Will you buy the Kinect?

yes, at launch or during the holiday season
maybe later


Crave Online

Week of October 29, 2006
EkszBox-ABX v1.3
>> Kernel Master informed us he released a new version of EkszBox-ABX(info) - a tool used for extracting audio files & other formats from xbox audio banks.
What's new/fixed:
* 19 formats are now supported.
* Map support (Halo & Stubbs).
* (Beta) Msx support (Mortal Kombat Deception).
* Support for xwb's from 'Blazing Angels Squadrons Of WWII' (Not fully tested).
* Xwb file swap modified so it should support aforementioned game (as above).
* Temporary hack written to support 'Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers' xwb's (as above).
* Xsb code totally rewritten (Includes error checking/correcting) [All Psychonauts xsb's are read perfectly now].
* Xwb filename parsing improved (Fixes problems /w Counter-Strike xwb's).
* SCX support for xwb's.
* SCX buffer code rewritten.
* Pcm & adpcm headers are written faster due to code optimization.
* 8 bit headers were not created correctly -> fixed.
* Adpcm headers had incorrect byte rates -> fixed.
* Saving Xct ini name files was buggy -> fixed.
* Updated my Xct app (Code cleaned up).
* Load & save settings totally rewritten.
* Save last used directory bug fixed.
* Bug which caused settings file to be saved in strange places -> fixed.
* settings.ini renamed to EkszBoxSettings.ini.
* Added Xct database entries for 'Soul Calibur II' & 'Psyvariar 2 Extend Edition'.

Official Site: n/a (by Kernel Master)
Download: here
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(Saturday 04 November 2006 23:53 EST) - (Category: Xbox) - (Posted by:: )

Hack360 Hitachi v2.3
>> Flash78 released a new Windows PPF-based firmware flashing tool for Hitachi-LG drives:
This Pack installs Xtreme 2.3/1.6 Stealth Rev2 by Maximus|Garyopa and can also restore to original firmware.

This tool doesn't have any firmwares, but I made PPF files to convert any firmware to Xtreme 1.6/2.3 or original version.
This version shows any flashing errors and repeats the process to complete all process successfully.
The batch files use parameters and subroutines. It's more easy to update for next releases and avoids errors in script files.

Use Hack360Hitachi.exe file to run this program and select one option in the Main Menu.
Hack360 hitachi will automatically create a folder "Firm0X" to create all required firmwares.
To detect firmwares this program use Keygen (Verifier firmware), incase you get 'unknown firmware' use the alternative detection (Garyopa check) to identify hitachi model (32,36,40,46,47,58,59).

Official Site: n/a, by Flash78
Download: n/a (could be illegal under DMCA/EUCD)
News-Source: xbins.org
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(Saturday 04 November 2006 19:06 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Xbox Team about Developing the Xbox360 HD-DVD Addon
>> From the Official Team Xbox Blog:
What takes 4.7 million lines of code, partner teams from all over Microsoft, and millions of dollars to create? The Xbox 360 system software? Nope. This is just the HD DVD player.

The Xbox platform team (us) is experiencing its own emergence day as of late; we've been hard at work for the past 8 months straight bringing the fall system update to fruition. I haven't even posted since August. Daryl's already gone over a lot of the features and changes that are in this release. I've personally been working on the Xbox 360 HD DVD player (which, by the way, reached the #1 best seller slot on Amazon.com's video games category) and I thought I'd go over some of the technical difficulties it takes to bring HD DVD to market.

There's a perception that HD DVD is just DVD with HD content, but once you look at things more closely, it's clear that HD DVD is a different beast altogether. The Xbox platform team became serious about HD DVD last year, when Microsoft as a company threw its endorsement behind the standard.

The Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, for the most part, is an entirely software based implementation. Other players on the market have specialized chips (called DSPs) that decode things like H.264, MPEG, VC1, DTS, Dolby Digital, and other codecs. Much like how backwards compatibility for Xbox 1 works on Xbox 360, the heavy parts of HD DVD are all done on Xbox 360's triple-core CPU.

If DVD is an audio/video pipeline with some navigation data (go to the menu, start playing, etc.), HD DVD can be considered a runtime environment where audio/video playback is just one major feature. So let's break down that 4.7 million lines of code. I don't have the numbers for each component, but each of these is a very significant chunk:
* Video Codecs: H.264, MPEG-2, VC1
* Audio Codecs: Dolby Digital+, DTS, TrueHD, LPCM, MPEG
* iHD: The HD DVD runtime engine.
* GDI: Drawing stuff like menus
* AACS: Cryptography/DRM stuff
* MF: Audio/Video pipeline

That's a lot of stuff. Some of the acronyms may not be recognizable. GDI is the Graphics Device Interface, which has been a mainstay of the Windows operating system for many years, providing facilities to draw stuff on screens. MF is Media Foundation - a framework for audio/video pipelines that was being built for Windows Vista. The Windows teams in charge of the above components all pitched in to make them work on Xbox 360 while continuing to work on other Windows projects (Vista, CE, etc.) - quite a task.

A lot of the codecs existed in code at Microsoft before the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player was being built. However, it was all code that was optimized for PC platforms (windows/x86) and not Xbox 360's PPC core. This meant doing a lot of optimization. In this regard, the Xbox 360 implementation of H.264 can be considered a crowning achievement. For this computationally expensive codec, a hybrid approach was taken. Since GPUs are very good at parallelized workloads, stuff that could be parallelized is computed there, while the stuff that can't is better suited to the CPU and is done there.

Unlike DVD, where typical players pass the audio data from the disc through to your receiver, HD DVD requires that players mix sounds from menus and such in with the audio being played for the movie. The 360 player software decodes all the above codecs in software, mixes anything that needs to go together, re-encodes it into Dolby Digital and then sends that to your receiver. So, don't be alarmed when your receiver still says "Dolby Digital" even if you've selected DTS in the menus.

All 6 of Xbox 360's hardware threads are hard at work while playing back an HD DVD. At the moment, the player software pushes Xbox 360 harder than any other (save, perhaps, Gears of War during some particularly busy parts of the game).

