Week of August 14, 2005
Microsoft Going Viral Marketing Again? OrigenXbox360.com *updated*
>> The guys over at PlanetXbox360 found that a new 'strange' site, www.origenxbox360.com, has been launched. It shows a tree (bonsai?) and something that looks like a green rabbit with a counter in the background (counting down from 37 days and a few hours). It uses the time from your local PC and counts down to September 27th 1200pm (midday) for everyone. Follow the discussion on our forums for the latest details!
OrigenXbox360.com is registered under the name of Microsoft. This could be faked of course as anyone could register a domainname and put it under the name of Microsoft, but the DNS servers used are owned by Microsoft and also the same as those used by xbox.com and xbox360.com ... so this must really be a Microsoft site.
What Microsoft exactly tries to achieve here is unclear atm, but it could very well be a new viral marketing campaign (alternate-reality game) like 'I Love Bees' and 'OurColony.net'. 27th September would be a bit early for the Xbox 360 launch (expected around November 4th in USA/CAN) ... but it could be the day the official launchdate will be announced or specifics about a Microsoft Studios Xbox 360 game might be released. We'll have to wait for more details to know what exactly this is about.
Origen means origin in spanish (can be interpreted as either the 'source' or the 'beginning').
Someone on our forums also noiticed Origen is an anagram of Ignore.
But 'Origen' was also a Christian scholar and theologian and one of the most distinguished of the Fathers of the early Christian Church. He was born about 182, probably at Alexandria, and died at Caesarea not later than 251. His writings are important as the first serious intellectual attempt to describe Christianity. Read More about 'Origen' on wikipedia.org.
PlanetXbox360 also found a hidden image on origenxbox360.com. It appears when you force the counter to 0 (by advancing your PC clock to Sept 27th 12pm or later)
UPDATE1: Another 'theory' about the three and rabbit from TeamXbox.com:
The images could also have a connection with Alice in Wonderland. The tree and the rabbit could mean that you, the viewer, are in the same situation as Alice. You know, follow the rabbit. Also, in the story, Alice finds a tree in the woods with a little door in it. She goes through the door and finds herself in the hallway with the entrance to the garden, which she is finally able to enter.
Could the shadow on the floor be from the vanishining Cheshire Cat of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland?
UPDATE2: There's a 'hidden' website. If you visit the website in secure http (https), you get a login screen. Check it out: https://www.origenxbox360.com. This links to the same page as www.xboxemea.com (the Xbox press site for Europe, Middle East and Africa). Also notice the text at the left side and bottom background:
"During the build.
Up to the race there will be 1000+ London wide, running clinics, woke SWOT team that turn up, morning (Gyms) Lunch Times (Tube Stations) Evening (Tube Stations) They'll look after your bags, split the group up into varying standard, give advice and then go on runs."
Xbox-Scene Discussion Thread: forums.xbox-scene.com
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(Saturday 20 August 2005 15:02 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by::
Quake 3 Source Code Released
>> As John Carmack announced during this years Quakecon event, the source code for IDsoftware's classic PC first-person shooter, Quake3: Arena, would soon be released to the public under the GPL license. It's been some kinda tradition with Quake games that the source code gets released to the public a few years after its release.
Today the file was released for everyone to enjoy.
It should encourage the gaming community to create new games using these sources. The Quake3 Engine has been used by many popular games like 'Star wars Jedi Knight II', 'Medal of Honor', 'Call of Duty' and 'Quake 3' of course.
The file is only 5.5MB and also includes a build of Q3Radiant (map editor). The source code 'as-is' can be compiled under Windows, Mac and Linux environments.
Someone feels like porting it to Xbox?
Xbox-Scene Discussion Thread: forums.xbox-scene.com
Release Readme: here
Day3 GC2005: Dev Kit Pics, Conference vids, More Prices and Opinions, ...
>> The news items, opinions, analyses, ... since the announcement of the official Xbox prices and the start of the Game Convention 2005 in germany keeps flowing. Here's a follow-up of interesting articles I found today. If you missed the earlier news items: official press release, follow-up news day1, follow-up news day2.
* Exclusive Xbox-Scene Pictures from GC2005 - Xbox360 Dev Kit Dash and more.
Knatsch, one of our german visitor, sent us some pictures he took at the GC2005 in Germany, Leipzig.
The white, normal-sized Xbox360 is how the retail version will look like. Microsoft had empty Xbox360 cases lying around that you could take into your own hands, the controller was only behind glass.
The black, larger Xbox360 is a Dev Kit - it was only shown to the public at the Square-Enix booth. It was running Final Fantasy XI that Square-Enix is currently developing for the Xbox360. Just while he was taking pictures of the dev kit, the FFXI beta decided to crash which resulted in a nice shot of the Dev Kit Dashboard :-).
Thx goes to Knatsch for the footage and info! Click the picture for a High-Res version.
* Front view Xbox360 Dev Kit
* Top view Xbox360
* Backside of Xbox360 with all connectors
* Front view Xbox360 (angle2)
* Front view Xbox360 (angle3)
* International prices ... we got some more. Here's a overview.
USA: 300/400usd, CAN: 400/500cad, UK: 210/280gbp, Ireland: 310/410eur, Finland: 320/420eur, All-other-EUR-countries: 300/400eur, Norway: 2595/3395nok, Denmark: 2399/3199dkk, Sweden: 2995/3995sek. Australian/Japanese prices are not set yet, but will be "in line" with the US and EU prices. The prices in the EURO-currency-countries Ireland and Finland have been shifted upwards, probably to make it match the neighbor countries, respectively UK and Sweden/Norway. Not really honnest for Ireland and Finland if you ask me as they won't get the officially announced 'EUR price'. 20eur extra that's 6.7% more expensive for no reason.
* Video of the press conference (from g-freaks.de via gamersreport.com).
The Xbox pressrelease at GC2005 was already available in mp3/wma format from Major Nelson and lots of pictures of the presentation were released. Today you can even download the full video of the presentation in good quality from g-freaks.de (220MB). The Nintendo and Sony conferences are also available.
* What is the Xbox 360 really gonna cost you? (from kotaku.com).
Kotaku.com counts how much many gamers will have to give out to get the package they want:
* Xbox 360 Standard: $399.99
* Gold Xbox Live Subscription: At least $49.99
* Wireless Networking Adapter: $99.99
* Second Wireless Controller: $49.99
* Two Play and Charge Kits: $19.99 times two.
And that doesn't include any game (+50usd atleast), which brings the total close to $700. And to fully enjoy your Xbox 360 you might want a HDTV too ;)
* Developer Confirms Xbox 360 to See 40 Games by Thanksgiving (from dailygame.net):
A lead developer on at least two Xbox 360 games, speaking on condition of anonymity, has said the Xbox 360 should see more than three dozen games by December 1 this year.
According to our source, "the release 'window' is ... expected to see 40+ titles before Thanksgiving."
* What does the financial market think? (from forbes.com)
UBS Investment Research maintained a "buy" rating on Microsoft after the tech giant announced pricing details for the highly-anticipated Xbox 360.
