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Xbox 360 Updates Social Features, Back Compat 112

Posted by Zonk
from the new-toys-for-everyone dept.
Microsoft is gearing up for another big update to Xbox Live, and soon they'll be offering a friend of a friend feature that will allow users to peruse their friends' friend lists. It's a voluntary service, and is gated by your age to avoid any parental fears. If you'd rather turn it off ahead of time, they already have a dedicated site set up for that purpose. (Gamertag login required.) That update will be dropping on December 4th. Relatedly, they're also rolling out a whole bunch of new backwards compatability options for your old Xbox games. Highlights include support for: Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance, Burnout 2: Point of Impact, Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, Indiana Jones And The Emperors Tomb, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Syberia II, The Bard's Tale, Worms 3D. There's also support for a slew of sports titles going all the way back to 2003.
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Xbox 360 Updates Social Features, Back Compat

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  • Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:41PM (#21505991)
    that they're still adding backwards compatibility 2 years after release. The real need for it diminishes as time passes, I would think. Personally, I'm waiting for some better video codec support so I don't need to transcode streamed video.
  • Re:Surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OK PC (857190) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:48PM (#21506115)
    Personally I'm of the opinion that if it uses the Xbox name then it should be compatible with Xbox titles. Same for PlayStation.
    It is nice to see them continue support for Xbox titles, I am enjoying going through the games I missed first time around. Especially seeing as Sony seem to have given up on backwards compatibility. On the flip side, they do still sell the PS2 and you can't say the same for the Xbox.
    As a side note, Xbox games seem to difficult to get hold of/expensive. For example, I have seen KOTOR 2 for £20 pre-owned!
  • This is weird... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:28PM (#21506757)
    especially considering how well Sony offered complete backward compatibility so perfectly on the PS2. Nowadays, it's lost so much relevence that the "feature" is almost non-existent on the PS3 and exists only an incrimental add-on for the most mediocre of titles on the 360. (Legal issues on who owns what on the original Xbox's hardware, not withstanding...)

    The only console to have it right on this generation is the Wii. (Which, strangely enough, may be why it's still doing so well despite the surprising large number of yawn-inducing, similarly designed party-game titles and the awkwardly made "classic" controller for the virtual console stuff.)

    Strangely, you'd think backward compatibility would count for much more on the PS3, since Japanese households rarely have the kind of free space needed for keeping stacks obsolete hardware next to the TV. Sony wants to squeeze at least 1-2 more years of life out of the PS2 market, but without backward compatibility available to late adopters of the PS3, it's hard to see how anyone can really find much value in purchasing any more content for the older system.
  • Re:Surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king-manic (409855) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:39PM (#21506935)

    It is nice to see them continue support for Xbox titles, I am enjoying going through the games I missed first time around. Especially seeing as Sony seem to have given up on backwards compatibility. On the flip side, they do still sell the PS2 and you can't say the same for the Xbox.
    PS3 has 1 version / 5 versions without backwards compatibility (BC), 2 of the remaining have ~80% BC, the other 2 have 90+% BC.

    360 has 1 version / 4 versions without BC, the remaining 3 have ~40% BC.

    Wii is ~99% BC with GC titles.

    I don't see Sony being against BC but they did trim it to reduce the price. MS has paid lip service to BC but isn't really that into it.
  • by C0rinthian (770164) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @01:59PM (#21507263)
    $4.16/month is substantial? Seriously?
  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:10PM (#21507379)
    It is when you aren't getting anything in return for it (that you shouldn't be getting for free). Paying for online access isn't wrong... paying for online access, when Microsoft doesn't even go so far as to host dedicated servers, is fucking absurd. At that point, it's devolved into "We're Microsoft, and we take your money just cause we can!".
  • Re:Surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoodleSlayer (603762) <ryan AT severeboredom DOT com> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:18PM (#21507467) Homepage
    But really isn't that into it?!?!?

    You realize that they are writing this emulator without having access to any of the specs for the CPU or GPU that were in the original xbox. It's not as simple are writing a 1:1 emulator simply because they don't have access to all the information to do that, they're effectively reverse engineering the original xbox to make sure that each game works. Because the emulation isn't perfect they don't have as large of a percentage of games, and they individually test each one. The fact that two years after release they're still updating the backwards compatibility list and still working on the emulator is pretty impressive in of itself.

    Not to mention that the Xbox emulator on the Xbox 360 renders the game at a higher resolution then the original xbox did, with Anti-Aliasing to boot. This is why Xbox games typically look better on the Xbox 360. Overall that emulation software on the Xbox 360 is a engineering marvel that it works as well as it does with what typically is some of the most hardware bound performance intensive code.
  • Re:Surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:21PM (#21507503)
    I don't see Sony being against BC but they did trim it to reduce the price. MS has paid lip service to BC but isn't really that into it.

    But look at the trend. Backwards compatibility on the PS3 is going away... on the 360 it's slowly getting better.
  • Not diminished. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:40PM (#21508467)
    Not for those of us who went from PS2 to XBox 360, which I suspect is a good chunk of folks. I never got to play KOTOR for example (has that made the list yet?), and the fun I'm having with Mass Effect makes me want to go check out earlier Bioware offerings. I also finally got to play Morrowind (after loving Oblivion) thanks to the backward compatibility. Heck, I only just played Halo *1* this year. :)

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