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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Playstation 3 GPU 'slightly less powerful than GeForce 7800

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Playstation 3 GPU 'slightly less powerful than GeForce 7800'

""SOME INTERESTING SPINOLA has been spouting from the PlayStation 3 camp today after an nVidia spokesperson was quoted in PlayStation Magazine saying that the RSX GPU is basically a slightly less powerful GeForce 7800.

This puts paid to the rumours that the RSX was basically an off-the-shelf 7800 chipset, though the big news is in the "RSX is slightly less powerful" part of the statement. If one was to do some quick graphics card math, this would mean that the RSX chip powering the PlayStation 3 is less powerful than two GeForce 6800's running in SLI mode – as the 7800 is – and according to Microsoft and ATi, the Xbox 360 GPU is more powerful than the same SLI combo.

However, we reported a while back that a headline graphical title for the PS3, Fight Night: Round Three, is going to look exactly the same on the two next-gen consoles. How could this be so if the PS3 is technically inferior?

Well, doing some math we’ve worked out that the GeForce 7800 GTX flavour, the high-end of nVidia’s high-end chipset, is almost equivalent of two GeForce 6800 Ultras. So technically there could be nothing in it, presuming that the RSX chip is based off of the GTX flavour of the 7800."

It's all awfully confusing we know, though it is an interesting tech mystery to try and get to the bottom of. Of course Microsoft and Sony engineers all know exactly what's in the difference between the two consoles, but the marketing people want to tell us that their console is twenty times better than everyone elses, so we must wait until someone rips the two boxes open and benchmarks them, at which point we can search through our archives and head off to get the "Well what we really meant..." speeches from the PR folks."

Yes, this did come from the Inquirer but the TeamXbox site has officially juiced the article. I'll post the original but for all you 360 fans out there the TeamXbox link is below as well.

Related Link: PlayStation 3 GPU Less Powerful than GeForce 7800

Another Nintendo Revolution Controller Hoax

Another Nintendo Revolution Controller Hoax

This one had the most effort put into it. 1Emulation.com posted this in their forums on the 25th. The "concept controller" really didn't get any attention until yesterday. Joystiq posted an article about it then updated the article confirming that it was a hoax. Evidently the masked text matches text in a Playstation marketing brochure. Nice try!

Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design
Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design
Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design
Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design
Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design
Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design
Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design Nintendo Revolution Controller Concept Design

Related Links:
1Emulation.Com -> Nintendo Revolution Controller Details Leaked! (Source)
Revolution controller specification leak? - Joystiq

Maruyama Talks Xbox 360

Maruyama Talks Xbox 360

"Japanese plans call for 10+ launch titles, new forms of media access.

The Xbox 360 is approaching a late 2005 worldwide release, and that includes Japan, where the current generation Xbox managed to sell just 450,000 units over a three year period. So what does Microsoft have in store to make Xbox 360 appeal to the Japanese better than its predecessor? We'll find out the full answer in a couple of weeks at the Tokyo Game Show, but prior to that, Japanese site PC Watch managed to put Xbox Japan General Nanager Yoshihiro Maruyama in the hot seat for a quick question and answer session on the subject.

Maruyama was first asked to discuss preparations for the end-of-year release. He reveals that Microsoft is just about to enter the system's production phase, where it will be able to determine exactly how many systems it can produce for the end of the year. While Maruyama considers getting hardware allocated to Japan a big point, he's more focused on preparing software for the system.

Xbox 360 Software needs to be winding down in the development process if publishers hope to get their games out in time for launch. Maruyama states that Microsoft's approval process, during which it makes sure that games follow the rules it has set aside for Xbox 360 software development and also that bugs are nowhere to be found, requires at least a month. He expects to be worried about this area of the system's launch right until the end."

BioWare Working On 360 Titles



BioWare Working On 360 Titles

"IGN reports that BioWare is actively recruiting new employees for their Xbox 360 teams that are supposedly working on Jade Empire 2, and a first-person shooter-role-playing game hybrid:
A BioWare spokesperson told IGN two unannounced games are being developed by two different BioWare teams. BioWare has a total of four teams at work currently. Though the spokesperson wouldn't reveal which games they are, both Microsoft Game Studios Executive Shane Kim and BioWare team members have said in the past that Jade Empire 2 (working title) is definitely in development.

