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Games Entertainment

First Looks At XBox 246

adpowers writes: "You can find a picture and description of the Xbox at the press release from Microsoft." There's also shoots from Gamespy, news from C|Net, and a report from Reuters - and lastly, a report from MSNBC.
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First Looks at XBox

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah but the developers won't have to worry about things like hardware confilcts, so they will be able to use the hardware to its max, so the games will be better optimized than anything you could sell for a regular pc.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I dont understand how this machine seems "small". Look at the GameCube...now that's small. This thing looks about as big as a stereo component. It wouldnt be easy to lug this thing over to a friend's house to use it. If you want to drool at something small and powerful, look at the G4 cube...and it doesn't even have a fan. My TI-86 graphing calculator is more powerful than those old room-sized computers, and a hell of a lot smaller. Just because X-box is smaller than the average warehouse doesnt make it small.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Still the problem with batteries. And the increased price of radio links (wouldn't bluetooth be a perfect solution for this). My friend has a wireless mouse, and at practically every LAN party I hear "does anyone have some AAA batteries?" And that rumble feature that everything has would drain batteries even more.

    Maybe a perfect wireless controller would use lithium ion batteries and a small charging station, and maybe an emergency cable you could use if your battery was dead and there was no time to charge. Would cost a lot for a game controller, though. Somebody want to make one?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Overall, I think this looks like a good system, if you ignore the monopolistic corporate empire that makes it.
    My only major problem with it is the hard drive. Given Micro$oft's past with software, they'll use it to store patches for the OS and/or games, available either through the internet or a CD mailed with monthly updates on it. The reason I like consoles is because you can just plug it in and it works. No need to apply patches to fix bugs, increase functionality, optimise drivers, etc. That's all supposed to be done before I get it. Lets hope M$ uses its vast bank accounts to spend a little money on beta testing and bug squashing. Since it's likely they'll succeed with the Xbox anyway, given their marketing/hypnotising budget, might as well hope it doesn't suck too much.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Oh man, my mock-up Xbox was so close! If only I'd thought of using a low profile case and not a minitower. :-) My Xbox mockup [home.net] My PS2 will eat this hideous thing alive. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Good uses for the hard drive, but I think the reason M$ wanted a hard drive instead of a faster DVD drive is that they can write more than a couple of MB of data to it and the stuff will be stored after the unit is turned off. Perfect for installing patches to. Now M$ doesn't have to spend as much money beta testing as Sony or Nintendo, because they can now fix their mistakes after they make them! I predict days where X box games will say: "Requires Service Pack 7 to play" on the box.
  • "Forces? Do you understand capitalism at all? The market chooses the superior product. The market will decide if they want PS2s or X-Boxes."

    Capitalism? Do you understand monopolies at all? Market dumping occurs when a company can rely on it's own size to provide a product below cost. Dumping chooses products _for_ us through price alone.
  • If this puppy runs Linux :)
  • I'm pretty sure the Playstation 2 has a hard drive in it. It's got these loading screens where you can hear the DVD drive spinning and the sound of a hard drive in use.

    MS is certainly doing this the open way, at least for now. Of course, it's no more open than PC gaming, which is where they're coming from. The PS2 definitely suffers from insufficient testing on the games right now-- there are bugs in almost all of the ones I've seen which could not have been missed if anyone actually played the games through before the release.

    I expect to see things turn more closed later. Perhaps the DVDs are encoded in some way that makes them inpossible to write without a license, so, while you know exactly how the box works inside, you can't get code into the actual hardware. Developer kits would be less strict, so you could write games, but you could only use them on consumer models if MS has approved.
  • 299.00 for the console, 50+ for the games and you are bitching about the cost of 8 AA batteries every 60 days!
  • Sega Rally uses WinCE. It runs slowly, so maybe that's not the best example :)
  • You can see the giant case fan in this shot: http://www.theregister.co.uk/media/313.jpg Bet it makes a ton of noise. Will people really use this thing for watching DVD movies, if it has a whirring fan on all the time? I can hear the transport motors in my oldest CD player, and it bugs the hell out of me. Home theater gear with fans would drive me berserk.
  • I don't want a cord at all, read the post next time.
  • Here's a picture [akamai.net] of a prototype version.


  • All you have to do is make a game CD/DVD/cartridge with Linux installed on it, with loadlin.exe (to boot you into Linux).
  • It runs slowly, so maybe that's not the best example :)

    Actually, that makes it a very good example why 99% of developers don't use it.

    Apart from that, it seems much emu software on the Dreamcast (for Spectrum etc.) uses it; presumably because the dev-kit is so readily available, and it's close enough to "real" Windows for Windows developers to write for.

  • Game developers are stuck into microsoft's proprietary API's (mostly directx) but the beauty is that almost all PC games will be available on this system due to being portable from windows to.. windows.

    The point here is that Windows on a PC is not optimized for running games. The OS on the X-Box will be. Heck, it probably won't even look like Windows API-wise once you get above the kernel.

    And known hardware is easier to optimize for. Hence, the games will run faster on this box than a PC even if they do port them to it.

  • This is one arena where I hope MS does succeed.

