Via Engadget: On November 22nd, which is the Xbox360's one year anniversary, will be announcing their new Xbox Live Video service - allowing all users to download high definition programs on their 360 ans well as HD movies.
The service is called Xbox Live Video, and the fall update enables customers to spend their Microsoft points on standard and HD television from CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Turner, and UFC, as well as HD movies from Warner Bros., Paramount, and so on.
My sneaking suspicion is that this service will only be available in the USA, but it is still quite a big and bold move.
Microsoft has not yet disclosed pricing for downloads, but it will be in Microsoft points.
Movies will be "rental" only, TV for "purchase" only.
At launch there will be over 800 hours of SDTV, and 200 hours of HDTV.
Neither TV nor movies are streamed; they are only downloaded, although you can stream short preview clips from the Live interface.
You can only download content to your Xbox 360 drive -- not to an external drive.
Your "purchased" TV programs can be downloaded an infinite amount of times to an infinite amount of consoles; you may also play them back on friends' 360s with your removable drive.
Deleted TV shows can be re-downloaded later; HDTV shows can be re-downloaded in either HDTV or SD.
Movies can be watched an unlimited number of times the first 24 hours. Plays after that period will cost the same as the initial download, although the movie data isn't necessarily deleted. You can keep the movie data on your drive up to 14 days without re-downloading it.
Downloads are in VC-1 (aka WMVHD) at 720p, 6.8Mbps video with 5.1 surround.
An average HD movie download should be between 4-5GB, and a two hour SD movie would be 1.6GB.
An average 1 hour (44 min) HDTV download should be about 2.2GB, and an average 1/2 hour (22 min) HDTV download should be about 1GB. A 1 hour SDTV download should be about 600MB, and a 1/2 hour SDTV download should be about 300MB.
This service will not be available for MSN TV users, Vongo subscribers, or any other Microsoft partners. It is Xbox Live only.
You cannot download programs through the Xbox Live web interface -- they can only be transported to your 360's removable drive.
There aren't any drive announcements being made, so if your puny 20GB Xbox drive is near or at capacity, you're out of luck, kid.
Check the Engadget link to see the interresting list of launch titles too.
The people over at Team Underdog have now come out with their NME-360 chip which enables you to play burnt DVD backups of your games. According to some, solutions like these have been around for a little while already, but this one I believe to be the first actual chip and looks easy to install and use - and has some nice features;
The NME-360 enables your XBox360 to play backups of your highly valuable original games. NME-360 is a universal solution for ALL currently available XBox360 Consoles on the market.
It basically sits between your DVD drive and the rest of the system, and when necessary "tricking" the machine to think it has an original game disc inserted;
The NME-360 autodetects the inserted media. If the inserted media is a backup NME-360 injects the necessary information to the DVD drive enabling it to boot smoothly ahead! If the media is an original game, or anything else, which doesnt require any further action of the NME-360 then it simply falls asleep so there is no need for an external switch whatsoever. This way it can not be detected online when you play an original onlinegame.
Which begs the question whether you can play on Live! with backed up games, and a quick look at the Howto/Q&A states that:
Q: Can I play Xbox Live with NME 360 A: Yes you can! When you play original games NME 360 will not patch anything, so the drive is like an original unmodified one. We recommend that you DON`T play backups on live, due to the risk of being banned.
Interrestingly enough, soon anyone with a PC can write programs for the Xbox 360 thanks to XNA Game Studio Express which is set to be released this fall. XNA Team Blog has some interresting info:
It is all about helping the community at large develop games using the Visual Studio environment on the Windows computers. Then they can run those games on either Windows– or on their retail Xbox 360. Yes. That is right. You will be able to run your own code on a regular, bought-at-a-store, Xbox 360, including the one that you already own.
So basically we're getting an SDK which allows for development for the 360 on your regular Windows machine. But how does it work and what is included you ask? And how will this be distributed, how will others get to try your stuff? Can any 360 play unsigned code? There are many obvious questions, and here are some of the answers straight from the horse's mouth:
Running unsigned code on your Xbox 360 will require a yearly subscription of $99.00. The tools Windows runtimes will be free of charge.
The program we are building, however, is more than a beginner tool. You will be able to write full-on games with shaders and high-end graphics if you want to go deeper.
