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Thread: CONSOLE NEWS: XBOX 360 News

  1. #16
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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.

  2. #17
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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.

  4. #19
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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)

  5. #20
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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

  6. #21
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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.

  7. #22
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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.

  8. #23
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    XBox 360 dashboard in action

    GTtv has a very extensive demo of the new XBox 360 dashboard and the Live features.

  9. #24
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    New Microsoft XBox 360 console unveiled

    - Microsoft on Wednesday gave British journalists their first chance to play with its forthcoming games console, the Xbox 360, which will be launched all across Europe on December 2. The new machine will ship in two versions. The base model will retail at #209.99, while #279.99 buys a model with a built-in 20GB hard drive, wireless game controllers and - for a limited time - a free remote to control the console's DVD playback capability. Also a few lucky journalists in New York City who got a rare chance to play a collection of new games on the eagerly awaited Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming console.

  10. #25
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    Xbox 360 controller to work with PCs too

    Microsoft on Wednesday released a new controller for its upcoming Xbox 360 device which also works with PCs. The Xbox 360 Controller for Windows will work with the upcoming Xbox 360 console, as well as with computers that have the Windows XP operating system.

    "Gamers can simply unplug their controller from their Xbox 360 system and plug it into their Windows XP-based PC," Chris Donahue, director of Windows gaming at Microsoft, said in a statement. "This is a great breakthrough for the gaming industry as we make it easier for developers to create multiplatform titles."


    Full story: ZDNet News

  11. #26
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    XBox 360 Detailed Tech Specs

    Xbox360News.com have posted a summary of technical info about the Xbox 360 that was presented at the recent CEDEC convention in Japan:
    - Among 3 cores in Xbox 360 CPU (codenamed "PX"), Core 0 is primary and Core 1/2 are secondary. Core 0 is fully usable by a game program. Core 1 and Core 2 are shared by a game program and the Xbox 360 system. Network stacks, services, drivers such as a USB driver run on those secondary cores. 5% computation usage of both core 1 and core 2 are reserved by the system.

    - The XMA (modified WMAPro) decoder in the southbridge chip can decode 256 XMA channels at the same time. Though the compression rate is variable, 1/8 is just enough for typical usage. After decoding, all software sound processing (multi-channel mixing, 3D surround sound, Dolby Pro Logic II/Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding) are done on CPU Core 2. When it processes 256 channels at the same time it costs 25% load of Core 2.

    - A hardware-assisted tile-rendering method called 'Predicated Tiling' is supplied as a library for Xbox 360 for the case when 10MB eDRAM is not sufficient, for example 64bit (FP16 * RGBA) HDR rendering + Z buffer + MRT in 720p. While it affects geometry processing with 1.2 - 1.3 times load, it doesn't affect pixel processing as there's no overlapping unlike geometry. As the result, it doesn't affect the total performance as pixel processing load is inherently larger than that of geometry.

    - The hardware tesselator in Xenos supports both adaptive and sequential, and adaptive tesselation requires 2-pass. If the tesselator is used the vertex output from it is limited to 1 vertex per clock though the performance impact can be mitigated as output vertices from the tesselator have higher locality for better caching.

    - In a double-layer DVD for Xbox 360, 7GB is usable by a game. The transfer rate of the DVD drive is 15MB/sec max, 10-12MB/sec average. The seek time is 115ms, switching layers takes 75ms. Loading 512MB data takes 34 seconds.

    - 2GB in the HDD is used for a temporary cache area for games. Its average transfer rate is 17MB/sec and the average seek time is 13ms.

    - Game data is managed per user account and saved in HDD, but 64MB Memory Unit is also usable for checkout/backup. The Memory Unit slot is 2.5MB/sec write, 8MB/sec read. In its 512MB RAM, 32MB is allocated for the system. The RAM is GDDR3 SDRAM @ 700MHz (22.4GB/sec).

  12. #27
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    Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility List

    Microsoft has finally announced that 213 Xbox software titles will be backwards compatible with the Xbox 360 Premium system as of November 22nd. As previously announced, backwards compatibility requires having the 360's optional hard drive. The compatibility code for each game must acquired independently, and currently there are three delivery mechanisms in place: players can download the code (~ 5MB) from Xbox Live, burn it onto a writable CD from Xbox.com, or have a CD shipped by mail through Xbox.com. There are some striking absences there, but the list will be expanded over time, eventually comprising the entire Xbox library according to Xbox VP Todd Holmdahl.

    In related news, here's an interview with Todd Holmdahl:
    Xbox.com: Do I need a hard drive for backward compatibility?

    Todd: Yes. Xbox 360 comes standard with a 20GB hard drive accessory which will enable gamers to play original Xbox games. Those who choose to buy an Xbox 360 Core System will want to purchase a hard drive if backward compatibility is something they want at a later date.

    Xbox.com: How will you deliver the emulators for backward compatibility?

    Todd: There are several different ways that you can get them:

    For Xbox Live members (either Gold or Silver members), just connect your Xbox 360 console to Xbox Live and insert an original Xbox game. The system will automatically check if you have the latest emulation software, download it to your Xbox 360 console as part of a system update if you don't, reboot, and start loading your original Xbox game.

    Those who are not part of our Xbox Live network will be able to download the emulators from Xbox.com, and burn them onto a CD to insert into your Xbox 360 where it will auto-install the emulator. Or you can go to Xbox.com and simply sign up for a CD to be sent to your home for a nominal shipping and handling fee.