    Some game developers will make a lot of money programming for the Xbox. I hope to be one of them.
  • Don't forget that not every component of the X-Box are standard: the videocard, the chipset, etc.. are NOT.
    And all it takes is a shortage of ONE component to delay the whole box of course.

    And the shipping of the X-Box in Europe have already been delayed, so yes Microsoft is quite likely to suffer from the same problems at the beginning.

    Second, I don't think that the shortage of the PS2 will still be a problem when the X-Box will ship.

    I do think that the X-Box will be a winner, but you'd better think twice about the shortage problems..
  • Yeah, that's the first thing I thought when I just looked at those pics. I was going to post a new topic, but a quick search found that I'm not the only one thinking that!! :^)

    It's definitely a Borg-looking device. Imagine how many fans and external heatsinks people are going to bolt onto the thing, and it'll look like a Cube in no time...

  • well, if you had actually read the article, you'd know that the Xbox uses non-standard USB ports.

  • Making cartridges is way too expensive, especially if you want to allow game designers to actually produce something cool (i.e. big textures, movies, etc) The age of Nintendo using tiny texture maps and crazy compression hacks is over - the challenge nowadays is making a good game, not making a game work. Multi-gigabyte games are financially impossible with cartridges.

    So maybe multi-gigabyte games aren't really desirable? What are you going going to use those gigabytes for, anyway? More boring cut-scenes? Why? I want to play a game, not watch a movie. What else can you use massive amounts of slow storage for? You can't have more textures or geometry than you have RAM. Sounds to me that if you're spending all your time and budget making gigabytes of pretty pictures you're focusing a whole lot more on eye-candy than game-play anyway.

    <span style="OLD_FART">Why, back in my day, designers actually cared about making a good game. You couldn't sell a game based on gratuitous eye-candy when your target platform was an Atari VCS or Intellivision. You actually had to make a game good enough to immerse the players without tens of millions of 32-bit mip-mapped subpixel rendered polygons.</span>

  • So you're saying there is hardware out there that Microsoft software can RUN on?

  • It would appear that they are already preparing for upgrade revenue to the Xbox 2002. From the press release:

    ...pastel colored buttons on controllers aren't cool...

    Judging from the pictures of the controller, they clearly have pastel-colored buttons. Why would they go to such trouble to find out that the "gamer culture" does not like pastel-colored buttons, does not want pastel-colored buttons and feels that pastel-colored buttons are "not cool," just to put them in anyway? Xbox 2002 will probably have non-pastel-colored buttons, so the "gamer culture" will be compelled to upgrade to stop being "not cool."

  • Read my post. I'm not talking about what's printed in the specs or on the box. I'm not using Gates in the 'Gates=Microsoft' sense. I'm refering directly to his CES keynote where he says "And the controllers use USB, only we use a different connector, but you'll be amazed at what comes out for it." That's what I'm taking issue with. No more, no less.

    Just another example of Microsoft Gas for Microsoft Roads, only this time there's a Microsoft Car too!

    Kevin Fox
  • Its supposed to drop bellow 90% this year.
  • A few years ago, they invented these things called rechargable batteries. Get 2 sets per controller (actually, wouldn't need that many, unless you play 4-player all the time), you'll always have batteries ready to go for your wireless controller(s) and just buy them once.
  • No, it dosen't. Developers have the choice of using WinCE or Sega's OS. 99% choose Sega's OS. I can't think of any game that uses Win CE on the Dreamcast.
  • How many times have you yanked your CD player off the shelf ? Or your VCR ? I think the harddisk will survive normal household use.
  • The irony of your reply is that my sister-in-law called me penis-breath...when she was 3 years old. Do your parents know you use a computer?
  • I loved this part in the press release:

    "Luke got the idea for the ribs on the console when he was walking around his office playing catch with aluminum heat sync from a computer he had recently disassembled. The palm-sized sync, which helps dissipate heat inside a computer, has metal spines that resemble those on a car stereo amplifier."

    I'm no genius at thermodynamics, but I wouldn't have a clue how to sync heat with a piece of aluminum-- even if it is palm-sized.

    ...Isn't it supposed to be "heat sink"?

  • By that logic, I can speed up my computer by putting racing stripes on it...

    Only if they're made of black electrical tape. Trust me, it works. =]
  • `I've been to a talk by J Allard (the head xbox guy), he claims that the system would only run
    Microsoft-signed data on DVD-9 media, making it pretty damn difficult to hack it. He offered a job to anyone who could boot linux on it :)'

    Surely they're not that stupid. Am I the only one who thinks that is waving a red flag in front of a bull? And it's a bull smart enough to ignore the flag and gore the smartass wearing the sequins.
  • `It's a stinking black box with a 100baseT port on the back.'

    Did Microsoft buy Cobalt when we weren't looking?

  • I wonder if the name was picked to add to confusion over X.
  • Dont know...

