frankly, whether a Linux weenie like me or not, you'd be daft not to sign the paperwork immediately.

    I hope this gives a better idea of why Microsoft might be considering such a product. They're in an unusually strong position to deliver a successful console platform.
  • I thought that Flight Simulator was originally written by someone other than Microsoft and MS bought the company?

    I thought some other company wrote Age of Empires (same for Close Combat) and MS just distributed it? Or perhaps they have bought them now?

    In any case, why does it matter what games Microsoft makes? What good games does Sony make for their Playstation? It is the other developers that matter.

    Long drawn out games? Final Fantasy isn't a long drawn out game? It is fast-paced? Baldur's Gate is coming out on Dreamcast. There are quite a few RTSs for consoles -- Age of Empires is just another RTS.

    Game developers are also in direct competition with Sega yet they have written games for Sega platforms. Of course, those developers are also in competition with Microsoft, yet they write games that run on a Microsoft OS. I don't see how writing games that also run on MS hardware is any different.

    Why will the first batch of games make of break the X-Box? IIRC, the first batch of games didn't make or break the Playstation.
  • Think that's being a bit unfair on good ol'Bill.

    I didn't know if this was being ironic as AFAIK Microsoft already has investments in NTL (a Cable company in the UK).

    Microsoft and Bill have their fingers in a lot of interests apart from software. Don't they also have a big stake in NBC in the US. They have to do something with all that money they've earned!

    [not normally a Microsoft supporter]
  • I don't really think all the parts would be bought off of places on pricewatch. Microsloth would be buying everything in such large quantities and things would be custom. They will end up paying less than the places you found that sell those items pay for them.
  • From the article:

    "The other CPU of interest at AMD seems to be the imminent K6-2+ 500MHz, running with a 100Mhz front side bus and manufactured on a .18micron process. This CPU, which will harbor 128K L2 cache on-die will hit the market in Q1 of 2000.

    Very interesting -- sounds like a good cheap processor to snatch up and overclock. The inexpensive nature of this processor is exactly why M$ is interested, along with myself.

    -d9
  • Why would you want to ?

    So you can run all those cool video apps on it .. video recording, videoconferencing (how about video IRC on an ADSL set-top-box ?)
  • Guys, who cares if MS makes this thing? If it's as sweet as it's supposed to be (better than Sony), then that's what I'll get.

    It's the quality of the games that matter, not who makes it.

    LL
  • That seems like a very large assumption, especially considering the lack of information that is out there. I doubt they're going to stick an Abit BH-6, or any other standard motherboard in a console. They'll likely use a proprietary motherboard and chipset, since they are not aiming toward PC compatibility. Without knowing the details, it just strikes me as a very low possibility that you'll be able to run any existing desktop OS (Linux/Win/BSD/Be) on any console.

    So, I'll conclude by saying it's all just speculation, and it's not quite as simple as "It should work just dandy with Linux," in my humble opinion.
  • by Jimhotep ( 29230 )
    Can't they think ahead any further than that?
    Athlons will be dirt cheap within a year.

    But, K6's should be nearly free by then. Maybe
    Bill wants to keep his margins as wide as his
    ego.

    This would be good news for AMD, I'm a fan of AMD.
  • Next you'll be buying the telephone companies and cable companies.

    hate to break it to you but... You remember a guy called Paul Allen? Do a quick search on the name and see how much cable he has bought in the last two years. It's a big part of his company portfolio now.

    from here [fool.com]:
    Just a year after entering the business, Allen has spent $19 billion in cash and assumed debt to turn Charter Communications into the fourth-largest U.S. cable operator, with 5.5 million subscribers.
  • Next you'll be buying the telephone companies and cable companies.

    hate to break it to you but... You remember a guy called Paul Allen? Do a quick search on the name and see how much cable he has bought in the last two years. It's a big part of his company portfolio now.
  • The best example is the web browser market. Did he compete there? Yes. Did he destroy the market? Yes. Netscape started giving away their product to match the Microsoft price ($0.00). The market was destroyed. But it isn't all bad. Microsoft innovated, right?

    This is exactly why Open Source beats Microsoft at their own game. Better product. Better price. What would be killer is an open-source hardware and software game console. Multiple hardware vendors, and easy entry for programmers. Could be delicious, folks!
  • Developer support will come in the form of programmers who already have a vested experience in programming x86 hardware, possibly PC game developers who are interested in developing a console port simultaneously.

