I'm a Human Inbox

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Revolution will not support High-Definition

Nintendo has announced that they will not be supporting High Definition on their Revolution. Microsoft and Sony have been hyping the whole High Definition thing ever since E3 and they seem to think it's very important. But is it?

How many people do you know that have HDTVs? I know zero. How many people do you know that are willing to pay $2000 for a HDTV? Again, I don't know anyone who thinks it's something they want, or that it would make a good investment. But tech companies are gearing up to sell us HDTVs, HD movies and HD video games. HDTVs cost a lot of money, HD movie players, although they're going to have a format war between HD-DVD and Blue-Ray, are going to cost from $1500 to $2000 when they first come out. Microsoft's and Sony's next-gen consoles will cost a lot of money, and HD will be part of that cost.

It feels to me that tech companies are more interested in selling me something I don't need, rather than actually providing something useful.

Nintendo on the otherhand has said that it won't be following this trend. I applaud them, I think it's a very smart choice for them. It will cost less to produce the games, cost less for their consoles to play them, and the consumer won't have to buy expensive consoles and TVs in order to view their media properly.

There could be a visual downside to the switch to high-definition, though, and this may work to Nintendo's benefit. HD games may be hampered by framerate problems, while SD titles rendered by more powerful hardware will probably run smoothly. "This is my single biggest worry," admits Eggebrecht. "Let's put it this way. At 640x480 [standard definition], we're at a point where we can do anything. Anything. Finally. But with high-definition, I think we're at about the same level of challenge when it comes to framerate as we are this generation. You can do a hell of a lot more polygons. You can do a hell of a lot more shaders. But the inherent fill-rate issues are still certainly there. Will it be a 30-frame time? Will it be a 60-frame time? It will be interesting to see."

Link (via Slashdot)