If I'd have known how much work it was going to be bringing the 360 HD DVD Player out this year, I may not have signed up last year, but now that I can watch HD movies, it's hard to go back to crummy old DVD :)

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(Saturday 04 November 2006 00:03 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Expected Xbox 360 Sales During Holiday Season
>> From gamasutra.com:
Through September, NPD data shows that Xbox 360 hardware sales in the U.S. were 2.7 million units. Wedbush Morgan expects monthly sales of 250,000 units in October, 750,000 million units in November, and between 1.5 - 2 million units in December. Wedbush comments: "Sell through of Xbox 360 hardware could be higher if the supply situation for the PS3 falls well short of demand, with many holiday gift givers likely substituting purchases of the 360 in place of the PS3."

Read More: gamasutra.com
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(Friday 03 November 2006 23:44 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Schtrom360Xtract v3.1
>> Schtrom released a new version of Schtrom360Xtract(info), a tool that will allow you to easily dump Xbox/Xbox360 gamedata, extract/patch the Security Sectors, PFI and DMI and fully prepare the image for burning in 1 step.

What's new/fixed (since v2.1):
* sector mapping implemented for XBOX1
* xtreme v4.0 and later new unlock command supported for ms28
* support for SH-D163A
* show SH-D162C and SH-D163A only if the drive responds to the get drive feature cdb
* check for disc in drive on extraction
* the region code of an image or game.iso can be checked
* extract files from an image file with the new XDVDFS XTR tool -] thanks for the inspiring source to Team PI Coder

Official Site: n/a, by Schtrom on xboxhacker.net
Download: here
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(Friday 03 November 2006 13:44 EST) - (Category: Xbox_Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

X360SAM v0.5
>> eXOBeX released a new version of X360SAM(info) - a DOS-based key and version string copier for Toshiba-Samsung TS-H943 drives:
X360SAM 0.5 (build 06.11.02) by eXOBeX
X360SAM is a small MSDOS application which will take your original Samsung firmware plus a hacked firmware (such as XTREME.BIN) and will create a new hacked firmware containing the correct DVD key. This is done using Sniperkilla's method (copying bytes $4000-$43FF from the original file).

Version 0.5 is here!
Now copies the 48-byte version string at $202E - $205D and 32-byte version string at $20BC - $20DB, together with the key area from $4000-$43FF. Your resulting hacked firmware will retain all the Xtreme features, but report back to the Xbox with the same key and SAME VERSION as your original!

Official Site: n/a, by eXOBeX on forums.xbox-scene.com
Download: here
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(Thursday 02 November 2006 23:34 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Neo Light Protect Jacket for X360 Controller
>> Dragon Electronics announced a new item for the Xbox360:
Protect your official Xbox controller (wired or wireless) with style with the Neo Light Protect Jacket. Available in 4 fluorescent colors, it prevents scratches and dust, and does not affect gameplay with its thin size. In the dark it will glow to add a unique look to your controller.

* Available in 4 colors: Pink, Yellow, Purple and Blue
* Super slim protect case that fits all official Xbox 360 controllers
* Protects again dust and scratches
* Neo-ligh fluorescent effect
* Made of high quality elastic silicon for a perfect fit

Official Site: http://www.dragon-electronics.com
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(Thursday 02 November 2006 21:03 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Source Images for Blackbolt Classic Skin now Available
>> From Team Blackbolt:
OK people I have released all the source images to this skin on the Xbox Media Center Skinning project SVN on sourceforge.net. To get it all you will need a SVN client like TortoiseSVN (recommended) you can get it here http://tortoisesvn.tigris.org/. Once you have that installed make yourself a new folder on your PC called anything you want then right click it and select SVN Checkout when it asks you for a URL enter in this:
' https://svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/xboxmediacenter/ '

It will then download all the whole skin to that folder. If you want to put a version on your xbox from that then double click the build.bat file in the dir you just created and it will make a new folder called Build that will contain the Blackbolt Classic Folder to ftp to your xbox.

If you are a sucker for punishment and want to get the images one by one or only want a couple of images you can just browse through the url here.I will be using that as the development site for the skin now so any changes I make will get upped to there before they become available on the main Blackbolt site (actual changes may be few and far between) in zip format but the svn version may be buggy so be warned if you want stable versions wait until I up a new one to Blackbolt.x-scene.com.

If you go to http://xboxmediacenter.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/xboxmediacenter/ you will notice that the svn also contains <the source files> for: Project Mayhem I, Project Mayhem II, Project Mayhem III, Lite (same skin 8mb less in size), Project Dark Matter (Smokeheads skin). So feel free to point your svn cleint to get them too. All of them are newer versions than whats currently out in zip rar files anywhere but some may contain bugs because its where we develop them so they always change

Official Site: http://blackbolt.x-scene.com
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(Thursday 02 November 2006 13:59 EST) - (Category: Xbox) - (Posted by:: )

E66 Explained: DVD model/version Check - E71 Issue Fixed? *Updated*
>> Well we got a bit more details, courtesy Commodore4eva, about the Error 66 some users with modified DVD firmwares got after the Fall 2006 Xbox360 Update.

It looks like Microsoft has implemented 'DVD DEVICE' and 'DVD VERSION' control in the new kernel, a bit similar to the Windows XP/VISTA device upgrade check!
Apparently Microsoft stores the original stock factory drive/version somewhere on the 360, and with the new Fall06 kernel it will give the user an E66 if it detects a drive model or firmware version change.
Update1: it's possible that the hardware info has been stored on the 360 at a later time, like during a previous update, rather than stored from the beginning/factory.
Update2: Apparently MS has been storing drive info on consoles manufactured starting around end of May/begin of June 2006. Consoles made before that date will probably work with any drive model/version. Updated all news below with this new info.

What this means for Toshiba-Samsung TS-H943 drives (in consoles made after ~ end may 2006) is that if the drive was originally loaded with the MS25 firmware (often referred to as an 'MS25 drive') it should work fine with C4E Xtreme v3.3 (based on MS25), but not with C4E Xtreme v4.2 (based on MS28) as that's a version change. On a drive originally loaded with the MS28 firmware (often referred to as an 'MS28 drive') anything below C4E Xtreme v4.0 will not work as v3.3 and below are based on MS25.

It's unclear what Microsoft really tried to achieve here. Maybe they tried to lock out users with modified Toshiba-Samsung TS-H943 MS28 drives. When MS wrote the fall update, C4E Xtreme v4.0+ (which is based on firmware MS28) was probably not released yet and C4E Xtreme v3.3 and lower would be no option for these users as those are based on MS25 ... which is a version change and would thus result in E66.

