Microsoft has a software patch coming that will deliver another crushing blow to the looming PS3 launch.
According to Microsoft, your XBox 360 will be able to display 1080p game and movie content. That means Sony's ideal of 'True HD' is just a free minor software upgrade away for 360 owners. The update will upconvert DVDs and lower resolution games to 1080p if you want, but it will also be capable of displaying 1080p content like HD-DVD movies and games created for the higher resolution. Previously, the 360 was only capable of displaying up to 1080i.
Now, take this with a grain of salt as well because according to Kotaku, they've gone on record as saying there is no current plan to add HDMI support, so if movie studios begin restricting the output for purposes of copy protection, it won't mean much of anything. On the game side of things, Microsoft has said they believe 720p is 'the sweet spot' and Microsoft Game Studios won't be producing games for higher then 720p yet. However, this dosen't mean other developers can't.
While this is neat and exciting, I'd bet for the majority of us it probably dosen't matter a whole helluva lot. The level of HD market penetration isn't really that high... maybe around 10%, I think? Makes me wonder though what really changed here... seems like you'd know the capabilities of your own console. Either it can do 1080p well... or it can't. Maybe this was planned from day one? It seems more than likely the 360 has always been capable of 1080p and they just decided to enable it - but my guess is that we don't see too many games that natively support it either for the reason that the 360 isn't powerful enough for complex games good looking fast paced games or because of the cost involved in putting in the extra detail while making them.
At the end of the day we come back to fun games are fun no matter how they look. A terrible game at any resolution is still terrible. Do you care at what HD resolution your next gen console runs at?
Well, I will probably buy the Wii, which doesn't currently support hi-def, so I guess that tells how I feel about HD in games. Hopefully, Nintendo will continue to make fun games for the system.
"The level of HD market penetration isn't really that high... maybe around 10%"
And of that 10% who do own an hdtv the vast majority of them can't display 1080p anyway, only 720p or 1080i so this addition doesn't matter for them anyway. 1080p may look great, but I just don't see 1080p capable sets having much market penetration in the next few years.