QUOTE(Vipernig @ Aug 15 2006, 09:50 PM)
I think in the above reply where the Xbox360 = Dreamcast and PS3 = PS2 is plain wrong. I would say the difference between the 2 system is like the difference between the PS2 and Xbox where the Xbox360 is analogous to the PS2 and the PS3 is analogous to the Xbox. One has more powerfull hardware on paper but the other has a bigger installed base and newer games and will be a software generation more advanced than the other similar to the way the PS2 had FFX, MGS2, GTA3 and the Xbox Halo. And Still the graphical gap between the 360 and the PS3 WILL be less than the differeance between the Ps2 and Xbox.
1080p, Bluray and gigabit ethernet are not minor upgrades. Again, we are not talking about differences that will be noticeable immediately, but keep in mind that when the PS2 launched, almost no games took up more than the 1GB capacity of the Dreamcast, nor did the games fully exploit the processing power increase that the PS2 offered either. I guarantee that developers will find ways to use the added capacity that bluray offers. Whether it will be compelling is another question, but I can tell you that no developer has ever complained that they had 'too much' storage capacity.
Gigabit may be of minor consequence today, but even today my FIOS can download at 30mb/s, which is already within spitting distance of the 80-90mbs limitations of 100mbit ethernet. While I don't really expect many people to have broadband lines substantially higher than 100mbit in the next couple years, it is entirely possible. The fiber line that I am already running on can easily support 10gbit or more, so it's not inconceivable that gigabit broadband will be available 5 years from now.
(Full Disclosure Time: I work for IBM.)
The cell architecture is complicated, but if it's exploited properly, it can be much more powerful than the PowerPC processor. Keep in mind that Sony did have access to the PowerPC if they wanted it, and Sony, IBM and Toshiba didn't invest $400 million dollars on creating the Cell processor on a whim. Also, the vast majority of developers of the Cell processor were actually the very same engineers at IBM that originally developed the PowerPC processor. Rumor has it that Sony threw a fit when they found out that IBM was going to be manufacturing the processors for the Wii and the Xbox 360, and despite the fact that IBM has full rights to license the Cell to anyone that they choose to, they mysteriously did not even offer it as an option to Nintendo and MS. For what it's worth, the Cell processor is specifically designed with home electronics in mind, and is far more efficient for such uses than a general use processor such as the PowerPC. Xbox hardware development chief Todd Holmdahl wasn't very happy about it either from what I understand, and because the Conroe processors from Intel were not going to be ready in time to use in the Xbox 360, he really had no other option than to 'settle' for the PowerPC processor.
Again, all of these differences will NOT be apparent immediately. Whether they are apparent years from now is anyone's guess, but I suspect that whether MS wants to or not, they will need to come up with a replacement for the Xbox 360 in another 4 years, because the system simply won't have the staying power to last for a typical 6-7 year lifespan.
Oh, and just in case anyone thinks that I am biased towards Sony, they should know that I own 4 xbox's (XBMC in every room), and 2 Xbox 360's. I used to own a PS2, but the only game that I ever played on it was GTA, and once that was released on the Xbox, I traded my PS2 in for another Xbox at EB.
I will probably buy a PS3, but it most likely will just collect dust because the only game that I really play is Halo.
And personally, I would love it if companies released new systems every 4 years. It might be less profitable for them, but it would mean much more powerful systems for us, so even the negatives that I attribute to the Xbox 360 could be potential positives if they do in fact release a new system 3 years from now.