    Xbox.com: Are there any emulators already pre-loaded on the hard drive?

    Todd: An early version of the emulator that supports Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 offline is included on Xbox 360 Hard Drives right out of the box as a special bonus to devoted fans of the franchise. However, to play Halo 2 online, or to play any other titles on the launch list, the full emulator update is required.

    Xbox.com: What about saved games as well as free and purchased downloadable content? Will that be transferable to Xbox 360?

    Todd: Content will not be transferable from Xbox to Xbox 360, including saved data and downloadable content. However, all free downloadable content for original Xbox games plus premium content for Halo 2 will be available on Xbox Live Marketplace for free. Xbox 360 owners will be able to get this free with an Xbox Live Silver or Gold membership.

    Xbox.com: So do people have to buy their downloadable content again?

    Todd: On the current-generation Xbox, downloadable content can't be transferred from console to console. For example, if you have two original Xbox consoles and want to have a specific content download on each one, you need to download it twice, and that means paying for it twice if its premium content. This also holds true from Xbox to Xbox 360.

  13. #28
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    Inside Microsoft's Xbox 360

    AnandTech disassembled an Xbox 360:
    The Xbox 360 is smaller than the original Xbox, and its wireless nature makes it a natural fit in the living room - marking a thankful change from standard gaming consoles of the past. Despite looking like the offspring of an iPod and a DVD player, the Xbox 360 is still very much a PC on the inside. As such, it's got all of the components we're used to.

    The $299 core system gives you the same console (with a white DVD tray cover), a wired controller, and standard composite AV cables; there's no hard drive, headset or remote.

    By now you have undoubtedly heard about the massive external power supply that comes with the Xbox 360 and you can see it in the lower left hand corner of the picture above. Remember that in the original Xbox, the power supply was internal. But with the power requirements of the Xbox 360 being significantly higher than its predecessor, while featuring a noticeably smaller case, the only solution was to take the power supply out of the Xbox 360.

    HDTV Support

    With the Xbox 360, Microsoft hopes to usher in the era of HD gaming, first and foremost by requiring all Xbox 360 games to support 720p (1280 x 720). Unfortunately, we have yet to hear from Microsoft if this means that all games must be internally rendered at 1280 x 720 or if they can be rendered at a lower resolution and upscaled later on. There have been discussions involving at least one Xbox 360 game (Project Gotham Racing 3), rendering internally at a lower resolution and having the Xbox 360's TV encoder upscale it to 720p.

    You don't have to have a HDTV, but obviously owning one will give you better overall image quality. The Xbox 360 supports all of the most popular video formats: 480i, 480p, 720p and 108. There is no out of box DVI or HDMI support, nor is there any Microsoft support for either of those video interface standards at this time, although Microsoft has indicated that they may offer HDMI support when it makes sense to. There is, however, an optical output, but the cable is not included. If you don't have a HDTV but you have a VGA monitor that you'd like to use, Microsoft does offer a VGA cable that will allow you to connect your Xbox 360 to a VGA monitor. If you don't have a HDTV or a monitor but still want a higher quality output, Microsoft also offers a S-Video AV cable.
    Xbox 360 first look

    IGN has a general look at the Xbox 360 and its features.

    XBox Live Market Place Unveiled

    Microsoft has unveiled the details of the XBox Live Marketplace as well as revealed what things will be available for download for certain titles and the cost of that involved. From the looks of it, gamers who purchase a console at launch and hook up to Xbox Live will be able to download free playable Xbox 360 demos King Kong. Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Kameo: Elements of Power and FIFA Soccer 06. Most games will have trailers available to download for free, Gamer Pictures for about $0.25, and Dashboard themes for a little under $2. The Xbox 360 version of Live Arcade will also have the following games available for launch on Nov. 22, all of which have free trial versions which then can be purchased via Xbox Live Marketplace:
    Bankshot Billiards 2 (1200 points) - pixelStorm, Inc.
    Bejeweled 2 (800 points) - Popcap Games
    Gauntlet (400 points) - Midway Home Entertainment
    Geometry Wars Retro Evolved (400 points) - Bizzare Creations
    Hardwood Backgammon (400 points) - Silver Creek Entertainment
    Hardwood Hearts (400 points) - Silver Creek Entertainment
    Hardwood Spades (400 points) - Silver Creek Entertainment
    Hexic HD (full version included free with Xbox 360 System) - Microsoft Game Studios
    Joust (400 points) - Midway Home Entertainment
    Mutant Storm Reloaded (800 points) - PomPom Games
    Outpost Kaloki (800 points) - Wahoo Studios
    Robotron 2084 (400 points) - Midway Home Entertainment
    Smash TV (400 points) - Midway Home Entertainment
    Wik: Fable of Souls (800 points) - Reflexive Entertainment
    Zuma (800 points) - Popcap Games

  14. #29
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    Xbox Live arcade titles added

    New Xbox Live Arcade titles have been launched - Joust, Gauntlet, Geometry Wars, Bejeweled 2, Bigshot Billiards 2.

    Cost each: free to try, cost varies from 400 MP (Microsoft Points) 1200 MP to buy the fully-featured version of each game. Remember, $1.00 USD purchases 80 MP, so that means these games will cost $5.00 to $15.00.

    Xbox 360 initial impressions

    Gaming Nexus has their initial impressions up of the XBox 360.
    Gamecloud has posted Xbox 360 Live And Live Arcade Impressions.

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    So when is the 360 being released in Bahrain? And will the PAl format be available? I can't find any info on this on the net.

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