"We have a couple of Xbox 360 titles in development right now," said a BioWare spokesperson. "But we're recruiting across the board for all four development teams. We have two teams working on Xbox 360 titles, one team on Dragon Age (for the PC), and one on digital distribution, which is ongoing content created for Neverwinter Nights.""

Japanese developers weigh in on Xbox 360

Japanese developers weigh in on Xbox 360

"Game creators at Japan's top publishers reveal the ins and outs of developing for Microsoft's next-generation console.

Even before the unveiling of the Xbox 360 in May, Microsoft made no secret that it hoped for a better showing this time around in the Japanese market, a region dominated by rivals Sony and Nintendo. Last month at the Xbox Summit 2005, the company unveiled a long list of Japanese publishers that have signed up as third-party game makers for the Xbox 360. Over the past months, some better-known developers, such as Q Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Game Republic's Yoshiki Okamoto, have talked about their commitments to the Xbox 360, but there's been little opportunity to hear from others on the development challenges and opportunities. The latest issue of Famitsu Xbox features a series of interviews with the newly announced third-party developers, who talked in-depth about what it's like to make games for the next-generation console.

"When you consider the essence of video games, you can't take away its graphics, sound, and interactivity. The Xbox 360 is the best solution [to delivering the highest quality gaming] at the current time," said Tecmo producer Tomonobu Itagaki, who is currently developing Dead or Alive 4 as an Xbox 360 launch game, with three more games also under way in the future.

Other Japanese developers certainly agree with Itagaki, especially in terms of graphics. The developers at Yuke's, best known for the WWE SmackDown! series, are working on a new wrestling game called Wrestle Kingdom for the Xbox 360, and the differences in the console's graphic capabilities are, well, striking. Director Koji Ito and chief planner Shunsuke Katsumata commented that the Xbox 360 allows a game's atmosphere to be considerably more realistic than in previous consoles, which is due to the machine's lighting-effect calculations.

"Self-shadowing effects contribute a lot to making a pro wrestling game," Katsumata said. "When it comes to pro wrestling games, trying to render the wrestlers' muscles is really the key point. But up until now, we couldn't even use a virtual self-shadowing effect due to hardware limitations."" [more]

Games Market Europe: Xbox 360 marketing booth shots



Games Market Europe: Xbox 360 marketing booth shots

"I’m (Conrad Quilty-Harper) here at Games Market Europe in the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, where the first UK games trade since the ECTS/Game Stars! fiasco last year, is starting to kick off. This is my first report of (hopefully) many from the day which I’ll be posting later today and possibly tomorrow. I’ve already spoken to representatives from the BBFC, Codemasters, Digital Jesters (Crazy Frog Racer creators) and the guys at the Ubisoft stand. I’m hoping to sit down with the boss of European Ratings board, ELSPA and a marketing executive from Eidos, so hopefully I’ll catch up with them later.

Here’s my first photo of note from the show, a real live Xbox 360 marketing booth! This was in the Gem Distribution section of the show. Come Christmas 05’ they’ll be the ones setting up Xbox 360s in game retailers and passing on units from Microsoft. Unfortunately, the assistants aren’t allowed to turn the Xbox on, which is a bit of a bummer since, well, I wanted to see it turned on for real! However, they assure me that this machine is a real Xbox 360 and is powered by internal components. No more G5 powered Xbox 360s from here on in. There’s another close-up shot of the wireless controller after the jump."

Famitsu Publisher Talks PS3 Game Pricing



Famitsu Publisher Talks PS3 Game Pricing

"At the CESA Developers Confrence Hirokazu Hamamura, president of Enterbrain (publisher of Famitsu) talked about the price range of upcoming PS3 software. Much like Xbox and Xbox 360, he sees a significant price increase between PS2 and PS3. Hamamura-san forsees the cheapest PS3 software being at least $70 USD (EUR 57 / YEN 7,800) while the most expensive would be around $79 USD (EUR 65 / YEN 8,800). That will leave Canadian gamers paying $83-$94.

Perhaps Kutaragi was right and we should all just suck it up and get second jobs.

Props: Yasokiri (in Japan)"

Bethesda On 360 Development With and Without HDD



Bethesda On 360 Development With and Without HDD

"Bethesda's Todd Howard, the executive producer on the 360 RPG Oblivion, recently told Game Informer magazine "...Oblivion will still work on every 360. That being said, Oblivion takes full advantage of the hard drive and uses it extensively, so we'd certainly recommend that everyone gets one."