    As stated [xbox.com] at xbox.com, it can run up to 1920x1080, they must have a converter so you can use it on a pc monitor, like dreamcast VGA box, so it wont have much less powerfull rendering if it runs at that res, unless it runs crappy at that res
  • my experiance with USB shows me that they disconnect real easy... the only change is probably a deeper connection so little kids wont pull the controllers out.. although that may be a bad idea, because now they'll just pull the system down off the tv and damage the 8gb harddrive, oops :)
  • my experiance with USB shows me that they disconnect real easy... the only change is probably a deeper connection so little kids wont pull the controllers out.. although that may be a bad idea, because now they'll just pull the system down off the tv and damage the 8gb harddrive, oops :)

    That's a major reason (IMHO) for making controllers easily removable! Many console games can detect controller removal and automatically pause the game.
  • Maybe MS won't care if the linux hackers try to run X on it, etc. Seeing is they'll have to BUY the X-box to do it. Linux hackers might laugh and rejoice if they pull it off, but MS will be laughing their way to the bank.

    I don't think many Linux hackers are going to try to run Linux on it, because isn't the operating system stored in the hardware. But then there are a lot of linux hackers with plenty of time on their hands. If they port linux to the X-box, I wonder if you would be able to PC games on it. That could be useful, because you wouldn't have all of the overhead that a regular PC has.
  • Hell, I sped up my Chevy Chevette by doing that!
    However adding a big exhaust pipe plus the racing stripes on the sides == TURBO!

    Of course that is all relative to myself.. I feel faster though!
  • "Both The Rock and Bill Gates are known worldwide for their vast array of catch phrases," the wrestler noted.


  • long cord.. why even bother? I don't want a cord, he talked to the wrong people.

    I see, you just want to buy a fresh set of AA batteries for each of your four radio-enabled controllers every two months. Me, I prefer to flush my money down the toilet.

    the DVD is a moot point, I don't care what medium they use it is of no consequence to me... The damn games better load fast. I would rather a cartridge (no scratches).

    Making cartridges is way too expensive, especially if you want to allow game designers to actually produce something cool (i.e. big textures, movies, etc) The age of Nintendo using tiny texture maps and crazy compression hacks is over - the challenge nowadays is making a good game, not making a game work. Multi-gigabyte games are financially impossible with cartridges.

    the Intel processor is great but it is going to cause everyone to say things like "let's hack it"

    I've been to a talk by J Allard (the head xbox guy), he claims that the system would only run Microsoft-signed data on DVD-9 media, making it pretty damn difficult to hack it. He offered a job to anyone who could boot linux on it :) Regardless, I don't think we'll see anything of interest hacked onto the console; after all, what would it bring? crappy games made by 14 year olds? I can get plenty of those for my PC already...

  • I want to sit where ever I am and be free (and not have people tripping over the damn wire, or the dog pulling it out in the middle of a 1 hour GT2 endurance race).

    I assume you mean wireless controllers? No thank you. I've already paid $XXX for the console and $XX for games -- I don't want a recurring cost as well for batteries. (Rechargable you say? Okay, the console better come with recharable batteries AND a charger -- again, I've already paid $XXX...)

    Nor have I ever been impressed with the performance of wireless controllers. Bleargh!

    If you WANT wireless, buy them as accessories.

  • Wow that's even more stupid than I expected. I cannot think of a single advantage to a USB port with a non-standard physical connector. I guess they don't wan't people making a knock-off Xbaux? But some Taiwanese company will start making USBXbox physical adapters for $0.85, and whatever reason they could possibly have had for using non-standard connectors will be moot.
  • I think the hard drive in this console is a really truly bad idea. After that box gets yanked off the top of the TV once or forty times, the hard drive is going to stop working. These boxes aren't targetted at the same people who buy laptop computers, and they shouldn't be built like laptop computers.
  • long cord.. why even bother? I don't want a cord, he talked to the wrong people. I want to sit where ever I am and be free (and not have people tripping over the damn wire, or the dog pulling it out in the middle of a 1 hour GT2 endurance race).

    the box is meant to bring about feelings of the loudest stereo you ever could imagine? It looks like the N64 or any other console ever made. It makes me think of a console, not a stereo.

    the DVD is a moot point, I don't care what medium they use it is of no consequence to me... The damn games better load fast. I would rather a cartridge (no scratches).

    the Intel processor is great but it is going to cause everyone to say things like "let's hack it" "how many is Saadam going to buy" and "what about
    a beowulf cluster of these". I want something original!

    I will stick to my CPU. I can do more and play more than any console. I really think that gaming is best on the desktop but then again, I like my dual heads and my keyboard and my multitasking... That is just me.

    Just my worthless .02
  • Actually, your drive usage figures are off. TiVo runs live viewing through the hard drive too, so it is always writing to the hard drive and always reading from it, even if you're not recording or viewing.

    But, yeah - my TiVo has been running its hard drive 24/7 for about as long as they've been available on the market (a year and a half?) without any definitively drive-related problems. (I've recently started to run into occasional freezes or heavy artifacting that could be from drive read errors, but I haven't tried to verify the cause. I just know that if I back up and watch the same bit again, it's fine the second time around.)

  • They should have played wrestling legend Fred Blassie's classic record, Pencil Neck Geek, in the background.
  • Isn't that what they said to Jesus? Incredible...

    Some people never learn.
  • Really?
    I didn't like the PSX's controllers very much. I do like the N64's though.
    I'm not a real big time gamer, but I found the PSX's controllers more uncomfortable then the N64's. I also think the symbols on the PSX right side are much less intuitive than the directional ones on the 64.I'm sure if you actually own a PSX you figure it out pretty quickly (ie which is Square, which is Circle, etc.), but I just found the directional system faster to learn.
    I'm 6' 2, so I know what you mean about dinky controllers!


