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Gaming

Xbox buzz runs the gamut

Gamers are chatting up a storm about Microsoft's new game console, but the feedback ranges from blown away to unimpressed.

You say potato, I say "poTAHto." You say the Xbox 360 is smokin', I say, it's OK, but nothing special.

Such is the wide range of commentary buzzing around the Internet about Microsoft's newest game console, unveiled during a taped MTV broadcast Thursday and expected to take center stage at next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.

Game bloggers and players alike have been very vocal about the new Xbox since Thursday night, when they could first set eyes on the console and its much-touted high-definition picture display.

Although their passions lie with machines, game fans have been offering some very human feedback, calling the new Xbox everything from "ugly" to "smoking hot" and "a serious beast of a console."

But most, like CNET News.com reader Matthew Ford, are somewhere in between. He was particularly unimpressed by the commercial-heavy MTV unveiling, which left him with some unanswered questions. "I didn't really hear any killer features or see any killer games," he wrote in response to a News.com article about the Xbox, adding that he still wants to know whether the console has backward compatible and how much it's going to cost.

"I own an Xbox and a PS2 right now, and I didn't see anything I'd want to give up those systems for," Ford continued. "My gut says Microsoft might have a real problem on its hands if people decide the current generation is 'good enough' and/or want to wait for Sony to respond with their feature set."

Twenty-year gamer and CNET News.com reader Christopher Hall posted an essay offering a mostly favorable perspective on the new console, but he did voice some concerns. He's pleased with the console's aesthetics and its wireless controllers and was "blown away" by its technical capability. But like others, he wasn't impressed game-wise and is reserving judgment on the backward compatibility.

Still, "if they were taking pre-orders, I'd plop down money today," Hall said. "I can't wait to learn more at E3."

Much of the chatting also centers around how the Xbox 360 will stack up to new-generation game consoles from leading competitors, Sony and Nintendo.

"I think Sony just lost yet another potential customer," wrote a Gameshell.com forum writer. "The Xbox 360 is so ridiculously fast...Oh my God, and the resolution is extremely intense as well."

Others are debating the new Xbox's specs, which have been called both "unbelievable" and "obsolete from the start." One of the criticisms is that it has a DVD player, which some say has a limited life with high-density disc designs about to come out. Others argue that DVD is good enough for now and it's too early to bet on future designs.

The discussion has also been about the look of the new console. And beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder: An Aelong.net forum writer likes "the creamy smooth look much more than the hard black of previous consoles," while a CNET News.com reader says the design will "clash" with other technology decor.