is it worth buying xbox360
December 4, 2005 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Is it worth buying xbox360 without having a HDTV?
posted by pwally to Computers & Internet (30 answers total)
It's not worth buying an xbox360 until a decent game comes out for it, if that answers your question. Realistically, a game system is only as good as the games for it, so unless you don't have an xbox already, it might be a worthy purchase. If you DO, get it modchipped, forget the 360 ever existed, and play some Earthbound or Tetris Attack.
posted by hoborg at 1:24 PM on December 4, 2005


The graphics will still look better than anything that has come before. They just won't look as amazingly shiny as they might.

The best launch line up for a console I can remember (I honestly have no idea wtf hoborg is on about), Live, downloadable content - these are the reasons I am buying a 360, and I don't have an HDTV.

When you do finally get round to getting a HDTV you'll be able to revisit your older games for that extra bit of polish - sounds good to me.
posted by nthdegx at 1:29 PM on December 4, 2005

I regard PGR3 has justifying the purchase by itself. If you can afford it. Resolution should not be a major part of choosing a game.
posted by ab'd al'Hazred at 1:30 PM on December 4, 2005

If you DO, get it modchipped

Are chips already circulating?
posted by ab'd al'Hazred at 1:31 PM on December 4, 2005

Oh, you meant Xbox.
posted by ab'd al'Hazred at 1:31 PM on December 4, 2005

If there’s a great game you want to play on the 360, don’t let the HDTV aspect hold you back. The games will still (ignoring artistic talent) look better than Xbox / PS2 / Gamecube games because it has more advanced hardware that can draw lots more stuff with much better effects.

Whether or not there’s a game good enough to warrant the purchase is between you and metacritic.
posted by Gary at 1:31 PM on December 4, 2005

Couldn't agree more with hoborg, PGR3 and Call of Duty 2 are garbage, no matter how much fun you have playing them. You'd be much better off getting some relays for your oscilloscope, and immersing yourself in some in some Tennis for Two.
posted by cosmonaught at 1:32 PM on December 4, 2005

I'm gonna go get the papers, the papers.
posted by cosmonaught at 1:36 PM on December 4, 2005

just emulate EDSAC
posted by ab'd al'Hazred at 1:38 PM on December 4, 2005

I bought an Xbox 360 without owning an HDTV, and within 15 minutes of playing, I was online researching new HDTV sets -- so beware the blood lust it will inspire.

As has been mentioned, the graphics are about what you would expect from a next-gen system (and will only get better), but to me it just reminded me of buying a super high-end PC and running it at 640x480. You could use it that way, but you're not getting the full potential out of it.
posted by robbie01 at 1:38 PM on December 4, 2005

(just to make it clear, yes, that is the first computer game, end of story.)
posted by ab'd al'Hazred at 1:39 PM on December 4, 2005

So are the prices of the normal xboxen going to plummet?

And is there a sneaky way to buy a pre-modded xbox on Ebay?
posted by mecran01 at 1:46 PM on December 4, 2005

Isn't this a bit moot, since you can't actually buy one at the moment?
posted by smackfu at 1:49 PM on December 4, 2005

You'd be much better off getting some relays for your oscilloscope, and immersing yourself in some in some Tennis for Two.

If your taste in gaming is different than mine that's fine, but please try to keep the answers constructive. My response was "no, IMO, regardless of what TV you have", whereas yours contributed nothing.
posted by hoborg at 2:33 PM on December 4, 2005

Gamespot has a comparison of various games in their Xbox and Xbox360 incarnations without HDTV. The verdict: some games look a lot better, but quite a few of them look very similar to the original Xbox versions if you don't have an HDTV.

Of course, graphics performance isn't the only criterion; there are legions of PS2 owners who bought the system over the Xbox knowing full well the Xbox had superior graphics. So I'd judge first and foremost on whether the 360 has the games you want.
posted by chrominance at 3:04 PM on December 4, 2005

Almost every game on the 360 is a slightly newer version of an existing game.

Unless your favorite game has radically upgraded the core, not just the shininess, I'd hold off.
posted by I Love Tacos at 3:09 PM on December 4, 2005

If your taste in gaming is different than mine that's fine, but please try to keep the answers constructive. My response was "no, IMO, regardless of what TV you have", whereas yours contributed nothing.


From your post, our taste in games is probably pretty well aligned, but pointing someone to 15 year-old games, when they're asking about a next-gen system, probably isn't very constructive.

