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Friday, March 16, 2007

Pondering: Will 360 Games Ever Play On Vista?

Nuts, right?


Microsoft doesn't make money on the consoles - they make money on the software. They are already trying to blend Xbox Live into a Vista Live. 360 software developing is almost certainly cannibalizing Windows gaming ... especially with the focus on Xbox Live as a far more enticing delivery for indie titles. PC gamers are becoming faced more and more with a simple fiscal decision: keep paying premium costs for upgrades or buy a console for the price of graphics card.

It's an unspoken slap in the face when someone has dual PCI-E cards to rip through polygons like butter but a top tier game like Gears Of War comes out for only the 360. With the Xbox, PC gamers saw plenty of titles (Deus Ex II anyone?) developed so that they could easily come out for both platforms - even though the PC could easily handle more.

So why shouldn't a 64-bit dual graphics card monster with access to a Xbox controller not play the same games?

The common response would be, I think, that PC hardware is a maze of potential configurations whereas the 360 only has a couple. Drivers are user controlled on the PC and firmware on the 360. All the normal noise.

So the answer is a compromise. Microsoft gets to license a "360 compatible" label for PC configurations which will run 360 games. Likewise, 360 games might require a "Vista Ready" certification. Match the game to the hardware and you have a go.

Course, there are technical issues which probably rip this pondering right out of reality. Like any copy protection Microsoft has designed for the 360 that may not be apparent on PC hardware. Or anything special the 360 DVD drive does to recognize 360 games. That kind of thing.

Still - I'd be more likely to buy a new Vista box if I knew that Microsoft's investment in console gaming was beneficial to me as well.


Duncan M said...

There are also issues of hackability, modability, and custom content.

I think we'll still see 2 versions: console and Games For Windows (whatever that means). The netowrk playability should all fall into place though, which would bode well for serving the same games to both markets. It would certainly allow a matched and level playing field.

Josh said...

Yeah, I'm guessing they will push GFW compatibility with certain titles (and the 360 controller for Windows to boot). Network interoperability to boot.

Which would be similar. But I'd like to see a lot more convergence. XBLA on Windows. Titles being cross-developed standard, that kind of thing.

Especially cool would be if mods could be developed on Windows and made available on Live.