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Microsoft Announces Multimedia, Xbox Live Capabilities for Xbox 360

In addition to announcing the <a href="/php-bin/news_index.php?story=5498">system specifications</a> and <a href="/php-bin/news_index.php?story=5501">software lineup</a> ...

Nich Maragos, Blogger

May 13, 2005

2 Min Read

In addition to announcing the system specifications and software lineup for the Xbox 360, Microsoft has also revealed some of the next-generation console's multimedia capabilities, as part of the extensive launch campaign. Microsoft's next-generation console features support for custom playlists and music files via its connection to portable music players. In addition, it can synchronize with Windows Media Center PCs to play music, as well as to view recorded TV shows, movies, and photos remotely. The Xbox 360 also improves on the original Xbox's movie-watching capabilities; while the original system required a separately sold remote control to use the system's DVD playback feature, the 360 will support progressive-scan DVD playback out of the box. The system remote, which may be sold separately, allows the user to control all media aspects of the system, as well as to turn it off and on from a distance. Another peripheral almost certainly sold separately will be the Xbox Live Camera, designed for videoconferencing over the Xbox Live network. The new Xbox Live service will support MSN Messenger, and users with the camera will be able to speak to each other face-to-face using video running at 30 frames per second. The camera also takes still pictures, which can be used to personalize a player's Xbox Live account on leaderboards. Microsoft have announced two levels of Xbox Live to go alongside this Xbox 360 version of the online service. Xbox Live Silver, which will be free, includes access to MMO titles (though additional per-month fees may also apply) and free Xbox Live play at weekends. However, the Xbox Live Gold option, which will require payment, allows users to play at any time, and adds enhanced matchmaking and feedback on other players. Other changes to the Xbox Live service involve the system being constantly "Live-aware," allowing people in your friends list to challenge you to a game even while watching movies or listening to music. Players will also be able to use spectator mode to watch other people play without participating. However, the biggest addition to the Xbox 360's online experience may be the Marketplace, where users will be able to enact micropayments to buy bonus character skins, extra levels, special equipment, or other modular objects. It's also likely that some game demos will be downloadable via Xbox Live, as opposed to the current distribution method via Official Xbox Magazine discs.

About the Author(s)

Nich Maragos

Blogger

Nich Maragos is a news contributor on Gamasutra.com.

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