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Xbox 360 Updates Social Features, Back Compat 112

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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  • Re:Surprising (Score:4, Informative)

    by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @12:58PM (#21506297) Homepage
    well, they're rolling down the ability to download Xbox 1 games thought the marketplace soon. Reports indicate that these will be little more than disc rips of the original games running on the BC feature of the console.

    As nice a media piece about them still "caring" about BC on the 360 at this point I have no doubt it's driven by money... the more they support in BC the more they can pad their Xbox 1 download catalog when they roll it out (probably around the same time as the update).
  • by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:27PM (#21507589) Journal
    A 3-month game card (the link I found to the 12 month was broken and the "sign up" link on the UK XBox site does nothing when I click on it) costs £15 (~$30). And for something you get for free (PS3, DS, Wii) or for $10 per year (Gamespy) elsewhere, yes, $5-10 a month is substantial.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @02:31PM (#21507657) Homepage Journal

    The only console to have it right on this generation is the Wii.
    It's right, but still not perfect. The GameCube can play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games through an accessory. No such accessory is made for Wii. Nor can the (admittedly few) GameCube games with online support go online because the Wii's Wi-Fi chip doesn't look like a GameCube LAN adapter.
  • by Bruiser80 ( 1179083 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @03:47PM (#21508555)
    It sounds like you should be buying your Xbox live accounts on the per-month basis. This will prevent you from purchasing a service you won't use.

    Now a what-if for you: What if you play a bunch of multiplayer games on a regular basis? Should that person be charged more because they play different titles? Better yet - why not pay according to time used - that would work perfectly with my AOL dial-up account!

    All joking aside, Xbox live offers a service that allows people to have a highly reliable online experience, a rating system for bad players, a system for meeting and making friends, and a decent voice system. I think that's all worth $60 a year.

    Just my two cents
  • Re:Not diminished. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Osty ( 16825 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @04:24PM (#21509177)

    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

    KOTOR 1 and 2 as well as Jade Empire (same engine as KOTOR, more of an active battle system similar to Mass Effect except with martial arts instead of guns) have been supported on BC for quite some time now. If you haven't played them, you really must. Especially if you're enjoying Mass Effect.

  • Re:Surprising (Score:5, Informative)

    by rtechie ( 244489 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @06:20PM (#21510757)
    Many posters don't seem to grasp what happened with the original XBOX.

    When building the original XBOX, MS choose to make a very "PC like" design that was essentially a specialized Windows PC. To save time and money, rather than developing their own hardware they outsourced that task to Nvidia and Intel who adapted existing parts (the NV25 and the Celeron 733) to the XBOX. Crucially however, they did not sell the production rights of those parts to Microsoft.

    Fast forward a few years. The XBOX is selling nicely and Microsoft, like most console manufacturers, wants to reduce the price of the console to sell more units. Unfortunately for MS, since they don't own the rights to the GPU and couldn't reverse-engineer it, Nvidia has them over a barrel on pricing and they refuse to reduce the cost of the GPU (I'm told they were ballsy enough to actually try to raise it). Intel was much more willing to negotiate for the CPU (because they had competitors, like AMD), but that was useless without the GPU.

    Because of their inability to cost-reduce the XBOX, Microsoft kills it prematurely. That's why absolutely NO XBOX games were release after 2006. Microsoft actually paid developers to have them move their games in development to the 360.

    Fast forward to the launch of the 360: Without being able to include compatible hardware in the 360, MS is forced to rely on software emulation for backwards compatibility. Emulating Intel and Nvidia hardware on a Power4 system with an ATI GPU it even more difficult than it sounds. Consequently, backwards compatibility on the 360 is less that stellar.

    You could blame Microsoft for this situation because they failed to ensure they held the rights to the Nvidia GPU, but personally I blame NVIDIA for being greedy. It hurt them in the end. Ever wonder why all the next-generation console have ATI GPUs? It's because of the way NVIDIA burned MS on the XBOX.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall