Posted on October 26, 2007,

Ex-Harmonix Employee Bashes PlayStation 3


I realize the fanboys are waiting to just rip through these claims as soon as they’re posted, but it’s still an interesting story nonetheless. Jason Booth, a former Harmonix employee who worked on the first two Guitar Hero games and Rock Band before leaving the studio last month, has posted a fairly long blog post explaining, in his own words, “exactly why ports to the ps3 will never be as good as their 360 counter parts, and why most ps3 exclusives will likely continue to suck.”

While it can be equated to a bash fest (he addresses that exact point), it’s hard for anyone other than an actual developer to disagree with him. So far as I know, no one here at Gaming Today is experienced in the field, and while we can all cite as many other developers as we want, it doesn’t necessarily prove what Booth is saying to be wrong.

Why the PS3 version often pails in comparison to the 360 version, and why exclusives often suck:

As outlined above, getting equivalent performance out of the PS3 requires a lot of work unique to the platform, and in many cases, even with all these tricks, you still won’t see equivalent performance. Thus, many ps3 games have simplified shaders and run at lower native resolutions than the 360 versions. On top of this, there is shrinking incentive to do this work; the PS3 isn’t selling.

The code needed to make the PS3 work is most likely only useful to you on the PS3, as the types of tricks you need to do to make the thing perform are very unique to the platform and unlikely to be useful on any other architecture now or in the future. These issues all stem from unbalanced hardware design, and any future hardware that is this unbalanced will likely be unbalanced in a completely unique way.

Finally, there’s the problem of resources. Game Development is, at it’s heart, a resource management challenge. Given finite resources, do I have these five engineers work on optimizing the PS3 version to look better, or do I use them to make the game play better and fix bugs? Do I change my design to fit with what the PS3 hardware does well, or simply run the game at a slightly lower resolution on the PS3 to make up for it? Developers striving to push the PS3 hardware have often sacrificed their game in the process.

This post might come across as a lot of Sony bashing, but it’s just the reality from the trenches. Sony let their hardware be designed by a comity of business interests rather than a well thought out design that would serve the game development community. They are going to loose hard this round because of it, and I hope that in the next round they take lessons from this round and produce a more balanced and usable machine.

This doesn’t make Ratchet & Clank Future look any less beautiful, so even if this is all true, does it really matter?

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9 Comments on Ex-Harmonix Employee Bashes PlayStation 3

Ron Whitaker

On October 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm

I’m obviously not intimately familiar with the hardware; however, I’ll offer up this as a counterpoint to that fellow’s comments.

Back in August, Shawn filed a story about the folks over at Ubisoft (specifically the GRAW team)saying that the PS3 is no harder to develop for than the 360. Their take on it is that it’s new technology, and developers actually have to learn the hardware before they can effectively utilize it.

A quote: “It’s wrong to say it’s harder to code on the PlayStation 3, it’s just something that needs to be learnt,” said Yann Le Tensorer, co-founder of Ubisoft’s Tiwak studio and co-creator of the Yeti engine powering GRAW and the upcoming Beowulf game.

“It’s not harder to develop on the PS3 than it is on the 360, it’s just a different console. Developers might says it’s harder because it just takes time to understand the technology, we’re still early in the lifecycle.”


Who’s right? Who knows. It’s all just an excuse for the console fanboys to foam at the mouth at each other a little more.


On October 26, 2007 at 2:58 pm

I think the comments on the original article are hilarious. For every intelligent, analytical response there are 10-15 responses calling him names.

It’s an interesting article. But, as with most things I find on the internet, that’s the end of it. It’s not the word of God. There’s another side to the story, and I’ll read that too when someone posts it.

But, as always, I have to ask… Unless you’re starting a game development company, or hold an ungodly amount of stock in Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft, WHY DO YOU CARE?


On October 26, 2007 at 2:58 pm

If you changed the letters PS3 to PS2 in that it would be just like being back in 2001. A lot of US designers are still pissed that they missed the boat with the PS2. They made the same criticisms that it was difficult to dev for and chose to work on the Xbox instead because it was so much easier. Of course they changed their minds when the PS2 sold far more and when it got a lot easier to dev for. The fact is in a few years the PS3 will also be far easier to develop for and there will probably be far more sold than 360s and all this will be forgotten the same way everyone seems to have forgotten what was said about the PS2.

No matter what Jason Booth says that doesnt change the fact that the PS3 is selling as well as the 360 did and that there are more exclusive games released or in development for it than on the 360. It’s obviously more difficult to dev for but that doesnt seem to be making any difference to sales or the amount of people developing for it. Sure multiplatform ports might not be as good on the PS3 at the moment but Insomniac Games are proving that purpose made games for it can be as good as anything. One of the best pieces I have read about the PS3 and the criticisms levelled at it was written by Brian Hastings who is the Chief Creative Officer at Insomniac. It was written in March and titled: 10 Reasons Why PS3 Will Win This Console Generation.

“First of all, let me make it clear that Insomniac is a 100% independent development studio. Sony has neither endorsed nor authorized what I’m writing here.

When I started this blog post I was planning to write about Home and Little Big Planet from a developer’s perspective. But as I read some of the media and message board responses to Sony’s GDC presentation, I wanted to address an ongoing industry phenomenon. Specifically, the sheer volume of negative spin toward Sony from both the mainstream press and the internet community. Mere minutes after Sony announced a beautiful, ground breaking, free, community-enhancing online PS3 service, 100 internet posters were trying to argue that this was somehow a bad thing. Whether you love or hate Sony, if you’re trying to spin Home as a bad thing I can only conclude that you’re part of Microsoft’s $3.2 billion viral marketing campaign.

I’ll be the first to say that Sony has had a very rough road from last E3 up through this year’s GDC. Some of their wounds have been self-inflicted, but they’ve also had to face a conuously hostile media. Take the New York Times article “How the PS3 will kill your dog, steal your girlfriend, and infect you with Ebola.” And Time magazine’s piece “Global Warming: Is It The PS3?” And more recently, GameSpot’s “Ten Complaints We Thought Up While Everyone Else Was Watching Little Big Planet.”

For the last nine months it has been fashionable to bash the PS3. At first it was controversial, even titillating, to make sensational and dire predictions about the PS3′s future. You could watch it happen again and again – a rumor starts on a message board (“The PS3s all caught on fire at TGS!”, “Blu-Ray won’t have any Porn!”), then it gets picked up by a games industry website, and a few days later USA Today runs the story with the headline “Experts Say PS3 Doom3d!1!!” But the tide has changed so much now that it’s downright controversial to suggest that the PS3 may yet be a success. So, in the spirit of sensationalism and controversy, let me present to you 10 reasons why the PS3 will be the console market leader by 2010:

1. Home & Little Big Planet

One of my jobs at Insomniac is to try to come up with “the next big thing.” This is something everyone at Insomniac does, but as Chief Creative Officer it’s also part of my job description. For the last two years there have been two concepts that I have felt had the strongest potential to be the next big thing. At GDC, Sony came out of the blue and delivered fully-realized versions of both concepts.

The first concept is a realization of the ‘Metaverse’ from Neal Stephenson’s groundbreaking novel Snow Crash. For those who haven’t read it, it’s what inspired Second Life. Over the last couple years, many of us at Insomniac have come up with lots of different ideas on how to make such a system for consoles. So when Home came out, already nearly complete and looking beautiful, it was both amazing and humbling at the same time. In short, Home is exactly what the online console community needs. I’m not saying that because it’s on the PS3. I’m saying that because Home is a fully realized version of something I’ve been trying to figure out how to do for two years.

The other “next big thing” I had been thinking about is how to make a game that is primarily driven by player-generated content. So when Little Big Planet was announced I felt like Orville Wright tinkering on a bicycle-powered balsa wood plane as a learjet suddenly flew overhead. Not only does Little Big Planet have stunningly beautiful graphics, gorgeous animation, brilliant physics and intuitive controls, it’s also a cooperative four player online game! This alone makes it accessible to a much greater audience than player vs player games. And most important of all, it has an absolutely ingenuous system for creating and sharing your own levels. This is HUGE. This is something that’s never been done on consoles and now it’s being introduced not as a half-baked add-on to another game, but as an absolutely brilliant, fully realized, breathtaking experience. You can bet that dozens of developers will create their own Little Big Planet levels as soon as it comes out. Many future game designers will get their start by designing Little Big Planet levels. Gamers who previously had no way to get their foot in the door as a game designer will have developers calling them in the middle of the night if they make a top-rated LBP level. I say again, Little Big Planet is HUGE.