* OPINION: Next-Gen.biz already posted the opinions of developers, members of the press, and financial analysts of the dual-priced Xbox 360 in a previous article and now they post their opinion:
The company is facing criticism for potentially confusing the market, but it has given itself room to maneouvre in the years ahead. Sony fights aggressively on hardware pricing. Now Microsoft has the ability to do the same, without being burdened by the hard drive in its basic model. It may well be that impulse gran'ma-buyers will opt for the cheaper option, super-charging the installed base while creating an audience with the potential to upgrade. If so, Microsoft won't complain.
Ultimately, $399 is a fair price for what Microsoft is offering. And $299 is a piece of unavoidable marketing, with an eye to casual consumers down the line, who, by the time they turn up, will actually be paying a whole lot less.
* OPINION: Microsoft's Strategy For The Xbox 360 Isn't Single-Minded Domination (from mercurynews.com):
We can only conclude that Microsoft isn't being single-minded. It is paying attention to both its chances for an early lead, and the long-term need to become profitable. This combination of boldness and cautiousness just might give Sony and Nintendo a chance to catch up.
* OPINION: Microsoft holding back mainstream HD adoption? (from hdbeat.com via joystiq.com):
If one of the biggest selling points of the Xbox 360 is the "all games in HD", why not showcase those games with a pure digital connection? Pumping the video output though either DVI or HDMI will only enhance the razor sharp gaming experience that Microsoft is touting. Why limit the experience with component video?
Xbox360 Marketing Brochure Leak
>> PlanetXbox360 posted a leak of the Xbox360 Marketing Brochure. Not really any new info here, but it does confirm some stuff.
This brochure confirms the Xbox 360 will need a harddrive if you want it to be backward-compatible with the "top selling" Xbox games. The HD will also include "an Xbox Live Arcade game and more". The game is 'Hexic HD', a puzzle game that will probably be a new version of 'Hexic' available on MSN Zone and the current Xbox Live Arcade.
The brochure also confirms the wired controller will be functioning with Windows XP computers and it also tells us both the 'main' and 'core' package will include a 30 days trial for Xbox LIVE Gold.
You can download the full brochure on PlanetXbox360.
KaidOSXMenu Update: Tiger, Growl, Amaryllis, JKaiUI
>> Team Xlink released a new XLink Kai(info) for Mac OSX:
I'm pleased to be able to publicly release the new, updated KaidOSXMenu(info) package - which our resident OSX hero uebe finished working on a few weeks back.
* OSX Tiger fully supported.
* Growl support (if installed).
* kaiEngine (kaid) version 184.108.40.206 - (latest).
* Latest Amaryllis and jKaiUI (autoupdating now)!
* Numerous stability / performance updates.
I'm sure you Mac guys have been waiting for this one for a while - I know I have. Uebe sent it to me a couple of weeks back, and I've given it a good testing - seems like uebe has done his magic once more ;)
Official Site: http://www.teamxlink.co.uk
Putting Xbox 360's Price in Context
>> From xbox360.ign.com:
There is no question that four hundred dollars is a good chunk of money, but how wide is the gap between this console launch and the price of previous gaming hardware? What follows is a list of previous consoles with their prices adjusted for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index. NASA.org is kind enough to provide an array of inflation calculators including a separate calculator based on the Employment Cost Index which is based on employee wages and benefits.
Atari VCS launched in 1977 for $249.99 = $811.21 in 2005
Nintendo Entertainment System launched in 1985 for $199.99 = $354.91 in 2005
SEGA Genesis launched in 1989 for $249.99 = $389.67 in 2005
NeoGeo launched in 1990 for $699.99 = $1041.12 in 2005
Super Nintendo launched in 1991 for $199.99 = $282.21 in 2005
Jaguar launched in 1993 for $249.99 = $328.69 in 2005
3DO Interactive Multiplayer launched in 1993 for $699.95 = $920.30 in 2005
SEGA Saturn launched in 1995 for $399.99 = $497.66 in 2005
Nintendo 64 launched in 1996 for $199.99 = $242.75 in 2005
SEGA Dreamcast launches in 1999 for $199.99 = $228.09 in 2005
PlayStation launched in 1995 for $299.99 = $372.01 in 2005
PlayStation 2 launched in 2000 for $299.99 = $333.15 in 2005
Xbox Launched in 2001 for $299.99 = $325.34 in 2005
GameCube launched in 2001 for $199.99 = $216.89 in 2005
Read the whole article on xbox360.ign.com.
Gentoox phpsysinfo xbox-v2.3
>> ShALLaX released a new version of phpsysinfo-xbox. It's an modified version of phpSysInfo made to work with linux distributions on Xbox. phpSysInfo is a PHP script that displays information about the host being accessed. It will displays things like Uptime, CPU, Memory, IDE, USB, PCI, Ethernet, kernel and Video Information. You can see an example of this script running on ShALLaX's Xbox running GentooX here.
This new xbox-v2.3 release will work with PHP5.
Official Site: http://gentoox.shallax.com/
More from Games Convention 2005, Post Xbox Conference *update3*
>> Yesterday Microsoft announced the official Xbox 360 packages, accessories and pricetags, we followed the news with some additional background info/thoughs (interview with Peter Moore and Chris Lewis, blogcasts of Xbox pressconference, blogcast of interview with Scott Henson, convention photos, Xbox360 price FAQ, Xbox 360 will need HD for Backwards-compatibility).
Here's a collection of interesting news from the Games Convention 2005 we found today (this news item might be updated through the day).
* Industry reacts to MS dual-price strategy for the Xbox 360 (next-gen.biz via joystiq.com):
So what do developers, members of the press, and financial analysts have to say about Microsoft’s great $299/$399 hope? Words and phrases appear that run the gamut from “blunder,” “crippled,” “compromise,” “stupid pet trick,” “confusing,” “disrespect,” “absurd,” and “PR play” to “a very good strategy,” “a good thing for the industry,” and “creative pricing.”
Read the full article on next-gen.biz.
* Prices in other countries. We all know the USD, EUR and GBP price by know. But what about countries with other currencies? (I added comparision of closest main currency).
- Canada will get the 'full' pack for $499.99 CDN (~410 USD) and the 'core' pack for $399.99 CDN (~327 USD).
- Someone sent us the price for Norway (unchecked): 'full' pack for 3395NOK (~427EUR) , the core pack for 2595NOK (~326EUR)
- The price in Denmark will be 3199DKK (~429EUR) for the 'full' package and 2399DKK (~322EUR) for the 'core' package.
- In Sweden you'll have the 'full' package for 3995SEK (~428EUR) and the 'core' for 2995SEK (~321EUR).
