Archive for Games

Xbox 360 getting another price cut?

Posted in Games with tags , , , , on June 30, 2008 by icebreakz

What we heard: Last August, Microsoft’s plans to drop the price of the Xbox 360 in all of its configurations were leaked four separate times. The Hollywood Reporter ran the news first citing retail sources, then Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, and Circuit City all had weekly newspaper ads that prematurely found their way into the public domain. Needless to say, by the time Microsoft finally confirmed the cuts, few considered the news to be especially shocking.

History may be repeating itself, given that the supposed K-Mart flyer clearly shows a 20GB Xbox 360 system with a “new low price” of $299.99. Currently the 20GB model sells for a suggested retail price of $349.99. The scanned image shows only part of the Xbox 360 listing, and nothing from the rest of the ad save for box art of Civilization Revolution and 2K Sports’ Prizefighter. Such pictures can be faked, but if this one was, the creator at least paid enough attention to duplicate the K-Mart circular’s font as well as details like the twin-color blowout box announcing the price drop.

The person who posted the images says that the price cut should go into effect around July 6, a Sunday, likely meaning that the ad is intended to run in that edition of the newspaper. It’s fairly common for newspaper ads such as this to be printed a week or more in advance of the publication date, and with Civilization Revolution set for release on July 8, the timing of this leak fits well. That’s also the week before the big E3 Media and Business Summit in Los Angeles, a time when console makers traditionally try to generate momentum for their systems with big announcements.

Although it hasn’t quite been a year since the last round of Xbox 360 price cuts, those were a bit mild ($20 on the Core and $30 on the Elite), and the intervening time frame has seen the Xbox 360 hardware lose considerable momentum to the PlayStation 3. According to figures from the industry-tracking NPD Group, the Xbox 360 beat the PS3 in US hardware sales every single month through the end of 2007. However, for the first five months of 2008, the PS3 has outsold the Xbox 360 three times, and was only a thin margin behind the Microsoft console for the other two.

Microsoft needs to spark system sales to fend off Sony’s advancing PS3. A price cut is one of the simplest, most direct ways to encourage gamers on the fence to take the plunge. Right now customers are likely looking at a Blu-ray drive and built-in wireless support as features well worth the $50 difference between a 20GB Xbox 360 and a 40GB PS3. Widening that gap to a nice round $100 would no doubt make Microsoft’s system a much more enticing value proposition for many gamers.

The official story: Microsoft hadn’t returned requests for comment as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus?: Probably not bogus.


XBOX 360 vs Playstation 3 Graphics

Posted in Games with tags , , , , on May 18, 2008 by icebreakz

We expected the PlayStation 3 to ship with several games that first appeared on the Xbox 360, similar to how the Xbox 360 had a lot of Xbox ports at launch. And the PS3 did indeed arrive with a good number of games that originally shipped for the Xbox 360. This gave us the perfect opportunity to compare the graphics on both systems with several cross-platform games. You’d think that the PS3 versions would be exactly the same or slightly superior to the Xbox 360 versions, since many of these games appeared on the 360 months ago, but it seems like developers didn’t use the extra time to polish up the graphics for the PS3. We found that the Xbox 360 actually had better graphics in the majority of the games we compared.

Need for Speed Carbon

Both systems have fairly similar graphics in Need for Speed Carbon, but the Xbox 360 has better lighting while the PS3 has sharper textures. The 360 has better high dynamic range lighting in the Camaro image. We’re not sure if the PS3 version blurs the background tree leaves on purpose, but it’s another noticeable difference. The lighting in the street shot appears more realistic on the 360, but the building textures are sharper on the PS3. We also seem to be missing some lighting and a few landmarks in the rearview mirror of the PS3 version.

Call of Duty 3

Call of Duty 3 has made its way onto just about every major console, but it definitely looks best on the Xbox 360. The PlayStation 3 comes in a close second, but the 360 is the clear winner. The textures have less detail on the PS3, and the game looks a little washed out. Between the overly bright visuals and muddy textures, the PlayStation 3 can’t match the 360 version’s gritty look.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance

You’ll have to make your Marvel Ultimate Alliance decision based on Xbox 360 rumble support versus PS3 Sixaxis control since the graphics seem to be identical on both systems. We tested all games at 720p using component cables to keep the comparison as even as possible.

Rock Band (video game)

Posted in Games with tags , , , on April 16, 2008 by icebreakz

Rock Band is a music video game developed by Harmonix Music Systems, published by MTV Games, and distributed by EA Distribution. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were released in the United States on November 20, 2007,[2] while the PlayStation 2 version was released in the U.S. on December 18, 2007[6] and the Wii version will be released on June 22, 2008.[7] The game was released in Canada for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on December 27, 2007 and for the PlayStation 2 on January 2, 2008. It is due for release in Europe as a timed exclusive on Xbox 360 on May 23, 2008, followed by a release on the other platforms on August 29, 2008.[3]

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