XBLA games have to run on a 14″ TV

Thursday, 16th October 2008 10:20 GMT By Patrick Garratt


According to this CVG story, all XBLA games must run on a 14″ TV.

“Microsoft has extremely strict technical certification requirements that you have to get right. One of the biggest challenges is that your game has got to be playable on a 14-inch CRT television,” said Introversion boss Mark Morris, currently working on the Arcade version of Darwinia.

“So you have to do all this visibility work in case someone is playing it on a composite cable through a TV, to make sure they can still read all of the text and tell exactly what’s going on.”

More XBLA technical restriction news and it happens. Don’t you dare touch that dial.



  1. Psychotext

    Define “playable”. I’ve hooked one up to a 14″ TV and nothing was playable unless you were basically sat inside the TV. :)

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Soong

    Why would anyone connect a 360 or a PS3 to a 14-inch CRT television??

    #2 6 years ago
  3. Psychotext

    I’m not sure wanting to is the right term. I guess it’s just to cover those random kids that get bought one for their old crappy TV in the bedroom.

    #3 6 years ago

    “Why would anyone connect a 360 or a PS3 to a 14-inch CRT television??”

    Because they have one sat on their desk for testing?

    (and playing at lunchtime)

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Smartypants

    Why not have a flatscreen PC monitor sat on your desk? Takes up less space, and doesn’t make your eyes bleed when playing 360 games. They’re also pretty cheap now.

    #5 6 years ago

    So you can see what your game looks like on a 14″ tv of course!

    This is what can happen if you do all your testing in HD and neglect the majority of people who don’t have an HDTV.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. Psychotext

    I avoided playing Dead Rising until I had a HDTV because of that crap. :(

    #7 6 years ago
  8. Smartypants

    So you only need to because there are other people who want to connect their 360 or PS3 to an 14″ CRT in the first place? But why would those people want to connect their 360 or PS3 to a 14″ CRT????
    At least use a normal-sized SDTV if you don’t want to buy a HDTV, but if space is an issue I really don’t understand why a cheap flatscreen PC monitor wouldn’t be a better option if you’re already willing to spend money on 360 or PS3 anyway.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Psychotext

    See my earlier post.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Tiger Walts

    So, Rez HD should really be called Rez HDBTEPDM, High-Def But The Extra Pixels Don’t Matter.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Smartypants

    Doesn’t really answer my question. Normal sized SDTV – fair enough. But I really can’t understand why anyone would want to connect their shiny new console to a 14″ CRT. See my earlier post.

    #11 6 years ago

    I suppose it’s more precaution on the developers part tbh.

    Take Psychotext’s comment about not playing Dead Rising, for example.

    For capcom, that’s a lost sale. When you multiply that by all the other people around the world who might feel the same way, you could be talking about a good a minimum of a few thousand unsold units because of the game not being optimised for a section (even if it’s a samll section) of your market.

    It’s also been standard development practice to design for the lowest hardware spec since pretty much day one anyway.

    The simple fact is that there are many people who just can’t afford an HDTV.

    Even a small one.

    #12 6 years ago
  13. Psychotext

    Smartypants: It’s not a case of choice, or wanting to. Like I said, kid has crappy 14″ TV in their bedroom. Parent buys them a console to go with it (360, PS3).

    You’d still expect it to work, even if the kid can’t go out and buy an LCD or a bigger CRT.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. BraveArse

    exactly – not even kid sometimes. I have a crappy small CRT in my bedroom – which my 360 is attached to – so that I can get some gaming in while the missus watches crud on the big telly ( which my PS3 is attached to ). It’s no different, imo, to making WoW compatible with the lowest end PC they can. No worky, no sale.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Esha

    I agree with Smarty, here.

    Logically speaking, if one has the cash to splash on a current generation console, then surely they’d have enough to at least by a low-end HDTV or perhaps at the very least a small PC LCD monitor? Those go for pittance.

    Hooking up anything recent, excluding perhaps the Wii, to such a tiny CRT seems truly pointless. I’d imagine that anyone stuck with a 14in CRT would also not want to buy anything else other than the PS2 they have plugged into it right now, since there are still decent games being released for the PS2.