- Strange thing I saw is that Ireland (which is an EUR-currency country) seems to get the Xbox 360 for 410EUR (310EUR for the 'core') instead of the normal 300/400EUR. This could have been done to better match the price in neighbor-country England (which is 210GBP (~309.5EUR) and 280GBP (~412EUR)) and by this way try avoiding EU-regulation issues and maybe also to avoid England to order all their Xbox 360's in Ireland to save 10EUR. England and Ireland have exactly the same electric plug as far as I know - so they probably share exactly the same Xbox 360 package aswell.
- If you have information about the Xbox 360 price in other currenties like for Switzerland (600CHF? unconfirmed), ... Let us know (feedback -at- xbox-scene.com)!
* Xbox 360 in black - Xbox 360 Dev. Kit (xbox360.ign.com).
We already reported about the Xbox 360 (beta) dev kit before, but IGN now has a new picture from one of these beta dev kits displayed at GC2005. Unlike the silver/white retail version with its iPod look, the beta Developer Kits are black and as you can see a bit bigger too (see what looks like an 'addon' on the left side of the picture). The additional space is probably used for specific debugging hardware.
* More photos from GC2005
- Gaming-Universe's Xbox Press Conference pictures
- Xbox.com's Xbox Press Conference pictures
- IGN's pictures of GC2005
- Major Nelson's pictrues of GC2005
- Xbox.com's funny/strage pictures of the show
* Confused about cables?
There seems to be some confusion about which Xbox 360 package will get what type of video cables, caused mostly by inconsistence on xbox.com. Here's the conclusion from Major Nelson:
- Xbox 360 Console includes the Xbox 360 HD-AV Cable
- Xbox 360 Core system includes the Xbox 360 Composite AV Cable
* UPDATE: How much loss per Xbox 360? (from juiceenewsdaily.com):
Yesterday's announcement confirmed early speculation by analysts at major investment bank UBS that Microsoft would sell its new console at a loss. The stand-alone Xbox 360 contains $375 worth of hardware. With the console set to retail at $299.99 (or $399.99 with $100 worth of add-ons) Microsoft stands to make a $76 loss on each unit sold. It is expected that 933,000 to 1.2 million units will be sold in 2005, which means that the Xbox 360 could cost its publisher up to $91.2 million for this year alone. Microsoft plans to make up the lost income with sales of its eagerly awaited launch titles.
* UPDATE2: Why no HD in 'core' pack theory (from engadget.com):
The problem with including a hard drive is that the floor-price of hard drives rarely comes down. For instance, that 8 gigabyte hard drive in the original Xbox will still cost you $20 today. There has been very little movement at the floor level. In fact, there was even a period of time when Microsoft apparently substituted 20 gigabyte hard drives in the original Xboxen because they were essentially the same price.
Over the course of the next four years, Microsoft will be expected to keep lowering the price. The problem, as they undoubtedly discovered with the original Xbox, is that the hard drive can add as much as $20 to the cost. While $20 might not seem like a lot of money, in the consumer electronics world where decisions about 5 cent parts are scrutinized and debated, $20 is a big chunk of change.
Read the whole article on engadget.com.
* UPDATE3: Xbox 360 to harm Media Centre PC sales? (from theinquirer.net)
Because the Xbox 360 is so highly specced, and so cheap and cheerful compared to Microsoft Media Centre PCs, many households contemplating buying a PC could switch to the console instead.
Those households are, in the words of CPU manufacturers, "CPU agnostic". They don't care if it's an AMD CPU nor do they care if it's Intel Inside. The question they will ask is, is it cheap? Can I run my videos on it? Will it be noisy? Will it be, er, cheap?
Read the whole article on theinquirer.net.
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(Thursday 18 August 2005 16:46 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by::
First Final Xbox 360 Packshot Shown?
>> Spong posted what they think is the first render (if real) of the how the final Xbox 360 gameboxes will look like.
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(Thursday 18 August 2005 12:28 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by::
Review of TeamXtender.com’s XCM Xbox Replacement Cases
>> Review of TeamXtender.com’s XCM Xbox Replacement Cases
‘blue, red, white, and crystal’
Availble at: www.modwhiz.com, www.xbox-wired.com, www.modchipworld.com, www.xecuter.com.au
I’ve had a lot of time now to work with and play with the XCM series of Xbox Replacement Cases. First out of the block were the Crystal and the Blue Translucent cases, which were designed to mimic or duplicate the stock MS Crystal and Blue Translucent LE’s cases. User demand and interest, prompted Xtender to rush and keep up with demand, and release a Translucent Red and a solid Ivory White Shell to the existing product line.
Xtender, has been servicing the scene now for a number of years with a large variety of products, aimed to fit certain niche needs. The XCM case is no exception. Case modding, is a rapidly growing segment of the scene, and can definitely be considered an art form the way some of the modders have customized their cases.
XCM Xbox Case.. what you get for your money…
The Complete Xtender XCM Xbox Replacement Case Shell
-Top with XCM Jewel (easily removable)
-Bottom with all necessary risers and rear port holes
-Front panel, Button Panel, and Button Panel cover
-Button Panel Halo LED Diffuser (ring around the eject button)
-DVD Drive Bezel
-Foam feet (to replace the rubber ones many people damage while removing them from their stock shell.
Note: Blue and Red Shells come with Blue or Red Eject LED light diffusers, the crystal and white come with a clear/frosted light diffuser. Buttons, match the case color in all cases.
The following, is a review I’ve been working on off and on for weeks now. In some respects, this has been the most demanding and intensive review I’ve done to date. For the most part, this review will cover my testing and ongoing work using the various XCM cases, with focus on the Blue and Red Cases.
With the Case in hand, first inspection, shows that the case, is well made and sturdy and rigid. Not so much so as to be tough to work with, or too brittle like other competing cases on the market. I’m not a plastics expert, but it’s clear that the plastic is of a decent quality. Anyone using this shell, won’t be worried about it easily cracking from normal wear and tear.. or from being screwed together like the other shells on the market that crack with the slightest of over torque of the screw driver. You can torque and flex this case and you won’t cry cause of cracks like you would with some of the other aftermarket cases you can buy today.
People underestimate how important this is, the ability to work with, and flex the xbox case. People who enter their xbox a lot, to swap parts, to test chips, to add new and frequent mod additions, need a case that can stand up to the punishment and abuse. Other aftermarket ones today cannot. One out there, is made from CD Jewel case plastic, and cracks far too easily from normal use. The other, isn’t even a complete shell, and is missing the bottom tray.
As you view the empty shell, first and foremost your attention is driven toward the included XCM Crystal Jewel attached to the top. It’s easily removed if it isn’t to your liking, I was able to do so with a butter knife with little force and no damage to the shell. By the way, this shell is durable enough that it won’t mar or scratch easily. That doesn’t mean drag it behind a car though people. :)
The front of the shell, includes what you expect from an xbox replacement shell, including the same port numbers, and logos as the original stock shell. Compact Disc, and Dolby Digital are where you expect them to be. What you won’t see on this shell is the Xbox embossed logo on the dvd bezel. Good, as I’m sure that one logo alone would bring down some heat on this manufacturer.