Hitachi-LG GDR-3120L drives not affected? Well, modified firmwares for the Hitachi-LG don't reflash the whole firmware. Instead they patch small parts of your onboard DVD firmware which will obviously not change the version. Model and version don't changed, so you get no E66.
Exception here could probably be if you use a full flash replacement firmware modchip or if you manually removed the flashchip and flashed it with a different firmware version. I have no real data on this (few people do that), let us know if you fall into this category.

Replacement drives? That's something else we should talk about as it's now probably no longer possible to swap from a Hitachi-LG GDR-3120L to Toshiba-Samsung TS-H943 (or the other way around) as the model of your drive would no longer match the model stored on your 360.
Also, the FW version on your replacement drive should not be different than your stock/factory drive. I suggest you get a drive with the same version as your stock/factory drive if you ever need a replacement drive. Quick note for the new people here: if you ever plan to replace your drive yourself, keep in mind you also have to patch/flash it with your unique DVD drive key - the key-check is of course still there ;)
I wonder if Microsoft did change the DVD model/version info stored on all repaired/refurbished Xbox360s when they swapped a DVD-drive or motherboard ... Let us know if this happened to you ;)

I also have an update about the 'new/refurbished/replaced Xbox360 Error 71 issue' I talked about earlier today (which is totally unrelated to E66 or DVD firmware issues). According to Major Nelson Microsoft released the 'fix' to the Fall 2006 update:
An updated version of the Fall Update is now available on Xbox Live which has eliminated issues relating to new or refurbished consoles failing after applying the Fall Update. Users who have already applied the Fall Update and are seeing an error message should call their local Xbox Support telephone number. If you already have the update, you will not be prompted for another update.
Now ... Microsoft does not want to tell what they fixed exactly. But as E66 is probably on purpose and not a 'problem' for MS, and Major Nelson mentions new/refurbished consoles I'm gonna assume they fixed the E71 issue. Sadly if you already tried to update your brand new system before and got an E71, it looks like you're up for a(nother) swap/repair even before you could play your console for a second. heh.
Anyone out there with a brand new Xbox360 wanna test if it's really fixed? ;)

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(Thursday 02 November 2006 02:04 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Real E3 Successor at LACC in '07
>> From next-gen.biz:
GameSpot obtained a leaked internal document intended for L.A. hotels which outlines the GamePro Expo, an event intended to truly fill the vast shoes left by E3. International Data Group (IDG), the media company behind the gaming magazine GamePro, the MacWorld event and other businesses will be planning the show.

Speaking to Next-Gen, a clearly excited source closely related to the event (who opted to remain anonymous) all but confirmed the GamePro Expo. However, the source stopped short of complete confirmation, as official word regarding the event is very likely to surface by the end of the week.

According to GameSpot's report, the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau expects 30,000 attendees initially, with growth expected. E3 2006 hosted around 60,000 members of the gaming community. GamePro Expo will reportedly take place at the L.A. Convention Center, big E3's old stomping grounds, on October 18, 19 and 20, 2007.

Read More: next-gen.biz
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(Thursday 02 November 2006 01:52 EST) - (Category: GamingGeneral) - (Posted by:: )

New DRM for Downloads on Xbox 360?
>> From 2old2play.com:
A couple of members have notice a new addition to their 360's since the Fall 2006 update. Media is now tagged with a "Does not expire" message. Obviously this could only mean one thing, DRM for downloads.

Our best guess is that new media downloads will now contain expiration's dates after they hit your hard drive from the market place. This means you won't be able to continue playing that same demo over and over again without finally going out to buy the game.
This could also be an indication of things to come for the Marketplace. It would make perfect sense to enable this feature for future downloads of music, TV, and movies as well.

Read More: 2old2play.com
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(Thursday 02 November 2006 00:43 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express Beta 2
>> From the press release:
Microsoft today released the second major iteration of its XNA Game Studio Express beta, upgraded with full functionality for Windows and third party toolset support, allowing hobbyists, academics and independent game developers to more easily integrate game content into their creations. The pioneering technology has already opened the doors of game development to numerous audiences, and promises to ratchet up indie game development yet another notch with an expanded set of features.

Whether you've been tinkering for just a short time with XNA Game Studio Express or are completely new to the software, today's update maintains Microsoft's goal to empower the masses through offering easy-to-use and affordable tools enabling them to bring their creativity to life by offering:
* The addition of XNA Framework Content Pipeline, a feature set that makes it simpler and more straightforward for game developers to use 2D and 3D content in their game projects from third party digital content creation packages like Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya and SOFTIMAGE|XSI.
* New content importers for .X and Autodesk FBX 3D asset format in partnership with Autodesk.
* Xbox 360 project system gives game developers the ability to preview game design specifically for the Xbox 360 and pre-compile games starting today, giving developers a head start in preparing their games for the XNA Creators Club availability in December.
* Improved game component architecture updated with a simpler design, adding increased usability based on community feedback.
* Overall performance improvements and optimizations - XNA Game Studio Express Beta 2 is a near final version of the tool.

Novice game creators can download the updated software today from http://msdn.com/xna to develop games for Windows, at no charge. Furthermore, games built using Windows can be migrated to Xbox 360 console systems when the final version of XNA Game Studio Express is released. The XNA Creators Club membership will launch simultaneously with XNA Game Studio Express and be available for purchase on Xbox Live Marketplace allowing users to activate their personal retail Xbox 360 console to create, test and play XNA games on Xbox 360. A one year membership is available for $99 USD and a four-month trial is available for $49 USD.

Note: the final version of XNA Game Studio Express (which will work with the Xbox360) is still expected sometime in December of this year. Games written in beta 2 are more likely to be resilient to release changes than with this jump from Beta 1 to Beta 2.

Official Site/Download: http://msdn.com/xna
Read the full press release: here
More about the changes in Beta 2 (technical): Official XNA Blog
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(Wednesday 01 November 2006 23:36 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Streaming High Def over a Wireless Network: use 802.11a
>> From Official Team Xbox Blog:
Streaming High Definition Video over a Wireless Network
With the Xbox 360 Flash Fall 2006 System Update, we've added support for WMV video playback from new sources. If you've read the video format post, you'll see that your Xbox has the ability to playback high definition (HD) video encoded in the Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile (VC1) codec. This means that you'll not only be able to watch High Definition video from external sources like a USB drive, CD, DVD, but also PC.
However, when you decide to stream HD content over your home wireless network, you might see performance degradation in the form of choppiness. This post is to provide you with some workarounds and suggestions to fix the choppiness.