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • Wow can that guy not grab a room, even when he has worthy hardware.

    Watching Gates try to sell the X-Box reminds me of going to Frys and having people tell me why Windows ME is the best OS.

    Kevin Fox

  • Sony PS2 doesn't have a hard drive in it.

    There is an expansion unit comming in the future though.

    Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?
  • IBM and others are proposing a new USB connector for Point of Sale equipment that will support +12V and +24 Volts as well as the standard stuff.

    Too bad google isn't helping me find a link.
  • I'll give you 2 reasons. 1) If you have a huge-ass TV, you want to get some distance between you and the TV so you won't burn your eyes out. 2) If this thing had short cords, you'd be bitching about how short the cords were and having to pay microsoft even MORE money for controller-extension cables. Nice try, thanks for playing.,

    The amount of bickering about the X box on here is astounding. The look, the controllers, the usual MS bashing, the USB usage. Ahh the MS glass will always be half-empty on here.

    long cord.. why even bother? I don't want a cord, he talked to the wrong people. I want to sit where ever I am and be free (and not have people tripping over the damn wire, or the dog pulling it out in the middle of a 1 hour GT2 endurance race).
  • It looks just like my sidewinder game pad, but fatter.

    Just as long as it does not resemble the Atari Jaguar controller(the WORST controller in video game history), I'm sure it will do fine.
  • consoles hav always been better at sports/fighting games, computers have been better at first person shooters, strategy games, and dungeon-crawl style games. If MS makes a converter for the inane different form USB port and we can use our keyboards and mice in addition to the gamepads, this might just be able to play all types of games well, which would make a compelling argument, at least to me, to pick this console over the others.


  • This link [cnet.com] has a video link for X-Box (Broadband Report; 3/4th in the video clip).
  • I'm not concerced about the hard drive impacting reliability, either. I've had Tivo for quite some time, it records a few hours of stuff every day and plays back one or two, and very few people have reported problems.

    The fact is, MS makes good hardware, and this will quite possibly demonstrate that again.

    Also, the HD won't necessarily be used just as cache, I suspect they'll also use it to save games.
  • I think you merely failed to grasp the excellent game design that went into many C64 games. Perhaps you prefer eye candy over content.

    I, for one, spent a ton of time gaming on my C64. If it wasn't Gunship, Archon or some RPG, I was online with Q-Link playing chess. I play tons of chess online, but no experience, be it ICC [chessclub.com] or Yahoo, or Chessmaster matches the intimate chess community on Q-Link. Of course, this was until the night they shut it down without warning to use the hardware to start something called America Online.

    The fact is, people have been babbling with the same complaints when radio came along, then TV, then arcade and computer games, and most recently, the internet. It is a parent's job to regulate what their kids do, not a corporation's job to limit children's options.

  • Gamespot [zdnet.com] by far has the best coverage of this thing. They even got to play with it, more then gamecenter or the register can say, for the moment.

  • Umm, yes, hard drive capacity is definitely going to be needed, and lots of it. I don't think, like someone above mentioned, that games themselves are going to get installed to the drive like current Windows games are--I think just basic config info and saved games are going to be put on the hard disk, and the games themselves will be run from the game CDs and DVDs.

    Why do I think this? Because if the games installed much to the 8GB drive, it'd be eaten up very quickly and people would have to uninstall stuff and reinstall it a lot. Gamers, esp. kids, won't want to do this. I mean, have you installed a recent title lately? I just installed American McGee's Alice, and the install took 525MB of my hard drive space. Only ~15 games could be installed at a time if the install were anything like current Windows games, which is why I say the games will be run from the media and only install basic config info and use the HD for saved games.

    Now, this still takes a large amount of HD space, since MS doesn't want users to have to worry about uninstalling things from something as simple to use as a set-top game console. Consoles are supposed to be truly "plug-and-play," with no configuration needed beyond inserting a game and choosing easily understood game settings. And I say a large HD is necessary because new games will have to use more and more space for saved game data. My new American McGee's Alice install I mentioned--well, I have only 3 saved games, and they take up almost 8MB of disk space. The more complex maps and character placements and options get, the more space needed to save a game to disk. Hence, an 8GB hard drive just for saved games and a few config options is NOT overkill. In fact, I guarantee that HD upgrades will be available.

    Also, the Xbox isn't just for gaming. It'll have internet access, and presumably a special MSN/WebTV type of service. As such, a hard drive will also store web cache and probably allow saving of downloaded material. MS isn't stupid. They aren't using a 733MHz Intel CPU just for its gaming potential. The Xbox will be Microsoft's proprietary replacement for the PC. People will be able to get a subscription to the .NET service which will include running word processing and other apps. Don't underestimate the role of the Xbox in .NET--MS is secretly hoping to replace the PC with something they own, which won't run anyone else's software unless it's licensed, and which will require an eternal service contract with the .NET service in order to keep using apps. MS is clever. There's a damn fine reason MS is making this thing over-powered just for console gaming. It's a new type of MS-controlled PC.