What you do see is a tasteful XCM chromed embossed logo. Those not liking the XCM Bezel, can wait for a rumored unbranded bezel to be made later, or leave their stock black bezel with XBOX marking on the dvd drive. All expect the white in my opinion look sharp with a black DVD bezel. Your opinion might vary though.
The bottom of the motherboard, appears to have the full compliment of standoff and screw mounts you’d expect. For the particular boards I had used for this review.. they matched up fine, and I didn’t need to remove any to allow for a good fit. (with stock xbox shells.. I have found there is more than one type of bottom. When I’ve migrated some boards from one shell to another, I had to do some minor altering, and remove or grind down a standoff or two. I didn’t need that kind of surgery on the XCM bottom to accommodate the boards I used. Potentially, other people might depending on their motherboard version. Doing so would not be hard, and you only need to shave a little bit to accommodate.
A nice add-in.. was the inclusion of foam feet. These, replace the rubber ones that come on your stock shell. Nice, since many people either butcher the stock rubber feet, or eventually lose them.
So, that’s the XCM Case, parted, and discussed. Now comes the fun part, the assembly. I grabbed a stock xbox from my personal collection, and went to town. Disassembly of the original took a few minutes max, and with the parts laid out, began the process of migrating parts to the new shell.
Shielding, (ouch.. as usually.. at least one cut..) fit as well as can be expected. It wasn’t difficult to install, but I can’t say it was as clean a fit as with a stock shell. However, all it took was a bit of elbow grease and some flex/force. No altering of the case or shielding was needed. Then came the Motherboard and Power Supply units. Took a few minutes, and fitted an Xecuter(info) X3 Chip supplied by XS Sponsor BMMODS.com. As with the shielding, fit was fine. No issues. Next was the Xbox Controller ports. Again, painless install.
Then, I migrated the DVD and Hard Drive trays/drives to the new shell. Fit was fine, but I noticed that the DVD drive/Bezel sits noticeably high.. leaving a gap in the front. I continued the install. The Front panel was easy enough to work with, the Power/Eject PCB fit well enough, and look great behind the colored translucent plastic (of the blue case I’m focusing on)
So, with all the key components installed, including cables, fan etc, it was time to put the top on this unit and screw it together. No hassles here, as I tightened, some might say over-tightened the 6 peg screws. No cracks.. no issues.. no problem. I could do that with the other shell on the market.
With the unit fully assembled, nothing left to do but plug it in, and turn it on. I was shocked. The DVD drive, once opened, would not close properly. (check the video at the end of this review) The Tray, apparently. sat so high, that it makes contact with the top shell. While quite annoying, this was an easy fix. Solution, Dremel the screw down pegs of the case slightly, and the drive tray will sit as it should, perfectly centered in it’s “hole”.
The annoyances didn’t stop there, as when I powered the unit on, the Blue LED light diffuser, didn’t really allow any light to illuminate that halo ring around the Eject button. In fact, directly looking at the LED positions, it’s almost impossible to see the LEDS on at all. For some, that isn’t an issue, but I like seeing that circle light up. More importantly, many programs and apps take control and can use/address that LED ring around the Eject button and use that as a status indicator. Again, while annoying, this too, was easily fixed. (The review video at the bottom of this written review, shows a comparison of the stock XCM diffuser in action with the stock MS xbox frosted diffuser in action)
Anyone migrating a stock xbox to an XCM case, with have the stock frosted light diffuser. Simply swap out the blue (or red if you got a red case) diffuser and replace with a stock xbox shell diffuser. You’ll be glad you did.
Collection of XCM cases: Red, Crystal, White, and of course Blue
-It’s a complete case
-Includes foam replacement feet
-Quality plastics used
-Rigid, yet flexible
-Won’t crack easily under normal usage/modding.
-Colored Light Diffusers (Red and Blue) do not convey light well (easily fixed)
-DVD Drive/Bezel for some people will appear to be poorly aligned. (easily fixable)
The XCM case, is complete, and gives you what you need, and can be worked with without worry. It’s definitely a tough case, and worth your time and money to buy it, work with it, and make it your own with your own customizations. Despite minor annoyance, given how bad the competing products on the market stack up, the XCM case is a superior product, and it’s minor issues pose no real problem to anyone with an IQ above a child, and easy access to sand paper or a dremel type tool.
On most sites, reviews would end here. :)
However, I doubt anyone in their right mind would leave the XCM case as nothing more than a pure and simple xbox shell replacement without doing some mods to customize the box and to make it their own. One reason I was so into these cases coming to market is I had no intention of paying the crazy Ebay costs of procuring LE cases for some custom project ideas I had wanted to try for the first time myself.
People want to know other things about these XCM cases. How well do they work with EL wire? LED rings? Jewels? and X3 Control panels? I had the same questions. The following, is my total (and first ever) customization of a translucent case.
I had some PC EL Blue wire handy, and simply laced it around the top of the shell, and viewed it through the shell. I loved it. Granted, to demo it, I took no effort to make it look good or anything. But the effect was clear.
I’ve always wanted to add my own Jewels to a case, and this was a good opportunity. Mad-Modder.com sent some sample/custom Jewels, and would could be better than an official HSDEMONZ/Xbox-Scene Jewel for my first ever customization. Popped off the XCM Jewel with a butter knife, grabbed a hole saw, and cut my first hole.
Spent a few minutes, cleaning the hole with my dremel. Love the results, and the Jewel looked awesome. Even without EL wire or LED rings, the Jewel was worth the effort. It’s a great way to customize the case.
With the Hole cut, Jewel inserted, I then grabbed some X3 Control Panels, courtesy of XS Sponsor MODWHIZ.com. With the Blue X3 Control Panel in place, it was clear, that I had to light that Jewel. Since I was focusing on a blue theme, I grabbed that demo EL wire, wrapped it a few times around the Jewel, hot glued into place. Blue XCM case, Custom Jewel, Lit with EL wire, and a matching blue X3 Panel this case rocked. All that was missing was a Blue Power and Eject LED/PCB mod. I could have done that mod myself, but instead swiped a P/E PCB that was already premodded with blue leds.
So.. what more can I say about the XCM case? It matches up well color wise (blue and crystal Xcm Cases) with the matching X3 Control Panels. Fit is good as well. The Cases looks awesome when lit with any number of options from EL wire to LED rings etc. The plastic, which we knew before was tough and sturdy, also cuts well and cleanly.
Final Verdict: Buy the XCM case. Buy one of each color. Then come to the Forums here on XS and post your customizations in the Case Mod forum. You’ll enjoy the fun you have working with these shells.
Further Discussion, with more photos, at Higher Rez: XS Forums
and don't forget...
REVIEW VIDEO: 11 Minutes with the XCM and includes ideas on what to do with your old stock Xbox Shell.
XboxMediaCenter (XBMC) 2005-08-16 CVS build
>> A new CVS compile (by T3CH) of XboxMediaCenter(info) has been released.
This T3CH-compile is a BAREBONE package (so less stuff that can cause issues) compiled with XDK v5849.
