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October 13, 2005

Xbox 360 graphics may be more than I need

Tood Bishop at the Seattle PI reports that Vivid graphics take Xbox 360 to a new level:

Pause the game and zoom in far enough, and you can make out the strands of hair in Mike Holmgren’s mustache.

Not that you would want to get that close to the Seattle Seahawks head coach, even virtually. But that’s one example of the details made possible by Microsoft’s upcoming game console, the Xbox 360, as demonstrated Tuesday at a preview event here.

Whether that realism translates into market success for Microsoft remains to be seen. For one thing, reigning champ Sony promises similar advances in its next PlayStation console. And rival Nintendo points out that visual improvements alone don’t mean much unless the games are actually more enjoyable.

That’s my feeling too, but apparently a ton of graphics detail is potentially available:

Apart from the example of Holmgren’s mustache, the graphical improvements in that game were apparent in the ability to see such details the stitching on a player’s jersey or the warning label on his helmet. The people in the crowd are also much more varied than the typical cardboard cutouts in sports games.

“The processor is so much more powerful that we can pour in visual detail and not sacrifice game fluidity,” said Jordan Edelstein, Electronic Arts marketing director.

“If this were a current-generation game, this would be a flat ground — one big smeary texture,” said Blake Fischer, Xbox worldwide content planner, pointing to an elaborate field of individual grass blades waving in the wind in “Kameo,” an action-adventure game from Microsoft’s Rare game studio. “This is a living world.”

At its recent events, Microsoft has shown Xbox 360 games to journalists on high-definition televisions. Game developers say many of the visual advances enabled by the console will still be apparent on standard televisions, although the appearance will be noticeably more crisp on high-definition displays.

More discussion, examples, and some screenshots by following the link, although the screenshots don’t really demonstrate the detailed graphics.

Posted at 8:31 pm. Filed under Companies, Microsoft, Video Games, Xbox 360

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