It’s humbling to know that other developers had not only thought of these two concepts, but brought them to fruition in such stunning fashion. Mostly, though, it’s very encouraging to see Sony taking more of a lead in online innovation. While some people were accusing them of merely copying the competition, Sony has been quietly working on two of the most innovative ideas of this generation. “Mii too?” Give me a break.

2. Free Online

Among all the talk about the price of Sony’s console, I almost never see anyone mention the significance of Sony’s free online service. Xbox Live Gold costs $70 to sign up for 1 year, or $20 for three months [It's actually now $49.99 for a one-year subscription - Ed.]. You can renew your membership for $50 a year. So if the Xbox 360 stays around for five years, you’ll be paying 70 + 50 + 50 + 50 + 50 = $270 to access features that Sony gives you for free.

I agree, Xbox Live is overall offering a better online service right now. But $270 better? And Sony is steadily narrowing the gap in online features. With improvements to the messaging system and support for background downloading, Sony is rapidly catching up with many of the key advantages that Live has enjoyed. Add to that the fact that Sony is offering virtually lag-free dedicated servers at no cost, while on Xbox Live you are paying for a more laggy peer-to-peer service. Furthermore, one of the biggest advertised features of Xbox Live is matchmaking, yet the implementation of this feature has been inconsistent since it is left up to the developer. The matchmaking service on Resistance: FOM, meanwhile, has been one of its biggest successes, proving that even at this early stage the PS3′s online capabilities are very competitive. And free. As the PS3 community continues to grow with new features and player-generated content from Home and Little Big Planet, Sony’s online service is looking better and better. And, again, they’re not charging you $270 for it.

3. 50 GB games

If you ever hear someone say “Blu-Ray isn’t needed for this generation,” rest assured they don’t make games for a living. At Insomniac, we were filling up DVDs on the PS2, as were most of the developers in the industry. We compressed the level data, we compressed the mpeg movies, we compressed the audio, and it was still a struggle to get it to fit in 6 gigs. Now we’ve got 16 times as much system RAM, so the level data is 16 times bigger. And the average disc space of games only gets bigger over a console’s lifespan. As games get bigger, more advanced and more complex, they necessarily take up more space. If developers were filling up DVDs last generation, there are clearly going to be some sacrifices made to fit current generation games in the same amount of space.

Granted, some really great Xbox 360 games have squeezed onto a DVD9. Gears of War is a beautiful game and shows off the highest resolution textures of anything yet released, partly because of the Unreal Engine’s ability to stream textures. This means that you can have much higher resolution textures than you could normally fit in your 512 MB of RAM. It also means that you’re going to chew up more disc space for each level. With streamed textures, streamed geometry and streamed audio, even with compression, you can quickly approach 1 GB of data per level. That inherently limits you to a maximum of about 7 levels, and that’s without multiplayer levels or mpeg cutscenes.

Sometimes people ask us, “If Resistance takes 14 gigabytes, why doesn’t it look better than Gears?” Well, for one, Resistance didn’t support texture streaming, so we had to make choices about where we spent our high-res textures. Resistance also had 30 single-player chapters, six multiplayer maps, uncompressed audio streaming, and high-definition mpegs. That all added up to a lot of space on the disc. Starting with Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction we are supporting texture streaming, which will make the worlds look even better, and will also consume even more space on disc.

There’s no question that you can always cut more levels, compress the audio more, compress the textures more, down-res the mpeg movies, and eventually get any game to fit on a DVD. But you paid for a high-def experience, right? You want the highest resolution, best audio, most cinematic experience a developer can offer, right? That’s why Blu-Ray is important for games, and why it will become more important each year of this hardware cycle.

4. Casino Royale

Casino Royale is the first high definition title to crack the top 10 on Amazon’s DVD charts, rising up to number seven shortly after being released. This is significant because it dispels the myth that high definition discs are merely a niche and will never take off with the mainstream.