    I think televisions go with consoles in an entire hardware generation. This is like… I don’t know. Having a PC game run on 256MeB of RAM even though it’s designed for GeForce 9 series cards. After all, it’s not likely that everyone has 2GiB of RAM to go with their GeForce 9 card.

    I really can’t imagine who’d mix and match hardware like that.

    It seems… silly.

    Edit: I suppose BraveArse is the exception, still… surely you could pick up a half-decent LCD monitor to run with your 360, BA? They go for pretty cheap now if you know where to look, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that the quality will be infinitely better and won’t make your eyes bleed.

    #15 6 years ago
  16. Psychotext

    If I’d been forced to upgrade my TV when I bought my HD console I wouldn’t have bothered. Neither would millions of others. It’s like the argument that there’s no point in having a next gen console if you don’t have a HDTV. A good game is a good game, irrespective of resolution. Besides that of course, it’s not like upping the res was the only graphical enhancement this gen.

    The other thing is, you’re making the assumption that the average person would even think about it. You have a display device, you have a console… why wouldn’t that be fine?

    #16 6 years ago
  17. BraveArse

    Not when you’re paying £750 month in nursery fees during the credit crunch. It’s not a pittance then I can tell you. And I have issues with HD anyway – I eventually will buckle and get one, but as a photographer I know empirically and experientially that pixel count means bugger all to image quality beyond a certain minimum. Before that happens you need good contrast ratio, depth of blacks and a gazillion other things to fall into place – and monitors or tellies with all those qualities are even further from a pittance.

    whenever I hear this argument – it always amazes me that anyone can fail to understand the reasons why someone would want something to work on a perfectly good telly even if it is small.

    #17 6 years ago
  18. Esha


    It might actually be because I have sight difficulties and to me a CRT was never any good for gaming, I was pretty much an avid home computer and then PC gamer before the HD revolution came about.

    (I admit that in the earliest days of home computing I did use a CRT, but in those days a pixel was the size of a small child’s hand, so things balanced themselves out.)

    So from my particular perspective, I can’t see any attachment to CRTs whatsoever. They flickered, the image jumped about, they were snowy, and they gave me a migraine after just a few minutes of use.

    I’ll stress again though that this is due to a condition that I suffer from. I keep forgetting that not everyone has that problem.

    Lucky 20/20 Eagle-eyed gits!

    Generally though, when I think of something like this, I think of it from my own perspective. And when I think of using a small CRT, my first thought is something along the lines of: Why would you bring such suffering upon yourself?

    But I suppose that’s only the case for me.

    I’m glad I have my HDTV now anyway. No more headaches, and I get to be a console gamer.

    Edit: That’s not to say I didn’t play console games, mind you. I did. I just didn’t play them for long sessions at a time, I could only manage about an hour before I had to take a rest due to eye-strain. I played what I could but I was happy to retreat to a clearer screen whenever possible. So I was never a serious console gamer like other people I knew.

    I didn’t play much of the early 32-bit console era for this very reason, in fact. Because PCs were already so much better, and the screens were infinitely superior. So I never had to muck about with them.

    These days, all I can think of when I think of CRTs is massive eye-strain, headaches, and pain. Just to explain my above post a bit more.

    #18 6 years ago
  19. BraveArse

    Yeah I can understand that. My personal experience of HD tellies so far has been pretty underwhelming. The depth of colour hasn’t been there at an affordable price until recently and I hate jaggies of any sort ( that comes from years of staring at film grain through a magnifying glass to ensure the finest image possible I guess), which is a major issue with HD gaming imo.

    I guess you could liken it to the arrival of digital music formats. I adopted digital formats really early – my audiophile mates stayed analogue for a very long time after.

    #19 6 years ago
  20. Shatner

    Many here are missing the point. It’s not about “Who would want to connect their console to a 14″ screen?” it’s about the fact that there’s a lot of consoles out there and a lot of 14″ screens out there and it’s not impossible to connect the two. Based on the odds a console manufacturer needs to consider what to do in a given situation. It’s better to cover those circumstances than not as there could be bad publicity otherwise and, besides, if your design is conscientious towards the lowest common denominator then other combinations of screen and game will benefit from good layout design too.