  • long cord.. why even bother? I don't want a cord, he talked to the wrong people. I want to sit where ever I am and be free (and not have people
    tripping over the damn wire, or the dog pulling it out in the middle of a 1 hour GT2 endurance race).

    I'm not familiar with wireless game controllers, so that's why I'm asking. How would they deal with your dog walking through the beam of infrared? Assuming that's what it would use. I guess it could use some sort of directional radio signal (?) to overcome the limits of infrared. But, from what I've heard and experienced, most types of wireless networking/communication these days are a lot better than wire when it comes to flexibility, but are beaten when it comes to bandwidth, reliability, and distance. At least with a long cord, you could sit rather far from the console and let the wire sit on the floor rather than up about a foot in the air. As long as they could deal with the signal breakage. (develop special communications protocols that will deal with signal breakage so they could use infrared. or use radio signals.) To me, wires seem like they would be better for now. Probably cheaper, too.

  • The Powermac G4 cube has no fan, and certainly has more CPU processing power than these machines.
    There will be problems. Just you wait.
  • Well I think it will probably be MUCH less than a comparable PC. I mean, a top of the line nVidia card will cost you $500, and I doubt the xbox is going to go for more than that.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 )
    "Gamers are going to know right when they see this console and controller what to expect when they turn on the Xbox," Luke said recently. "They are going to know they are playing on a system that offers more power and new, unforeseen gaming experiences than they've ever seen on a home console."

    The power Luke speaks of is easily evident in the raised ribs that run across the rich, black exterior of the console,

    By that logic, I can speed up my computer by putting racing stripes on it...

  • As for MS "redesigning" the USB port - while initially it sounds like an assinine thing to do, it actually does make sense (at least to me). Otherwise, folks are going to see the port and try plugging in all sorts of USB device, and become quite confused and frustrated when nothing happens.

    I agree with most of you comment, except for that bit which sounds like you've been listening to a bit too much MS marketing. If they're making this box for the "average consumer", that sort of person isn't going to be closely examining the port and thinking about what they can put in it. When's the last time your mom looked at the S-video port on your VCR and the PS/2 port on the back of your computer and double-checked to make sure they were different? Probably never.

    The real reason to change the port is to ensure that hardware manufacturers tailor their hardware at least a little to the X-Box. You could still say this is a good reason-- perhaps they won't try to pitch some PC joysticks that are totally unfit for XBox games as "XBox compatible". Whether that reasoning played more of a factor than straight up marketing is quite debatable.
  • The X-Box's design is what the PlayStation 2 should have been.

    I like the design of the X-Box and the GameCube. They look like neat little gaming boxes.

    The PlayStation 2 looks like it should be mounted in a rack, not sitting on my living room floor or sitting with the other components.

  • Dreamcast & PlayStation 2 both have keyboard and mouse peripherals.

  • Plus, the standard USB connector would allow the controller to become disconnected too easily.

  • Graeme Devine was brought on for game design on Quake 3 Arena. However, I think he was brought on kind of late which is why Quake 3 Arena's gameplay was lacking. However, Quake 3 Team Arena (the expansion) is very nice and I attribute much of that to Graeme.

    However, you're right, Carmack really shouldn't be blamed for gameplay because he's mainly interested in engine development. But, he does think about gameplay and has many good ideas, it's unfortunate most of them did not make their way into Quake 3.

  • To The Register's [theregister.co.uk] images of the XBox.

    Well, it gave me a bit of a giggle anyway.

  • Warning: X Box does NOT run X

    Yet. ;-)
  • That was my first thought. When he unveiled the box during the webcast I was thinking: "That's it?" I was hoping it was a prototype or something.
  • That's a lot closer to the Rock than the first post.
  • Man their propaganda reads funny, this was my favorite excerpt:

    "The power Luke speaks of is easily evident in the raised ribs that run across the rich, black exterior of the console, giving it the look of a supercharged car stereo amplifier."

    Yes the Xbox, with plush corinthian leather...

    Man they are just sooo lame
  • Why is it when consumer electronic manufactuers release updates to their products under the guise of calling it "firmware" that's ok, but when Microsoft does it, it's evil?

    Sony is already being bitched about providing a firmware update for their buggy dvd playback.

    The hypocrisy of you faggots is amazing.

  • To make even more of an impact, Gates called on the incredibly popular WWF wrestler, The Rock to help him unveil the uber-machine.
    Now call me a troll if you must, but why did this make me line laugh so much. :-)

    The Rock: I will pummel you Gates!!
    Gates: No wait, we are presenting my new machine.
    The Rock:Oh yeah, you're right. Well buy this box kids, you know Gates kicks ass. We are the new tag team ready to take on everybody. grr
    Gates: Yes we are really cool dudes, I am really in to that WWWF(v4.0) think too.
    The Rock: Let's get in the ring, put on your tights, Gates, grr

  • This is easily the first time I've ever seen a report about Microsoft on the local Eleven O'Clock News before it was on Slashdot.

    Then you haven't been paying attention! Remember that this is the same site that refused (repeatedly) to have any stories on Windows 2000 shipping. It was considered less newsworthy than reposting the latest driver betas from freshmeat.