    This was the purpose of including WinCE as an optional API layer on the Dreamcast. It was supposed to facilitate Pc to dreamcast ports.
  • Nintendo owns a lions share of Rare.
  • .

    -- Reverend Vryl

  • It's a well-known non-secret in the industry that Sony, Sega, and Nintendo sell their consoles for well beneath the cost it makes to sell and distribute them. They lose money on every unit sold.

    Fortunately, for them, they make it back since they license (for a fee) the libraries you need to develop and distribute a game, as well as the cost of burning the black CD-Rs or manufacturing the cartridges.

    With hypothetical figures, even if they lose $50 on each consoles, if they made $10 in licensing fees on each game bought, they break even at 5 games.

    Microsoft is going to find itself in a bind. In order to compete with the other consoles, it's going to have to price them below cost. Folks who have run the figures realize this. But unless they can develop an alternative revenue stream, this is going to be a black hole for them.

    Is Microsoft going to be able to convince their developers to pay to distribute their software? They never had to before. But since this unit will most probably boot off of the CD-ROMs, they'll need a small embedded DOS or Windows-CE/95 kernel, so they most probably will have to pay for that.

    It'll be interesting once some enterprising developer figures out how to make their own boot disks using DR-DOS or linux. Then what will MS do? Second, Microsoft doesn't have any distribution tentacles in the toy market, so it'll be fun to see them market to 'Toys-R-Us' and so forth.
    Karen

  • The history is a little bit longer.

    Remember the AMD chips that proudly displayed "Windows 95 Compatible?" That was around the DX4/100 era.

    Intel never had a MS logo on their processors.
  • But I must say, WinAMD isn't nearly as catchy as Wintel.. ;-P

    Well, there's always WindAmd. Spelling's a bit off, but I agree with the sentiment ;-)
  • Lets see how much this bad boy is gonna cost.

    ** If MS used the athlon (cause that is the only way they will be able to compete)**
    AMD athlon 500mhz - $ 200
    Mother Board - $ 138
    64MB - $ 65
    DVD drive 6x - $ 77
    4Gig - $ 65
    a 56K modem - $ 50
    GeForce 256 - $ 208

    total - $803

    And that's leaving out some stuff like power supply, case, ...



    'plug and playability' that other consoles have always had.
    What for the controllers? You actually have to reboot the console the get it to recognize the extra controller you just plugged in. So no, its not plug and play. That would be funny if every time you plugged in your joystick to play your favorite X-box game you have to insert the driver CD!


    I got all the prices from Pricewatch.com.
  • I know the article stressed the k6-2+ stuff. I figure that the new chip will cost as much as an athlon at same clock speed. It new so its gotta be jacked up in price.
  • not at1/4th the price to compete w/ the PSXII
  • >It's a near impossible market to break into.

    Um... if that were true the Playstation wouldn't be here at all. It broke into the market when consoles went 32-bit and most people thought Nintendo and Sega still had a lock on the market.

    In a market without backwards compatibility, every round of console innovation can start anew. MS has a chance in the current round against the Dreamcast. We have yet to see how the PS2's backwards compatibility helps or hurts it.


    >MS need to provide a killer game and a few >killer features on thier box. The killer game is >easy to do, the features are harder to achieve.

    How about the ability to play Windows games off the shelf? Surely it won't play them all, but MS is going to great lengths to make sure developers have an easy time putting in X-box compatibility to their Win32 games. That in itself is a killer feature the likes of which has not been seen in the console market.

    Oxryly


  • Yeah, KDevelop is pretty damned nice -- I've been using that for my Linux development for about 3 months now, and it's by far the best one for Unix. However, I'd still take VS over it. The autocompletion and integrated MSDN are invaluable tools.

    But KDevelop is getting there.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • So, um... why? Why is VS ill-suited, as you say, to game development? What IDE is better suited for game development anyway? CodeWarrior? Emacs???

    Certainly you can't create texture-maps in VS, but that's not a function of the IDE, and I wouldn't want it in mine.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • I think it's interesting that this machine is rumoured to have a K2 in it. Microsoft working with AMD, Intel working with Linux... Is Wintel falling apart at the seams? Well it doesn't really matter. Either one of the companies can now pretty much continue without the other (if they wanted to).

