CONSOLE NEWS: XBOX 360 News
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    CONSOLE NEWS: XBOX 360 News

    Microsoft to launch Xbox 360 in Japan, Europe in '05

    Microsoft today announced it would launch its new Xbox 360 game console in Japan and Europe in time for the year-end holiday shopping season.

    Xbox 360 news from Japanese Xbox Summit

    Microsoft Japan hosted this morning (5.30 am in the UK, 1.30 pm in Japan) in Tokyo the eagerly awaited Xbox Summit 2005. The event was used to announce a number of new Xbox 360 titles, most of which are in development by Japanese development studios:

    - The big news is the announcement of Ridge Racer 6 for the Xbox 360. Namco also announced Love Football, due in time for next years football world cup, and showed a new trailer for the previously announced Frame City Killer

    - Team Ninja announced that they have five games in development: Dead or Alive 4, Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball 2, Code Cronus, Project Progressive, and a secret game.

    - The other big news that will please European gamers is the announcement that Winning Eleven (Pro Evolution Soccer) will appear on the Xbox 360 in autumn 2006.

    Xbox 360: Enter The Beta Kits

    The chaps over at IGN has posted an extensive article detailing the Xbox 360's Beta Development Kit. With the exception of the audio chips (this chipset isn't complete), the Beta Kits contain about 90% of the console's chip set. They comprise the specialized three-CPU core processors and the graphics GPU.
    We asked the teams how much more powerful the Beta Kits are then the P5s they're been working on, and what the significance of that additional power is. We learned that they're still exploring the Beta Kits' power and limitations, and that while there is nearly twice as much graphic power, the way in which coding passes from the triple core processors through the systems, it's got to be cleaner than on single processing machines. One North American developer had this outlook. "On our side, we've been working very hard to tap into the full power of the Betas. On a technical side, while the GPU is nearly twice as powerful as the Alpha kits, the CPU architecture requires very clean logic coding in order to take advantage of its full potential." (We'll get to the clean logic bit later on in the story.)
    Another developer explained the differences this way:
    "The major difference is in the video chipset, which is pretty different from anything you can find on the PC (or alpha hardware). It does some slick bits of load balancing between pixel performance and vertex performance, which helps us make sure that we're maxing out the video hardware no matter what we're doing. HDTV looks spectacular on this thing.
    Microsoft still losing money on Xbox

    DESPITE posting a 22% increase in revenue for its Home & Entertainment division Microsoft continues to make an operating loss on the arm amounting to $179 million, bringing the yearly loss to $391 million. This is down from a loss of $1.2 billion last year, so not too bad, but the Xbox remains a big money loser for Microsoft.

    Link

    Xbox 360 Hard Drive Content Revealed

    Microsoft has submitted the media content of the Xbox 360 hard drive to the British Board of Film Classification for the organization to classify the age-rating.

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    Possible 100 Xbox 360 Titles Before Year End

    Microsoft said 38 publishers, including Square Enix Co. Ltd., Electronic Arts Inc., and Namco Ltd., are developing 45 game titles. More than 100 other titles are being worked on.

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    Xbox 360 peripheral update (Xbox 360)

    At Microsoft's Xbox Summit in Japan on Monday they revealed some more information on the peripherals included in the Xbox 360 box and those which you'll be able to purchase separately. Included in the box (which are green and white, in Japan at least) is a wireless controller, an Xbox Live headset, Ethernet cable, a 20 GB hard drive and presumably an AV cable. Peripherals available separately include additional wireless and wired controllers, faceplates, a number of AV cables, memory cards, remote control, larger hard drives, wireless adapters and controller chargers.

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    Microsoft mulling HD-DVD in future Xbox 360 revisions

    "The initial shipments of Xbox 360 will be based on today's DVD format," Gates confirmed at the time, speaking at a conference co-hosted with HD-DVD creator Toshiba in Tokyo. "We are looking at whether future versions of Xbox 360 will incorporate an additional capacity of an HD-DVD player or something else," he continued.

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    Xbox High-Definition Videos

    The minimum requirements for viewing high-definition (720p) videos are: Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Media Player 9 Series, a 2.4 GHz processor or equivalent, 384 MB of RAM, a 64 MB video card, 1024x768 screen resolution, and a 16-bit sound card with attached speakers.

    Download: Xbox High-Definition Videos

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    New Xbox Live Bundles Announced

    The package, which retails for US$69.99, includes a 12-month Xbox Live subscription, an Xbox Live Communicator Headset, a full version of Project Gotham Racing 2, and casual games from Xbox Live Arcade. In addition to the 12-month option, a new three-month Xbox Live Starter Kit will be available this summer for US$39.99.


    Xbox 360 pictured, does a million polygons

    ATI did its own Rubi demo and was rendering that demo on 720P resolution. The Rubi model was rendered with 70,000 polygons while some of its elements had as many as 120,000 polygons per character. The most demanding scene had the dreamlike number of one million polygons per scene.
    Last edited by TechZ; August 11th, 2005 at 02:38 AM.

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    XBox 360 Pricing Speculation -
    Gamedaily has posted an interview with an analyst who believes the XBox 360 will launch with two SKUs. The first SKU will retail for $299, and will be hard drive free (or a smaller hard drive), the second SKU will retail for $349/$399 and will come with "everything a gamer needs anyway."

    Xbox 360 games cheaper than expected? -
    Amazon.co.uk has begun listing Xbox 360 games for pre order with the prices at either 29.99 or 32.99. So far the only games listed are Call of Duty 2 - 29.99, Kameo: Elements of Power - 29.99, Perfect Dark Zero - 32.99, Quake 4 - 29.99, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland - 29.99 and GUN - 29.99.