* Workarounds
Generally the performance degradation happens due to issues like interference, assuming you have an 802.11g router. The easiest, most cost-effective way to get around this is to wire your Xbox to your router via a LAN cable. Doing so will provide the best streaming quality bar none; although that probably was not the answer you wanted to hear.
A second (albeit more expensive) workaround is to purchase a router capable of 802.11a. Choppy video performance is likely due to either too much interference on your wireless' operating frequency due to home appliances (i.e. the microwave, the cordless phone, or Bluetooth devices) or too much interference on overlapping g wireless channels.
802.11a has clear (non-overlapping channels) and operates on 5Ghz, a frequency that doesn't have as many home appliances running within it, which makes it a better mode to stream anything that requires a lot of bandwidth. For more information on the differences between 802.11a and g, jump down to "802.11a vs. 802.11g."
Through testing done by the Windows Media Center Team, it was determined that 802.11a is almost on par with 802.11g in terms of barrier penetration and range. Even so, it's advised that you should only pass 802.11a through at most one wall for the best performance. If you still run into problems, even with 802.11a, you can read more about 802.11a drawbacks and an optimal environment by jumping down to "An optimal wireless streaming environment"

* How do I know what wireless mode my 360 is connected to?
Start up your 360 without a game and it will boot to the dashboard. Go to the System Blade and scroll down to Network settings. Press A to see your Basic settings and you should see what 802.11 Wireless Mode your 360 is connected on be it a, b, or g.

Read More Q&A about this on the Team Xbox Blog
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(Wednesday 01 November 2006 21:36 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

More Fall Update Problems E71 - MS Annnounces Fix Coming in 12-24h
>> Well it looks like not only some Xbox360s with modified firmwares get an error message after the Fall 2006 update (read our full news coverage about the issue / Help out the E66 database here - thx), but more and more news comes up from non-modified consoles failing to reboot after the update.
Like some of our members reported on this forum thread brand-new or just-refurbished (not modified obviously) systems seem to give an ERROR 71 if you update them on first boot. So if you just bought an Xbox360 we suggest you don't upgrade your dashboard now. Some theories suggest the E71 problem is caused because many new Xbox360s consoles don't have the Spring 2006 loaded yet and apparently updating them directly to the Fall 2006 seems to fail ...

But, it seems like Microsoft is aware of the issue too, here's what they just published:
We're hearing from a small number of customers (less than 1%) that are having issues with the Fall Console Update. I've been told that the team should have an updated version in the next 12-24 hours. We'll let you know when the issue is resolved.

If you are having problems with the update for any reason, please call Xbox Support (1-800-4-MY-XBOX in the US and Canada). We're working with those affected to get them back up and running, and we're committed to making sure the update doesn't cause problems for anyone else.

Would be nice if MS released a bit more information about the issue, but well ... that's all we got for now.
My best guess is that MS is talking about the E71 issue in the above statement and that the E66 issue is probably some kind of model/version check on the dvd drive and in that case will not be 'fixed' by MS obviously.

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(Wednesday 01 November 2006 18:40 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Halo 3 Will Come in 3 Packages
>> Pre-orders for Halo 3 started today at GameStop. The game will be available in 3 packages:
* Regular ($59.99)
* Collector's Edition ($69.99): Collector's Edition details are unavailable at this time. Once details are available they will be posted here.
* Legendary Edition ($99.99): Purchase the Halo Legendary Edition and receive a Halo Spartan Mjolnir Mark VI Helmet Replica! Also includes three bonus discs that contain:
- Behind-the-scenes at Bungie Studios with new insights into the Halo Universe and the making of Halo 3.
- A special hi-res collection of all cinematics from Halo 1 and Halo 2 with director commentary from the Bungie Team bonus
- Community content from Red vs. Blue, This Spartan Life and Exclusive Gamer Tiles & a Theme
- Each unit will be serialized for added individuality and collectability

Note that the prices are not officially confirmed by Microsoft yet.
GameStop also mentions a release date of Nov 1st 2007 (that's in just 1 year) ... but that's just an estimates and not an official date announced by Microsoft/Bungie.

Thanks to leftyfb for news/link.
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(Wednesday 01 November 2006 15:16 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Wal-Mart Bundles 360 with Free Game
>> From xbox360.ign.com:
Wal-Mart is doing its part to increase Xbox 360 sales. Newly available in stores are two Wal-Mart exclusive 360 bundles. For $399.99 gamers can choose between the MotoGP 06 and Burnout Revenge bundles. Each comes with the respective game, one controller, a 360 and a hard drive. This is the exact same price as your average non-bundled Premium System Xbox 360.

Read More: xbox360.ign.com
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(Wednesday 01 November 2006 15:04 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Fall '06 Dashboard Update: Supported Video Formats
>> From the Official Team Xbox Blog:
As you may have heard, with the Xbox 360 Flash Fall 2006 System Update we are adding support for WMV video playback from new sources. Videos can be streamed from a PC running Windows Media Connect, Windows Media Player 11, or the new Zune client player, and can also be played from Optical Disc and most USB mass storage devices. For all these sources, only the WMV video file format and codecs are supported.

* How do I know if a video file will work on the Xbox 360?
Currently only the Windows Media Video (WMV) file format and codecs are supported. If you have a file with a ".wmv" extension, then the odds are pretty good that it will work. Technical details on the types of files we support can be found at the end of this post, but the easiest way to find out if a file will work or not is to just try it. Hopefully after you click play the video will show up on your display, but if the content is not supported you will simply get an "Unplayable Content" message blade from the side of the screen and then be returned to the Video blade.

* How do I create videos that will play on my Xbox 360?
Windows Movie Maker, a standard feature of Windows XPSP2, will output WMV video files compatible with the Xbox 360 console. Either use the default settings when you finish a movie and click "Save to my computer," or just make sure that the output video format you select shows the file type as "Windows Media Video (WMV)."
Videos will usually look best when they are closest to the original resolution that they were created with. Try to create video files at least 360 pixels high in vertical resolution in order to minimize content upscaling on the console.
If you decide you want finer control of the output video file format, download a version of Windows Media Encoder (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/) and then start encoding away. Optimal size and bitrate settings will vary depending on the source material you are encoding. As a general guideline though, 1.5 Mbps is a typical bitrate that should be suitable for most standard definition content, and 8 Mbps is a common bitrate for high definition content.