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Well yeah :) If it's running a AMD K6-2 then it should work just dandy with Linux. Of course, we don't have X-support for the video card yet, and the machine may not ship with a keyboard (but it does have a USB port). Anyway, if/when this console comes out, it will more than likely run Linux, but why would you want to? It outputs to a TV.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • This is a toughy - It's pretty obvious from past failures that, yes, the console market is ridiculously hard to break into. However, the key advantage here is with DirectX and the fact that this runs on an x86 processor.

    Game makers can port console-like PC games to this system much easier than they could to, say, the PSXII (unless they had that in mind from the start) because none of the low-level routines need to be re-optimized for a different architechture and the graphics calls are exactly the same.


    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Sega's Dreamcast does not use WinCE. There is no WinCE in the dreamcast at all. *Some* of the games use an embedded WinCE system, but it's not a requirement and it's hardly the common practice right now.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Are you on crack? It may not be as open as he says (we'll find out) but certainly not for the reasons you've cited.

    DirectX is a great graphics library with a crapload of support from the industry. The only problem with it is that it's tied to Windows. But if this console runs it... Well that's fine by me.

    And VisualStudio?? Hello, have you ever used VS?? It's possibly the nicest damned IDE out there. I would give a kidney to have a VS port for Linux that would work with EGCS. You're crazy to think that it's no good. And to say that it's poor for game development -- what do you think Carmack writes Quake in?

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • That's really a matter of taste, isn't it? Autocompletion doesn't slow down my work at all (when I am, in fact, working on Win32 applications). It's a handy feature when I forget the exact spelling of an object's members, or they're long and I don't feel like typing them out. I'm not saying it's necessary, but I do like it.

    As for MSDN, I don't think it's bloated at all. There's certainly a lot of information in it, but I'd hardly call that a bad thing, and the search/index functions work quite well.
    I would much rather have indexed documentation with embedded links to related topics, than to use a man page. There's nothing wrong with man-pages, but they could use a little improvement.

    Why are you so against VS, anyway? Because it's a Microsoft product? It's really a very good IDE and their compiler is quite good too. Actually, I would say that VS is possibly the best MS product out there -- definitely worth paying for, anyway.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • So what are you saying? That a console is only good if it isn't tied down to a specific API? That's stupid. Most older consoles didn't even have an API; it was all direct video access. And yes, you can probably still do that if you want to.

    Look, I'm all for diversity on the desktop, but consoles aren't the same thing. What if it only ran programs that used OpenGL? Would that be okay with you? I think -- no, I know -- that this is just about hating Microsoft. Grow up, they're a big company with a lot of clout and, moreover, whining about how evil and unfair they are isn't going to change that. If you don't want to use this system, fine - don't use it, no one is twisting your arm. But spare us all your rantings because, believe me, they're nothing new around here and frankly it's getting kind of -1: Redundant.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • ...this is stupid.
    It will run on a standard PC cpu, using a standard PC graphics card...which means the software could just as easily be made to run on a PC (given the proper, err, incentive :P).

    Realize that most console people that I know are also VERY loyal to their system (more so than Amiga people even...and thats a loyal userbase...)

    I know people that have no Playstation or Dreamcast, regardless of the games, simply because it's not Nintendo.

    And don't worry, I'm sure Microsoft will hinder development without a hefty liscence.

  • The argument MS used when they decided it was time to drop all their web-related projects was that they're not a "media company". So instead they focus on software. But isn't it enough for them that these boxes run MS Windows (as the Dreamcast does)?

    I'm slightly (negatively) surprised to see MS starting to do more hardware stuff. I've read criticism of it before, that they're slowly but surely trying to eat up the hardware market too. This project hasn't produced a product yet, but I clearly see where the criticism is coming from.

    I dropped by StatMarket today, and looking at MSIE's market share now I frankly think MS going into the console market is a seriously bad idea. Geez, can't Bill keep his sticky fingers off of anything?

  • Heheh.... the difference is, it takes _seconds_ to reboot a N64. It takes _minutes_ to reboot a computer, whether or not you shut it down properly.

    Honestly, I don't see why the console makers don't make their controllers hotswappable....
  • Rare (they're a subsidiary of Nintendo, so they don't really count)

    Actually, I'm pretty sure they are their own company. They just choose to work with Nintendo exclusivly, as a second party developer. They could go to the PSX or such, but I wouldn't count on it.
  • I know a sure fire way for MS's X-Box to succeed: Get a Pokemon game on it. Unfortunatly, I don't think that will happen.
  • Who's going to develop games for this?

