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.

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    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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    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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    Xbox 360 - World's First Unrestricted Hardware Access @ Spong.com

    Spong

    Gamasutra has a very interesting article about the new features of the 360 and how developers should include them in their games

    Eurogamer has posted the results of their interview with Chris Satchell, general manager of Microsoft's Game Developer Group, regarding the details of the Xbox 360.
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    Microsoft Outlines Xbox Live Changes

    With the forthcoming launch of the Xbox 360, Microsoft's online gaming service Xbox Live is taking center stage. The next-gen console will come with a free basic, or Silver, subscription to Microsoft's online community, but the company has also announced offerings for those who want multiplayer features.

    Silver Xbox Live users can create their own gamertag and personalized profile, along with sending text and voice messages to other players. In addition, Silver members receive access to the Marketplace where they can purchase game add-ons such as weapons, new levels, and additional characters.

    Full story: BetaNews
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    Microsoft aims for hack-proof 360

    Microsoft plans to make its next generation games console, the Xbox 360, as difficult as possible to hack. The 360 will have security built directly into the hardware, said Xbox engineer Chris Satchell.
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    Xbox Live 360 - EU Launch Date & Pricing

    Microsoft today announced that the next generation of online multiplayer gaming service Xbox Live will be available in Europe on the Xbox 360 starting this Christmas season. In addition to the Xbox Live Silver membership available to every Xbox 360 owner out of the box, for only £39.99 gamers can amplify their gaming experience with a 12-month Xbox Live Gold membership.

    Microsoft also today announced that credit cards will no longer be required to create an account on Xbox Live for Xbox 360, removing one of the biggest barriers to entry. Gamers can purchase 12-month Xbox Live subscription cards via cash or other payment methods at any participating retail store. Subscriptions will also be available for purchase by credit card in one-month, three-month and 12-month increments through the Xbox Live Dashboard.
    Xbox Live Silver membership
    This allows members to connect to the online community and create their own digital identity with an Xbox Live gamertag and personalised Gamer Profile. Xbox Live Silver members will be able to send and receive text and voice messages and join their friends on Xbox Live. Xbox Live Marketplace is the one-stop download centre for additional game-related content like free trailers and demos as well as content that adds more to games, such as new levels, characters and weapons. Gamers can also purchase and download fun, casual and highly addictive Xbox Live Arcade games directly to their Xbox 360 system (additional fees may apply; hard drive or memory unit required for downloads). * Included with all purchases of an Xbox 360 console *

    Xbox Live Gold membership
    This includes all Xbox Live Silver-level features and access to premium multiplayer experiences exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members. This includes online multiplayer gaming, enhanced matchmaking and feedback tools, along with exclusive privileges and rewards on Xbox Live Marketplace.

    Subscription
    1 Month - Price: £4.99
    3 Month - Price: £14.99
    12 Month - Price: £39.99

    Subscription cards at retail & available through Xbox Live Dashboard (via credit card)
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    MS reveals Xbox 360 release dates

    Microsoft will release its next-generation Xbox 360 games console on Tuesday, 22 November, the software giant announced last night. Consumers in Europe will be able to get their mitts on the machine on Friday, 2 December - though we note Amazon.co.uk still has 28 November down as the release date, a timeframe more consistent with Microsoft's earlier prognostications - while Japanese buyers can expect to see the system on Saturday, 10 December.

    The new Xbox will ship in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan sometime in "2006", Microsoft added. Microsoft has already revealed US, UK and European pricing, and yesterday it announced what Japanese buyers will pay: ¥37,900 ($344) for the full package, including the console's removable 20GB hard disk, wireless controller, remote control, headset, and Ethernet and AV cables.


    Full story: The Register
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    Xbox 360 Bundle Pre-Order on Amazon.com Started

    Amazon.com offers four Xbox 360 Bundles is that all 3D vendors will support the same features, guaranteeing compatibility across the board. Although this may sound great, allowing for a more standardised games development environment, the reality is that Microsoft will soon be regulating the introduction of 3D features, leaving companies such as NVIDIA and ATI at the mercy of the software giant.

    Xbox 360 to be Region Locked

    At the pre-TGS (Tokyo Game Show) press briefing, Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox 360 will be region locked for both games and DVD movie playback, meaning that you can't play games or watch DVD movies from another region other than the one your Xbox 360 is locked to.
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    Xbox 360 price cuts?

    The Xbox 360 may not even be in the shops yet, but a Microsoft bigwig is already suggesting that we can expect to see price cuts for the shiny new console.

    excerpt:

    "We will wind up cost-reducing the product every year," Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president of the Xbox product group, told Reuters. It's estimated that the 360 costs approximately $100 less per unit to manufacture than Sony's PS3, giving Microsoft more scope for reducing costs.
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