* Can I get more technical details about the kinds of files you support?
- WMV video files with the extension ".wmv" are stored in a generic file container format known as ASF. ASF files can contain many different types of codecs within them. Xbox 360 supports most common WMV video codecs, as seen in the following chart:
Name (FourCC)
Windows Media Video 7 (WMV1)
Windows Media Video 8 (WMV2)
Windows Media Video 9 (WMV3)
Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile (WVC1)

- There are some files with ".wmv" extension that may play on a PC, but are unsupported on the Xbox 360 console. Windows Media Screen, Windows Media 9 Image (Photostory), and some older Microsoft codecs are unsupported, as seen in the following chart:
Name (FourCC)
Microsoft MPEG-4 Video Codec V3 (MP43)
Microsoft MPEG-4 Video Codec V2 (MP42)
Microsoft MPEG-4 Video Codec V1 (MP41)
Windows Media Screen V9 (MSS2)
Windows Media Screen V7 (MSS1)
Windows Media Video 9 Image (WMVP)
Windows Media Video 9 Image v2 (WVP2)
ISO MPEG-4 Video V1 (MP4S)

Anamorphic content with nonsquare pixels is currently unsupported on Xbox 360 console, and will be displayed as if the pixels were square. If you want to play such content on your console, it is recommended that you re-encode the content in a square pixel format.
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(Wednesday 01 November 2006 00:15 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

SlaYer's EvoX Auto-Installer v2.7
>> A new version of the most popular Xbox installer disk has been released:
Well, here we go again, several years after coining the word "Auto-Installer" we have the latest version 2.7
Before you expect the world, please know that v2.7 is in essence a cleaned-up update from v2.6 and not a new product, as discussed HERE.
It runs on the same good old EvoX but has the latest STABLE apps and scripts. There is ONE cool new feature that has been asked a lot so read on...

NEW! SlaYer's EvoX Auto-Installer v2.7:
* Ability to easely change the default dash between EvoX / XBMC / Ava / UnleashX(info) on any kind of HDD
* 137GB HD's and the G: Drive
* XBOX v1.0 - V1.6 Support through new v1.6 Bioses (possible future versions too)
* Ability to restore the retail Xbox HD to retail mode
* Ability to Format the C: E: F: G: or X:,Y:,Z: partitions independently
* Latest Stable Media Center XBMC Custom Configured with ShoutCast Radio and lots of cool Scripts
* Ability to flash virtually ANY v1.0-v1.6 XBOX MOD chip & some TSOPs with 256K or 1MB
* Ability to restore the latest v1.0-v1.6 compatible M$ dash
* Comprehensive Step-by-Step Instalation and troubleshooting manual, released as locked & encrypted PDF 5.0 for better compatibility

Software Included (some new, some cleaned up and updated versions from v2.6):
* boXplorer 0.96 G: Patched
* M$ Dash Live v5960 ( v1.0 - v1.6 compatible )
* dvd2xbox(info) v0.7.7 (with cool Project Mayhem III skin)
* EvoX Dash v1.8.3935
* XBMC 2.0.0 (10-26-2006 CVS T3CH build) w/ PMIII, X360 & Blackbolt Classic 2.0 Skins
* Avalaunch(info) (auto-updatable on-line & can download the Qwix(info) PC ISO Manager)
* DVDX v2.0 Region Free
* UnleashX Dash V0.37.1218 Build 543
* Xboxdash dvd region free patch disc v1.03 (to be used on the older 4920 dash only!)

Version 2.5 Features Carried Over: Click HERE to See.

The updated comprehensive documentation uses Adobe PDF 5.0 for backwards compatibility, it can be downloaded from our downloads section.

Official Site: http://slayer.xbox-scene.com/
Official Forums: http://slayer.xbox-scene.com/forum/
Official IRC Room: irc.wondernet.nu #Slayers
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(Tuesday 31 October 2006 22:41 EST) - (Category: Xbox) - (Posted by:: )

XBGM# v0.9.1.0-15_dev
>> KaYa released a new version of XBGM#(info) - a multi-OS game manager for Xbox using Avalaunch(info), UnleashX(info) and XboxMediaCenter(info) dashboard features:
New Dev release XBGM# (changelog since
* XBGM# look a little more polished, new functionnality.
* Add a Save manager.
* Add support for dashboard like Avalaunch, XBMC and UnleashX.
* The top toolbar (shutdown/restart/launch) work with any dashboard.
* BOOST mode work with UnleashX (upper V0.36.0620A Build 499).
* Show free space with any dashboard (Avalaunch, XBMC and UnleashX).
* Show extract icon from XBE before uploading a game.
* Fix bug when extracting some xISO.
* Fix bug showing free space on G drive.
* Fix Number overflow error.
* Fix error "Name is empty" when extracting locally.
* Add time remaining field to Progress dialog.
* All dialog (MainWindow, Preferences, DirectoryUpload, ProgressDirectory, ProgressxISO) are made with Glade.
* Add/Fix Textmod version.
* Many other fix/add.

The XBMC launch button allow you to run any xbe specify in the configuration dialog.
When using XBMC dashboard, you can also run any script, as long as you specify full path.
The save manager allow to list all save game on your xbox and to backup it in a zip format, and it is working with all dashboard.
This release is in debug mode, so it redirect the output to a file, 'debug.txt', send it to me please.
Since it is a development version, i am open to any change.
Please feedback any bug so i could fixed it.

Official Site: http://xbgm.sourceforge.net
Download: here
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(Tuesday 31 October 2006 21:18 EST) - (Category: Xbox) - (Posted by:: )

Fall Update - E66 Error with some modified Toshiba-Samsung drives *Updated*
>> It looks like some people get an E66 (hardware failure) when trying to reboot their console after the Xbox 360 Fall Dashboard Update. It only happens with some specific configurations, they do NOT ban the console/gamertag from LIVE and it's easy to solve. It's probably a compatibility issue or check between the new Xbox360 OS/kernel build and some combinations of DVD drives and modified firmwares.