Here's the added and updated stuff since the 2005-08-07 CVS release - for the full changelog including the fixed and changed stuff go to the forum thread:
* added: progress for vobsub processing
* added: A message box is now shown when a share is not available or its configuration is wrong
* added: progress dialog automatically pops up after 1.5 seconds of init when using mplayer on all medias, no only online.
* added: integrated the Music Top 100 view into the Music Library at the top level (old window has not been removed yet)
* added: proper action codes for entering dvdmenu, Keymap - showvideomenu, Skin - XBMC.PlayerControl(showvideomenu)
* added: dvdplayer menu animation when a menu button is clicked
* added: %S to the music track naming template to display the "Part of Set" identifier (aka Disc #)
* added: ability to specify cache path (currently only used for compressed rar files) in xboxmediacenter.xml.
* updated: mplayer.dll (better rewind, no skip after fastforward, better interlaced detection) + codecs.conf
* updated: added $CDRIPS to the list of special directory tokens
... read the full changelog here
You can add more scripts and skins yourself if desired. You can download them from allxboxskins.com, xbox-skins.net and xbmcscripts.com.
Keep in mind this is a CVS snapshot of the current development tree. It's not a official (stable) point release. Use only if you know what you are doing.
Official Site: http://www.xboxmediacenter.com / http://sourceforge.net/projects/xbmc
Full Changelog/Xbox-Scene Discussion Thread: forums.xbox-scene.com
Download Binaries: n/a (built with XDK)
Download SourceCode: here
GC Conference blogcasts, Moore and Lewis Interview and more *updated*
>> Following-up to the announcement of the official Xbox 360 packages, accessories and prices for USA and Europe at the GC2005 conference earlier today we found a bit additional interesting information.
* Major Nelson has downloadable blogcast of the Xbox Press Conference in Leipzig Germany on his blog in both MP3 and WMA format:
Here is the blogcast of today’s Xbox Press Conference in Leipzig Germany. There area a couple of parts that are in German (like the beginning) but then you’ll have English, then German, then English again. It was truly an international event. If you want to hear the details on pricing, fast forward to around 48:00.
Go download it from majornelson.com (xbox-scene mirror)
UPDATE1: Major Nelson posted a 2nd blogcast:
Some folks around the internet have voiced their opinions on today’s announcements. Some like them, and some don’t. I grabbed Scott Henson, Director of the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, for a few minutes and he addressed some of the issues on people’s minds in this special bonus blogcast.
Go download it from majornelson.com (xbox-scene mirror
* Xbox.com has a video interview with Chris Lewis, the Regional Vice President of Xbox across Europe, Middle East and Africa. There's also a written version of the interview available here. It basicly talks about what's been announced in the pressrelease and during the Xbox Press Conference at GC2005.
UPDATE: A Photo Story of the Xbox booth at GC2005 has been posted on xbox.com.
UPDATE(2): A FAQ has been posted too, it explains the HD will NOT be required for Xbox LIVE silver or gold. You will even be able to download content to the 64 Memory unit if you have no HD. More on xbox.com
* UPDATE(2): Another interesting article on joystiq.com - Backwards-compatible Xbox 360 to cost $399:
Dream of playing current-generation Xbox games on your new Xbox 360? That feature, known as backwards-compatibility, is going to cost you because you’ll need to purchase the Xbox 360 $399.99-package that comes with a 20 GB hard drive (or you’ll need to acquire the drive separately for $99.99).
According to an anonymous tipster, an official Microsoft document includes the following text:
”Key Benefits/Why to buy: Includes a Hard Drive to save games, download new content and play top selling Xbox games”
Read the whole article on joystiq.com.
* IGN has already an interview with Peter Moore talking about the SKUs:
IGN: Why did you decide to offer two SKUs, isn't that confusing for the consumer?
Peter Moore: If there is a lesson I think we have learned in the previous generation is that gamers want choice. Some gamers want simply to play a game and have none of the, in their estimation, some of the frills of the gaming experience, and price becomes paramount for them. At the same time, we believe it's important to offer them the ability to set up and upgrade. But if price becomes the key factor, we wanted to have that as well for as a choice for the consumer. $299 is a spectacular price point. And certainly in Europe in particular, I think we learned our lesson, that 479 euros and a March launch was not the optimal mix of what was going on.
IGN: Do you think that gamers will by more of one SKU that the other? Do you have research that proves the higher price point is going to take off?
Peter: My firm belief, and in all of the discussions I've had in the last couple days with the analysts who are starting to look at this and tear this thing apart, is that the great majority of sales will be at $399. That is huge value for the money. We absolutely project that the Xbox 360 will outsell the Core System in the early going. Over the life cycle that balance will probably change, but for $399, it's phenomenal value.
Go read the full interview on xbox360.ign.com
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(Wednesday 17 August 2005 12:25 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by::
Xbox 360 Price, SKUs Revealed: 300USD 300EUR 210GBP *updated*
>> The official price of the Xbox 360 was first leaked by the LATimes a few hours ago, ahead of Microsoft's Games Convention 2005 announcement.
Then it got confirmed at GC2005 (IGN has high-res images of the X360 at GC2005 here), with more details and the EU price (but no official launchdate yet) - and it's exactly like we expected (or as leaked over the last couple of weeks).
*UPDATE* Removed previous news (added links to previous articles above) as Microsoft just posted their official pressrelease - with full info including all accessories and their price:
Ending weeks of speculation about which upcoming video game platform will give gamers the most bang for their buck, today at the German Games Convention, Microsoft Corp. revealed that consumers can get their hands on Xbox 360™ — the most powerful and feature-packed next-generation video game and entertainment system — for as little as $299.99 U.S./€299.99/£209.99 starting this holiday season. For gamers who want to experience the ultimate digital entertainment thrill ride, Microsoft also announced a model with hundreds of dollars worth of accessories for $399.99 U.S./€399.99/£279.99, giving consumers the definitive entertainment experience at an unbelievable value right out of the box.
The Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Core System — along with an impressive lineup of high-definition game titles from the world’s best publishers and developers — will make their debut in North America, Europe and Japan in time for this Christmas holiday, several months ahead of the competition. Although details for the Japan launch will be addressed at the Tokyo Game Show in September, the unprecedented three-region launch signifies an industry first. The Xbox 360 platform will deliver the most powerful console, the best games, the next generation of the Xbox Live® service, and amazing digital entertainment experiences never seen in console entertainment.
“The sheer entertainment value of Xbox 360 cannot be overstated,” said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer for Microsoft. “While the system has the muscle to power awe-inspiring graphics, audio and online play, it’s also got the intelligence to serve as a one-of-a-kind entertainment device that plays CDs, DVDs, MP3s and digital content from an array of devices, including portable music players and digital cameras.”