But just what does "extensively" mean? What, besides improved load times, will make the game experience better enough to warrant the extra $100 expenditure? In speaking to website GamesFirst.com, Peter Hines, V.P. of Marketing and Public Relations at Bethesda added to Howard's comments on what the HDD would mean for gamers.

"We definitely plan to take full advantage of the hard drive for Oblivion and you will see the results in the game's performance, faster load times, etc... How much of a difference? We don't know yet," admitted Hines.

He continued, "Does the difference in performance justify buying a hard drive? Well if you were only doing it for Oblivion, it might not be worth $100 just for one game. But, considering that there will certainly be other games that will take advantage of the hard drive as well, not to mention other functionality the hard drive allows for, I don't think there's any question in our minds that the hard drive is well worth it. That's the version we plan to buy."" [more]

Here is a small bit of information that we never really posted on our site. Basically goes on to cover how Bethesda Softworks developed Oblivion with the HDD dilemma in mind. Just drop the core system and save us all some headache MS.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Microsoft to Open Xbox 360 Store in NYC?



Microsoft to Open Xbox 360 Store in NYC?

"The Seattle Times reports today in its print edition that Microsoft Corp. may open a retail store in New York City's Times Square with a four-story space at One Times Square being a potential location for the store.

A Microsoft spokeswoman refused to comment on the rumor saying that: "At any given time, Microsoft evaluates and pursues real-estate opportunities and needs. Out of respect for all parties, and a desire to not perpetuate rumors, we do not have a comment on this at this time."

A broker representing One Times Square declined to confirm Microsoft's plans, but acknowledged that "that caliber of company" is interested in the 18,000-square-foot space.


In 2001, Microsoft chose Toys "R" Us Times Square as the official launch location for Xbox in North America where Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp., was on site to greet the first gamer in line at the store and to play with other gamers who were eagerly awaited the system. Times Square's electronic billboards illuminated the New York cityscape with the Xbox logo and visuals.

Would we permanently see the Xbox 360 rings in Times Square starting this November? Only time will tell."

Toshiba will not back down from its HD DVD plans

Toshiba will not back down from its HD DVD plans

"Toshiba has clarified that even after the talks with the group led by Sony Entertainment has broken down, they have no plans to drop down with their plans to go ahead with the development of the HD DVD format of DVDs. The company plans to bring their products into the market as soon as they are developed considering Sony has already committed for Blu-Ray support in their Sony PlayStation 3 gaming console due to be launched next year.

Toshiba also said that Sony has been stubborn with their approach during the talks with the group led by them. They say that if Sony were a bit compromising, a solution would have been found out to combine the best features of both the technologies and make it easier for once and all. If the two separate formats of next generation DVD drives indeed come out, it would be bad for the consumer, the content companies and the developers of these drives.

Mark Knox, advisor to the HD-DVD promotion division at Toshiba said in a statement: “The picture has been painted that Sony is open to discussions and it’s Toshiba that’s shutting the door. It is Sony that is not willing to negotiate evenly.” Market analysts believe that the pie is too huge to be compromise on a solution. And Sony does not want to back down from their stand.

Sony’s format Blu-Ray is being supported by consumer electronics and computer companies such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic, Pioneer, and Apple Computer. Toshiba on the other hand have support from NEC, Sanyo, and Thomson. In terms of movie studios in America, both are evenly placed. However, Blu-Ray seems to be getting an edge over the support from the market. Microsoft is still undecided and plans to support both. Though, being a competitor of Sony… reports say that they might include support for HD DVD in their upcoming gaming console Xbox 360 in its updated release sometime next year.

Toshiba believes that they should be out in the market in time for the holiday season though Sony would be making a delayed entry in 2006 spring."
Monday, August 29, 2005

Win an Xbox 360 Console Every 10 Minutes!

Win an Xbox 360 Console Every 10 Minutes!

Mountain Dew (Pepsi) and Microsoft have teamed up to give away an Xbox 360 console every 10 minutes over the next nine weeks! Winners will receive their Xbox 360 months before it hits the store shelves. The contest started on Sunday August 28th and runs through the next nine weeks.

