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Game Is On For Next Generation Consoles

23 May, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

It was a big week for the video game industry as all three major next-generation consoles showed off at the E3 show in Los Angeles last week.

While backwards compatibility was a major theme sounded by Sony (PlayStation 3), Microsoft (Xbox 360) and Nintendo (Revolution), it is to the future the console makers are looking.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Sony's focus for the future includes high definition in a big way, including, of course, support of Blu-ray Disc technology. Sony's PS3 games will be high definition, and supporters touted the picture resolution and processing power of the new version, which will make it a powerful home entertainment platform playing not just HD games and movies, but all standard DVDs and CDs. The platform is expected to ship beginning spring 2006, starting with Japan.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 will beat everyone to the punch when it launches in November this year. It'll have high-definition gaming, and DVD and CD playback, but not high-definition movie playback. Microsoft, which has focused heavily on online gaming with Xbox Live, will offer a free service to Xbox 360 owners. All three consoles will have broadband online gaming options.

Meanwhile, Nintendo indicated its next-gen console, Revolution, will be the lower-priced player of the three (though no price was given), staying consistent in its market position. The console is expected out by summer 2006 and will include neither HD gaming nor any of the standard playback options for other media such as DVD and CD (though you will be able to get attachments to do so).

All three consoles are making efforts to be integrated into the converging bundle of home entertainment hardware and software. Xbox 360 and Revolution, for instance, will be able to link to wireless home networks.

Despite the current struggle between game publishers and some of Hollywood's talent guilds, the next generation of game consoles will offer great opportunities to extend the melding of movies and interactive media well into the future.

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