  • An NVIDIA graphics processing unit (GPU)
    An Intel 733MHz processor
    An 8GB hard drive

    OK, Sounds like a PC (easy hack). What I want is a reverse hack, taking the software (even the crappy MS OS out of this, and putting it on my PC (that's already faster than this thing!). Why do I need to buy all the same crap again???

  • They say it is faster.. the 733 MHZ CPU that is than the PS2 processor... it might run at a higher MHZ.. but that does not mean it has more processing power....... I bought two PS2s on launch night.. sold them both.. now I am looking for one for me... I played one for about 5 days before selling it... Madden 2001 kicked butt.. I know most ./ers are not sports fans... but sports games have been around since the first GUI games.. and they kick butt..... i have no idea where this post is leading too.. so I will end it no
  • The xbox has 64 megs of ram. How is microsoft code supposed to run on it?
  • Whether it's a "PC" or a "game console" doesn't make a difference. It's still a cheap plastic box that has some cheap and mediocre hardware in it. It's a box that lets you play finger twitching games. Now, there is nothing wrong with that--lots of consumer devices like that are lots of fun. But terms like "it will rock" or "powerful" are misplaced, and don't let some glitzy PR campaign fool you about that.
  • Isn't it amazing how marketers can imbue images of cigarettes with meanings like "healthy", "young", "beautiful", when the stuff really poisons you? And isn't it amazing how marketers and designers can imbue a mediocre PC plastic box with associations of "power"? Yes, some computer games are very challenging in a certain way. But you don't need a box that screams "power" to play those, you merely need a box that's fast enough.

    If you want the real thing, get the real thing. Go to the gym, climb mountains, ride a motorcycle, or fly an airplane. If you want a powerful computer, get a 256 node Beowulf cluster and find something real to do with it. Computer games are fun and entertaining, and even challenging in their own right, but don't let some marketer confuse you about whether they are the real-world thing or not.

  • Why is it assumed that every product to come from Microsoft is so awful? Microsoft may produce closed-source software, they're evil, blah blah blah, etc., but I still haven't seen a web-browser that works in linux that is as fast as Internet Explorer! I think we should face the fact that NOT EVERYTHING MICROSOFT MAKES IS JUNK. This could actually turn out to be a good system . . . who knows . . . we'll have to wait until we can ACTUALLY USE it before we decide it's a heap of junk . . .
  • You would have to bypass the anti-gnu filter first.

  • It'll get hacked. Console games depend on licensees paying to use the platform. But if gamers can hook it up to the net and download free games, then the value to the licensees plummets. And so the licensees migrate to other (closed) platforms.
  • I have been unable to find official XBox dimensions anywhere, but if the DVD drive is a standard 135mm drive then using ign.com's photos you can approximate the dimensions as follows:

    Height ~ 86 mm
    Width ~ 334 mm (Front face)
    Length ~ 274 mm (Side length)

    This makes the XBox the biggest console of 'em all. By volume:

    GAMECUBE:2,656,500 (mm^3)
    Dreamcast:2,889,900 (mm^3)
    PS2: 4,179,084 (mm^3)
    XBox:7,687,344 (mm^3)

    It's a behemoth!
  • See, I remember when I was young, and I used to play on an old 8-bit commodore 64. Well, it was fun, but it wasn't immersive in the same way that modern baiming is. So I tended to play it for an hour or two, and then leave it.

    I remember being shocked 6 months ago when I visited my brother, to find that his kids were using their playstation to play "Spyro the Dragon" all the time! I mean, they hardly spent any time at all with their family!

    I think that the X-Box will likely be even more addictive, and will offer internet gaming, so I have already cautioned my brother about the 'next generation consoles'. I just think that children should have more of a childhood, and not waste it in the sort of digital oblivion that M$ profit from.

    But then, maybe if *I* got addicted I wouldn't be so wary, hehe ;)

  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Saturday January 06, 2001 @08:46PM (#526046) Homepage Journal

    How long after the Xbox is released will it be running a .NET client?

    Something to think about -- Microsoft has the cash on hand to take a bath on the console sales (think $150-$250), which prices it below the PS2 (its nearest competitor). I remember reading (somewhere) that there was a PSX in 3 out of 4 homes in the USA. Imagine that kind of saturation with the Xbox.

    Now, think of .NET running on the Xbox. Suddenly, all these el-cheapo consoles are full-bore computers with MSN satellite or DSL broadband connections with MSN email addresses, MSN Instant Messenger and MSNBC running in a window in the corner while you're using MSPhonePad to dial up your friend to arrange a network game of MS FlightSim...

    Hrmm... suddenly MSFT at 49 11/16 is pretty darn cheap, DOJ or no DOJ.

  • by RayChuang ( 10181 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @05:24AM (#526047)
    Actually, one thing a LOT of Xbox detractors totally miss the point is the fact that anyone who knows how to write a DirectX-compatible game for the Windows 9x/ME/2000 platform is ready to write a game for Xbox.

    People forget that many of the best PlayStation games also run on the PC platform: Madden NFL 2001, NHL Faceoff 2001, even Final Fantasy VII and VIII! And the graphics when running on the PC platform is flat-out great if you have the right graphics card.

    Also, Microsoft has sent out thousands of Xbox developer kits already around the world, with most of the world's best-known game publishers already writing Xbox games (including a LONG list of Japanese companies). The only company I know o that is not writing for Xbox is Square, but I think they'll be on the bandwagon within a few month themselves.