Microsoft and Mountain Dew will select a new winner of an Xbox 360 every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for nine weeks straight. In this unique sweepstakes, participants can develop their own strategies to best position themselves for an opportunity to win during the 10-minute intervals. Everyone who enters has the chance to choose how they will play.
Here's how the "Every 10 Minutes" promotion works:
  • Look for a unique code printed under specially marked "Every 10 Minutes" caps of 20-ounce and 1-liter bottles of participating Pepsi products andunder the rim of specially marked fountain cups.
  • Go to the Web site, http://www.every10minutes.com, powered by Yahoo! Register and set up your personal, free "Every 10 Minutes" account.
  • Participants will be able to choose which 10-minute drawing to enter and can spread codes across different drawings, or stockpile codes and putthem all toward one drawing.
In addition, codes entered will automatically earn the participants points toward obtaining collectible merchandise and gear, including Mountain Dew T-shirts and hats.

"With thousands of people pre-registered for this Mountain Dew sweepstakes, we have seen great excitement surrounding the promotion," said Frank Cooper, vice president of promotions and interactive marketing, Pepsi- Cola North America. "The Xbox 360 has the potential of not only transforming the gaming experience, but the entire entertainment experience, which is why this next-generation console is an incredible prize for our consumers."

Related Links:
http://www.every10minutes.com
Press Release

Infineon to supply Xbox 360 memory

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Infineon to supply Xbox 360 memory


During Infineon's analysts' day here, executives with the German-owned company said it will be supplying a removable solid-state dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM, unit, as well as two other key components: a single integrated chip to power a wireless gamepad controller and an advanced security chip.

Xbox 360 consoles are expected to hit shelves in November. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Infineon executives noted that the game console will sport enough broadband and wireless capabilities to allow consumers to use it as a gateway for home content.

"There are quite a lot of solid features in Xbox 360," Robert LeFort, president of Infineon North America, told reporters and analysts during the event.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 is expected to house a large amount of memory to deal with the massive amount of computing power from the IBM PowerPC processor, which has three symmetrical cores running at 3.2GHz each. The console is expected to have a 20GB hard drive, high-definition content game support and a 500MHz graphics processor by ATI.

As previously disclosed, the Xbox 360 will house 512MB of graphics DRAM, a 700MHz dynamic DDR (double data rate) controller and an enhanced DRAM chip that eats up 256 gigabits per second of memory bandwidth for helping process the high-definition video content expected to run on the box.

Infineon will be delivering its memory components to Microsoft partners Flextronics International, Wistron and Toronto-based Celestica. All have been named to build the consoles.

Microsoft expects to sell more than 10 million units of the console in the first 12 to 16 months. Kagan Research out of Monterey, Calif., is a little more conservative, forecasting that Microsoft will sell about 11 million of its Xbox 360 consoles by 2007.

Prices for the Xbox 360 will start at $299 for the basic version and $399 for the premium edition. A first-generation Xbox currently retails for $149 online.

Sony and Nintendo are also gearing up to deliver their next-generation game boxes. Sony's PlayStation 3 is expected to be available soon after the Xbox launches, with Nintendo's Revolution expected in 2006.

New Xbox 360 Brochure is Leaked "Xbox 360 Guide"

New Xbox 360 Brochure is Leaked
"Xbox 360 Guide"


By: Richard Allen

One of Xbox-Scene's users known as Deamonz sent them digital photographs of a new product brochure for the Xbox 360. This brochure alledgedly came from a conference for the console and is not available for public release. He managed to get one home and snap some photos. Xbox-Scene speculates this could be a retail brochure that will help promote the 360 to end-users before it's release.

The brochure is entitled "Xbox 360 guide". Inside you will find alot of information that has been already covered. The two packages for Xbox 360, accessories, Xbox Live and many games. I took the liberty of cleaning them up in PhotoShop a bit. They are easier to read then the original images.

BTW: Thanks Deamonz!
List of games mentioned in the guide:
Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Project Gotham Racing 3 (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Gears of War (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Full Auto (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Dead or Alive 4 (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Kameo: Elements of Power (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Quake 4 (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
The Outfit (Xbox 360 Exclusive)
Need For Speed Most Wanted
Madden NFL 2006
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2006
NBA Live 2006
FIFA 2006
Final Fantasy XI
Tony Hawk American Wasteland
King Kong
Gun
NBA 2K6
NHL 2K6
Amped 3
Top Spin 2
Frame City Killer
Saints Row
Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes
Half-Life 2
Ultimate Spiderman
Battlefield 2
Stacked
Batman Begins
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Disney's Chicken Little
Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide
Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide
Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide
Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide
Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide
Xbox 360 Guide Xbox 360 Guide

Link: Xbox-Scene Online Web Community -> Xbox 360 Guide Brochure

Geek Overcomes Social Anxiety By Turning Life into RPG

Geek Overcomes Social Anxiety By Turning Life into RPG

"Area geek Ross Davis has learned to overcome his long-standing social anxiety by turning his life into a Role-Playing Game (RPG).

