Some more Xbox 360 details

Gamasutra posted notes from a talk by André Vrignaud of the Xbox Platform Strategy Group which he delivered at the GDC Europe.

That is, he delivered the talk, not the Xbox Platform Strategy Group.

Lots of stuff on Xbox live, and some other notable details. For example, the Xbox will store gamer profiles that…

include difficulty levels, Y-axis inversion setting, preferred car transmission type (automatic or manual), and a handful of other extremely common game settings. There is then a requirement that game, on its first boot, checks those optional settings, so if the player always uses FPSes with inverted controls, he will never have to reset it in individual game cases - a welcome innovation for many.

Interesting checklist of compulsory features that all Xbox titles must support:

He noted the compulsory requirement that all Xbox 360 titles must be 720p (1280 x 720) or above, and must also feature 16.9 (widescreen) modes, as well as anti-aliasing (2x, 4x, or software based). He also noted a minimum 15 frames per second requirement at all times, partly in order for Microsoft-authored features such as the Guide to function properly.

Touching on Xbox 360 storage, it was pointed out that the storage medium is abstracted, so games will need to chose between multiple resources, but it shouldn’t necessarily presume what that resource is. Nestled in here was perhaps a hint that Microsoft may eventually have a network-resident Xbox Live storage unit to store Xbox 360-related data, but all that is currently being said is that the system “automatically handles future devices”.

In addition, it was pointed out that the Xbox 360 music player allows players to choose their own music, effectively a ‘free’ jukebox for all games, and supporting the music player is compulsory. […]

There will also be high-score and other ranked leaderboards for every title on Xbox 360 - the statistics have been designed to be displayed on web, so it’s easier for publishers to display them on their own site with nifty syndication methods.

And a final note on modding:

[A] question from an audience member on the security for Xbox 360 in terms of ‘mod chips’ and other devices that modify for imported/illegal content prompted a reply that Microsoft took 2 and a half years on security this time round, whereas the Xbox only had around a year. Vrignaud prompted: “Never say never”, but he thinks it’s going to be a long time before the Xbox 360 gets modded.

If we’re doing a pool, I put $5 on “2 months”

Nah, longer than that. I thought they were, like, fusing these things shut so you couldn’t possibly open them.

I heard a rumor that load times could not exceed 40 secs.

those are some pretty cool features.

well its pretty easy for them to figure out how to mod the shit when the modding teams managed to get their hands on 3 friggin dev kits.

He also mentions that it supports a USB keyboard too. Excellent.

as a game control device? mouse too?

that would get me off the fence.

Thanks for posting the link to that article. I found it a thoroughly interesting and enlightening read.

I have to say that it’s the kind of ideas that are presented here that become far more interesting than stats about pushing pixels. I think Microsoft are doing the smart thing by really trying to extend the lead they created with Xbox live and online gaming. Ideas such as parental control and defining yourself as a social or competitive gamer should really ease newcomers into the Live experience.

That article has done more for my opinion on the 360 than anything else I’ve read so far. I’ll be very interested to see how Sony and Nintendo respond now that they’re all entering the online arena. Nintendo in particular as they’re usually exceptionally good with their approach to how usable they make their software.

I think you may very well see keyboard support for at least some games on X360. I was part of a focus group at MS and one of the things we were asked about was RTS controls on a console. We all agreed that the traditional controller doesn’t work for an RTS and that attempts to make it work (Goblin Commander, etc.) have all failed. All agreed that keyboard support would be ideal. So don’t be suprised.

Guess you won’t be using WASD controls for FPS’s.

And here we have details on Xbox Live pricing.

[ul][li]Limited Xbox Live Silver free with Xbox 360
[/li][li]Annual fee of US$50 for Xbox Live Gold
[/li][li]Deluxe pack for $70 includes Xbox Live Gold, a headset, $20 off Xbox games, and other extras
[/li][*]Credit cards NOT required! You can buy subscription cards for 1, 3, or 12 months (same price) at any participating retail store. Gotta get those kids online! Now where’s my fucking chocolate milk?[/ul]