I tried to point out that there are a couple of great games already available, while calling you out for what, IMO, was a bullshit answer.

Of course neither of us have yet bothered to answer pwally's real question, how important HDTV is for the 360. Luckily, we're not the only people who frequent this board.

If anybody still cares, some games are fine without HD (PGR3, Call of Duty 2), but I did notice that with Madden, the text is definitely designed to be displayed on an HDTV, and can be more then a bit hard to make out on a standard tv.
posted by cosmonaught at 3:12 PM on December 4, 2005

Do you play alot of non-online multiplayer? If so, its probably worth buying, if there are newer, better games to play multiplayer (which there really aren't).

If you play mostly solo or online multiplayer, just wait for the PC port of all of these games.
posted by mhuckaba at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2005

I would say sure, it's perfectly worth it to purchase an Xbox 360... if you plan on flipping it on eBay.

With this next generation of consoles, something interesting will happen: Things will diverge significantly.

The Xbox and Playstation iterations will be in a war of the hardware, trying to see who can pump out more polygons/sec and how many triangles can be pushed to your eyeballs in HD every instant of game play. The 360 has something going for it in that it can act as a Media Center Extender, sort of, and can interact well with your normal tv-viewing experience. It can play your iPod's music and it can prompt you in the middle of your favorite show when Jimmy from work wants to play some PGR3.

The Playstation 3 um... well, it has a phallic, quite-frankly-frightening looking controller. So at least it has that going for it. It has a nice 9-core processor that programmers are going to have a difficult time taking advantage of, especially considering the dichotomy between development kits and production lengths. Either way, it will be a battle between a reinvention of the same old.

My personal choice is on Nintendo's Revolution.

Shocker, I know. But if you've seen the video or read anything about what Nintendo's doing with the Revolution, it becomes quickly apparent that it very well may live up to its name.

Personally, I couldn't care less about how much better graphics can get. I own Half-Life 2. I have an ATI Radeon X850XT. The graphics are amazing. Don't we hit a point of diminishing returns, in terms of the amount of pleasure a simple boost in graphic effects can bring us? I'd much rather have a system that has an innovative control set, and lets us do amazing new things like fish and cook and play tennis by interacting with a crazy, 3D spatial controller... and a system that can also play back any game from the NES-64 that they release.

I'll be buying the Revolution on its first day out. Because it's the only system with anything original to offer. If you really must have Dead or Alive 8 or Halo 6 and can't wait to see how detailed the reflections are in Master Chief's helmet, then by all means, pick up the 360. If you want something that will blow your mind in other ways than graphics, maybe something like the Revolution is right for you.

And it will be cheaper, too.
posted by disillusioned at 4:19 PM on December 4, 2005

Can't you get a cable to hook up the XBOX 360 to your computer monitor to see the high-rez goodness without an hdtv?
posted by reishus at 11:34 PM on December 4, 2005

I have an HDTV, and I'm holding off on purchase of a 360 to see how the games pan out, and maybe wait for the first price drop, at which time there's usually a stack of cheap, for-the-system-classic games available.

If you *are* going to get a 360 though, get an HDTV - and a surround system. You'll need one soon enough if you're an in any way an avid games player/tv series watcher/film watcher.

Since games have to run in both HD and normal resolutions, developers will develop content to run at a reasonable framerate in HD, and maybe a little faster but significantly worse looking in SD. Given that the games so far aren't as yet major gameplay upgrades from their current-gen iterations, I'd say you need the HDTV to make the purchase worthwhile, especially considering the early adopter pricing it's on at the

Disillusioned - yep, I too, expect great things from the Revolution. The videos so far make gaming look genuinely fun again in a way it hasn't been (to me) for a good while now...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:26 AM on December 5, 2005

You don't have to have an HDTV, you can hook it to a standard PC monitor with the right cable. (about $40). However, it's unusual to have both a PC monitor and a Dolby Digital receiver in the same room. The 360 is really better with both things. It can output standard stereo, but it's much neater to be able to hear things actually behind you.

It's perfectly playable, however, on a standard-def TV. The games so far are similar to existing games, but faster and shinier. I have PGR3 and Perfect Dark. PD has lots of potential but the single-player game feels incomplete; the plot sort of meanders and big plot threads are just dropped. It feels rushed. The actual play is pretty good. I haven't spent much time on multiplayer yet. PGR3 is your standard racing game with spectacular graphics and a liquid-smooth framerate. The sensation of being in a car is much, much better than earlier consoles have been able to do.

