Breaking GDC News: More on Xenon ? System Outline Offered

Pre-keynote release highlights show new battleground.

Posted by Staff
As the Games Developers Conference ups its profile and emerges as a new battleground for consumer attention, Microsoft is again taking the lead role, with the interview with J Allard we posted today, being backed up with a statement of intent from the Xbox executive.

In a press release leaked somewhat earlier than it?s embargo time, J Allard - now formally titled Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chief XNA Architect - heralds a self styled HD era of gaming.

In a typically bullish statement, he said, ?In the HD Era the platform is bigger than the processor. New technology and emerging consumer forces will come together to enable the rock stars of game development to shake up the old establishment and redefine entertainment as we know it.?

Allard also outlined several new features for Xenon, which combined were tagged the next-generation Xbox guide.

Verbatim, these are:

? Gamer Cards. Gamer Cards provide gamers with a quick look at key Xbox Live information. They let players instantly connect with people who have similar skills, interests and lifestyles.

? Marketplace. Browseable by game, by genre, and in a number of other ways, the Marketplace will provide a one-stop shop for consumers to acquire episodic content, new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins and new community-created content.

? Micro-transactions. Breaking down barriers of small-ticket online commerce, micro-transactions will allow developers and the gaming community to charge as little as they like for content they create and publish on Marketplace. Imagine players slapping down $.99 to buy a one-of-a-kind, fully tricked-out racing car to be the envy of their buddies.

? Custom playlists. This feature eliminates the need for developers to support custom music in games. The guide instantly connects players to their music so they can listen to their own tracks while playing all their favourite next-generation Xbox games.

Undoubtedly, the most controversial aspect of this guide has to be the fully-enabled micro-payment system being readied for the launch of the Xenon. Of course, as with all things Xbox, the initial focus will be on the ease of purchase of game content. But as the second iteration of Trojan becomes more widely accepted, SPOnG believes it a certainty that Microsoft will begin to offer more and more non-gaming content, including a full range of music and movies via the revised Xbox Live service.

Allard also promised Xenon will have more than a teraflop of processing power with a multi-core processor offering the platform 'headroom' for expansion.

As to whether J Allard?s keynote speech, scheduled for later on this evening, will offer anything further remains to be seen. Keep it locked.
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Comments

claudioalex 10 Mar 2005 00:47
1/19
Its like a MSN Messenger? And sort of e-bay? and Hi-5?
Those services are in my opinion the regular and basic ones that sould be ofered in a internet comunity games. I wonder why X-BOX LIVE dont have them yet.

When I pay 50 dollars for a game, I want all the cars, all game levels, all maps , weapons and vehicles inside the game. I may work hard to get them, but buyng them? cīmn
Is Microsoft sending the mesage that we are morons capable of pay extra content for a game that we already payd?, just to show up in front of our ciber friends, people who even we dont know personally?
Arse McAdams 10 Mar 2005 10:04
2/19
press release wrote:
Custom playlists. This feature eliminates the need for developers to support custom music in games. The guide instantly connects players to their music so they can listen to their own tracks while playing all their favourite next-generation Xbox games.


The whole point of music in games is that it's context-sensitive, thus enhancing the gameplay experience. Why is Microsoft so obsessed with us listening to our own music within games? This is horse s**t, especially the fact that the idea is being pushed as revolutionary - as if you can't just turn the game music down/off and stick a CD on... I could do that with my Spectrum.

It's like going to the cinema with your Walkman - utterly contradicts the point.
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davemcbridesfoot 10 Mar 2005 10:28
3/19
This is horse s**t


sorry buddy but you're well wrong on this one. There are many games where environment sensitive music is inappropriate such as Pro Evo and driving games. I loved having my own playlists in Project Gotham 1. Not everyone has a cd player in their living room either or for that matter could be arsed to, at best, use a remote to change track, not to mention changing f**kin cd!

Think before you type my son it'll make harsh criticism of your views a thing of the past!

All the best

Dave
ohms 10 Mar 2005 10:45
4/19
davemcbridesfoot wrote:
There are many games where environment sensitive music is inappropriate such as Pro Evo and driving games.


(you really mean appropriate right??)
yeah, but isn't this already available with some xbox games, and wasn't JAllard going on about it ages ago before XBOX launched? I'm getting a sense of dejavu.


davemcbridesfoot 10 Mar 2005 11:28
5/19

(you really mean appropriate right??)


no i din't but granted i was a bit unclear about it. Fair enough the music in pro evo's sweet when you score a goal (better in 3 in my opinion) but during the match you just want to listen to your own tunes. we'd all be playing FIFA otherwise! Environment sensitive music is the stuff like in halo2 where you're going into a new area (chapter) it's cool cause it creates a cinematic feel but sports games and the like simply aren't cinematic, poetic maybe but not cinematic!

yeah, but isn't this already available with some xbox games, and wasn't JAllard going on about it ages ago before XBOX launched? I'm getting a sense of dejavu.


you're dead right on that point it's another example of microsoft polishing up a good idea and selling it to the idiot masses.

