External URL: http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20061009/wen_04.shtml
I personally feel Microsoft and Sony are emphasizing [HDTV] "just enough." HDTV is important to the future of gaming in general. I am seeing increasing interest on the PC gaming side, as well. HDTV is a big part of the next generation of entertainment, but it is hard to justify over-emphasizing it when HDTV sets are still not the majority of TVs in houses, and Europe in particular really lacks in HDTV set sales.
Practically speaking, Microsoft wants the Xbox 360 to be a "convergence device." They are banking on the idea that it will be more convenient for you to buy a HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 than to buy a whole new DVD player. I am quite disappointed, however, that the HD-DVD drive will not be used for game content, and is a negative next to the PS3.
It is hard to say [if] Nintendo made a mistake not including HDTV; I feel they made the decision knowing what their market wants. They continue to show that they understand their market, and what their market wants, incredibly well.
I do not think the gaming industry is jumping in prematurely at all. There is great demand among the early market that flocked to buy the Xbox 360 and that will flock to buy the PS3. It is definitely important to give the market a 720p and 1080i/p gaming experience, but I would never advise a game developer to not support standard definition TVs for the foreseeable future. Although it is not premature to start to innovate game graphics and experiences for HDTV gamers, it is irresponsible to not support the still very large market of non hi-def TVs.
Consumers generally say they do not want to upgrade yet [to HDTV] because there is not enough content available. So if a person watches more TV and movies than playing games, then the answer is when more movies and TV become available, they will upgrade. If the consumer plays a lot of video games as well, then that only adds to the amount of hi-def content available for them to enjoy, so the decision becomes easier. My advice to consumers has always been if the majority of entertainment medium you consume is available in hi-def, then upgrade and enjoy.