    And UNLIKE Sony, Microsoft is using as many easily-available components as possible. This will ensure that Microsoft will have massive supplies of Xbox consoles available worldwide by the time the machine ships around early October 2001.

    In short, Sony's inability to ship enough PlayStation 2 units to meet worldwide demand will play right into Microsoft's hands.
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:47PM (#526048) Homepage
    Why aren't you complaining that you can't use your ThrustMaster FCS on your Platstation? Maybe it's because the Playstation isn't a PC either. But I don't see near as many people on slashdot bashing the PS. Maybe because the PS isn't MS.

    To put it briefly, I'm complaining because Gates is trying to ingratiate himself to people who like standards by touting USB compatability while at the same time keying it to the X-Box so people have to buy new equipment. Microsoft is trying to give with one hand and take with the other.

    Playstations and Dreamcasts make no claim to support standards so I don't berate them for doing so in the wrong way.

    Kevin Fox
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Saturday January 06, 2001 @07:32PM (#526049) Homepage
    Gates: "The controllers use USB, but it's a different kind of port. Still you'll be amazed with the kinds of controllers that will come out for it."

    Yay standards!

    Kevin Fox
  • by Raleel ( 30913 ) on Saturday January 06, 2001 @07:38PM (#526050)
    Seriously..I feel like I am getting a console stamped with Charles Xavier's signature!

    Cyclops says, "I have had my eye on this one for a long time!"
    Storm says, "A man without an Xbox will never get a blow from me!"

  • by Fastleaf ( 165027 ) on Saturday January 06, 2001 @08:08PM (#526051)
    http://www.htloz.com/xbox_gamecube/XBOXMACHINE.htm l
  • by donutello ( 88309 ) on Saturday January 06, 2001 @08:03PM (#526052) Homepage
    The Register, UK [theregister.co.uk] published some secret specs [theregister.co.uk] on the XBox on Thursday.
  • by MikeyNg ( 88437 ) <mikeyng@nOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday January 07, 2001 @12:48AM (#526053) Homepage

    Goodness, doesn't ANYONE here watch wrestling?

    The Rock: FINALLY... the Rock has COME BACK to Las Vegas

    Bill Gates: Hi there, Rock. We're here to...

    The Rock: Shut your mouth and know your role, jabronie! No one interupts the Rock when the Rock is speaking!

    Bill Gates: Sorry, Rock, but...

    The Rock: You're doing it AGAIN! But the Rock will forgive you this time because you enough money to buy the Rock's mother and use her for a nickel whore.

    But make no mistake. With the almighty power of the X-Box, the Rock WILL regain the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. X stands for exciting, which is what the world will see when the Rock and Bill Gates team up to present the X-Box.

    And the Rock will take that Sony GayStation 2, shine it up REAL nice, turn that sum-bitch sideways, and stick it straight up Sony's candy-ass!

    If you smellllllllll what the Rock is cooking

  • by tealover ( 187148 ) on Saturday January 06, 2001 @09:27PM (#526054)
    And why do you think PC developers use API's like Direct X? Because of all the myriad hardware platforms they have to support.

    The differences between optimizing code on Pentium, PII's, PIII's, Celerons, AMD's, etc., is huge. As such, they usually don't get to the metal.

    This will change with the Xbox. As good as the Direct X API's are, hungry, talented developers looking to separate themseles from the pack will hit the metal. That's what John Carmack and Michael Abrash use to do. Guess who's working on getting the most out of the Xbox's graphics chip? Michael Abrash.

    I've preordered 3 already.

  • by NickV ( 30252 ) on Saturday January 06, 2001 @09:08PM (#526055)
    >> The controller design is very innovative. It feels very good in your hands but is extremely intuitive and usable

    From what I've read, "No one knows how confusing GameCube may be to operate, however, as Nintendo has not allowed outsiders to touch it."

    The XBox joypad looks pretty comfortable. According to people who actually handled it at the CES, it is supposedly VERY comfortable. Have you touched the controller yet? I don't think so, yet you even claim the NGC has a better controller, when nobody in the industry is allowed to hold one yet!

    Speaking of Nintendo, I hope and PRAY Nintendo NEVER EVER regains any status near it's old NES/SNES days. Do you actually remember those days? Nintendo was comprised of the biggest group of bastards ever.

    Lemme remind you of some things Nintendo did (move over MS!)

    1) Remember the artifical shortages for video games... like the time Zelda 2 came out, and 20/20 even ran a 30 minute special on the limited quantity and ended up finding a WAREHOUSE FULL OF THEM!

    2) Remember how Nintendo reacted to developer demand to making the N64 CD-based? They ignored them, (which means they lost most of them, including SQUARE!!!) and created a cartridge based system. Why? Because they control the cost and licensing of the cartridges, which is why even today "classic" N64 games cost $39.95.

    3) Nintendo of America ALWAYS believed their audience was dumber, and inferior to their japanese market. I can sight NUMEROUS examples, including the censored FFIII (FF4 in Japan) that made it to America with many missing plot elements becasue they believed "American culture can't handle them." Oh, and there was also the dumbed-down version of FFV. At least Sony has never dumbed/censored the FF series (they even synced the numbering with the japanese system.) Oh, and the Japanese version of Super Mario 2 didn't make it to american shores until 7 years later (for the SNES) because they felt Americans wouldn't be able to handle so difficult a game.