Spong why you no got screenshots from the presentation. Come on guys pull your socks up!

CVG screenshot - and they're s**t for f**ks sake!
Arse McAdams 10 Mar 2005 11:56
6/19
davemcbridesfoot wrote:

Spong why you no got screenshots from the presentation?


They do
davemcbridesfoot 10 Mar 2005 11:57
7/19
not when i looked a while ago i am an impatient fellow
king skins 10 Mar 2005 12:35
8/19
ohms
(you really mean appropriate right??)
yeah, but isn't this already available with some xbox games, and wasn't JAllard going on about it ages ago before XBOX launched? I'm getting a sense of dejavu.
[/quote wrote:


No he was right with inappropriate. I would prefer to be playing Pro Evo and GPR2 listen to my tunes that the games ones as they are s**te. Some games do support it but most don't, so the playlist are provided so individual games dont have to support it and it will be upto the user whether they play the games music or there own. You got a problem with personal choice?

claudioalex
Those services are in my opinion the regular and basic ones that sould be ofered in a internet comunity games. I wonder why X-BOX LIVE dont have them yet.
[/quote wrote:


it does have some of these features, they are slowly extending it all the time. this is just the latest extension. Live is currently in version 3

claudioalex
When I pay 50 dollars for a game, I want all the cars, all game levels, all maps , weapons and vehicles inside the game. I may work hard to get them, but buyng them? cīmn
[/quote wrote:


not sure what ya mean here, you buy new content... not existing content.

claudioalex
Is Microsoft sending the mesage that we are morons capable of pay extra content for a game that we already payd?, just to show up in front of our ciber friends, people who even we dont know personally?
[/quote wrote:


If you look at Xbox Live this is currently working and it's a good thing! i have bought extra cities of PGR2, i now have Paris and Long Beach and an extra 16odd cars! and so have lots of others people. But I think the idea hear is to take it further with being able to download new games (i.e. Xbox Arcade or playing Ģ2 for the latest team data for PES/FIFA) and to allow users to be able to upload there own levels/skins/etc and charge for them.

Arse McAdams
as if you can't just turn the game music down/off and stick a CD on
[/quote wrote:


not if like me you have your systems setup correctly and your xbox's sound is running through your Hi-Fi you can't. I still want the sounds affects of the game along with my own tunes.
ohms 10 Mar 2005 13:01
9/19
king skins wrote:
not sure what ya mean here, you buy new content... not existing content.


well, this whole idea seems like an excuse to hold back content from the games release, and sell it after as extra content making you think you're getting some bonus s**t, except you should have had it right out of the box, cos you've already paid for the game!!


tyrion 10 Mar 2005 13:15
10/19
davemcbridesfoot wrote:
This is horse s**t


sorry buddy but you're well wrong on this one. There are many games where environment sensitive music is inappropriate such as Pro Evo and driving games. I loved having my own playlists in Project Gotham 1. Not everyone has a cd player in their living room either or for that matter could be arsed to, at best, use a remote to change track, not to mention changing f**kin cd!

There are many games where environmental music is required. Especially in the current "lets make games like films" movement. With games becoming more cinematic, game scores will be come more and more like film scores.

I agree that driving games will probably always be better with music you like, also the SSX/Tony Hawk type of sports games. However, football, baseball, gridiron, etc. games will be better with the same sort of music/comentary/crowd noises you get on a live TV broadcast.

davemcbridesfoot wrote:
Think before you type my son it'll make harsh criticism of your views a thing of the past!

I could say the same for your posting (there is a middle ground) but I won't since I wasn't that harsh.
king skins 10 Mar 2005 13:24
11/19
ohms wrote:

well, this whole idea seems like an excuse to hold back content from the games release, and sell it after as extra content making you think you're getting some bonus s**t, except you should have had it right out of the box, cos you've already paid for the game!!


ahhh, i see. i think microsoft don't allow you to do this... but i can see your point.

My feeling would be that they wouldn't do this as it would devalue the innitial product and once people twigged what was happeing they would get quite pissed off with the publishers involved.

But i do know that the Paris City Booster Pack you buy at Ģ2.99 for GPR2, was originally supposed to come with the game but wasn't released as they didn't have time to finish it (so they say) so they thought they could realease it as a content update and included some of the files on the actual CD!

