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XBox (Games) Entertainment Games

Xbox Live Feature Upgrades Include Online Storage? 46

Posted by simoniker
from the giant-xboxen-in-data-centers dept.
Flamingcheeze writes "According to a Reuters article: 'Microsoft Corp. is planning a number of new features for its Xbox Live online gaming service this year, including... something called 'title-managed online storage,' a way for game players to store and share data via Microsoft's network.' The piece goes on to note, without directly drawing a link: 'speculation within the industry that Microsoft may not include a hard drive in the next version of the Xbox console, in favor of network-based storage that would reduce the console's physical size and cost', as recently discussed on Slashdot Games." The article also mentions possible "indications... that Xbox Live would eventually allow players to leave each other brief voice messages", and a story at GameSpot has further, albeit brief details on this 'Tsunami' upgrade.
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Xbox Live Feature Upgrades Include Online Storage?

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  • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Friday February 20, 2004 @10:38PM (#8346663) Homepage
    The article also mentions possible "indications... that Xbox Live would eventually allow players to leave each other brief voice messages"

    Wow, you mean, like voicemail?

    • by Babbster (107076) <aaronbabb.gmail@com> on Friday February 20, 2004 @11:26PM (#8346910) Homepage
      Yeah, except voicemail attached to an anonymous video game userID with no provision of personal information. It would permit you to leave a buddy a message telling them when you'd be online, or leaving a buddy a message about a high score, bad player, etc. Since Microsoft is avoiding the keyboard for Xbox, it makes a lot of sense. It also makes sense from a security point of view because, again, no personal information ever has to change hands in order to get some offline communication going.
    • by Cebu (161017) on Friday February 20, 2004 @11:27PM (#8346919)
      I would hope the intention would be to finally integrate MSN Messenger functionality into Xbox live allowing users to communicate seamlessly between the desktop environment (via MSN Messenger's VoIP capabilities) and Xbox Live. Voicemail would be kind of nice too I suppose.

      Most game developers, and a host of non-game developers, have been thinking about better communication integration for quite sometime now. The utility of communication services is directly proportionate with the number of users. Subsequently, it makes a lot of sense to try to increase your user base. Similar efforts have been made in Valve's Steam, and if you want a far older example look at how wireless text messaging systems have evolved -- communicating between wireless phones, landline phones, and desktop computers may not be ubiquitous, but it's certain availible.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Friday February 20, 2004 @10:41PM (#8346674)
    Yes, trust Microsoft to store your sensitive personal information, like "does not signal left turns in "Gotham" race game" and "would rather play as dwarf than elf". A violation of privacy, I tell you!
    • "Yes, trust Microsoft to store your sensitive personal information, like "does not signal left turns in "Gotham" race game" and "would rather play as dwarf than elf". A violation of privacy, I tell you! "

      One man's troll is another man's +5, Satire.
  • I think (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lemental (719730) on Friday February 20, 2004 @10:43PM (#8346695)
    This would make an already great service better. I still dont like the idea of the next one not having a HD though. Not everyone lives in a boradband area, maybe they will put a dual adapter in the next one, like Sony. Not that online gaming has been that sucessful for Sony. I think it wont hurt things to even offer ISP service, give them something to do with all those MSN nodes out there.
    • Re:I think (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Babbster (107076) <aaronbabb.gmail@com> on Friday February 20, 2004 @11:32PM (#8346946) Homepage
      Assuming they once again include a network adapter, not including a hard drive could be turned into a nice thing for gamers. What if the Xbox OS allowed you to set aside a fixed amount of space on the hard drive of another PC and access that just as we currently can the Xbox HD? That would allow the same facilities in terms of ripping songs for custom soundtracks, saving games, etc., and it would make the next Xbox cheaper [to build] with one less part to fail. They've already tested this to some extent with their Music Mixer software which allows the transfer of pre-existing music files on a PC over to the Xbox.
      • Music Mixer [xbox.com] looks quite interesting, though $40 for a copy of Windows Media Player is pushing it a bit.

        If all this kind of stuff was included in the Xbox by default I'd happily make it The Centre of My Living Room.
        • Unfortunately, the big appeal of Music Mixer was supposed to be the karaoke feature, so the $40 covers the inclusion of a microphone and adapter as well. For me, because I didn't want to stretch audio wiring from my computer to my living room (CAT-5 is another issue entirely for a geek), the program was worth the money not to have to re-rip those CDs again in the Xbox.
    • 'speculation within the industry that Microsoft may not include a hard drive in the next version of the Xbox console, in favor of network-based storage that would reduce the console's physical size and cost'

      I'm surprised you are consused sith such a crap quote. This snippit of text opens a proposition [no HD], reinforces the proposition [network, etc], but doesn't answer it.