RPG systems such as D&D and GURPS have been part of the geek culture for decades, but they have traditionally served to further cement their participants into Loserdom. With the advent of computerized RPGs such as Neverwinter Nights and the Final Fantasy series, geeks have been able to further socially isolate themselves. Davis claims that his revolutionary application of RPGs can increase a geek's social skill by several levels and result in the accomplishment of new social feats.

"I've been playing RPGs for a long time," said Davis. "From Bard's Tale to Chrono Cross, I've been leveling up while everyone else is out living it up. I decided it was time to get out of my apartment and join the party... wait, hold on a sec." Davis then lapsed into silence as his full attention became focused on Lost Kingdoms II.

"Hooooo buddy - I think this bad boy is gonna cough up a Runestone!" Davis blurted out several minutes later.

After being bribed with an old P233 Gateway system, the 26-year-old Systems Programmer was convinced to leave his apartment in order to demonstrate his RPG-As-Real-Life system.

"Okay," Davis explained, "the goal here is to gain experience so you can level up - just like an RPG. For example, I haven't had a date since about the time that Skies of Arcadia: Legends came out. So my objective is to talk to girls without being paralyzed by overwhelming social anxiety."

He continued, "Every time I talk to a girl, I reward myself with some experience points. The longer the conversation, the more experience I get. Instead of playing as a character in a game, I am the character and my social life is the game. In the end, I am able to transform an unknown, frightening reality into a comfortable, exciting fantasy. Remember - reality: bad, fantasy: good."" [more]

REV to use special DVD?

REV to use special DVD?

"A single message slices the blackness of the dark blinding me with a bright white light. I have received word that the Nintendo Revolution will possibly use a specially modified dual-layered DVD to keep piracy of Nintendo's games down.

We have heard by Nintendo before about a DVD being used but then that was quickly changed as Nintendo modified that statement to a '12 cm optical disc'. Is it possible that Nintendo and/or Nintendo's partners figured out a way to have a dual-layered DVD disc that loads quickly without a stutter between layer changes and keeps piracy down?"

China blocks online gamers from playing for more than 3 hours



China blocks online gamers from playing for more than 3 consecutive hours

"The Chinese Government unveiled a new system Tuesday to prevent individuals from playing online games for more than three consecutive hours, which must be installed for every online game in the country.

"This timing mechanism can prevent young people from becoming addicted to online games," Kou Xiaowei, Deputy Director of the Audiovisual and Internet Publication Department of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), said during a press conference.

The new system, developed under the guidance of the GAPP, stops individuals from playing online games for more than three hours by cutting the abilities of game characters. The new system cuts the ability level of a player's online game character by half after he or she has played for more than three consecutive hours. Once a player has played for more than five consecutive hours, the system cuts the ability level of that player's character to the lowest level allowed by the game.

The system also lowers the ability of players to find treasures or prizes available in an online game after they have played for more than three consecutive hours." [more]

Gabe Newell: Xbox 360 Makes My Life Worse

Gabe Newell: Xbox 360 Makes My Life Worse

"The latest issue of Computer Gaming World has an interview with Gabe Newell, Valve Software’s founder and managing director, in which the developer of Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike discusses various topics including the release date of Aftermath, Lost Coast and Day of the Defeat Source.

Gabe also had time so discuss Windows Vista, the next-generation operating system from Microsoft due out late next year, and the Xbox 360.

"Look, I spoke to some people at Microsoft, and as I said, I can't point to a single feature in Vista that I care about that solves problems for us at all. And I had the same conversation with the Xbox 360 guys. It's like, Xbox 360 doesn't make my life any better, and in fact, it makes it a lot worse, as you're telling me I can't count on having a hard drive."

As you can see, Valve’s head honcho and former Microsoft employee isn’t happy about the fact that developers can’t rely on the Xbox 360 hard drive and he’s probably not the only developer who feels that way.

Make sure you pick up the latest issue of CGW, which hit stands next week. There are more interesting items in that interview, including Valve’s revelation that EA plans to offer a Steam-like service in the near future."
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