So i could also be a good way of releasing extra content that did not make it onto the final game...

i suppose it depend of whether your pint is half full or half empty ;)

Put people don't SEAM to be abusing in on the current Xbox...
king skins 10 Mar 2005 13:27
12/19
tyrion wrote:
davemcbridesfoot wrote:
This is horse s**t


sorry buddy but you're well wrong on this one. There are many games where environment sensitive music is inappropriate such as Pro Evo and driving games. I loved having my own playlists in Project Gotham 1. Not everyone has a cd player in their living room either or for that matter could be arsed to, at best, use a remote to change track, not to mention changing f**kin cd!

There are many games where environmental music is required. Especially in the current "lets make games like films" movement. With games becoming more cinematic, game scores will be come more and more like film scores.

I agree that driving games will probably always be better with music you like, also the SSX/Tony Hawk type of sports games. However, football, baseball, gridiron, etc. games will be better with the same sort of music/comentary/crowd noises you get on a live TV broadcast.

davemcbridesfoot wrote:
Think before you type my son it'll make harsh criticism of your views a thing of the past!

I could say the same for your posting (there is a middle ground) but I won't since I wasn't that harsh.


I think you to are an exelent example of why they are adding playlists!

:)

tyrion wants to listen to the ingame music and davemcbridesfoot wanst to listen to his own tunes!

but with this system you will be given the choice :)

i think i'd be in the middle... sometimes the ingame music, sometimes my own tunes ;)
Arse McAdams 10 Mar 2005 13:44
13/19
What I believe to be horse s**t is the idea of "eliminating the need for developers to support custom music in games" - a concept that singlehandedly s**ts on all game composers from a great height.

The best bit though is: Why does Microsoft want you to listen to your own music in games? So they can sell it to you via Xbox Live.
king skins 10 Mar 2005 14:04
14/19
Arse McAdams wrote:
What I believe to be horse s**t is the idea of "eliminating the need for developers to support custom music in games" - a concept that singlehandedly s**ts on all game composers from a great height.


I think what they mean here is that developers will not have to write extra code to include the ability for users to listen to there own songs, it will just be available in all games (where as now some games support it, some don't) rather than replacing game sounds tracks.

Game sound tracks will still be in games as they will not be able to build atmosphears and tension with out them and putting Robbie Williams tracks on game will still help sales.

I think it wraps in with the fact that the new system will also handle the all Xbox Live features (like friends lists, etc) without the developers needing to code this into there games. why make developers code all this functionality it every game that is made when the system could do it and make it available to all games!

Makes a lot more sense to have it in one loaction and everytime xbox live is upgraded with new features they will become available to all games with out any changes needing to be made to those games.

Arse McAdams wrote:
The best bit though is: Why does Microsoft want you to listen to your own music in games? So they can sell it to you via Xbox Live.


quite possibly, i don't see a problem with this tho. if ya don't wanna buy tracks from M$ to put on your xbox then dont. simple.

i was hoping that the new xbox would be able to "see" my PC as they are both connected to my router and i will be able to play all my MP3's off that or at least copy them to my xbox. that would be sweet
Arse McAdams 10 Mar 2005 15:33
15/19
king skins wrote:
I think what they mean here is that developers will not have to write extra code to include the ability for users to listen to there own songs, it will just be available in all games (where as now some games support it, some don't) rather than replacing game sounds tracks.


My apologies, I kinda misinterpreted it - you're absolutely right there buddy.
claudioalex 10 Mar 2005 15:33
16/19
Hell, I know Videogames is a business, but with this offer look like Microsoft want to Milk the Cow (us, the videogameres) until death this time, and frankly , in exchange for nothing new.
Microsoft, if you want every single of my pennyes, you must have to work harder for them.
ohms 10 Mar 2005 16:09
17/19
king skins wrote:
i was hoping that the new xbox would be able to "see" my PC as they are both connected to my router and i will be able to play all my MP3's off that or at least copy them to my xbox. that would be sweet


yeah, I thought they would, thereby removing one of the benefits of having a chipped xbox.

davemcbridesfoot 10 Mar 2005 17:58
18/19

The best bit though is: Why does Microsoft want you to listen to your own music in games? So they can sell it to you via Xbox Live.


A cynical but insightful theory. That is the threat that's posed with all this media-integration s**te. But will Microsoft defeat the humble cd - people like tangibles. I've got an mp3 player and i've never paid for a download almost all my tunes come from cds or mates cds. Hopefully they won't be cnuts and they'll put cd ripping software thats faster than that s**t on the xbox
Ditto 10 Mar 2005 19:39
19/19
It's just opening revenue steams, in the same way Sony are doing with PSP and probably PS2.

It would be more correct to say that the Media Wars have began.
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