      Perhaps including the full quote from TFA "There has been speculation within the industry that Microsoft may not include a hard driv
      • Re:I think (Score:3, Funny)

        by Babbster (107076)
        Actually, I think companies are outsourcing because those British accents sound so intelligent and dignified when the Indians come in to make their proposals. =P
  • by JFMulder (59706) on Friday February 20, 2004 @10:46PM (#8346714)
    Why does people even think that the Xbox Next would actually have savegames on a remote location? This is such a ridiculous idea. I mean, games would take a lot longer to load and save, especially around 8 o'clock in the evening when everybody is playing. It would totally kill backward compatibility if there is any. Not only online games couldn't be playable when your Internet connection is down, but offline games too. And you'd definitely need broadband to have a somewhat acceptable performance. Games like KOTOR would be impossible (savegames are over 8 megs!).

    People writing these articles really need to get a clue.
    • Why does people even think that the Xbox Next would actually have savegames on a remote location?

      There has been speculation that for the next console, an ethernet connection AND XBox Live will be included in some manner. Maybe just the first year free. Doing that would allow them to axe the HD and shrink the box quite a bit, both costs savings I'm sure.

      And you'd definitely need broadband to have a somewhat acceptable performance.

      That's why it has an ethernet port and not a 56K modem like the Drea
    • Well, I'm reasonably certain the XBox PowerPC chip won't be compatible with your current x86 chip. But the xbox people seem to keep pushing broadband required features. Every time I turn around someone's betting on the prevailance of broadband and it never works. So it wouldn't suprise me to see them bet on it as stupidly as 8 megabyte files across a cable modem.
    • Worse, you lose the ability to make custom mp3 soundtracks. Any new material for a game will have to be accessed anew every time, and possibly during play if it won't fit in local volatile storage.
  • by illuminata (668963) on Friday February 20, 2004 @10:50PM (#8346740) Journal
    Their last feature upgrade did offer a little bit of an improvement in the dashboard (GUI), but their out of game voice chat is a complete mess. It sounds terrible in comparison to chatting in a game! Voices are heard gurgled and staticky even with a first party microphone (for those who don't go on XBox Live, most third party microphones are horrible). I hope that this time around the new features are better.

    In fact, I think that they should worry more about improving upon the ideas that they've already implemented. For one, get the voice chat to work right. Then, how about adding some card games or board games for the people to play while chatting? It's not very fun to stare at a menu when you could be doing something in the meantime.

    As of now, most people just set up an empty private server to chat in a game where they met their friend. Hell, it sounds better that way and you have something to do.
    • It sounds terrible in comparison to chatting in a game! Voices are heard gurgled and staticky even with a first party microphone (for those who don't go on XBox Live, most third party microphones are horrible). I hope that this time around the new features are better.

      Xbox Live uses the same VoIP system via dashboard as it does in game. Microsoft purchased the Waterloo based Shadow Factor in 1999 to integrate their VoIP technology into DirectX as well as other MS products. You now see the same technology
      • Xbox Live uses the same VoIP system via dashboard as it does in game.

        Well, it must be a problem with their own implementation, because there is a large difference in voice quality. The quality also varies somewhat from game to game, but the dashboard is the worst. I've chatted with many people from the dashboard and they have the same experience.
        • by Cebu (161017)
          Xbox Live games and the Xbox Live dashboard both use the Live API, of which the VoIP audio codecs have not significantly changed. The Live API VoIP framework has been rolled into the XDK for a long time now. Subsequently the implementations of VoIP are virtually identical between Xbox games as well as the Xbox Live dashboard.

          What differences do occur, are usually in the networking code and initial VoIP settings. It's upto the developer to decide the compression window size for voice data, and how to dea
  • Holy shit! (Score:1, Troll)

    by LennyDotCom (26658)
    Billy boy has adapted McNealy's idea and is goning to use it in real life. I wounder if M$ will use sun servers?