A lot of people have been waiting on the fence to see whether Blu-Ray or HD-DVD would emerge as the winner of the format war. Well, at this point the war is as good as over. Blu-Ray has won a TKO. It always had superior technical specs and much wider studio support, but there was the question of whether HD-DVD’s earlier release and initially lower price would capture enough of the market to make it the winner. But Blu-Ray has already surpassed HD-DVD in overall discs sold, and is currently outselling HD-DVD discs at about a 3:1 rate. Many neutral observers in the A/V community have called the war in favor of Blu-Ray. If you want minute-to-minute updates, you can follow what’s left of the format war at various locations on the internet:

These sites mainly compare Amazon sales data, but the Nielsen sales data shows the same thing: Blu-Ray discs are outselling HD-DVD by a steadily increasing margin.

Many of Disney, Fox and Sony’s biggest box office movies will release exclusively on Blu-Ray in the next three months, likely pushing the sales separation between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD to a margin where many retailers will begin phasing out HD-DVD. Retailers hate a format war even more than consumers, and I suspect they’ll take the initiative to end it as quickly as possible.


A lot has been said about Sony’s choice to ship with composite cables. I won’t say I agree with that decision, but I think too little has been said of the fact that even the cheaper PS3 SKU supports HDMI 1.3. The PS3 was the first consumer device to support it, and this is a very important future-proofing step. When you go to buy higher-end TVs, the PS3 will support the highest possible audio and video input the TV and receiver can accept. If and when high-def movies start requiring an Image Constraint Token, the PS3 will still be able play them in high definition.

Right now, HDMI seems primarily to be a selling point to the hardcore audio and videophiles of the world. But HDTVs are getting cheaper and more popular all the time, and consumer sophistication and knowledge of high definition audio and video is growing. In a couple years, HDMI devices will be the standard. Graphics and audio in games will also continue to improve, and more and more consumers will want HDMI in order to get the best results on their home theater setups. As this happens, Microsoft has a difficult choice – do they stick with “last gen” video output, or do they release a premium version of the Xbox 360 that includes HDMI but effectively forces early adopters to re-buy the system to get the best results? Sony ultimately made their console more expensive by including HDMI, but over the next couple years it’s likely to play out as the right choice.

6. Standard HDD

When we were developing for PS2, I was jealous of Xbox’s standard hard drive. There are so many things this allowed you to consider as a developer – virtually unlimited save data, improved load times, custom music, downloadable content and user-created content just to name a few. But since hard drives, no matter what the size, never get cheaper than about $50, Microsoft lost money trying to compete with the PS2′s price. That may be the reason they left it out of the cheaper Xbox 360 SKU, thinking that Sony would again leave out the hard drive on the PS3. Instead, Sony made the hard drive standard for both SKUs. This added to the cost of the PS3, but it also let developers use the HDD in games.

The problem with including a hard drive in one version of the 360 and not in the other is that developers can’t use it for the games. Or, at least, they can’t use it for any required features. When you are guaranteed to have at least a 20 GB hard drive in the console, you can write your load caching routines around it, or use it for your application’s storage needs. To a developer, an optional hard drive is roughly equivalent to no hard drive at all.

Another advantage of the PS3 is that it will let you put in any third party hard drive you want. From a developer’s standpoint, this is good news because the market will gradually be able to support larger downloadable games over the course of the PS3′s life. As downloadable content gets larger and more sophisticated, PS3 owners can choose to buy larger hard drives at the best market price. The more this happens, the more developers will be encouraged to create better and better downloadable games.

7. The Wii Fad Will Fade

OK, this one’s going to be controversial, but I have to say it. I like Nintendo a lot. I think Nintendo has innovated far more than any other company in the industry. And I think the Wii is really, really fun. But… let me relate to you a story that may sound familiar:

Your friend Reggie invites you over for a Wii Party. It’s awesome. You and your friends partake in whatever beverages are legally appropriate for your age group. The next day everyone who went to the party rushes out and buys a Wii.

A week later Reggie hosts another Wii Party. This time only half the group comes. It’s still fun, but there isn’t quite as much shoving to get at the Wiimote.

The next week Reggie hosts another Wii Party. You tell him you have bird flu.

Obviously I’m exaggerating, but the Wii does have many characteristics of popular mainstream fads. It’s instantaneously accessible, it’s unlike anything you’ve tried before, and it’s great fun to share with friends. In short, it’s everything Nintendo said it would be and it has captured the world’s imagination. The only downside is that the world is easily distracted. Tickle Me Elmo captured the world’s attention at one point, as did Furbies. They were both instantly accessible, were unlike anything people had seen before, and were fun to share with friends. But a year later, after everyone had seen them and tried them out, their popularity waned.

