Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Xbox360

A few months back I bought my first ever console. An occasional player of PC-based Real Time Strategy Games, I've converted to the gaming experience of a console. The graphics are not as good as those of high-end PC graphic cards... but I never owned one of those, so it really feels as an improvement. There are almost no RTS games for the consoles, I assume mostly because of the difficulty of selecting units with a controller instead of a mouse, so I'm sticking with first person shooters for the time being. Not owning a TV set, I also bought the VGA cable to connect it to my 22" monitor, and this works great.

What I really enjoy about this setup, apart from the games,  is the totally integrated experience I have between three devices: the xbox, the windows vista laptop, and the Zune. I can connect the Zune to the Xbox or the Pc, I can play contents on the Xbox from the PC or the Zune (or the Zune via the PC, even), everything just works. Certainly far from sci-fi stuff, but a great experience nevertheless.

Back to games, one other thing I also think is interesting is the Xbox Live stuff. I'd heard about it from SaaS/S+S presentations, but the reality is that this ends up being a very important part of the whole gaming on the xbox experience. You can have a friend's list, message other players, chat, see their profiles, have video conversations, download (and upload) contents - and these are blazing fast... probably distributing stuff using some Akamai pipe.

In my previous post I mentioned that the XNA games will run on the Zune (see this post). I'm not a player of arcade-like games, but this is certainly an interesting development. Again, games for the PC will run on the XBox and the Zune. What is still missing from the Xbox is more social/community content, especially in terms of games. I'd like to see the Xbox Live Arcade feature community-developed games. This was actually announced at GDC2008, so hopefully it won't be long.

What is really missing from the XBox is an Internet Browser. Maybe this is for security reasons, but solving those would be the right answer, not leaving the feature out.

LokiJota

PS: Ebay UK is a great place to buy games, given their price in stores.

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