From our data (see this thread and this thread) it looks like it only happens on some Xbox360 consoles with a combination of a Toshiba-Samsung TS-H943 DVD drive (mostly MS28, but we get reports of problems with some MS25 aswell) and some hacked firmwares (below v4.1 on MS28?, MS25 seems to work with older 3.x FWs and manually patched (key) v4.x). Interesting note: TS Xtreme FW v4.0 and above is based on the MS28 FW and Xtreme v3.3 and below is based on the MS25 FW.
As far as we know consoles with Hitachi-LG drives seem totally unaffected (any version, any FW) and all work fine after the update.

So this is easy to solve, just reflash your Toshiba-Samsung drive with the original FW (100% working solution - we suggest you this until we get all details) or upgrade to C4E's latest TS FW (v4.2 (manual key patch might be required for MS25 ... some MS25 users reported that downgrading to v3.3 or lower helped for them)).

Microsoft is NOT banning your gamertag/console on LIVE for this (afaik), but of course ... going on LIVE with a modified FW is always at your own risk (it's against the LIVE terms&conds). Someday MS could start banning consoles/gamertags with modified FWs and if they're smart they first collect info for 1month or 2 and then ban everyone at once ;)

Also note that this story is NOT related with that news about Xbox LIVE banning that was published by xboxic.com (and re-posted on many other blogs incl. slashdot) 2-3 days ago. We didn't post about that news here on x-scene, simply because it's not true. heh. MS is banning if you don't behave on LIVE, they might ban on some modified content (like super cars in PGR3) ... but they are not mass banning for modified firmwares (yet). Of course, like I said above, they could start doing this at anytime (and they might be logging stuff already, who knows) ... even if stealth firmwares and (partially) stealth media could make it harder for them.

Here's what Team Xecuter wrote about the E66-issue:
There have been many reports of peoples Xbox 360's dying after the fall update when they have a flashed drive.

One of our friends had this problem so he brought his Xbox to us for analysis. Here are some facts.
1. Samsung MS28 Drive
2. Flashed with Xtreme v3.3
3. E66 error after Fall Update
4. Red lights / No boot to dash

We dumped his firmware and compared to his original X33.bin flash - MD5 was the same and of course that meant his drivekey was correct too.

We then simply converted his X33.bin to the new X42a.bin (Xtreme v4.2 Fast Boot Mode as Default) and reflashed (and for those that may ask using a VIA 6421L card and Xecuter Connectivity Kit v2 with a seperate Molex PSU (wouldnt work with PC power - had to power up the drive first before PC - of course you could use power from the 360 itself too if you wish)

The Xbox 360 now boots just fine - both offline and on live with originals and backups.

That there was no evidence of the drive being reflashed by the fall update & the live account / MAC address was NOT banned. Also that there was some kind of incompatibility with the new update and the older hacked firmware. Maybe this was accidental or part of the master plan. Who knows?

If others could give input on their own experiences then that would help a lot of people. We are not yet sure if this causes any problems with MS25 or Hitachi drives - time will tell.

For now enough of the scaremongering. You can rescue your drive, although I feel sorry for those people who don't learn from sites like ours on how to do it yourself, as no doubt you'll have to go pay $80 or whatever to the local Joe Schmo who originally flashed your drive.

And of course, as always, use Xbox Live at your own risk if you are using a hacked console. If you ever kill your box or you get banned your cries will unfortunatley fall on deaf ears.

Help find the source of the problem: Database For E66
News-Source: team-xecuter.com, forum thread1 and forum thread2
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(Tuesday 31 October 2006 12:16 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Xtreme Boot Maker v0.3.6
>> Klutsh released a new version of Xtreme Boot Maker(info) - a simple program that will prepare a floppy or USB drive for use with X360SAM(info).
What's new/fixed:
* Fixed: Typo in SamRead.bat

Official Site: http://www.x-projects.org/cms/
Download: here
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(Tuesday 31 October 2006 12:15 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Transcode360 Update: Streaming from non-MCE, Transcode 360 v1.0 and more
>> From Runtime on runtime360.com:
The Fall Update
I'm of course referring to Microsoft's latest dashboard update (and not this long overdue post!). Those of us hoping for a wider range of video formats will have been disappointed to find that the streaming media enhancements on offer are limited to WMV over Windows Media Player 11 and Windows Media Connect.

I should point out that non-MCE computers will not be able to take advantage of transcoding solutions (including Transcode 360(info)) until developers can figure out how to 'plug-in' to Windows Media Player 11 and/or Windows Media Connect. Though if Microsoft is using a standards based UPNP implementation (which I believe it has with respect to music and photos), then I would expect someone to knock up a transcoding solution not too far down the line - that someone though, is unlikely to be me.

You'll have noticed that since Beta 4 I've been updating the site less frequently. While I'm keen on my 360 and software development in general, my priorities have changed with the happy discovery that I'm going to be a Dad very shortly! I will no doubt still find the time to dabble/tinker about with XNA and Media Center stuff in general, but likely not to the same extent I could in my XboxMediaCenter(info) hay day.

So what of T360, My Movies and Vista? In the run up to Xmas I'll be tidying up the code, versioning (releasing a 1.0 final build) and updating the publically accessible subversion source code repo here. I'm definitely open to offers of help managing the forums, and if there are any keen C# developers out there I would consider handing over the reins (I'd need to evaluate a patch/diff submission to get an idea of aptitude etc.).

There is finally a beta build available on the My Movies website (forums) which can be evaluated. My Movies does not include T360, you need to install both. When My Movies is running over an Extender (e.g. 360) it will detect that T360 is installed and offer you the option to stream the movie from within the My Movies interface.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to replace my production Media Center 2005 build with Vista with the view of doing some T360 development/testing. Unfortunately I encountered a number of hardware compatibility issues with my setup which meant that I had to revert to MCE2005. I'm still very keen to put together an easy to install Vista-friendly build, and with some help from the forum regulars I plan to get this done around the same time as 1.0 (i.e. before the end of year - OK I hope to get it done a lot sooner, but I'm giving myself plenty of slack!).

In winding down the project, I want to thank all of you guys for your support over the past months, its been fun working on this project and I'm thrilled that its been a help to so many folks. If past experience is anything to go by, it won't be too long before I get the itch to cut some code and spin up another project, I just need to find the elusive secret to balancing work, family life and homebrew; if anyone has any insights please let me know!!