With its built-in Ethernet port and free Silver level of service right out of the box, Xbox 360 also connects players to Xbox Live, the premier global online console games and entertainment network. With Xbox Live, gamers can chat with friends online, build and share gamer profiles, send and receive text and voice messages, and access Xbox Live Marketplace for new content such as game demos, trailers and casual games from Xbox Live Arcade. Subscribers to the Gold level of service will also enjoy access to online multiplayer gaming in their favorite games, as well as great promotional programs such as worldwide tournaments, the chance to play online with their favorite celebrities, and opportunities to win big prizes.
For gamers who want the ultimate experience (and the best value) right out of the box, Microsoft will offer the $399.99 U.S./€399.99/£279.99 Xbox 360 console. This premium edition — distinguished by signature metallic detailing on the console itself — comes fully loaded for the ultimate gaming experience, with components and accessories that would cost more than $200 if sold separately:
* Xbox 360 console. Sexy styling that packs a punch — three powerful core processors are poised to pump out 720p/1080i output, 16x9 cinematic aspect ratio, anti-aliasing for smooth textures, full surround sound and DVD playback right out of the box.
* Xbox 360 Hard Drive (20 GB). 20 GB and detachable, the hard drive allows gamers to store their games, music, downloaded trailers, levels, demos and community-created content from Xbox Live Marketplace.
* Xbox 360 Wireless Controller. Hassle-free high-performance precision wireless gaming features the Xbox® Guide Button for quick access to digital movies, music and games libraries as well as a range and battery life of up to 30 feet and 30 hours of life on two AA batteries.
* Xbox 360 Faceplate. The removable Faceplate comes in stylish “chill” (white) and can be swapped out with custom Faceplates to reflect gamers’ personalities or decor.
* Xbox 360 Headset. This lets gamers strategize with teammates or trash-talk opponents while playing games on Xbox Live.
* Xbox 360 Component HD-AV Cable. This connects gamers to the world of Xbox 360 games and graphics through high-definition and standard-definition connections.
* Xbox Live Silver membership. With this, gamers can chat with friends online, send and receive voice and text messages, and access new content from Xbox Live Marketplace demos such as trailers and casual games from Xbox Live Arcade.
* A bonus Media Remote: Included for a limited time, the integrated control center for the entire digital experience lets consumers play DVDs, movies and music, as well as access their Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC's controls with a single remote.
At $299.99 U.S./€299.99/£209.99, the Xbox 360 Core System comes standard with what consumers need to jump right into next-generation games and media, and is fully expandable to the complete Xbox 360 experience:
* Xbox 360 console. As with the premium edition, three powerful core processors pump out 720p/1080i output, 16x9 cinematic aspect ratio, anti-aliasing for smooth textures, full surround sound and DVD playback right out of the box.
* Xbox 360 Controller. This wired controller features an extended nine-foot cable and a comfortable, enhanced ergonomic design.
* Xbox 360 Faceplate. Like no other console before, the Xbox 360 console allows customization and a removable Faceplate that comes in stylish “chill” (white), which can be swapped out with other custom Faceplates to reflect gamers’ personalities or decor.
* Xbox 360 Standard AV Cable. This connects gamers to the world of Xbox 360, delivering great next-generation graphics and games using standard-definition connections.
The Xbox 360 console also comes ready for customization. With an array of Xbox 360 accessories, gamers can trick out their systems to suit their individual tastes and personalize their experiences. In addition to an ever-growing selection of eye-catching Faceplates ($19.99 U.S./€19.99/£14.99), Xbox 360 Controller (estimated retail price $39.99 U.S./€34.99/£24.99*) and Component HD AV Cable (estimated retail price $39.99 U.S./€29.99/£19.99*), the lineup includes a wealth of accessories that brings next-generation gaming entertainment to its optimum:
* Xbox 360 Hard Drive (20 GB). 20 GB and detachable, the hard drive allows gamers to store their games, music, downloaded trailers, levels, demos and community-created content from Xbox Live Marketplace and more (estimated retail price $99.99 U.S./€99.99/£69.99*).
* Xbox 360 Memory Unit (64 MB). Easily portable, this lets gamers save games, in-game achievements and unique gamer profiles for quick and easy access on the go (estimated retail price $39.99 U.S./€34.99/£22.99*).
* Xbox 360 Wireless Controller. The same hassle-free high-performance precision wireless gaming that comes with the premium edition features the Xbox Guide Button for quick access to digital movies, music and games libraries as well as a range and battery life of up to 30 feet and 30 hours of life on two AA batteries (estimated retail price $49.99 U.S./€44.99/£32.99*).
* Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit. This allows plug and play for high-performance, precision wireless gaming with the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller. Gamers will be given ample warning when the end of battery life is nearing so they can connect the Play & Charge cable for uninterrupted play (estimated retail price $19.99 U.S./€19.99/£14.99*).
* Xbox 360 rechargeable battery pack. This provides up to 25 hours of gameplay for wireless gaming fun (estimated retail price $11.99 U.S./€14.99/£9.99*).
* Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter. With this, gamers can chat with friends and play games via Xbox Live, as well as stream videos and music to Xbox 360 from a Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC, all without the clutter of wires (estimated retail price $99.99 U.S./€79.99 /£59.99*).
* Xbox 360 Headset. This heightens the Xbox Live experience by letting gamers strategize with teammates or trash-talk opponents while playing games (estimated retail price $19.99 U.S./€19.99/£14.99*).
* Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote. Sold as an accessory, this integrated control center for the entire digital experience lets consumers play DVDs, movies and music, as well as control a TV and their Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC controls with a single controller (estimated retail price $29.99 U.S./€29.99/£19.99*).
* Xbox 360 S-Video AV Cable (U.S. only) Xbox 360 SCART AV Cable (Europe only). This versatile cable works for both high-definition and standard-definition TVs that use S-Video or composite video inputs. It provides optimal audio and video signal transfer (estimated retail price $29.99 U.S./€24.99/£17.99*).
* Xbox 360 VGA HD AV Cable. Gamers can experience high-definition gaming on flat-panel TV or VGA monitors. This cable provides optimal audio and video signal transfer (estimated retail price $39.99 U.S./€29.99/£19.99*).
“With both the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Core System, we’re offering consumers real choice and real value,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of worldwide marketing and publishing for the Home Entertainment Division at Microsoft. “We’re bringing true next-generation experiences into gamers’ living rooms this Christmas holiday.”
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(Wednesday 17 August 2005 08:40 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by::
WMC2 enables streaming between PC and Xbox 360
>> From TomsHardware.com:
Microsoft today released a beta version of its Windows Media Connect 2 to developers and beta testers. The software, which allows digital media receivers (DMR) to stream music, video, and photos stored on Windows XP-based computers, will support in its second generation a range of new devices, including the upcoming game console Xbox 360.
According to Microsoft, WMC2 connects the Xbox 360 to home PCs as well as online services such as Napster and Yahoo and allows streaming of digital content, including images, music and video.
WMC2 will be offered as a free update for Windows XP before the end of year, Microsoft told Tom's Hardware Guide.
