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External HD DVD Drive Announced For 360 (HOT ITEM)
Andrew 'Talon' Wilson :: 12:30 AM @ January 5th, 2006 :: Xbox 360: General
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( READ ATTACHED PRESS RELEASE ) Last night, during the Consumer Electronics Show Keynote address by Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced plans to release an external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360. Set for release sometime this year, the drive will let owners make use of HD DVD movies. The link above has more on the keynote address.

Latest Similar Story: Guitar Hero II Downloadable Content Released (04/11/07)

#1 - Blessedman - 01/05/06 @ 04:19 AM EST
or you could buy a standalone player... This will fly about as far as SegaCD!
#2 - LostToys - 01/05/06 @ 04:28 AM EST
If it is cheaper than a HD-DVD player, I can see how this could sell very well.
#3 - GNS Jim - 01/05/06 @ 07:13 AM EST
Interesting, but I wonder if it wouldn't have been more beneficial for MS to have just put HD drives in all 360's giving consumers another reason to buy them (as happened with the PS2 and DVD players at the time). I know the issue there is cost....
#4 - Sgt. Bilbo - 01/05/06 @ 08:48 AM EST
In a way, this keeps the door open for MS. If the HD-DVD doesn't survive, MS just has to release a BluRay External Drive. Simple solution, case closed. If BluRay doesn't survive (which MS is trying to ensure) this add-on could go a long way to doing that. Its obvious that 360 is selling really well. If the external drive is priced at a very attractive level, this could ensure that HD-DVD has a very strong base to compete with BluRay.

Remember, also...the PS3 isn't going to launch until fall, and unless Sony's able to take an immense loss on the console, the price may be so high that the general public is unwilling to pay for it...thus another blow to the BluRay camp.

I don't think this will become like the SegaCD...at least with this Add-On, you can play the new format of movie without having to buy a whole new DVD player.
#5 - Talon - 01/05/06 @ 09:15 AM EST
That's exactly what I was thinking Sgt. Bilbo. That MS did it like this to have the option to back peddle WHEN Blu-Ray destroys HD DVD. i'm not a fanboy of either, but lets be realistic. Almost all major studios are on board with Blu-Ray.
#6 - Sgt. Bilbo - 01/05/06 @ 09:46 AM EST
Yeah, but the biggest thing I see as helping HD-DVD is MS and HP's support of the format. MS has quite a bit of clout, and HP is one of the largest players in the PC market. You also know MS. They will throw all their weight behind something they believe in...and right now, that is Windows Vista, XBOX360, and HD-DVD. They're a largely liquid company with a lot of cash reserves...in the battle of cash, they could crush Sony. Am I saying that HD-DVD will win? Hardly. Its still possible that Toshiba and Sony could eventually merge the formats into one unified standard that would benefit the industry as a whole, but that remains to be seen. This is going to be an interesting battle to watch from the busines standpoint...just how much is a company willing to go to win?
#7 - Talon - 01/05/06 @ 11:25 AM EST
I hope the formats merge, as I have little interest in ANOTHER format war. I hated all the CD battles, the VHS vs. Beta ones and I'll find this one just as annoying. I can certainly understand the why, but at some point they have to step back and say, "what's best for the bottom line... and what's best for the bottom line AND the industry?"
#8 - chiuyan - 01/05/06 @ 11:43 AM EST
according to msnbc (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10710173/) the first HD DVD players from toshiba will be out in march for around 500 bucks, and the first blu-ray players will be out in may for around $1800!!!

If that is true, then i think its clear who wins this format war.

i also cannot understand how sony plans to release the ps3 for less than 500 bucks this spring when the first blu-ray player won't even be released by then, and is expected to retail for 3 times as much.
#9 - nVidiot_Whore - 01/05/06 @ 11:50 AM EST
Who fucking cares?

The Xbox 360 is a gaming machine with some other features.

Microsoft is at a dissadvantage over PS3 because their main drive.. the ONLY one that can be used for games is a 9gb DVD drive.

This isn't even really GAMING news... not Talon's fault or anything but seriously wether MS releases a HDDVD addon, a BluRay addon, a VHS addon, etc. is pretty trivial since it won't effect games in the slightest.

Sony using Blu-Ray will give their GAMES a decent advantage (not huge since the meat of a game engine shouldn't require 9gb but it does allow for high definition cutscenes).

