|IGN talks with developers about the Xbox 360 beta dev kitsPublished by rs6_n2o on Sunday, July 24, 2005
' So what's happened since E3? Why has all the hype, all the 360 noise disappeared? Will Xbox 360 games look any better? And are Xbox fans doomed to have PS3 fanboys laugh at their underwhelming new system? '
IGN has spoken with several developers on the subject of the newly released Xbox 360 Beta Kits to get a better idea the progress developers have made sine E3, and whether the beta kits have helped, hindered, confused, or improved game development.
We asked several developers what they thought of the Beta Kits. Epic Games' Mark Rein was frank with us but slim on details. When asked about the power of the system, he said the best example of that was Gears of War. "You've seen the answer to (all of your) questions. It's called Gears of War. What you've seen is just a tiny sample of what we'll be able to achieve in our first generation Xbox 360 title and clearly we're pretty darn excited about it. More will be revealed over time." Other developers were more forthcoming.
"They're better than the Alpha Kits," said one local developer. "They're still not quite as powerful as final hardware, but they're much more representative of what we expect final hardware to look like."
Of the five developers that we spoke to, only one was disappointed with their power.
"Right now, we're still wrapping our heads around them, but I have to be honest, I'm a bit disappointed with the Beta Kits. Microsoft still has a lot of work to do in terms of optimization. Also, the Beta Kits are loud to a point of distraction."
With the exception of the audio chips (this chipset isn't complete), the Beta Kits contain about 90% of the console's chip set. They comprise the specialized three-CPU core processors and the graphics GPU. There are still some speed issues with the GPU we're told, but functionality-wise, the Beta Kits are about a 90% representation of the final consoles.
We spoke with a few retailers, who said the potential $59.99 price tag for games is still hanging in the air. "We're having a hard time selling good games at $49.99 right now, so an increase of $10 is not set by any means."
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