The Wii is currently riding on a massive wave of mainstream attention and has been purchased by lots of people who don’t normally play games. But how many of those people who are hooked on Wii Sports will also buy Wii Need For Speed? Mainstream fads usually run their course within a year. As the honeymoon period fades, the Wii will be going up against more and more graphically impressive games on the PS3 and Xbox 360. More people will be buying HD televisions and looking for the most immersive and stunning experiences available. For these reasons, I think the Wii will be more successful than the GameCube or N64 but in the long run will still be outsold by the PS3.

8. PS3 Has a Major CPU Advantage

The GPUs on the Xbox 360 and PS3 are roughly equivalent, with the Xbox 360 arguably having a slight edge. The difference in CPU power, however, is far greater with the PS3 enjoying the advantage. The PS3′s eight parallel CPUs (one primary “PPU” and seven Cell processors) give it potentially far more computing power than the three parallel CPUs in the Xbox 360. Just about any tech programmer will tell you that the PS3′s CPUs are significantly more powerful. The problem is that it has been challenging thus far to take advantage of the Cell’s parallel architecture.

With the PS2, Sony got away with making a fairly developer-unfriendly system, and its success allowed their hardware designers to ignore developer’s complaints as they made the PS3. People high up at Sony have realized that approach simply won’t work anymore and are trying to fix the problem. Sony is actively improving their libraries, tools and developer support in order to make PS3 development easier. They are giving first party developed techniques and code to third-party developers so that multi-platform games should start looking better on PS3.

Games developed from the ground up on PS3 are the ones that will really show off the PS3′s CPU advantage. The complexity of the distributed processing architecture means that PS3 engines won’t fully blossom until a little later in the lifecycle than the PS2. This has put the PS3 at a disadvantage early in its lifecycle, but within two years you will see games that surpass what is possible on the Xbox 360.

9. PS2 still outselling 360

I know, it’s outselling the PS3 by an even larger margin. But the continued strong PS2 sales really are a good thing for Sony. Anyone buying a PS2 at this point is probably not going to buy a PS3 or Xbox 360 in the next year. And when they do choose to buy the current generation of hardware, the PS3 will be in a lot better position. The price will have come down, the game library will be broad, and the top PS3 titles will probably have the edge in both graphics and sound. Just as important, the people buying into the PS2 now will be getting into many of Sony’s exclusive franchises that they will then later want to play on the PS3.

10. Something For Everyone

One of Sony’s biggest advantages is that it has strong franchises in every genre. Whereas Microsoft’s successful titles are mostly M-rated, and Nintendo’s are mostly E-rated, Sony has a big list of hit titles across the spectrum. When a 30-something gamer (like me) goes to buy a game console, it’s a lot easier to justify the purchase when there are games he can play with his kids as well as more mature stuff.

To Microsoft’s credit, they are doing a good job of catching up. The acquisition of Rare and the development of Viva Pinata have helped to broaden their spectrum. But it takes time to build a franchise, and Sony has been building their suite of titles for over a decade. Consider the breadth, success and critical acclaim of some of their exclusive properties: The Getaway, God of War, Gran Turismo, Hot Shots Golf, Jak and Daxter, Killzone, Ratchet & Clank, Shadow of the Colossus, Singstar, Sly Cooper, SOCOM, and Twisted Metal. These are all million-plus sellers worldwide that are either already announced or likely to appear on PS3. Add to this Sony’s new line up of first-party titles, including Heavenly Sword, Lair, Motorstorm, Resistance: Fall of Man, Uncharted and White Knight Story, and they have an even deeper and stronger line-up than what they had on PS2.

