Xbox 360 Reaching Its Limits?

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Bruce Everiss, the veteran games industry marketer of BruceOnGames.com has asked the question: Is the Xbox 360 reaching the limits of its capabilities?

While he discuss how all consoles go through a similar development cycle, he makes an interesting point. The Xbox 360’s architecture has been pretty straightforward and easy to use from the word go. Not only that he talks about how good the development kits are as well.

With this in mind we can only assume that developers will be able to squeeze all that the console has to offer out a lot sooner than usual and actually peak way earlier.

Are we already seeing the best that the Xbox 360 has to offer?

Bruce quotes Rod Fergusson, the senior producer for Gears of War at Epic Games from his in depth interview with website Gamasutra, where he said that “…with the two to three more years of optimization that we’ve had, we’re much further along than I think, three years ago, we thought we were going to get. So I think we’re certainly approaching the upper end of it, as far as what developers are able to do with it, but just looking at all the demos we saw today — ours and others — it’s clear that all the games just keep improving, and keep pushing that bar.”

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There is no doubt that the Gears of War games look absolutely stunning but it begs the question of whether or not we will see anything better ever released on the Xbox 360. While there are a lot of elements, such as artwork, that work towards the final presentation of a game we still have to wonder if we are already reaching the pinnacle of the 360’s graphic abilities.

The PS3 left developers struggling to squeeze all the power out of the Sony console at first but as time is going by they are most definitely starting to deliver mind-boggling visuals. Don’t believe me? Spend nothing more than 5 minutes with Metal Gear Solid 4 and you will be blown away. This makes you wonder how much more is still possible as developers learn new and interesting ways to utilise the PS3’s cell processors.

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Both HD consoles still have quite a long life ahead of them and it’s going to be quite interesting to see if the 360 is capable of more than its current offerings and whether or not the PS3 is going to still forge ahead.

Bruce states that “Just like previous generations the absolute limit of capabilities is never reached, these systems are very complex and there is only so much time that can be put into wringing that last ounce of capability out of them. However it must be true that now the developers are nearly getting the most out of the 360 and that further improvements will be slower to come. It is the same in every platform cycle.”

If he is right then it will mean that the Xbox 360 will probably improve as time goes by, although the development will be a lot slower and less dramatic as what we have seen over the past two years.

Source: BruceOnGames

Last Updated: September 4, 2008

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since ’08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

  • Scratchy

    Honestly, if they just keep producing titles as good as they are now, who cares?

    Games look pretty darn good as is.

    Besides…hasn’t the 360 beaten the ps3 in the graphics department on most multi platform games anyways? 😆

  • darthdad

    I believe the answer lies with the developers and not the hardware.
    The 360 and PS3 are both powerful machines, and the developers will
    definitely improve on what has been offered so far for the 360.
    If you compare to the PS2 and how the developers were producing
    the best games on that platform toward the end of its cycle, the 360
    still has a long way to go. So I do not agree with the statement the the 360 is reaching its peak, far from it!

  • Bboy

    True, the PS2’s early games looked nothing like God of War 2 riiiight at the end. Same hardware.

  • pes fan

    Even if xbox 360 is capable of offering incredibl graphics
    comparable to the ps3 now, the potential of the PS3 is far ahead and the difference will be clearly seen in a couple of years. Xbox 360 is way behind and will eventually reach its peak much sooner than Sonay’s console.

  • janrik

    Thing is, the 360 was released in 2005. With a 5 or 6 year run it would move over to the next xbox in 2 or 3 years. Maybe sooner. The PS3 has to slog it out for 10 years according to Sony….

    I think that they can still tap a lot from the 360 and hell of a lot more form the ps3… but will it matter in 3 years time?

    Does the PS2 still matter? Only for sony’s finance dept. it does.

  • Macethy

    While I do believe that maybe the Xbox is definalty half way into it’s life span,the PS3 still has to show us what it can do.This doesn’t mean that the Xbox can not longer keep up with the PS3,on the contrary.
    As the limits of the Xbox graphics start being reached (and eventually)
    the PS3 we will see developers start getting smarter in the way they
    program games and not just bump up the graphics like they are now.
    Just look at God of War 2 on the PS2.Same tech as the first PS2 games
    just developed better.

  • baba

    dartdad, I don’t think you’re getting it. To access to 360’s power is so much easier than the PS3. It is like a BMW M3. Push the pedal and you’ve got the power.

    I do think that the games will do look better and better towards the end of the console’s life, but not nearly in the leaps and bounds that we have seen up to now.

  • There’s a pedal on the 360? Where, where? 😉

    Werners last blog post..FaceBreaker bombs

  • SlippyMadFrog

    IMO there are a couple of games on the 360 that looks better than gears:
    Bioshock
    COD4
    GTAIV

    All hardware will see increased performance towards the end of their life cycle, regardless of how easy or hard it is to develop for. Why? Because development tools and techniques continue to improve. Developers find out ways to optimize their code and implement better coding techniques. To say the Xbox360 have reached a platue is just illogical imo.

  • SlippyMadFrog

    I agree with darthdad, well said

  • Banana hammock

    PS2 is currentlt outselling the 360, so yeah it matters because developers are still making plenty of games as that’s where their money comes from.

    Much easier to dev for and you hit 100,000,000 customers. PS2 still counts in a HUGE way.

  • Banana hammock

    Interesting point you make, cause many people are saying that the PS3 version of Bioshock is better looking than the XboX version. But i think that’s 90% to do with the extra time as apposed to the console being better/worse.

    However, nothing i have seen on any console or even in demos of upcoming games looks nearly as good as MGS4. People can say what they want about it but graphically the game is immense.

  • Bboy

    heh, in the end it’s still better than PC – there your shiz is outdated in a couple months and you need to upgrade. Even if we don’t get much more power out the xbox, im happy that the games made for it will still run well.

  • Fox1

    💡 I think both consoles will be evenly matched in the next few
    years or so. The 360 lacks the total CPU power of the PS3 but
    the 360 has a better GPU architecture.

  • Abe

    They have been saying this for ages, in fact some have been saying this since the launch of geow1 and yet we have seen graphically superior games. I do however feel that the xbox will reach its peak before the ps3, but that is simply cos the two companies have different stratagies

  • baba

    You’ll find it quick enough when it scrathes a disk, or you get the RROD!!! 🙂

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