Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
16 November 2005
Terrible Timing or Hats of Money?
Within a week of the launch of the Xbox 360 the persona non grata Xbox is now getting what should have been a very important release: Half-life 2. Who planned that? I have a theory.

The thing is, Half-life 2 just won't be the huge seller on the Xbox. It could, however, be a huge seller on the Xbox 360.

The advantages are significant:
  • better graphics, especially on HDTV systems
  • captive, easily controlled (non-cheating) online population
  • online population being trained to pay for extras
  • universal voice chat adds nicely to the online Half-life 2 experience
  • Xbox 360s with hard drive could download the game (a la Steam)
  • and most of all...$59.99 standard price point for top-tier Xbox 360 games!
At this point in time, the Xbox version is going to be an OK seller, just because there are a lot of installed Xboxen out there. But an Xbox game cannot command a $59.99 price from everyone, only from people willing to buy special editions of their games.

However, the 20% higher price will be the standard on the Xbox 360, and it makes sense to wait out this last cycle with a quick port and then hit people with a new version of Half-life 2 on the new system early next year, perhaps around E3.

Put out Halo 3 and the Aftermath expansion for Half-life 2 during the Holiday 2006 season and Microsoft is looking good for the launch of the PlayStation 3.

Just a thought.

Labels: ,

--Matt Matthews at 11:04
Comment [ 10 ]

Comments on this post:

The XBOX version of HL2 has no multiplayer whatsoever.

By Anonymous jmro, at 16 November, 2005 11:51  

What do you want me to take away from that comment?

Couldn't you play that as "crippled Xbox version" in order to make an Xbox 360 version more atractive?

By Blogger jvm, at 16 November, 2005 12:02  

Just pointing out that most of the advantages you point out aren't relevant to HL2, other than the HD graphics.

They could include HL2DM but that wouldn't really captivate anyone. CS:S and the other Source MP games are too valuable to bundle with HL2, so they wouldn't do that.

Odds are they'll bundle CS:S and DoD:S or some such thing and try release that for 360. They sold Counterstrike as a standalone product for XBOX. Not sure how successful it was.

By Anonymous jmro, at 16 November, 2005 12:08  

Actually, I think they'd be better off to sell HL2 for Xbox 360, maybe with just enough extra stuff to make it worthwhile, then sell the mods as online marketplace purchases.

So sell a $60 version of HL2 with better models, textures, and HL2DM. Then get people to buy CS:S and DoD:S online for $20 a pop.

By Blogger jvm, at 16 November, 2005 15:42  

I read somewhere that you can drop a copy of xbox hl2 into your 360 and it runs just fine.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 November, 2005 16:14  

Yes, the XBOX HL2 has an emulation profile (or whatever you want to call it) so it will run on the 360 at higher resolution.

I agree with jvm and think that they should have sold it as a 360 game, but I'm not sure it would have netted them as much cash. It just would have been a really good addition to the lineup.

Its hard to say which is greater:
-People who own and xbox and might get HL2
-People who will buy an xbox 360 and very likely get HL2, due to lack of other interesting titles

I'd say the xbox install base will make them more money, especially with a must have title like HL2.

By Anonymous jmro, at 16 November, 2005 16:52  

I can already play my PSOne version of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 on my PS2, but if I wanted to play the game the way it was intended, why would I? Pretty pointless, Anon.

By Blogger jvm, at 16 November, 2005 16:54  

I think the potential for continuing revenue from sales of map packs and mods outweighs the initially small install base of the Xbox 360. Long term, the Xbox 360 would make more.

By Blogger jvm, at 16 November, 2005 16:56  

Well the PS1 to PS2 was a pretty big bump compared to XBOX vs XBOX 360 (at least 1st gen). The models are probably the same poly, they just could of stuck in some higher res textures. Heck maybe not considering the DVD format is the same for both.

PS1 didn't even have texture filtering, which is why its so unbearable to play PS1 games. Big blocky textures. On a related note, I'm about 15 hours into FF7 again. Fantastic game.

By Anonymous jmro, at 16 November, 2005 22:06  

If there's one thing that can be said for it being Xbox 1, the optimisations they made to get Source working on the older hardware will help immensely when ther are merged into the PC codebase. There's already a bunch of CPU optimisations ported over, and they've said map streaming will be the next feature transitioned.

By Blogger Tom Edwards, at 18 November, 2005 16:43  

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