Friday, May 13, 2005

Xbox 360 specials needed HD broadcast


The net is buzzing with reaction to last night’s Xbox 360 teaser special on MTV. The majority seem to be “under whelmed” to put it mildly. I have to admit to being in that camp too, but that’s my view of the special, not exactly of the 360 itself. Microsoft did themselves a huge disservice having this first look at their new machine broadcast only in standard definition. Had they partnered with a network that simulcasts in SD and HD, they could have excited the consumers who can make or break the console’s launch—current HDTV owners. Showing the games in standard definition takes away one of the big advantages of the 360.

Let’s face it, getting the masses to buy HDTV is still going to be a slow road despite what some sales figures would lead you to believe. Most of the additional sets are going to houses that want more than just one HDTV, not new homes joining the HD revolution. I know, I know…the Microsoft and Samsung alliance are going to unleash a huge HD adoption campaign so they need to get the word out to non-HDTV owners. I get it. I really do.

It’s just that some of the games looked indistinguishable from the current Xbox, but…wait, I don’t really want to judge it from that angle yet. That half-hour was just a teaser aimed at a specific audience. The full 360 assault aimed at eager early adopters like myself is just days away, but I can’t help feel like last night dampened my spirits a bit. I mean, the show was very slick, had the production values of a major event, but…even I felt the performance by the Killers had more punch than the actual 360.

I taped it so I’ll go back and sort through the game bits again. And who was the genius that decided it should run at 9:30PM, right in the middle of America’s #1 watched show CSI? What, the MTV audience doesn’t watch CSI? Demo numbers show they do.

On a unrelated note, last nights season finale of Project Greenlight was awesome. Lots of things I related to on a creative level. Who knew making even a very small budget movie is a minor miracle? Since I’m talking up TV, this last Amazing Race had perhaps the most thrilling ending ever. The classiest and best reality show on TV hands down. Posted by Hello

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