Wow. I just went down to Best Buy around the corner and had some quality time with the new XBox 360 kiosk. It's a really, really, nice system.
The demo for Call of Duty 2 was just soooo good, it made you really see the power of what's coming. The graphics were so crisp and movement so fluid, I was really blown away. It reminded me of the quality you see in Half Life 2 - but on a console! Add to this the online play, the new control pad which are a bit smaller and feel a lot better than the old one, the 360 User Interface, the integration of things like downloadable casual games and integrated media player... Oof, it's going to be hard to beat this system.
I will say the other two games on the demo disk weren't nearly as good - King Kong and Kameo - I really wish they had a demo of PGR3 to play rather than just a video, but Call Of Duty's graphics and gameplay was good enough for me to see the potential. Especially since I could wander over to the next kiosk and compare the graphics directly with XBox and PS2 games. Insanely cool.
I've said this before, but this really could be the gaming console of this generation. The XBox has only sold 22 million units vs. 90 million for the PS2, and there are already 170 games reportedly being developed for the PS3, so Sony does has an obvious advantage for those looking to upgrade their current systems. But everything I keep reading about the PS3 is pretty bad. Yes, it'll be powerful, but it's behind schedule, the independant developers are having a hard time with both the development SDK and taking advantage of the Cell processor's power, then there are worries that it's going to be a closed Sony system rather than more open like the XBox 360 (notice Microsoft's constant demos with the iPod plugged into it). Also, there was some backlash against the Nintendo's next console as well recently... Could it be that Microsoft's offering is not only first, but best? (And it only took them two revs to get it right this time. Scary.)
I don't know. It's going to be hard to resist not standing in line on November 22nd and buying a new XBox (Best Buy isn't pre-selling theirs, by the way, it's first-come, first serve. So camp out over night and you can get your own box before Christmas...). Hmm. I'm going to get a next gen console... do I really want to wait until July of next year for it?
I really don't want to give Microsoft any money, but I really might not be able to resist this launch...