    There's many console companies that are loyal to a single platform. Squaresoft, Rare (they're a subsidiary of Nintendo, so they don't really count) comes to mind immediately. There are others who are already developing different games for different platforms, because each platform has specific features that the others don't have. How is MS going to recruit developers to develop games for an advanced gaming system when there's already 2 advanced (PSX 2 & Dreamcast) console systems on the market, and a third (Dolphin) on the Horizon?

    Honestly, it seems like Microsoft is charging into a market where they're very unprepared to compete. If they're the only one developing games for their console, the X-Box is going to go the way of the Atari Jaguar very quickly.

    Even if they are able to charge lower prices than Nintendo, Sega & Sony, if they have no developer support, then they are going to fall flat on their face.
  • I don't know if I'm missing the point or not. All we know is that MS is making a console, and I personally have heard of no developers jumping on the bandwagon to port / develop for it. Even if it IS just a low-end Windows machine taylored especially for games, it WILL require porting on current Windows-platform game developers. Also, since most PC games now require actual hard disk space, which the X-Box has very little to speak of (just 32 megs of ram, no physical drive), all games will have to be run completly off of the media that the X-Box uses. Making a game go from directly playable off a CD to a CD / hard drive combination is MUCH harder than making a game that plays off a hard drive / CD to CD only -- SEVERAL optimizations have to be implemented on the way data is accessed to prevent slowdown. There are only rumors at this point of a 4 gig hard drive -- nothing confirmed. This also defeats the purpose of console gaming platforms, you don't need to install a game first to play it on a playstation or N64. Console games are all about popping in a CD, DVD or Cart, turning on the system, and start the game.

    It still seems like me that MS is getting in over their heads. The console realm is already full of cutthroat business and corporate backstabbing (ahem.. Nintendo may be one of the most vile companies in existance. I don't recall what it was off the top of my head, but something I read about them made me think that they're even lower than MS), I don't think even MS is prepared to compete. No matter how much money they invest, if there's few quality games for their platform, they'll have few customers, and as a result, very little real market share.
  • I think it's fair to say that
    there is quite a bit of bad blood.

    _IF_ the intel exec who testified at the
    anti-trust trail is telling the
    truth(tm) there's very good reason!

    Also, hasn't Intel been playing flirting (or if I remember correctly deep-throating) Be?
  • My current assignment is heavily Office oriented. (Sigh, it sorta sucks but it got me down to Raliegh-Durham. :) )
    At anyrate what amazes me is that Office2000 on a K6-2 350Mhz runs at the same speed that Office6.0 ran on a 486DX-66! (not sure about the dx, it was quite a while ago!). And while on th 486 I had to reboot every other day, I now have to reboot daily or more often....

    Progress is great isn't it?
    RobK
  • Have you ever bothered to try anything that
    didn't have microsoft's logo on it?

    >Windows users don't have to reboot every day, and
    >suffer a crash less than once
    >a month. NT smokes that
    And do you know how much an employeer loses from that once a month crash. I don't even really think once a month is acceptable....
    And yeah, I _was_ an NT admin, if nt smokes that then I'll let you paint my ass purple.

    > if you're having to reboot daily or more often >you've either got screwed up hardware or you've >managed to screw
    >up your system somehow.
    _EVERY_ Computer I've ever used? Even though they came out of the box from Dell, Compaq or Gateway? Even though linux was later installed on two of them and thye have _NEVER_ crashed since? Come'on are you Mr. Gates' lovemonkey or something???? According to the 99.99% uptime that some NT resellers are promising, it works out to a reboot a week. No one in the industry is willing to put their bussiness on the line for what you are claiming.

    >No matter how many times its repeated on /. it
    >won't change the fact that Windows doesn't crash
    >daily for most people and in fact is
    >hundreds of times better than described by /.
    >posters.
    And no matter how many times the microsoft stockholders and employees repeat "It's not that bad, it's not that bad..." According to my experience and the experience of every person I know in the IT industry, it is that bad.
  • The first game console that comes with Ctrl, Alt and Del. :)

    Seriously, though, they can throw all the technology they want in this X-Box, but they'll need more than that. Microsoft has done a few good games in the past, but these games worked mostly on a PC platform, and they tend to be long, drawn out games (Ages of Empires, Flight Simulator.) That won't work on a platform, where you want games that are more fast-paced and simpler to control from a controller POV.