    Console TRCs are extremely mundane but make a fair amount of sense. Hopefully they’re all transparent to the end user and their enjoyment of the game isn’t hampered by the fact that, for example, all important screen information is kept within an X number of pixels from the very edge of the display. Or that the same buttons are generally used for “ok” and “cancel” in every single game.

    Anyone who has ever spent 5 minutes in a QA office will wonder why this little nugget of very standard information has suddenly become news.

    #20 6 years ago
  21. Esha

    BraveArse: Indeed, I’m really attached to HD technology but sometimes I have to take a step back and ask myself when certain things are true, and why people are disagreeing with me. In my case, I became attached to HD televisions simply because they didn’t give me migraines anymore, the fact that they looked better too was a serious bonus.

    I really do dig the HD revolution for that, though. I wouldn’t have been able to really enjoy a PS3 otherwise, whereas I can now play and really enjoy the likes of LBP. I suppose that makes me a bit evangelical.

    So, indeed… perhaps for people who aren’t disabled that way, a CRT does cut it.

    Sorry to have pushed my point there, earlier.

    And Shatner makes good points too. But then, he usually does. And it’s a fair cop. The console World is alien to me, this kind of thing would never really stand in the PC market. That’s why I used the low memory and high graphics equation back there, but I suppose on the console side of things, that’s just the way things work.

    #21 6 years ago
  22. BraveArse

    No need to be sorry Esha – differing opinions, that’s all. :) I just remember seeing all those stupid Without HD There Really Is No Point posts on EG running up to and beyond the launch of the 360. Made me want to ram my 24″ CRT* monitor right up their arses ;)

    *yes, yes I’ve moved to flatscreen now :)

    #22 6 years ago
  23. airdom

    Dead rising was a killer on my old 27′ CRT. looked good, but couldnt read sh*t!!!!!!! then with my new 42′ hdtv everything is beautifullllll!

    on another note….I ABSOLUTELY CAN’T WAIT FOR DARWINIA+ ON XBLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    #23 6 years ago
  24. mortiferus

    This is a waste of development time… I’m sorry, 14″ CRT folks get with the freakin program!

    #24 6 years ago
  25. Psychotext

    With your post you’ve accepted legal obligation to purchase at least a 15″ LCD for all owners of 14″ CRTs with a next gen console.

    Get shopping. :P

    #25 6 years ago
  26. Smartypants

    Can you even find 14″ CRTs in anything else than second-hand shops nowadays? Those people must REALLY want a 14″ CRT BADLY if they’re willing to go through so much trouble to get one.
    Meanwhile you can find cheap flatscreen PC monitors everywhere for about the same price 14″ CRTs used to go for 5 years ago. Go figure, I guess some people are really set in their ways. My grandma, god bless ‘er, she refused to upgrade to a colour TV because she was used to her black&white telly and preferred it. Guess this is the same thing, can’t hate on that.

    #26 6 years ago
  27. Psychotext

    You don’t get it at all do you? You think people are actually going out and buying these now?

    In the real world, not everyone can afford new TVs every 6 months. :P

    #27 6 years ago
  28. Smartypants

    Not every 6 months, but those TVs have to go sometime. How much longer can those things last, after about a decade something has to go wonky.

    #28 6 years ago
  29. Smartypants

    Oh and I assumed that the people who can’t afford a new telly every 6 months are not the same people who can afford an expensive new HD console ;)

    #29 6 years ago
  30. Psychotext

    You’re right. It’s their friends / family buying them the new console. :D

    #30 6 years ago
  31. Smartypants

    I wish my family was like that. They all think I’m wasting my life with this childish hobby of mine. I have to buy all my consoles myself :(

    #31 6 years ago

    Good grief!

    Some people really do have no idea what it’s like to go without, do they?

    #32 6 years ago
  33. Smartypants

    I didn’t mean anything by it :(

    I just think it’s weird, when I’m low on cash and I don’t have any money to spare to buy even a cheap PC monitor, I sure as hell ain’t gonna have any money to spend on a bloody expensive HD console.

    #33 6 years ago
  34. Psychotext

    It makes sense. It’s just that a parent is always going to do what they can to give their kid what they want. If it had to come down to buying a TV and a new console you’d might be looking at too much money.

    But using the console they want, with the TV they have? That makes sense too.

    #34 6 years ago

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