"I use the dickens out of my television."

On this week’s Poweruser podcast, I reveal how utterly whelmed I am by the Xbox 360. I also predict something two days before it happens, although the prediction doesn’t go live until two days after it happens, so in the end, it’s a sort of postdiction.

At any rate, you can jump straight to the podcast’s game-related stuff by clicking here. You might even experience a bit of déjà vu as the discussion veers into topics from this very forum.

Tom, you mention that Xbox 360 doesn’t have a “killer app” for launch. Did the PS2 have such a game when it launched?

Also, do you think the generally positive feedback on the boards about the launch games for the Xbox 360 are influenced by the majority of people paying $500+ for their new gaming experience and want to get the value out of it? Since you got your 360 as a “famous game reviewer” you’re immune to that effect and take a more balanced look at the games?

It was called “DVD player”.

The 360 is missing one definitive killer app for launch, there’s no doubt of that, but it does have quite a few really good titles and one that I think isn’t getting the attention it deserves. The good that I’ve played so far are: Kameo, Call of Duty 2 and NFS: MW. I also have PD0 and am pretty “whelmed” with it. PGR3 is not as good as I’d hoped, but at least it looks nice. The one title I don’t think gets enough props is Condemned. Seriously, it’s a nice looking game and has pretty fantastic gameplay, but doesn’t get enough notice because of all the new big name titles like Perfect Dark or any of the EA Sports lineup. The big wait now is for Mass Effect and Oblivion. Dead Rising also looks awesome.

When reviewing you always have to consider that you didn’t pay for the game, so something that seems fun (the dreaded f word) for free may completely suck if you spent money on it, so I’d think it would be quite the opposite. I’ve never heard of someone getting something for free and therefore having a more balanced oppinion of it’s worth, since really, you didn’t pay for it so it has no worth to you.

Also: the PS2 didn’t have a killer app

Judging anything you’ve gotten for a free as a reviewer is a narrow road to travel: You either judge them too harshly as you feel you’ve got a right to inform the paying public of a less-than-standard game (even though having paid nothing for it, your criticism may be enhanced for effect), or you judge it too favorably in an attempt to succor the game company into giving you equally favorable treatment in the future (i.e. more free crap).

The hardest road to travel is in between these two extremes. If you can be fair and honest, you’re a good journalist, but you probably won’t distinguish yourself from the pack. I would guess that the reading public is best served by the aggregate score networks out there that at least shake out some of this behavior.

It was called “DVD player”.[/quote]

LOL yes!

That’s why Sony may be onto something if they go ahead and make blue ray standard in the PS3.

Never underestimate the power of the movie. When you go to Walmart you see about 10 crappy games for PSP that you don’t want to play but there are tons of movies that I’d love to watch on a handheld if I had a long plane ride or something.

I just got to the part about the pre-orders… there is no retailer that has put stock on the shelves or sold to walk-in customers that was doing pre-orders. EB, Gamestop, Game Crazy, Circuit City (<–online only)… all those that took early orders filled those pre-orders. There were no Xbox 360 units available to people at those stores who did not already hold a pre-order.

The lines were at stores that did not accept pre-orders of any kind. This is due to Microsoft’s allocation of units across ALL retail chains that will stock the 360. EB and Gamestop alone probably could have taken every 360 made to date and filled most of their pre-orders, but then Best Buy, Target, etc. would not have received any units at all.

I’m not sure where Brad gets the idea that stores who took pre-orders were also holding back units for walk-in customers because that is simply not true at all. Can you imagine the bedlam that would erupt if a guy came in to look for something else, has a pre-order on a 360, was told he couldn’t get one til March, and then that retailer he pre-ordered at has one sitting there on the rack?!

Sounds like you guys needed someone with a retail background on this particular podcast. ;) /waves


EDIT! Also, it’s FOR-TSA. Not the Z sound. :)

Is it really fair to call the graphical capability the equivalent of the Xbox 1 (or 1.1) when you’re looking at it on a SDTV, especially when the target that developers were shooting for was 720p?