Official Site: http://www.runtime360.com
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(Tuesday 31 October 2006 00:07 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Inside The Xbox Live Operations Center
>> From console.hardocp.com:
[H] Console recently visited the lovely state of Washington for an exclusive tour of the Xbox Live Operations Center. This will be the first time since the Xbox 360 has launched that anyone has had a look behind the scenes at Microsoft's Xbox Live Operations Center (XOC).

Our host for the tour was Jason Coon, a long time [H]'er and a Operations Program Manager for Xbox Live. The Xbox Live facilities are located away from the main Microsoft campus in a nondescript three story building with no outside markings other than a small Xbox logo on the front door of the lobby.

Check it out (incl. a long interview with Jason Coon) on console.hardocp.com (5 pages)
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(Monday 30 October 2006 19:24 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Maximus-Garyopa Hitachi-LG Xtreme FW v2.3 Stealth 8in1 Revision 2
>> Maximus released a 2nd revision of his latest Xtreme Firmware package for the Hitachi-LG Xbox 360 DVD drives.

What's new/fixed:
* Fixed some bugs on 36,40 and 58 drives. (Thanks to Flash78 and Garyopa for pointing them). If you have 2.3 on your drive and dont have a 36,40 or 58 drive DO NOT NEED TO FLASH THIS RELEASE.

Official Site: n/a (by Maximus, Garyopa and Geremia)
Download: n/a (could be illegal under DMCA/EUCD)
News-Source: xbins.org
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(Monday 30 October 2006 12:39 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Fall Update comes out tomorrow - Official Press Release
>> From the press release:
Xbox 360 to Add More than 85 Enhancements with the Fall System Update and Raise the Bar for High Definition Interactive Gameplay and Entertainment

The fall update ushers in the 6th generation of Xbox Live, the world's largest online gaming & entertainment network with four million members and growing everyday

Beginning the morning of Tuesday October 31, owners of the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft will be able to download a free system update that will provide more than 85 new features and enhancements, including support for native 1080p games and movies, faster Xbox Live Arcade game list display times and even more choices when it comes to video playback options.

This free update will be distributed via the Xbox Live online gaming and entertainment network to all members (Xbox Live Silver and Xbox Live Gold) with no disc or hard drive required. Gamers without an Xbox Live account can easily sign up for free by connecting their console to a broadband Internet connection. Once online, downloading the update is fast and simple, and provides instant access to features such as:

Expanded HD Display and Video Playback Options
* With 1080p resolution, gamers now have the ability to enjoy both game and video content in the best HD resolution currently available.
* Expanded video playback options increase the ways gamers can enjoy video content on Xbox 360. It is now possible to stream WMV video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11 or Windows Media Connect.
* Gamers can now play video files from data CDs and DVDs, as well as from storage devices like USB 2.0 flash drives and Xbox 360 Memory Units.
* Xbox 360 will support 50hz HDTV display modes, providing viewers greater choice in how they watch DVD and HD DVD content.

Xbox Live Arcade Enhancements
* Keeping up to date on Xbox Live Arcade games is now even more convenient with the ability to automatically download newly released Xbox Live Arcade trial games. This eliminates the need to manually search for new downloads on Xbox Live Marketplace each time a new game trial is released.
* Fast enumeration of games: you'll see the games in your Xbox Live Arcade collection appear almost instantly. Get in and play right away.
* With so many games to choose from, Xbox Live Arcade added new sorting options such as "Recently Played" and "By Category." These enhancements make managing Xbox Live Arcade collections faster and easier than ever.
* A new expanded Friends Leaderboard within Xbox Live Arcade allows gamers to compare themselves directly against their friends and view leaderboard details of their top 10 friends.
* A new expanded Achievements View within Xbox Live Arcade lets gamers view their full Achievement details for their Xbox Live Arcade games including descriptions, icons, allotted Gamerscore and more, right from the Xbox Live Arcade dashboard interface.
* The "Play Now" launch feature has been streamlined. Selecting "Play Now" after downloading a game in Xbox Live Marketplace now bypasses Xbox Live Arcade and takes you directly to the game.
* Xbox Live Arcade now offers a "Tell a Friend" feature. Select this option from the game info screen to send any friend on your friends list a message telling them about the Xbox Live Arcade game.

XNA Support
* Amateur game designers will be able to test and play the games they create using XNA Game Studio Express on their Xbox 360 systems when it launches later this year (separate download and subscription required).

These features and enhancements are just some of the improvements gamers can expect as part of the fall update. For a complete list of updates, visit http://www.xbox.com/live.

Microsoft is committed to providing Xbox 360 customers with the best online experience possible and delivering added value to Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Those subscribers will enjoy exclusive early access to special Xbox Live Marketplace content, such as game demos, free game add-ons, free community videos, and free gamer pics and themes for up to one week in advance of their general release. Paid downloadable content remains available at the same time for both Xbox Live Silver and Xbox Live Gold subscribers.

Through these regular updates, the way gamers are connected to their friends and entertainment is constantly evolving and improving. With more than 4-million Xbox Live members to date, Xbox 360 has proven itself as the premiere gaming platform of choice.

The complete list of changes is available here.
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(Monday 30 October 2006 12:31 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Xbox 360 price drop is still a ways off
>> From Seattle PI:
Manufacturing costs for Microsoft's Xbox 360 video-game console have been falling faster than expected, the company disclosed last week. Even so, it looks like gamers will need to wait awhile for a price cut.

One reason is that Microsoft continues to lose money on the Xbox 360 -- albeit to a lesser degree than it has in the past. But more notably, the Redmond company's game console is already positioned to have a price advantage over Sony's PlayStation 3 when the competing machine is launched next month.

A Microsoft spokesman said last week that the company has "no plans to adjust the price of the Xbox 360 this year."
Unless the company alters course, that would rule out a price reduction for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
"They'll hold off dropping the price as long as they possibly can," said Matt Rosoff, analyst at independent research firm Directions on Microsoft.

In contrast, Microsoft reduced the price of the original Xbox by $100 six months after its debut. But this time around, the situation is different. In addition to the PS3's price difference, the Xbox 360 has a yearlong head start.
The situation gives Microsoft "the luxury of waiting" to reduce the price, said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities.

