Hugsies Blog!

November 10, 2013

The 1080p delema of the Xbox One

Filed under: Gaming!, Xbox 360, Xbox One — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 9:21 pm

PCs have been doing HD and better resolutions for decades before “HD” was even a marketing sales gimmick. Microsoft is trying to cram an HTPC (home theater PC), a DVR, skype, and a video game console into one unit, with hardware specs that are well below even a mid-range gaming PC, or even a HTPC that you could get in the $500 price range.

Microsoft is using virtual machines (HyperV) to run all of this stuff in the background all as separate Operating Systems (OS) that its NO WONDER why the resolutions of CoD Ghosts, and other games are running at 900p or 720p.  NOT at the ubiquitous and largely taken-for-granted quality of 1080p, which has been common place for over a decade.

It’s not that the Xbox One hardware isn’t up to snuff to do 1080p at 60fps, assuming all it is doing is running a video game. It’s the other multiple OS running other stuff via HyperV that devs are having to deal with. They only get a slice of the pie of it’s GPU/CPU horsepower, which is whats making developers lower graphics resolutions to maintain a certain frame rate in their games.

Microsoft in their infinite wisdom wants to record a TV show in the background while you play your video game, even though you probably don’t have TV feed hooked up to it (since you already own a DVR). Also CPU cycles are being used as it listens to you via Kinect, while you yell at n00bs and trolls online; just in case you actually give a voice command to the Xbox. There is a “GAME DVR” that records you playing the game in case you wanna record your last epic trick shot, or achievement (which granted thats fucking cool).  Plus there’s online and network traffic, cloud storage, and cloud servers. That’s a LOT of stuff going on that would bog down a high end PC with an eight-core CPU @ 4.5ghz, quad GPUs in SLI, with 64GB of quad channel RAM with a 250GB SSD storage.

That last bit might be exaggerated but I believe you get my point. All of this reminds me of past failures Microsoft had, like Windows Me, and to some extent Windows Vista. It’s typical Microsoft ideologies where they take something that works well, and in its next incarnation try make it do far too much and it ultimately fails, or it won’t meet expectations. All because it’s doing all this extra “crap” that most users have no need for, and it prevents them from doing what users WANT it to do. Microsoft doesn’t care what you want, they know better for your own good!

With all of that said,  I’m still gonna buy an Xbox One over a PS4 since I have no loyalty nor much history with Sony as I’ve had with Xbox over the past decade and a half, not to mention with DOS/Windows PC gaming which spans a better part of 30 years now. Plus I just re-upped my XBL gold membership for another year. 🙂

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May 24, 2013

Xbox One with no 360 backwards compadibility

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Hugsie @ 8:27 pm

With all the roumors and bad speculations about the new Xbox One, the fact that the new console will not be backward compadible with older 360 games is complete bullshit. Microsoft posted a FAQ recently and mentioned this:

Q:    Will Xbox One be backward compatible with my existing games?
A:    Xbox One hardware is not compatible with Xbox 360 games. We designed Xbox One to play an entirely new generation of games—games that are architected to take full advantage of state-of-the-art processors and the infinite power of the cloud. We care very much about the investment you have made in Xbox 360 and will continue to support it with a pipeline of new games and new apps well into the future.

It’s very uncharacteristic for Microsoft of orphan their user base like this. This is something more akin to what Apple does every time a new Mac PC or a new version of OS X is released. Microsoft is well known for legacy support, only just recently dropping support for Windows XP that’s been around for over 12 years, yet updates over the internet for windows 2000 and XP still work. Heck I think even windows 95 and 98 still update over the web via MS.

As for the compatibility issue, yes it makes sense.  The 360 is powered by a RISC based CPU (PowerPC I believe) so whatever is compiled for the 360 won’t work on anything else since it’s a different beast. Xbox One is basically a lot like the original Xbox with an i386 base CPU (AMD x64 & GPU) which is exactly what the PS4 has. So it has the same guts as a modern PC from 2006.

But with all the talk about how powerful it is, and how the “cloud” gives it even more power to play your games and enhance your “experience” (so SICK of that vague term) how hard would it be to slap a 360 VM in the Xbox One? Would it be so difficult to emulate it as a VM? It’s already running THREE separate “operating systems” in a virtual machine environment. Most gamers won’t bother with the TV crap running in the background anyway; we already have DVRs. So PLEASE give us a 360 VM instead!

They did keep legacy support with a limited number of classic Xbox games on the 360, however it WAS an emulator so you could still keep playing Halo and Halo 2 even on Xbox Live on your 360. It should be a no-brainer to get 360 support on the Xbox One.

But this catch phrase meme “the cloud” is so meaningless. For over 10 years we have been playing MMO type games which always suffer from lag lag lag mostly due to server congestion in the so-called “Cloud.” For the most part the “cloud” is just for remote storage, but Microsoft wants you to believe that they can offload CPU processes into the cloud for things that aren’t sensitive to lag. While this is evident in some cases like SETI@Home, or Folding@Home Project, but this is purely number crunching using a distributed network using idle CPU clock cycles.

I really do not see how Microsoft’s “cloud” will help power on my video games faster, stronger, and better. Improve my “experience” (ah that fucking word again) and make games FASTER, when we are held back by the bandwidth of my internet connection. Seriously if MS found a cure for lag, then please share it with the rest of the MMO community, we really need to know.

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