Musings of Geekdom by Eric Newton

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Sweet! ...The new XBOX 360

The new “XBOX Live Experience” that they have been letting us peek at looks like it has a lot of cool new features.  In addition to the wireless controllers, the headset cord port is also built into the wireless controller, which is cool...

I wonder if anybody's considered BlueTooth for that?  Then you could get rid of the headset altogether?  I know of at least 3 friends that have a BlueTooth headset for their phone... It would be cool to also be able to use it for Xbox Live...  Hell yeah!  Not to mention it could save more battery power for the controller by having the separate battery for the headset.  (Probably only marginally though)

Additionally, I think I've heard that they've “encouraged“ the title developers to embrace the higher HD-TV standards or resolutions (some running at 1080 x 720p), which is nice because the current games dont look bad in HD, I mean heck, it really is the best looking resolution so far, but watching a football game on ESPN-HD at the higher resolutions is just stunning.  Consider Madden '06 rivaling the actual game and even more amusing showing it to the public and have them point out which screen is showing a REAL football game versus a Madden '06 one...   Big plus here.

That all said, I question the wisdom of not having any default storage unboard.  Is this because of the current generation of mods for XBOX?  I hope not.  After getting used to never having to go buy those $20 memory cards just to store basic save game info for at least the current game that I'm playing.  It was nice to just store it on the built-in HD, and always see 50,000+ blocks free.  You never had to worry about saving the current game versus overwriting a save file from another game that you weren't sure about.

All in all, it shaping up to be a great system to own.  I've been very pleased with my XBox, of which I've owned since the retail stores got it (Nov 15 2000?)   The only thing I've changed on it is replacing those early brain dead DVD drives with a newer Samsung drive.  Load times are so much better I wonder why I never considered doing it sooner than when a new crop of titles came out that the early drives just stuttered on. 

Now, as a general PC developer, what kind of APIs is the new XBox Live gonna give us?  At the very least a generalized stats and profile lookup would be cool.  Game Community Forums and such should be tight between being on the XBox and say browsing some site.  The game developers themselves would obviously have different abilities versus an API exposed via web services for more PC specific stuff thats harder to do on the XBox (ie, using voice messages online versus typing messages into PC keyboards).  I'd love to see a document from MSDN or XBox outlining some of those features. 

Heck, I even started working on my own “GameSpy step up” mainly because I just wanted to learn the .Net framework from the ground up.  It featured a generalized online Game Hosts tracking and reporting system (game browser) and a relatively simple forum engine that was basically linked to your online persona.  Of course, it was just a weekend project thats never really seen any work for a while though.

So who's gonna just wait for the PS3 release?  I think that'll be a cool system too.  Maybe I'll look a bit closer at it soon.

Print | posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 11:53 AM |

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