Read More: seattlepi.nwsource.com
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(Sunday 29 October 2006 23:54 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Datel Xport360 - new Xbox360 HDD Connectivity Product
>> Datel released 'Xport360' a new HDD connectivity product for the Xbox360. This product hasn't been announced by Datel yet, but FoxRacR17 found it at BestBuy and posted info and pictures of it on our forums.
The product is a bit similar to Datel's XSATA except that you don't need to plug this adapter in your Xbox 360 console. Basicly it's standalone SATA-to-USB adapter with an Xbox360 HDD Connectivity Kit build-in ... just plug in the Xbox 360 HD on it and you have 2 USB plugs (UPDATE: one USB to access the Xbox360 harddrive and the 2nd is to access an xbox/xbox360 memory card).
A special port on the front of the device will allow you to connect Xbox360 memory cards and the package also comes with an Xbox1 memory card adapter, which will allow you to easily put Xbox1 saves on your PC or on your Xbox360 HD.
It also looks like Datel has their own Xbox360 HDD navigation (read, write) tool now, instead of relying on 360gamesaves' Xplorer360(info).
Datel Xport360 Datel Xport360
Datel Xport360 Datel Xport360
Datel Xport360

Product Features:
* Transfer data between your Xbox 360 hard drive, memory cards and PC quickly and easily
* Bonus Xbox memory card adapter lets you transfer original Xbox game saves to your Xbox 360
* High-speed USB 2.0 transfer rate won't keep you waiting for data to transfer
* Docking station plugs into your PC for fast, flawless data transfers
* Simply drag and drop files while you're connected to your PC

Suggested Retail Price: 39.99usd
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(Sunday 29 October 2006 20:07 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Xbox 360: gaming console, media hub, and frying pan?
>> From engadget.com:
It's no secret that the Xbox 360 can get a little hot under the collar -- after all, this is the same console that drove people to build elaborate support systems or hang their power bricks out the window -- but who knew that the heat was intense enough to cook up some disgusting scrambled eggs? Unlike the fake MacBook frying pan we saw this summer, it seems that you can't cook an egg on a 360 simply by pouring it onto the toasty case; rather, you have to actually crack it open and get your breakfast on using the naked components.
Before sending his 360 to the great videogame recycling bin in the sky, Brett and friends whipped up a nice little Julia Child-esque video that features the doomed console's heat sink being employed as the world's nastiest cooking surface -- and although the resulting eggs look absolutely revolting, that doesn't stop the intrepid cinematographers from scraping them out with a fork to savor the flavor.

Read More: engadget.com
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(Sunday 29 October 2006 19:49 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

A sneak peek at XNA Game Studio Express (Beta 2) features
>> From David Weller's Blog (Community Manager at Microsoft's Game Technology Group):
For those of you that won't be attending the Seattle CodeCamp XNA sessions today, you can check out Andy Dunn's meticulous notes about what was discussed yesterday at Mitch's talk. Unfortunately, Andy didn't make it to Charles Cox's talk, which was a great presentation on how to write games in XNA (and covered many new features that are in Beta 2 as well). In addition, the process for deploying a game to the Xbox 360 was demonstrated, even though that feature won't be available until the 1.0 release of XNA Game Studio Express.
And in case you want to know when the next beta will actually be released, the answer is: Really, Really, Really Soon. Stick out tongue
P.S. -- No, there are no slide decks or recordings of the talks. CodeCamp is a very hardcore series of talks, and the preference is that presenters go straight into hands-on demonstration, rather than "Death By Powerpoint".

Some things mentioned at the Seattle CodeCamp related to Xbox 360 development:
* No more design time support for components. They only added minimal value and it turned out to be far more complex on the xbox/compact framework. They also had some limitations like no way to control the order of creation and initialisation. They will be back in a future version in a more impressive way. For now components still exist, you just have to create, add them and set properties in your own code. As you will see they are also improved feature wise.
* XBox and PC builds require separate projects to make the build system work properly. To make an app run on both you need to make a new project of the other type and then add/link the source files. Future versions will use the build target mechanism from visual studio.
* Some big changes around Render Target (and Mitch went pretty fast here...). Surface is gone, StretchRect is gone, UpdateSurface is gone, GetBackBuffer is gone (back buffer is now just RenderTarget 0). RenderTarget is a new strong type and you use a new construct called Resolve to get the data from it. Apparently this is very similar to the Xbox API and in this case it made more sense to implement the Xbox way of doing things for compatibility.
* Running on the xbox - once the project was made as described above Mitch switched over to the xbox dev kit, selected an option to get the PC files and then on the PC hit 'run'. The program compiled and deployed over a local LAN to the xbox and then ran. It looked the same as on the PC.
* The next beta will not run on retail xboxes - that feature is not available until RTM. However the project types and supporting files will be shipped so you can build and compile and get ready.

Read More: thezbuffer.com
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(Sunday 29 October 2006 11:44 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Console Wars: A Look At the Financial Results
>> From Dean Takahashi at mercurynews.com:
Sony is in trouble. Its earnings plummeted 94 percent to $14.4 million because of costs related to its laptop battery recall. But it also reported a $369 million operating loss in its video game business because of start-up costs for the PlayStation 3. Sony's game revenues decreased 20 percent to $1.4 billion from a year ago because of a decline in PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2 sales, as well as a price cut on the PS 2. Sony sold 5 million PS 2s worldwide in the quarter and 3.89 million PSPs. Sony is sitting on a lot of inventory now related to PS 3 components. It's nail-biting time in Tokyo. Sony has $4.7 billion in cash, and $3 billion in short-term debt and current long-term debt.

In Redmond, things are looking brighter for Microsoft. The company has $31.8 billion in cash. That's a substantial war chest. Sales rose 70 percent in the Entertainment and Devices division, which includes games, to $1.03 billion in the quarter. The division cut its loss from $173 million a year ago to $96 million. Microsoft says it is on target to hit profitability by the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2008. That's a long way away, but the company is making some progress.

Nintendo reported sales of $2.5 billion, up 69 percent from a year earlier. Net income was $458.6 million, up from a loss a year ago. Nintendo has $6.6 billion in cash. Nintendo is forecasting sales of $6.2 billion and profits of $843 million for the year ended March 31, 2007. The company boosted its prediction of annual sales of DS units from 17 million to 20 million units worldwide. Nintendo also increased its GameBoy Advance sales forecast from 2.5 million to 3.3 million units worldwide.

Read More: mercurynews.com
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(Sunday 29 October 2006 00:37 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )


Giganews Newsgroups