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Next-Gen Games: To HD or not to HD?

50°
344w ago - With the Playstation 2 and the first Xbox being able to run select games in high definition, for example Grand Turismo 4 supported 1080i resolution. One would expect that in the age of 'next generation' consoles, the age of 1080p resolutions, that all games would, as a standard, support high definition.

Well it would appear that is not the case, with an increasing number of recent titles outputting native resolutions of lower than 720p. Such games are then up-scaled to meet this high-definition benchmark. On the one hand, what's the point of paying for 1080p TVs, consoles and all the HDMI related accessories when the games you're playing don't even qualify as 'high def?'

While the other argument is that whether this really matters, many of the games in question are actually some of the best lookers out there. And what's the harm in sacrificing a few lines of resolution to secure a stable frame-rate?

This debate has again reared its ugly head with the revelation that Playstation 3 exclusive HAZE's resolution is only 576p, thus leaving it to the Playstation 3 itself to upscale the game to meet minimum high def standards.

Recent news has also revealed that the Playstation 3 version of Grand Theft Auto IV only runs at 640p, while the Xbox 360 version natively reaches...
 

No other PS3 HDD Configurations planned for Europe

250°
346w ago - Speaking at the SCEE PlayStation Day in London yesterday, SCEE president David Reeves said that PS3's hard drive is staying at 40GB in Europe for the foreseeable future.

"I don't know that any other hard drive configuration is even planned," he said when asked when an 80GB SKU - so popular in the US - would release in Europe.

Continuing on the topic of PS3 hard drives, Reeves went on to indicate that those looking to get involved with PlayTV in September are likely going to have to buy a new one.

"I think eventually, yes, it will be," Reeves said when asked if hard drive size was significant to the consumer SCEE's trying to reach in Europe.

"I think the person that wants to be multimedia - and when we bring out PlayTV, they're going to find that 40Gb is too small. But it's not proprietary. You can go out and you can just buy another hard drive and just plug it in.

"You know, hard drives are a commodity. Sony says, 'OK, we'll go with 40, we'll go with 60, we'll go with 80,' but Seagate, who produces hard drives, they might find that next year, for example, the cheapest hard drive is 120Gb.

I'm not saying we're launching it, but they might say, 'We're putting a zillion 120Gb hard drives into Vaio and Toshiba laptops,' right?...
 

Add HAZE to the Sub-HD Generation

100°
346w ago - As seems to be the norm this console generation, not all games can hit that elusive 720p HD resolution. First Halo 3, then GTA4 (PS3) and now the PS3 exclusive Haze.

As previously reported, a demo of Haze can be found on the Playstation Store, supporting 4 player co-op. Graphically it's solid, but what's most impressive is that it runs silky smooth. It runs at a locked 30fps, and even with a host of foliage and enemies on screen - it never dips.

Though there are more impressive looking games on the PS3, it's with Haze's gameplay and story that show off its true colours. (More on this in our upcoming preview of both the four player co-op and multiplayer modes.) Nonetheless, for Free Radical to achieve a solid PS3 engine with no loading throughout the game, they've had to make some concessions.

Qua51 of Beyond3d now confirms Haze's resolution to be 1024by576 with no anti-aliasing. That is, going by the demo, and there's yet to be a difference in resolution from a game's demo to its final release. At the end of the day, this is something we're going to have to get used to. If developers find they can put the saved power into a solid framerate, or better graphics - then should we really be complaining?

When we visited Free Radical at Sony's 3 Rooms earlier...
 

Online Pay to Play and a Hard Drive Coming Soon to Wii?

50°
346w ago - Last year at the Game Developers Conference, Nintendo's Takashi Aoyama introduced Nintendo's upcoming plans for a Pay & Play online service. Before you panic, let me note that Nintendo will be keeping the existing free Wi-Fi connect service it already offers.

But, some of the newer games that will be released may require a small fee to be played online. All of the games that will require a fee will have a red sticker placed on them so that they can be easily identified. I also feel that is important to note, that the online service will not affect any of the current Wii games that currently use online play.

A Nintendo representative had this to say while speaking to SPOnG, "Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection offers simple, comfortable and free enjoyment of games played over an internet connection, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Pay & Play offers paid for services whilst keeping the simple and comfortable elements we know people enjoy. Wi-Fi Connection Pay & Play allows for flexible adaptation to content and system costs and allows for even higher quality services."

Very little is known as to what kind of extra content the new service will offer. Currently, there is still no release date for the service. Nintendo representatives have been very tight lipped on the subject, right now about all we now is that...
 

Excited about HD Blu-ray? What about 4K Red-ray?

400°
347w ago - Since the high definition format war has been decided and Blu-ray is slowly but surely moving into more and home homes, video enthusiasts may be looking for the next thrill: Red just announced its Red-ray player, the only "Beyond HD" playback device we are aware of - supporting movies with a resolution of up to 4096 x 2048 pixels.

Have you ever wondered why Blu-ray players are marketed as "Beyond HD" devices? This phrase has always bothered us as one of those deceiving marketing phrases. High Definition is defined as 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions (1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080i, 1920 x 1080p pixels) and since Blu-ray reaches up to 1080p, it is 'just' HD.

If you want to go "beyond" HD you will have to increase the specifications of the standard and especially its resolution. RED has done just that and has become the only Beyond HD company we know of.

RED just announced its Red-Ray player, a media playback device for DVDs and DL DVDs holding content 4K (4096 x 2048), 2K (2048 x 1024) and regular 16:9 4K (3996 – 2160) formats, as well as 1080p, 720p and regular DVD (480p). Blu-ray discs and HD DVD discs are not supported, while you can play videos from SD and Compact Flash memory cards. The player is expected to debut sometime in 2009 and of course it will not be cheap: Pricing has not been...
 
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