Having said that my XBox 360 is currently my main DVD player and I gave my old standalone away to a friend in need. But I'm sure any REAL HDDVD player will support DVI/HDMI which will be the prefered hookup for such a device... which the 360 doesn't currently support.

What would be big news IMO would be if it was confirmed that ALL PS3's will include a hard drive. That would be a great advantage for Sony IMO.

Last Edited on 01/05/06 @ 11:51 AM EST
#10 - nVidiot_Whore - 01/05/06 @ 11:53 AM EST
Anyways.. I didn't mean to sound that negative guys.

But this isn't really a gaming discussion ;) heheh.. not that it's a big deal to discuss it here.

chiiyan: It's suspicious, I agree. Sony will either launch the PS3 not until late in the year or maybe 2007 (despite recent news) or they will launch with a standard DVD drive and teir hype will be worthless.

I'm thinking the later.
#11 - Reflex - 01/05/06 @ 11:58 AM EST
nVidiot - Couple things. First off, Sony has already confirmed that the hard drive is an add-on, not standard. And secondly, Blu-Ray won't give Sony any noticable advantage. Using MS's high end codec the 360 can easily store high definition content(You can put an hour and a half of 1080p HD on DVD9 media using MS' codec). Furthermore their lack of need for surface textures(dynamic texturing) for repetitive surfaces significantly lowers the overall need for storage space.

GNSJim - It wasn't possible to put HD-DVD players in at launch regardless of price. The standard hasn't been finalized yet(nor has Blu-Ray).
#12 - Megahurtz - 01/05/06 @ 12:00 PM EST
I wonder what type of connection it will use. Doesn't the hdd use SATA?

I still fully expect Sony to either massively delay the PS3 or drop Blu-Ray support. Or both.
#13 - nVidiot_Whore - 01/05/06 @ 12:35 PM EST
Reflex: Interesting.. like I said.. having Blu-Ray isn't much of an advantage..

But for say.. a final fantasy game it is..

And I'm still pissed MS didn't just make all 360's come with an HD.
#14 - Sgt. Bilbo - 01/05/06 @ 12:42 PM EST
I'm with you on the HD aspect of the 360, whore. If developers could count on the HDD being there, I think it would take some of the difficulty out of making the games...I think that was really the one mis-step that MS made. The only other one I can think of is only allowing 4 wireless controllers per system. they should have allowed closer to the PS3's expected # of 7 or 8.
#15 - dougman - 01/05/06 @ 01:37 PM EST
heh, like you will ever get 7 or 8 people into one room all playing on one tv.
:)
#16 - dougman - 01/05/06 @ 01:43 PM EST
Sony marketing:
you got 4 controllers? I have 7 controllers!
you got 3 USB connectors? I have 4 USB connectors
you got optional hdd? I have LARGER optional hdd
you got xx gigaflops? I have more theoretical gigaflops
you got HDTV? I have non standardized (better) hdtv.
you play games at 60fps? I play games at 120fps!
you got DVD? I got bluray!
you got wireless? I got bluetooth!
you got a tv connection? I got 2 tv connections.
you got ethernet port? I got 4 ethernet ports, wait, scratch that.
you got ventilation holes? Our technology is so superior it doesn't need ventilation.
you got a product? I got... errr.....
#17 - LostToys - 01/05/06 @ 01:55 PM EST
dougman -

You should really join my Guitar Hero or Super Smash Brother's parties. I get about 8-12 people in my living room. It is times like these that I am glad I bought a projector.

Last Edited on 01/05/06 @ 02:34 PM EST
#18 - Talon - 01/05/06 @ 02:28 PM EST
nVidiot_Whore, I'll level with you... I 100% agree. The only reason I bothered posting this bit of non-gaming information is cause I suspected someone would bitch in the MB the next day if I didn't. I dont really give a rats ass about this foolish format war, and barely give a damn that another generation of game systems are just over the horizon.
#19 - Reflex - 01/05/06 @ 02:44 PM EST
nVidiot - I'll just point out that DVD9 media are dirt cheap, there is nothing stopping a game from coming out on multiple DVD's. We are talking a few pennies in cost. Its not like the old days when cartridges cost a bundle so people jumped ship to the PS1 rather than pay for an additional cart.

Something tells me that having to flip in a second DVD once during a 40+ hour Final Fantasy game is not going to be a huge show stopper for most people.
#20 - Physick - 01/05/06 @ 03:49 PM EST
Umm people 360 could do HD movies on normal dvds right now. MS could use its VP9 codec or it could use H.264 Mpeg 4. System can decode these codecs easily and its still use way less space/bitrate then Mpeg 2 would use. Games should start using these codecs for cutscenes.