  • then they might actually use their cash coffers to try to mitigate VOIP "taxes..."
  • by Bruha (412869) on Friday February 20, 2004 @11:24PM (#8346899) Homepage Journal
    With the current dismal speeds of broadband in the US and antiquated pricing structures for mass bandwidth on the backbones I doubt even MicroSoft could pressure the DSL and Cable providers to provide more robust links to homes. Players no doubt would rather save to their systems than wait a few minutes of their playtime watching a counter tick away while uploading the data and for their friends to download the data.

    Even on 768k DSL it takes up to 5 minutes or longer in some cases to download necessary game patches to even allow online play on XboxLive. Until the broadband speeds pony up to the challenge I think the next Xbox and even the PS3 will be hard pressed to provide the stated functionality sought by gamer for online gaming.
    • Even on 768k DSL it takes up to 5 minutes or longer in some cases to download necessary game patches to even allow online play on XboxLive.

      a) Not every single time one plays - more like one 5-minute delay per month (at most).
      b) That's not that long for a multi-meg download.
      c) Would you rather they not improve the service when they can?
      d) If you'd turn off Kazaa, you would probably experience increased Xbox Live performance.

      • The parent post was referring to the next Xbox possibly not having a hard drive - so you would need to download that stuff every time. It would hurt loading times quite a bit, as well as lowering responsiveness in general. MS better have a good solution for this if they decide to take this route... (Maybe large integrated flash memory, so at least reduce the frequency? Rewriteable discs?)

        He wasn't attacking Xbox Live, so lay off the fanboy defensiveness. :D
        • Actually, being defensive about Xbox doesn't require being a "fanboy" (I enjoy all three current consoles). Most places, it just requires being a "fan" considering how it gets hammered. :)

          That being said, you're right. I misunderstood the original point and retract my attitude - I'm no more excited than anyone else about the idea of a Microsoft game console without a hard drive.

          • I find it hard to believe that after selling the hard drive thing this generation they're going to walk away from it with XNext. Saved games might work ok networked, but custom soundtracks with a 256Kb upload? I'd say they want to cut the hard drive, as it's probably the component in the XBOX that fails the most, and replace it with flash. Networked data storage for people that want to get to their saves on somebody else's XBOX, or trade saves with a friend, something like that.
    • Where's The Broadband?
      In Canada. ;)
  • So when's MS windows for xbox coming out?

    Let's be honest about it, that's where they are going to end up anyways.
  • Microsoft may not include a hard drive in the next version of the Xbox console, in favor of network-based storage that would reduce the console's physical size and cost

    I'm looking at my PC's hard drive right now and I don't see how a hard drive could add that much to the physical size of the Xbox. I think Microsoft needs to quit making up excuses and just get hardware companies to make specialized hardware for their system to cutting down on the size. (Just look at the size of the Gamecube. You KNOW it has

    • Not only that, take a look at the iPod. Apple has 40gig models and they're no bigger then my wallet. The removal of the hdd in the xbox is more for reducing the cost of the machine and more importantly it'll force people into subscribing to LIVE to save games.
    • Right, but a hard drive is not something you can cheaply make smaller. If you open up the Xbox youll notice that that the hard drive appartaus takes up about one quarter of the space inside. And its not like you can just opt to use a smaller hard drive. Why do you think iPods are so expensive (aside from general apple high prices)? They have small hard drives. Would you rather pay $200 for a small-sized Xbox Next or $500 for a small-sized Xbox Next with a small hard drive inside?
  • By excluding a harddrive they exclude any kind of pirate material, except for bootchips. This means that it might be impossible to run Linux on future versions of the XBox.
    • Re:Linux... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      NOOOOO!!!!

      Seriously though, you can run Linux on the gamecube. Why is running linux so important on a console anyway?

      Mod me as troll, but consoles are for games.
  • Yeah, I'm not thrilled with the idea of voicemail. Even though it's subscription-based, which will make it harder to prevent other users from leaving messages (or at least easier to track them), it could still happen.

    Even more likely, Microsoft will use it to spam us with info about upcoming games or add-ons.

    "Hey [insert gamertag].

    We see that you've been playing a lot of [insert game], and wanted to let you know that [new downloadable content/add-on disc/sequel/another game of the similar genre] is avail
  • i agree no one is going to wait for content to D/l every time they want to play online. the beauty of the console over a pc is the fact you can sit down and be playing almost straight away.

    but on the other hand, this could be a pretty cool addition to live...

    imagine being able to save a replay of your game and show it to your friends. or have user-created content like levels or customised cars that you could share.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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