Surprisingly, the game I've enjoyed the most so far is a $5 download called Geometry Wars. It's a fast-and-furious modern Robotron-style game. You fly a ship around with one thumbstick, and shoot in all directions with the other. Enemies come at you in floods from every side. No matter how much stuff is happening, it's flawlessly fast and accurate. Best shooter in ages.

If you already have a big library of existing console games, then you'd pretty much be just buying the same thing over again. You might want to hold off a few months for more stuff to get finished.

If your existing library is limited, or if you don't have a console at all, then a 360 is a good buy, because the games will all be new to you and you'll have lots of headroom for cool stuff later on. I'd definitely buy one before a standard XBox or PS2. And if you have a Media Center PC in the house, you can apparently use it for remote video viewing, although I haven't worked with that at all yet.

One other issue is that if you get a launch console, you're getting all the mistakes. Mistakes can be in your favor (if they screwed up something in the anti-modchip security), or not (if something in the hardware doesn't work well). There's definitely one bad mistake already, in that running the console vertically makes it very easy to scratch your games... even a small bump when the console is vertical can destroy a DVD. So you want to install it horizontally.

And you have to think about cooling... when playing games, both the power brick and the console itself put out substantial heat. A hardwood floor or thin carpet would be best. An enclosed stereo cabinet would probably not be a good idea, at least if you play for long periods of time. If you open the front of the cabinet, that should be fine... it's not like it's molten lead, it just needs some air circulation. The heat isn't hard to deal with, it's just that you need to think about it, which hasn't been true of earlier consoles.

When using it for light-duty tasks, like media playback, it's much quieter and cooler, and probably would be okay in most enclosed cabinets.

If you can deal with those issues, the graphics and responsiveness are amazing. It is an incredibly fast machine. As robbie01 points out, though, be aware that you'll lust after HDTV. Remember that you have the options of buying (or moving) a cheapo computer monitor to put next to the stereo, or a cheapo stereo to put next to the monitor. :)
posted by Malor at 4:39 AM on December 5, 2005

To confirm what reishus said, not only can you get a VGA cable for the Xbox 360, you get quite a lot of control over what resolution it puts out. If, like us, you have a TFT at 1280x1024, you can set the 360 to output 1280x1024, so your monitor doesn't have to do any scaling, which it probably isn't very good at. The 360 will resize the image it puts out to match the resolution of your monitor, and by all accounts the image scaler in the 360 is very good.

Of course, if you have a CRT monitor you can set it to whatever resolution you like.

If you're desparate to play it in HD resolutions but can't fit a 360 in the computer room and can't afford an expensive HDTV, 17-inch widescreen monitors at 720p resolution are cheap and everywhere, at least in the UK.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:43 AM on December 5, 2005

"PGR3 and Call of Duty 2 are garbage, no matter how much fun you have playing them"

Umm... what? Seems to me, if I have tons and tons of fun playing them, doesn't that make them good games, as far as I'm concerned?
posted by antifuse at 6:28 AM on December 5, 2005

Read the rest of the comment.
posted by yerfatma at 7:28 AM on December 5, 2005

He was being sarcastic!
posted by ludwig_van at 8:56 AM on December 5, 2005

If you like the games that are out for the 360, then go for it. They'll look much nicer on an HDTV, but you haven't stopped watching television because you don't have an HD cable box, have you?

I know this wasn't the question, but if you're looking for a good launch title, I enjoyed Condemned immensely. I think the reviews were too harsh on it for "only" being a 10 hour game.

You can also download and play the original Gauntlet with four people over Live, which is awesome. Same goes for (two player) Joust and Smash TV, and I expect they'll be getting a lot more as time goes on. And those won't look any better on an HDTV, since they're low-res to begin with.
posted by Sibrax at 9:06 AM on December 5, 2005

what is this .."xbox360"? is it like an xbox but round? :D
posted by suni at 9:50 AM on December 5, 2005

On the off chance that anyone is still checking this thread, here's an article that compares visual quality of some games that are available on Xbox and 360, using component cables for both to negate the 360's HD advantage. Includes mouse-over screen shots so you can flip between systems. With some games, the difference is incredible.
posted by zanni at 1:19 PM on December 5, 2005

Just for the record, Call of Duty 2 is excellent and most definitely not garbage. And I'm picky when it comes to FPSs.
posted by nthdegx at 12:06 PM on April 4, 2006

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