Absolutely, considering the majority of customers are not going to be playing on HDTV at all. Resolution bumps are great for ooos and ahhhs from the masses, but until everyone can get that on their TV at home, you have to look at the bigger picture.


You looked at a NES on a SDTV too but I would hardly call that equivalent to an XBox.

Absolutely, considering the majority of customers are not going to be playing on HDTV at all. Resolution bumps are great for ooos and ahhhs from the masses, but until everyone can get that on their TV at home, you have to look at the bigger picture.

Dave, what have you been playing? (Oh that’s right, nothing!) I took the Xbox 360 to my parents house for thanksgiving, and the NBA Live Demo looks amazing (in that creepy way, but still amazing in a technical way) on their dying, blurry SDTV screen. The Xbox 360 looks a lot better than the Xbox with or without an HD TV. As everyone points out, it’s not the leap that the PS2 was over the PSX, but it’s still quite a leap and it doesn’t need HD to be appreciated.

You hear this talk about diminishing returns and if we’re reaching the limits of the visuals new systems can produce and I gotta agree with that podcast guy (who wasn’t chick): Take a look at any of the PS3 demo vids and watch them on a crappy TV if you like, they still look jawdroppingly amazing.

When people discuss the graphics on the Xbox 360 the topic of dimishing returns come out. When discussing the graphic potential of the PS3 it’s always pre-rendered or impossible hype. Maybe it is impossible hype for right now but is it unfair to expect such a jump in detail if you look at previous generations?

HDTVs is a great thing and will improve your gaming experience but it shouldn’t be a requirement. Maybe when you can get something like Advent Children in real time we can talk about diminishing returns because right now it looks fantastic in 480i.

the 360 still looks good on a regular tv, if you cant see that then you’re blind.

In Japan, it certainly didn’t have a game people really had to have. But DVD players weren’t selling well prior to that in Japan, so DVD playback was the killer app. DVD players were selling better in the US, so DVD playback wasn’t as big a deal by the time it launched in the US.

For the U.S. launch, the PS2’s highest two rated overall games (ala gamerankings.com) were SSX (92%) and Madden 2001 (89%).

Definitely not the “killer app” of Halo (96%) or Soul Calibur (97%).

Xbox 360’s killer app is … the Xbox.

At least it was for me. Picked up a brand-new one and a bunch of cool used games for 1/2 the price of the 360.

Remember kids – pick the console up after a year or so. I didn’t run into a PS2 until GTA3 came out. I didn’t miss any of its launch titles.

It was called “DVD player”.[/quote]
Don’t forget the ever-popular “backwards compatibility,” even if it really was just an embedded PS1 chip.

  • Alan

Kameo is certainly prettier than anything I’ve seen on the previous Xbox, anyway.

Is it getting generally positive feedback? I really haven’t seen much by way of reaction to the 360, mainly because most of the people I know – and that includes many of you on this forum – don’t have them. I’m sure some people are tickled pink with their Xbox 360s, and whether it’s a matter of taste or a matter of trying to justify the expense, who knows?

If the issue is ‘Are you more or less fair if you’re a member of the press?’, that’s a whole other can of worms.

Did Greg Kasavin love Perfect Dark Zero so much that he gave it Gamespot’s highest rating because it was free? Or is his love of Perfect Dark Zero all the more authoritative because he doesn’t have to justify having dropped $60 on this clunker?

Personally, I don’t think it’s an issue. Greg apparently loved it (I haven’t read his review yet), I didn’t care for it. People have different opinions that don’t necessarily mean one of them has a hidden motive.


I imagine that it isn’t an issue at all. I only really mentioned that in the first place because it was a pretty weird question.

We need to try to race or something again.

Is there a way to subscribe to the “games only” portion via itunes?