They’ve also got lots of tools that will make game development much more accessible to the story tellers and artists who aren’t as into fancy code.
When we ship XNA Game Studio Express this fall, you will be able to share your final product with anyone on your windows machine that you want, but there is no support for sharing Xbox binaries other than sending your source around. We fully intend to fix this in the future, and if I have anything to do about it, it will be sooner than later. The more people that sign up for the subscription and start showing cool innovative content that everyone wants, the easier it will be to get this done.
I think first order of business should be to port XBMC to the 360...
It has already been a little while since this years E3 finished, and this year there was alot of exciting news especially for the console market.
Sony released some more news on their PS3, for instance that the controller will be identical to the PS2 controller in form factor, without rumble but with gyro. It still is rather unclear what Sony will do to battle the 360's already growing advangate and market share, but hopefully for them it will be something ingenious. Their late start, combined with the fact that the PS3 will be quite expensive ($499 for a PS3 with a 20-GB hard drive or a $599 model with a 60-GB) as well as the uncertainty of how it will perform and look compared to the 360, means they have their work cut out for them.
The Nintendo guys finally brought out the Wii to show off some games and how the new controller layout and functionality will affect your gaming experience. A controller with light sensor pointing, built in gyro as well as built in sound and rumble should hopefully be a refreshing change and not just some whacky idea that never really worked out in practice. Of course now that it is official that Opera will be on the Wii I can admit to having already toyed with the controller for a bit
.. I'm still I'm still Spazzy from the block. Erm, right.
Check out these screenshots from the two games in my posession: Call of Duty 2 and Project Gotham Racing 3. Both games look absolutely sick and are a blast to play, both in single player and online through live. Click the images for larger versions!
In PGR3 everything looks absolutely fantastic, from the buildings and skies to the way the sunlight bligds you momentarily coming out of a tunnel and the way the cars look so shiny that they reflect this beautiful world around them perfectly. I had a great time playing PGR and PGR2 for the XBOX so I'm psyched! Just bought it the other day!
COD2 sports a very smooth framerate as well which makes for fantastic gameplay. Add to that lovely graphics and sound you have a great, hectic and immersive WW2 shooter. Great singleplayer experience, but even better multiplayer - I used to be hardcore into first person shooters online such as Quake 2 and 3 so this feels like home, only it used to be alot easier with a mouse and keyboard. New challenges!
Well, I had to do it. After having Paulo over with his 360 a few weekends now playing it on live, I gave in and purchased the premium pack along with Call of Duty 2.
There is alot of fun to be had with games in single player, but also ultimately over and over again online on live. I am quite parcial to some of the games as well that you can download in the Xbox Live Arcade, such as Geometry Wars and Marble Blast. Also being able to download tons of trailers and game demos is a great feature.
So it's finally here! The Xbox360 landed in Europe last friday to many a console gamer's extreme joy. It's always exciting when a new generation of console is launched and I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one.
However, there are limited amounts and it is rather expensive. And at that price it doesn't even come with a game. Add to that the fact that I don't have a nice HD ready LCD on which to display it in its full glory, I have decided to wait for a bit. I sure would love to sit down with Project Gotham Racing 3 and not leave the house for a week, but all good things come to those who wait.
The upsides as I see it now without having tried one personally, are first of all the next generation graphics. Granted games with no content and great graphics are crap games, but new generation should definitely push the envelope graphics wise. The new wireless controllers look nice with the built in funciton of turning the box on and off. The Xbox Live integration is supposedly very nice, not only allowing for online play but keeping track of your progress in games (singleplayer as well as multi) and also allows for downloading minigames such as the classic Gautlet. Now you can go online and see for yourself that "omg i totally liek pwn joo noobs" at all your favorite games.
Some of the negative aspects is that it won't stream meadia over the network from PCs (what in the hell, this should definitely have been made work over regular sambashare). This is really ridicilous and would force people to still use their regular (modded) xboxes as their main mediacenter, instead of this new "mediacenter". It is also alledgedly really noisy due to the fans workin hard to keep it cool. Oh and the power adaptor is huge, and Xbox Live should be free and perhaps a bit more secure or perhaps not.
I'll gladly take Xbox360 donations to investigate further first hand!