The HD-DVD addon will be way cheaper than a stand alone unit. No chipset is needed. Just a bare drive and the 360 does all the decoding.

Studios may be on board with Blu_ray but the duplication plants arent. HD-DVD retools of a line is very cheap compared to the multimillion dollars required to retool and make Blu-Rays.

Last Edited on 01/05/06 @ 03:54 PM EST
#21 - LostToys - 01/05/06 @ 04:06 PM EST
I want games to stop compressing my audio damnit. Give me lossless audio files!

And give me dual audio tracks. Fuck this English dub bullshit!
#22 - LostToys - 01/05/06 @ 04:43 PM EST
Physick -

Studios are the ones who will eventually pay for the pressing anyways. Matsushita (Panasonic) has already developed new manufacturing techniques that will reduce Blu-ray duplication down to 10 million (down from about 50 million last year).
#23 - nVidiot_Whore - 01/05/06 @ 06:54 PM EST
Reflex/Phobia: It's still an advantage to have 50 gigs of space as opposed to 9 gigs.

Is it really that hard to understand?
#24 - LostToys - 01/05/06 @ 07:02 PM EST
nVidiot Whore -

Yes, yes it is. Damn you compression for making people complacent!
#25 - AaronQ - 01/05/06 @ 07:51 PM EST
Well I for one am glad by the news. This means that one day when Hi Def DVD is an option in the stores I won't have to buy another machine - be it a stand alone unit or a new 360 (as my 360 is used for watching movies too). Just a simple add on drive. Cool!
#26 - Reflex - 01/05/06 @ 07:52 PM EST
I fail to see how its really any advantage. Games might cost at max 10 cents more to make if they have to go with more than one DVD for some strange reason. With the bump to $60 for new games, thats more than made up for.

BTW, at this point Blu-Ray media is only 25GB, which is more than DVD9 for certain, but its not what they have been promising.
#27 - Blessedman - 01/05/06 @ 08:54 PM EST
this flys in the face of what i read about 3 months before the launch of the 360. The rumour was that right around the launch of the ps3 that MS would drop the prices of its core system and put HD-DVD players into the system at just a little over the intial release price. This wouldnt break compatiblity and would put the 360 dead square (possibly) against the ps3. All just rumours,speculation and probably some info flowing out of MS itself.
#28 - recce - 01/05/06 @ 08:58 PM EST
Reflex, it's pretty chear you're trying to downplay the benefits of the new Blu-Ray, I can't blame you since you're pro MS/XBox360.

However, if the CEOs are thinking what you're thinking, there will never be ANY progression in technology, period.

Someone have to come one out to push a new standard, and right now both Toshiba and Sony are trying very hard. The way I see it, the HD-DVD is already at a disadvantage due to the lack of announced movie titles.

How would MS and Intel's annoucement of support for the HD-DVD help in any measurable way? I'm afraid it's nil. If you're old enough to remember the days when the CD-ROMs were available for the Windows and DOS platforms, who were the ones to provide the drivers? Not MS, not Intel, but rather the device manufacturers.

In terms of support for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray on WinXP or the new Vista, it won't make any difference at all. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray drives, when available, will come bundled with the drivers to work on whichever OS they're targeted at.

For people with a lack of knowledge, they'll only see the MS/Intel announcement as "pro HD-DVD" and assume that HD-DVD, because of this announcement, will now have a major advantage to Blu-Ray, this is very misleading indeed.
#29 - recce - 01/05/06 @ 09:09 PM EST
#26 The arguments on the cost of medias used to hold the software/games/data has been done to death for 20 years.

At this point in time, game development costs are so high that it takes up a much higher percentage cost of a game than ever before, and hence media cost is no longer an influencing factor (or had minimum influence) in the selling price of a game.

That argument goes for ROM cartridges, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and, yes, even the new HD-DVD and Blu-Ray medias.
#30 - Reflex - 01/05/06 @ 09:23 PM EST
recce - Not disputing what you said at all honestly, in fact its kind of my point. My argument is that for *gaming* purposes, the higher capacity is merely a convenience, not a differentiating factor that would result in more content for PS3 games, or higher quality visuals.