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    XBOX 360 Launch Titles

    North American retailer Electronics Boutique, which expects Microsoft to ship the Xbox 360 as early as November 2, 2005 for an MSRP of $299.99, has comprised a complete, albeit questionable, list of Xbox 360 games for the console launch, IGN learned today from several EB outlets. The list IGN acquired from EB retailers today, features 21 launch titles, including three first-party games from Microsoft Game Studios -- Perfect Dark LE (i.e. Limited Edition), Kameo: Elements of Power, and Project Gotham Racing 3, approximate pricing, and sku numbers for every game.

    EB's own data includes a $59.99 price for every Xbox 360 game, except one, Kameo, which listed at $49.99. The retailer told IGN that software prices weren't fixed yet, as Microsoft, third-party publishers, and presumably North American retailers agree on a firm prices. EB even has Halo 3 listed as shipping July 1, 2006, presumably the same day as Sony's PlayStation 3.
    The full list of expected launch titles:
    Amped 3 (2K Games)
    Call of Duty 2 (Activision)
    Condemned (Sega)
    Dead Or Alive 4 (Tecmo)
    Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda)
    Final Fantasy XI (Microsoft)
    Full Auto (Sega)
    Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
    Gun (Activision)
    Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft)
    Madden NFL 06 (EA)
    NBA 2K6 (2K Games)
    NHL 2K6 (2K Games)
    The Outfit (THQ)
    Perfect Dark LE (Microsoft)
    Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft)
    Quake 4 (Activision)
    Ridge Racer 6 (Namco)
    Saints Row (THQ)
    Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (Activision)
    Top Spin 2 (2K Games)
    In related news, the official Xbox 360 site has been updated with a great new video montage featuring footage from the upcoming Xbox 360 games.
    Last edited by TechZ; August 11th, 2005 at 04:53 PM.

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    Burning Down the Xbox 360

    Dean Takahashi, of the Mercury News, had the chance to visit the product evaluation and reliability labs for the Xbox 360 at Microsoft's Mountain View, CA, campus: " A guy named Rich Lee showed menditions. There is room for 120 Xbox 360s on the racks in this room, which can be heated or cooled as needed. I step in and feel the warm air blast me. The Xbox 360s stay in the pressure cooker for up to 72 hours at a time. There are about 1,100 components on the motherboard. A lot of stuff can go wrong a gigantic chamber where he can simulate all sorts of environmental co"


    Xbox 360 may not always have a hard drive

    Microsoft's forthcoming next-generation console may not always ship in a configuration with a hard drive, key Xbox executive J Allard has confirmed, with developers being warned not to rely on the component for their games. Speaking in the September issue of US magazine Game Informer, Allard said that the company isn't yet ready to announce details of possible multiple models of the Xbox 360, with the presence of a hard drive being touted as one potential difference between models.


    Xbox 360 to ship at $299 without HDD, $399 for high-end version

    The LA Times has broken news of Microsoft's pricing plans for the Xbox 360 console, revealing that the a basic version of the next-generation system will launch at $299, with a premium version shipping at $399. According to the paper, the $299 version of the console will not include a hard drive - with the extra $100 for the premium version buying a 20Gb drive as well as a wireless controller, headset, Ethernet cable and wireless television-style remote control.

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    Microsoft hires third co. to build Xbox 360

    Microsoft Corp., which has used two companies to build its Xbox game console, said on Tuesday it is expanding that roster to three for its next-generation Xbox 360 due out later this year. The software giant said Toronto-based Celestica Inc. will join Xbox manufacturers Flextronics International Ltd. and Wistron Inc..

    Microsoft said Xbox 360 remains on track for a launch this holiday season in North America, Europe and Japan. It is widely believed Microsoft will release the product in November.

    "With three contract manufacturers on board, we're poised to have the flexibility and efficiencies we need to keep up with the consumer demand," said Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president of the Xbox Product Group. Plants for each of the three companies building Microsoft's newest game console are located in the Pearl River Delta region in southern China.


    News source: Reuters

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    New Tech Specs Details Surface

    - This new picture also reveals, for the first time, the transistor count for each part of the two-die design. The parent die has a total of 232 million transistors while the daughter die has 100 million, making the whole package a 330+ million transistor design.

    In comparison, an AMD Athlon 64 processor has approximately 205 M transistors while the PlayStation 3 Cell processor has ~234M and the RSX GPU designed by nVIDIA has some 300M.

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    EBGames Online Xbox 360 Preorder


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    New Xbox Live Pricing Revealed

    - The packages start at US$7.99 for a basic 1 month subscription, and go all the way up to US$69.99 for a full 12 months. This last package, the "12 Month Premium Gold Pack", is also the best value, with a headset, $20 game discount voucher, free Xbox Live arcade game, and 200 XBL marketplace points all being thrown in as extras. Once you take away the price of the headset ($19.99) and the games voucher ($20), it is really only costing you US$30 for the entire year including the arcade game and marketplace points.

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    The Xbox 360 Store?

    - The Seattle Times believes that Microsoft is planning to open a dedicated Xbox 360 store in Times Square, New York.

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    Microsoft to ship millions of Xbox 360 at launch

    Microsoft is storing the chips and its contractors ready to build hundreds of thousands of Xbox 360 consoles and it's certain that it won't be in short supply when it comes to the graphic part.

    Don't count on modding your Xbox 360:

    Andre Vrignaud, Director of Technical Strategy for Xbox Live, referred to modchips for Xbox360: "More interestingly, a question from an audience member on the security for Xbox 360 in terms of 'mod chips' and other devices that modify for imported/illegal content prompted a reply that Microsoft took 2 and a half years on security this time round, whereas the Xbox only had around a year. Vrignaud prompted: "Never say never", but he thinks it's going to be a long time before the Xbox 360 gets modded."

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