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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

MS Ships Xbox 360 Beta Development Kits

"Should you care? Yes you should... here's why. CPU and GPU also in production

10:10 Word seeps out today from that leaky old barge known as the games development community that dev are finally getting their grubby paws on Xbox 360 beta development kits right about now.

"So what?" you might reasonably opine, "how does that affect the price of fish?", ah but care you should, as it's going to allow those devs to finally start upping the ante as Microsoft gears up for the crucial next six months before 360 launch.

Actually these kits may be about a week behind schedule as major 360 developers we talked to at E3 expected to have the kits within a week or so of show close.

At E3, Xbox 360 devs were having to show off their games running on Macs at what they were saying was only 30 percent of the 360's total power. In many cases it led to accusations and perceptions that 360 was not the generational leap forward it might have been. "Xbox 1.5" was a phrase which was cruelly bandied about amongst cheeky UK hacks way before the Sony execs got in on the act and adopted it as a line of attack. Maybe we should ask them for a royalty?

However with these kits now purportedly in place, developers should have all the ammo they need and it's also strategically important for that crucial 360 launch line-up. If there's no buzz about the actual games this Christmas and people aren't tearing down the walls to get their hands on Gotham 3, Gears of War and Perfect Dark Zero, then 360 will face a real uphill struggle at launch.

Word also comes our way that some key components like the 360's GPU and CPU have gone into production too, an equally crucial milestone for Microsoft, although apparently they will be holding off production of the unit itself until pricing has been finalised."

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