Xi-Fi Project closes it's doors and open sources it's designs
>> From: Xi-Fi.com
Xi-Fi started about 2 years ago. A group of Xbox case moders from Xbox-Scene set out to design and build a case that delivered on the failed promises of a high level case called "XDeck" The XDeck was a case that would house extra hard drives or DVD drive, integrate a DVD dongle and allow switching between devices. All XDeck ever delivered was a few concept images done in photoshop. They also took a fair amount of donations to help get the project off the ground.
Xi-Fi was originally named "Project-Deck". We surveyed the scene to determine what people really wanted in a case, then we designed from there. We ran into organizational problems, and communication problems and the project got pushed further and further back, personal lives got in the way of things. We got as far as a physical prototype of a case we called "HTx". After taking what we learned from the prototype we re-designed HTx completely from the ground up using the prototype as a basis and fixing the week spots. We created professional schematics for the case and went from manufacturer to manufacturer looking for someone who could produce it for us for a reasonable price. Eventually we exhausted our possibilities and it was determined that we were unable to manufacture the case at a price people could reasonably afford, even with no profit to the team at all, it could not be done.
The few remaining members of the team enjoy working with each other, and with Xbox 360 around the corner we plan on possibly doing something with that console.
We've always felt that this was sort of an "open source" project, designed by case moders for case moders. We planned on releasing our designs once it was done. Since the case will not be hitting production here are the Engineering Drawings for the case.
Download: All Drawings Zipped
If you wish to use these drawings to design or even manufacture your own case you are free to do so. All we ask in return is that you give credit to the Xi-Fi team for design (if used exactly) or inspiration (if using element of) You may use the HTx name but you may NOT use the Xi-Fi name if manufacturing or selling the case. Also we ask that you let us know what you're up to! We'd love to see what people do with this.
You can contact us through the Xbox-Scene.com forums: twistedsymphony, Birdtales, Ben999_, vona_a, Palmore.
A Walk Through The Xbox 360 Evaluation Lab
>> From TeamXbox.com:
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.
"On the tour, I got to see some working prototypes, as well as many with their guts torn out. Behind doors with coded keypads, Microsoft is literally baking some of these machines to see if they can live up to tough quality standards before they begin shipping this fall. Here and there, engineers say that they’re the first to begin playing next-generation games.
We walked around the lab to a guy who was roasting his Xbox 360. He was testing the processor by heating it up to 70 degrees Celsius."
Read the whole story on TeamXbox.com and the original story on MercuryNews.com.
PS2 price cut expected; Xbox 360 date unlikely, price leaked?
>> From GamesIndustry.biz:
With announcements due from both Sony and Microsoft at Game Convention in Leipzig tomorrow, rumours at the show suggest that Sony will be dropping its PS2 price point - but that Microsoft may have little news to announce due absence of Robbie Bach, J Allard and Peter Moore.
However, one strong hint about the price point for Xbox 360 did emerge today from Microsoft itself - with a German language page on the company's own website fingering CHF 600.- as the value of the console.
The page, which describes a new initiative offering incentives to resellers who sell certain volumes of Microsoft software, notes that an Xbox 360 console worth 600 Swiss Francs is one of the bonuses on offer. (mirror/backup if MS deletes it - UPDATE: MS is sooo predictable, they removed it ;))
That translates roughly as 386 Euro, or GBP 264 - which is broadly in line with the upper end of price expectations for the Xbox 360.
Read the whole article on GamesIndustry.biz.
Manufacturing Powerhouses Lined Up To Produce Xbox 360
>> From the pressrelease:
Microsoft announced today that Celestica, Flextronics and Wistron will produce the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. Microsoft’s highly anticipated next-generation platform remains on track for a global launch this holiday season in North America, Europe and Japan.
"It’s an honor to have the expertise and support of three of the world’s best-in-class manufacturing companies as we move into the next-generation with Xbox 360,” said Corporate Vice President of Xbox Product Group, Todd Holmdahl. “With three contract manufacturers on board, we’re poised to have the flexibility and efficiencies we need to keep up with the consumer demand for the world’s most powerful next-generation platform."
Flextronics and Wistron are existing partners from the first iteration of Xbox, while the relationship between Celestica and Microsoft is newly formed. All three plants are located in the Pearl River Delta region in Southern China.
Mauro Alencar Joins AKQA to Lead Xbox Creative Business
>> From the pressrelease:
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 16 -- AKQA announced today that Mauro Alencar has joined AKQA as Creative Director and will be leading AKQA's creative efforts for the Microsoft Xbox business. A client for the past four years, Xbox recently assigned AKQA with the global interactive marketing duties for the Xbox 360 brand as well as launching all first party titles for Microsoft Games Studios and Xbox's online console gaming service, Xbox Live.
This latest Xbox assignment comes on the heels of two recent high profile projects from AKQA: the global launch of Halo 2 and development of the Xbox 360 user interface, the latter being a 16-month project from start to finish.
Alencar's award-wining creative has earned him top honors at The One Show, Clios, London International Advertising Festival and the Cannes International Advertising Festival, including the Grand Prix Cyber Lion. In 2002, he was named one of the Top Five Interactive Creatives by the German Institute for Idea Management.
Read the whole pressrelease here.
Bachus takes charge at Infinium
>> From mcvuk.com:
Kevin Bachus has been confirmed as the new CEO of Infinium Labs, the company behind the controversial Phantom games-on-demand system.
Bachus, one of the four creators behind the original Xbox, steps up from his role as president and chief operating officer, which he has occupied since December 2003, replacing former CEO Timothy M. Roberts. Roberts will remain on the board of directors.
Read the whole article on mcvuk.com, the pressrelease is available here.
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(Tuesday 16 August 2005 12:01 EST) - (Category: GamingGeneral) - (Posted by::
Spong Interviews Peter Moore Part2
>> Spong posted part two of their great interview with Peter Moore, Microsoft's "Corporate Vice President Worldwide Marketing and Publishing, Xbox".
If you missed part one, you can still read it here and part two is available here.
In part two they talk about what reaction (PS2 pricing) they expect from Sony when the Xbox 360 will be released, about the PS3 and Xbox360 pricing and launch dates around the world and they talk about why the original Xbox failed in Japan and what they're doing to make sure it doesn't happen again. Here's a short excerpt:
SPOnG: Ken Kutaragi has been on record to state that the PlayStation 3 will not be cheap, setting the expectations of the market and the consumer…
Peter Moore: I was in Japan for a meeting last week and Kutaragi-san said something along the lines of, “[PlayStation 3] will not be priced for home use…” Which…well, I don’t know if it got lost in translation, but it’s not the thing to say. From a pricing point of view for 360, we’ll price accordingly for the market and to hit the business objectives which are to grow our business. But you certainly won’t hear from me that Xbox 360 is going to be priced outside of the home market.
SPOnG: And that’s surely a lesson learned from the first Xbox?
Peter Moore: Yeah, especially in Europe. One thing we’ve learned is shipping in March at 479 Euros is maybe not the right thing to do…we’re going to go at the right time and we’re going to price to meet the consumers’ needs.