    And that first batch of games is gonna be what makes or breaks the X-Box. Frankly, I don't think MS has it in them to take the platform market by storm, not unless they begin stealing talent from every other game company out there.

    But what about other game developpers? Will they be tempted to develop games for the X-Box? Considering that most of these companies are in direct competition with MS on the PC gaming market, I somehow doubt it.

    I predict a flop.

    Side note: so they're using Athlons... Is there a bolder statement that Athlons are cheaper than Intels?

    "Knowledge = Power = Energy = Mass"

  • Why will the first batch of games make of break the X-Box? IIRC, the first batch of games didn't make or break the Playstation.

    Why, then, did WipeOut contribute largely to the escalation of sales of the Playstation? Also, the reason why the Sega Saturn sank was that there wasn't many games worth a damn on it. Nintendo, on the other hand, is assured a large part of the market because it has so many household names. Why do you think they always put out a Mario game first?

    "Knowledge = Power = Energy = Mass"

  • by CormacJ ( 64984 ) <cormac@mcgaughey.gmail@com> on Thursday November 04, 1999 @03:46AM (#1564814) Homepage Journal
    There are two ways this box could go... it could be a stanard Microsoft pre-announce that doesn't show for several years OR it could be a good box.

    Either way I'm not sure if this is an area that MS want to get into - for a start its locked up tight by Sega and Sony, and for once MS will be up against companies that play the same sort of hardball they do, in a market that Sega and Sony understand intimately, and Microsoft are VERY late comeing into this - they could have still done something two or three years ago.

    It's a near impossible market to break into. There aren't even any good killer features that I can think of that MS can use to get leverage into the market, they have already all been used in Sony and Sega machines. Sony have the PSX II acting as games machine/home entertainment box, and Sony have the dreamcast doing wonderful net things.

    MS can't sell it as a PC games machine - most people that would want this already have a PC that can play games.

    They can't sell it as a pure games machine unless the graphics and speed exceed the dedicated hardware of the Playstation II and the Dreamcast. A PC based box won't do this - lets face it - if you had the ability to do this on a PC you would.

    I think this project will be steamrolled into market, but I can't see a good reason for it selling.

    All MS will be able to do is to copy features (and oddly - they are very good at this) but in the games market gamers are very loyal to thier platform. The Japanese market which is the big one to get, hasn't been very good to MS, and I can't see the trend changing.

    MS need to provide a killer game and a few killer features on thier box. The killer game is easy to do, the features are harder to achieve.

    In all I don't think this will succeed, and may not even make it onto shelves.
  • This article brings up a point I've been wondering about the Dreamcast. How do they keep the retail cost under $300? Just looking at some of this gear makes you wonder if they're selling systems below cost. Which is not a bad idea. Yeah, I know it could be anti-competition, but only if they're the only ones doing it.

    I do know the retail markup on Dreamcasts are pennies which most likely means Sega told retailers, "You wanna sell my games, sell my console for nothing." The real money is in the software, which debuts at $40-60 bucks a pop. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if Sega does subsidize its consoles by its software prices. In the quest for more 3D/FPS we might be looking at a future where expensive tech will be sold at a loss just to keep up the rep as being the biggest and fastest.

    Am I the only one that keeps reading this title as the MS SEX-Bot?

  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Thursday November 04, 1999 @04:02AM (#1564825)
    Whatta load of horseshit. I mean, someone may leak out that MS (think of them as a big, hungry plant. Don't worry, I'll explain later) is thinking of developing a... let's see... Toaster. Yeah, it's a toaster that... well, they haven't decided yet. And it's capable of... well, since it doesn't exist, the possibilities are endless.

    So, the press immediately labels it "X-Toaster," giving it identity. Then MSNBC, Wired and /. post stories on it, thereby qualfying it as "news."

    Then speculation happens. It'll run with a new Motorola chip that actually turns out toast the color you set it for. It may come in blue, it may come in green, it may come is orange, but be called "Tangerine." (every tirade should have a pleasant rhyme scheme in at least one sentence.)

    Now, every news site has to have at least one story on it per week. Yup. Someone posts a story (Sharky? Tom's Hardware Guide?) speculating on it with info from "Sources That We've Trusted Before."

    Now MS has got press on all of the major news sites, constantly, and before the freaking thing is even a viable idea in the parent company, it's got identity, mindshare and loads of free press.

    Feed me, Seymour, feed me.

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