As for movies, using MPEG2(as Sony Pictures has chosen to) makes Blu-Ray necessary. However more advanced/modern codecs(MS's VC-1 for instance) can do the same image quality in a fraction of the space, which is why HD-DVD is just as competitive for movies as Blu-Ray is. A 1080p 2 hour movie done in VC-1 takes about 13GB of space, far beneath the lower limit of HD-DVD and barely above what DVD-9 provides. The reason studios are signing with Sony is that they are busy convincing them that their standard will grant the consumer less rights to their media than HD-DVD, features like Managed-Copy are NOT mandatory with Blu-Ray like they are with HD-DVD content.

But that debate is neither here nor there, my original point is only that Blu-Ray offers no appreciable advantage for *games* over standard DVD-9.
#31 - recce - 01/05/06 @ 09:34 PM EST
#4, MS has too big an ego to swallow their own pride. What else would have caused them to comment that their XBox360 launch in Japan was anything but a total failure?

This same big ego will prevent them from supporting the Blu-Ray in any form on the XBox360.

Withouy any influence from Blu-Ray, the HD-DVD hardware is basically there for the taking since late last year, the reason no one has released a player is purely because

1. Toshiba at that point in time is still negotiating with Sony on a unified format and thus may subject to changes to the spec because of it.

2. Putting out a player without a single software title will only spell doom.

3. Even if the negotiation has failed (like it is now), Toshiba would definitely want to see more details of Sony's player, spec, any changes to it etc in order to plan any counter actions.

4. And of course, the ridiculously high manufacturing cost of the player (as of late last year), resulting in the equally high selling price, will deter would-be buyers.
#32 - recce - 01/05/06 @ 09:41 PM EST
#30, the point is, the next gen gaming systems are MORE than just gaming!

Yes, in terms of just gamings, both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray may appear to be less then beneficial, other than saving you some disc swapping time. But when did we ever say storage is enough, just like when did we ever say memory or HD space or CPU speed is enough?

The point is, it'll never be enough. With more storage space, comes more opportunites to explore further areas which cannot be done with the past generation technologies.

Neither you nor me can tell 1 year down the road what kind of interesting things can be had out of these new technologies, so it's a moot point to say it's of no use at all right here right now.

EDIT:
You have to give some slack for these new technologies to ease into the market without striking them down at first sight, understand that it may or may not benefit existing users at this point in time, but leaves a lot of opportunities for more interesting things to appear down the road, whatever it may be.

Last Edited on 01/05/06 @ 10:04 PM EST
#33 - nVidiot_Whore - 01/05/06 @ 10:03 PM EST
Reflex: *sigh* You are a stubborn bastard ;)

So not having to swap discs isn't an advantage?

Even a slight one?

Good lord dude..did you not see where I said "it isn't much of an advantage"?

Last Edited on 01/05/06 @ 11:21 PM EST
#34 - dougman - 01/05/06 @ 11:32 PM EST
both technologies are going to bomb big time.
I'm not buying either of them.

unless the HD movies are still around $10-$15 then maybe.
I'm not going to pay more than $15 for a movie no matter how good it looks, it is still just a movie and I have never watched any of my bought movies more than 3-5 times so far in my life (usually watch it once, or twice for the commentary)


#35 - dougman - 01/05/06 @ 11:37 PM EST
oh yeah, and the first high def standardized technology media with no royalties wins. :D

Once that happens, all the companies in china will be pumping out players left and right. Disk printing operations will be in full production in no time, movies will be upgraded quickly and by the masses. And with such mass production, no royalties, and cheap chinese players, the adoption rate will be 100 fold of whatever the hell toshiba or sony is doing (which I don't see will take off until the formatwars merge or disappear).

#36 - Blessedman - 01/06/06 @ 12:00 AM EST
if they wanted the xbox360 to have a huge launch in japan just bundle it with DDR XXL14(no idea, lol) and some weird cutesy game that doesnt really have any purpose but to be cute.
#37 - nemarsde - 01/06/06 @ 10:17 AM EST
You know what'd be a really handy peripheral, an external DAB radio alarm clock for your console. A bet that'd sell like hot cakes at Xmas.
#38 - Reflex - 01/06/06 @ 11:45 AM EST
recce - The reason neither format has been introduced is because the movie studios are still haggling with the hardware companies about the copy protection scheme. HD-DVD(and probably Blu-Ray) could have launched last year, but for that issue.

nVidiot - Alright, I'll give you that Blu-Ray can be a 30 second one time convenience. Ya happy now? ;)
#39 - DVSzamier13 - 02/16/06 @ 04:40 PM EST
specs of the hd player addon link
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