    4) Nintendo forces companies to get their products authorized for their machines. Remember when Galoob got sued for the Game Genie by Nintendo, and the judge stayed sales so people had to import it from Canada? No OTHER console company has ever sued a product... oh and then Nintendo also sued (and failed at it) TenGen for created "unauthorized" games. So essentially they designed new NESes that stopped them from working!

    I can go on and on and on over Nintendo's ridiculous stances. You think MS with a monopoly is bad? You obviously don't remember Nintendo.

  • by C64 ( 130005 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @12:26AM (#526056)
    Be forewarned - this is a long and very XBox friendly rant, going over many of the comments that I've seen posted that have forced me out of my lurker status for a 2nd time. I give this warning because, though I believe I have made rational, unbiased comments, my post does not include the normal slashdot "Yeah Linux, Boo M$" rhetoric most seem accustom to. Here goes...

    The hard drive isn't for MS to store an OS. Or patches. Or ANY of that crap. MS doesn't need to patch the OS. EVER. A copy of the OS is included with every game, tailored to the game (like it should be). This allows MS and developers to do whatever they want with the underlying OS, and not worry about breaking anyone else's code. But if the hard drive isn't in their for the MS, why on earth is it in there? Could it be... for the DEVELOPER? <sarcasm> Wow, what a STRANGE and MYSTICAL idea! A part in the gaming console is actually meant to be used for the gaming console! </sarcasm> I, personally, am THRILLED at this inclusion - now it's possible to cache stuff to a hard drive instead of hitting the DVD, making it SO much simpler and down-right faster to handle gameplay that requires more then what 64 megs'o'ram can hold. And, just to make sure it's mentioned, the OS DOES NOT support virtual memory - the app's get to manage the space for themselves. Why an 8 gig drive? Well, as of this point in time, 8 gig drives are the cheapest, readily available drives that are produced in quantity.

    As for the hard drive complaints concerning uptime - I shared them for quite some time... till someone pointed out that the DVD-drive is expected to be the *real* uptime problem. And how many here complained about the PS2 including a DVD drive? Personally, I think a tray-loaded console is just ASKING to be broken...

    Also, to respond to the (rather childish) posts saying that 64 megs couldn't possibly be enough to run an MS OS on. Apparently, the XBox is running a heavily stripped derivation of Win2k. The entire OS fits comfortably in ~500k. So, I *think* 64 megs can handle that. :)

    As for MS "redesigning" the USB port - while initially it sounds like an assinine thing to do, it actually does make sense (at least to me). Otherwise, folks are going to see the port and try plugging in all sorts of USB device, and become quite confused and frustrated when nothing happens. Remember, MS isn't building this thing so we can enjoy hacking it - they're building it for the average consumer. And, since the USB port is such a simple pinout, I really found it hard to swallow that MS is doing this just because they're plain greedy - if a hardware house can't figure it out, they don't deserve to be making hardware! :)

    To the folks who say developers "dont have anything to do with hardware" in response to someone's stable system-configuration comment, what the hell have you been smokin'! Do you know how HARD it is to try and wring all the performance out of a chipset without breaking another?! If hardware differences weren't an issue, cap-bits and vendor extensions wouldn't exist...

    Also, to the pundits that cry that this thing is bad because it's a PC, I ask, what the hell is wrong with that?! I *like* my PC - it can runs games very well, thank-you-very-much. And Remember that this is a UNIFIED MEMORY SYSTEM, so... there is no AGP BUS!!! And, the thing is going to be running an NV25. To put this in perspective, the GeForce 2 is an NV15. Consequently, this thing is around 2 generations ahead of what nVidia has available for the desktop. My guess is the NV25 is a performance tuned NV20, based off the existence of the special "Enable NV20 Emulation" option in nVidia's drivers.

    Also, from what I've gathered, MS *is* including a VGA port in-the-box, so no special breaker box needed for monitor support.

    MS is NOT going to be making money of the machines themselves - they are selling these at a loss, just like every other console (don't know about the Indrema, though - anyone know how much that box is expected to cost?). But, from talking with a fellow involved with the XBox, I found that MS isn't expecting to lose more then $20-$30 per box. And, when asked during a tech-talk what the launch price of this thing is going to be, the MS fellow said "No console has ever successfully launched for more the $299 in the US." MS plans on being successful. You do the math...

    I, personally, am looking forward to the XBox.

    MS has made the entire API available for me to play with on my own PC. MS has set up a hobbyist program to help people to learn to do stuff for the system. MS has TOLD you what is in the box. MS has even setup an "incubator" program to help small game development startups. I'm sorry, but for all the closed-source M$ bashing, MS has made a system that is a shit-load more open and accessible then Nintendo, Sega, or Sony. MS's willingness to give me all the information I need to work with the hardware is why MS has guaranteed that I'll be buying and learning to develop for this box.

    And so ends my long and winding post. But before you replay, I would like to state that I tried to be rational, unbias, and coherent throughout my post. I only ask that you do the same.

Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics, Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.