A lot of industry watchers and even a handful of publishers have been quick to write Sony off this generation, and I think that’s near-sighted. Sony has made a lot of decisions with the PS3 that may have slowed them down in the short run, but should give them a big advantage in the long run. The high price, hardware complexity, and the uncertainty of the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD format war have contributed to the PS3′s slow start out of the gate. But as the price drops, developers master the hardware, and Blu-Ray becomes the new DVD standard, Sony’s early disadvantages turn to advantages. As downloadable games become more common, the 60 GB hard-drive will be a big advantage to developers and consumers. As games get bigger and more sophisticated, Blu-Ray storage will increasingly become a major advantage. And as more and more of Sony’s exclusive first-party titles get released, the PS3 will begin to outsell the competition on a monthly basis. Those publishers who have shifted resources away from PS3 development will find themselves behind the curve and losing money as the market center gradually shifts toward the PS3 over the next two years.

used cisco

On October 26, 2007 at 5:36 pm

What Norbit says may be true, but while he criticizes others for conveniently forgetting that the PS2 was also difficult to develop for, he is conveniently forgetting that the PS2 was way ahead of the xbox in sales and install base. This meant developers were somewhat FORCED to learn the PS2 architecture since there wasn’t a truly viable alternative. This time its different, this time the PS3 is difficult to develop for AND in last place. I doubt that all the developers are going to find the same reasoning to learn the more challenging system when that system is no longer the most lucrative platform. Sure, developers will tolerate a challenging platform if its selling like crazy, but if its in dead last for a year and counting, I don’t think they will tolerate the challenges quite so readily. We’re already seeing this as the PS3 hemorrhages exclusives like Assassins Creed, Ace Combat and so many others.
Hell, its even losing major franchises to Nintendo like Monster Hunter on Wii and Dragon Quest on DS. The PS2 was difficult to develop for, but you sure as hell didn’t see the mass exodus we’re seeing on the PS3. So, its not just that its hard to develop for that makes things look dark for PS3, its that combined with what we’re seeing on the software front, the fact that we are SEEING the challenges chasing games off the platform.


On October 26, 2007 at 7:24 pm

Used Cisco:

You’re forgetting the Dreamcast. It had a year head start and a significant lead over the PS2 when the PS2 came out. The early PS2 games lagged behind the Dreamcast games of the same timeframe as well, often having many jaggies and other graphical artifacts that the Dreamcast games didn’t have. There were development alternatives to the PS2 and they were impressive at first. By the end though, the faster and more powerful EE chip (300mhz 3-core) won out over the SH-4 (200mhz 1-core) that the Dreamcast had, even though the PS2 had a much wimpier graphics chip with a comparatively poor fill rate. It took a year and a half before the PS2 games were looking anywhere near as good as the Dreamcast games.

As for Monster Hunter and Dragon Quest, both of these are games where they’re fairly broad spectrum, and they have always gone to the system that had the largest install base. Look at DQ’s trail of systems to see that, NES->SNES->PS1->PS2. DQ has also recently come out very late in each console’s lifespan. They’re NOT hardcore games by any stretch of the imagination, so it doesn’t make sense to put them on the PS3 until it’s completely up and running for casual audiences as well.


On October 27, 2007 at 2:21 am

One thing I know both consoles are doing is compromising resolution for faster framerates. The whole “is it upscaling?” issue has made the whole 720p vs 1080p debate kind of moot. If you aren’t internally rendering at 1080p, then you aren’t 1080p.

There are compromises going on at both ends.

It’s obvious the hardware between the two are so vastly different that it’s near impossible for any dev to get a 1:1 mapping of each. So yeah, for X title Y console is going to be better than Z. For W title, Z might be better than X.

If the devs can do some coding tricks and try to fool us, then great. I can’t expect them to spend 1000s of more man-hours to figure out how to get some technical detail improved on a resource strained console that in the end amounts to a hill of beans.

Who plays Guitar Hero for graphics anyway? It’s all subjective if you ask me.

used cisco

On October 29, 2007 at 11:09 am


I’m not forgetting the dreamcast. Its irrelevant in this discussion. By the time the xbox and gamecube mattered, the dreamcast didn’t. EA abandoned in. In fact, most of the major developers ignored it. By the time the last gen really ramped up, and all the players were on the field, the dreamcast was already a memory.


On November 2, 2007 at 8:24 am

I think the statement from Midway this week that you can solve the port problem by making the PS3 the lead SKU is going to render most of this guys arguments completely irrelevant. In fact it makes you wonder why if he knew what he was talking about he didn’t mention that? Something that people have been saying for a long time is that its easier to port from the PS3 to the 360 than the other way around so that’s what will happen over time.


On November 11, 2007 at 9:16 am

i agree with norbit. And me… i play the games for story, creativity and playability. Graphics are nice but people in my part of the continent onli need standard graphics. Story, creativity and playability are way more important.
And thats why xbox onli limits to europe and North America.