Peter Moore (talking about the design of the Xbox360...): When you see the family of products, which we’re going to show at X05, then you’ll see. Yes, that was another area in Japan where we struggled. The original Xbox – it looked American and we spent a ton of time on the design [of the Xbox360] and weeks in the Japanese market with focus groups and talking to consumers. And one thing that’s stuck in my mind that came out of one focus group was one time we asked: “Who do you think designed this and when do you think it will become available?” They guessed first Apple for the manufacturer, then Sony. Microsoft did not figure highly on that list at all! And then they said that it didn’t seem real yet, that it looked too far into the future and we think it will be available in 2008. And when you get that kind of feedback, especially when you’ve gone through that much pain as we have in Japan, it’s very reassuring that you’ve done the right thing. So yeah, Japan. We didn’t have the right games. We didn’t have the right design and the marketing was a little too foreign game-focused and we’ve changed all of that.
Go read the whole 2nd part of the interview on spong.com.
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(Tuesday 16 August 2005 00:22 EST) - (Category: Xbox_Xbox360) - (Posted by::
ID boss prefers Xbox 360 over PS3
>> From xboxusersgroup.com:
It’s been a few years since id Software’s co-owner and technical director John Carmack has made a keynote speech at QuakeCon, but today he unleashed an almost two hour long “stream of consciousness” speech that more or less touched on his thoughts about all aspects of gaming...
As far as Xbox 360 versus PlayStation 3, Carmack said that he felt that the Xbox 360 was more developer friendly than the PlayStation 3. “Hardware wise, there’s a lot of marketing hype about the consoles. A lot of it really needs to be taken with grains of salt about exactly how powerful it is.” Obviously since he’s been working on Xbox 360 development id Software has development kits, but Carmack said that he also has PlayStation 3 kits.
Overall, Carmack said that he wasn’t really happy with multi-core development, and that the returns initially will be disappointing. “The Xbox 360 has an architecture where you essentially have got three processors and they’re all running the same memory pool and they’re all synchronized, and cache coherent, and you can spawn off another thread in your program and make it go do some work. That’s kind of the best case and it’s still really difficult to turn into faster performance or getting it to get more stuff done in a game title.” While in his speech he said that this would all make developing games more time consuming and more difficult, he seemed to favor Microsoft over Sony.
Read the whole article on xboxusersgroup.com and gameinformer.com
Microsoft Invented the iPod?
>> From TeamXbox.com:
Shocking news and a new chapter in the digital music wars. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has rejected a March 2004 patent application by Apple Computer for the iPod.
Apple's patent for a "graphical user interface and methods of use thereof in a multimedia player" was rejected last month and the patent examiner cited in the ruling an earlier application by Microsoft, filed after the iPod was introduced but before Apple sought its own patent.
"Apple has received many patents for inventions related to iPod, and has many more patents pending," Natalie Kerris, Apple spokeswoman, said. "The U.S. patent process is often a lengthy one, involving much back and forth with the U.S. patent office. Apple will continue to pursue this patent application, as well as the many others covering iPod innovations."
Microsoft has stated that they don’t have any plans to block iPod sales.
Read the whole article on TeamXbox.com.
Microsoft Selects Exent Technologies As Worldwide Digital Distribution Partner
>> From the pressrelease:
Microsoft has signed Exent Technologies, the global market leader in secure digital delivery of games on-demand, to be Microsoft’s first worldwide aggregation partner for digital distribution.
Microsoft has granted Exent the right to aggregate and distribute Microsoft PC games, including titles from the popular Age of Empires®, Age of Mythology®, Dungeon Siege®, Mechwarrior®, Rise of Nations® and Zoo Tycoon® product lines, making some of the most popular game properties available worldwide for the first time over broadband through Exent’s network of Games-on-Demand service providers.
Exent-powered Games-on-Demand services enable gamers to quickly obtain full-version games without the need to fully download them to their machines. The EXEtender™ technology solution helps players to enjoy a console-like gaming experience on the PC platform.
Read the whole pressrelease here.
US games software giants target UK mod-chip supplier
>> From channelregister.co.uk:
Crewe, Cheshire-based Games World Direct (GWD) last week found itself targeted by the US-based Entertainment Software Association (ESA), after the organisation contacted its ISP, Luton-based UH Hosting Ltd, and demanded its website be removed.
According to an email sent to UH's owner and founder, James Smith, the ESA "has a good faith belief that the person(s) operating the Internet site... violates the DMCA and infringe(s) the intellectual property rights of one or more ESA Members by offering for sale circumvention devices".
Said devices are console mod chips, the ESA alleged.
In an exclusive interview with The Register, GWD owner Ben Holding confirmed his company does indeed sell mod chips. However, he said they are "blank" - they lack any code taken from Sony or any other games console manufacturer, unlike older mod chips whose sale has got a number of other vendors into hot water.
He maintained that his chips were no different from blank CDs and DVDs - they too have illegal uses, but that does not prevent their sale because there are also perfectly legitimate uses to which they may be put.
However, Struan Roberston, a senior associate with law firm Pinsent Mason, said such an argument may carry little weight should the case come to court. "Almost all court decisions have gone against mod-chip sellers," he said.
"The law surrounding mod chips is not 100 per cent clear," he admitted, but "anyone who decides to sell mod chips has to be prepared to take a big risk. He has to be prepared for a fight."
Read the whole article on channelregister.co.uk.
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(Monday 15 August 2005 10:33 EST) - (Category: Xbox_Xbox360) - (Posted by::
Xbox 360 may not always have a hard drive, confirms Allard
>> From GamesIndustry.biz:
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.
However, at present the official line remains that the Xbox 360 will ship with a hard drive as part of its basic specification - and it seems more likely that the difference in configuration at launch will be that some models will ship with a significantly larger hard drive than the 20Gb baseline.
Read the whole article on GamesIndustry.biz.
Halo2 Mod: NewYork (terminal) Map
>> From halomods.com:
Scotty GEE and Greennc as part of the gamers and modders association (GAMA) has release New York for terminal in halo2.
This mod features realistic urban style environment and is skinned by Greennc. Scotty GEE made the weapons.
This mod is based upon the lifestyles of New York :-) Cars layed everywhere, constant murky fog. Stupid and rude signs, realistic looking environment and more. There are classic weapons from previous mods in this, but made to be better.
Official Site: http://www.halogama.com
More Info/Downloads: halomods.com
>> XBConnect(info) v5.1.2 build 243 - a tunneling application to play Xbox network games over the internet - has been released. What's new/fixed:
The most notable feature added in this build is player ranks. XBC Pro users will be able to vote on players after playing a game with them. Using a complex algorithm the XBC server will tabulate these votes for every given player and turn them into a player rank. We will post more information about this feature as it progresses.
List of updates below:
* New version of winpcap 3.1.
* New heap memory manager code.
* Player ranks and voting.
* Fixed a timing issue with the manual ARP packets.
* Added some preliminary code for PS/2 support.
* New application protection shell.
* Sorted ban list.
Official Site: http://www.xbconnect.com