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XBOX 360 Wireless Racing Wheel - Image courtesy IGN

XBOX 360 Wireless Headset - Image courtesy IGN

Halo 3 finally makes a showing
Microsoft announces new peripherals for the Xbox 360, two huge titles and Live Anywhere

Microsoft has a lot to a lot of things going on at this year's E3. The company already announced earlier today that it will offer an external HD-DVD drive that will plug into one of the Xbox 360's USB ports. According to the Redmond, Washington based company, it will allow HD-DVD titles to run at up to 720p. While the HD-DVD drive may be the biggest news for peripherals on the Xbox 360, it's not the only thing being announced today.

Wireless technology is making a big appearance on the Xbox 360 with this next trio of peripherals. First up is a wireless racing wheel with force feedback technology so that you can better enjoy your favorite racing games like Forza Motorsport 2 in all its glory. Also up on deck is a new wireless headset to give gamers the opportunity to chat wirelessly with friends and teammates over the Xbox Live network. The unit works up to a distance of 30 feet for up to eight hours. And for those of you who want to be able to use your Xbox 360 peripherals on your Windows based PC, Microsoft will also make available an Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver which plugs into a free USB port. Other accessories worth mentioning include an Xbox Live Vision video camera and a new 256MB memory unit for the Xbox 360.

Microsoft today also announced "Live Anywhere." Live Anywhere will be incorporated into Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista operating system and will allow players to share their gaming experience across Xbox 360, PC and mobile phone platforms. From ABC News:

"The vision here is each platform plays its own role. We really think we're in a unique position," Gates said. "Microsoft is probably the only company that can pull this off."

In a demonstration, an Xbox 360 gamer using Live Anywhere was able to send an invitation to a friend on a PC. After the PC user agreed, the two connected for a cross-platform online gun battle.

And last, but certainly not least, Microsoft has announced a whole gaggle of upcoming games for the Xbox 360 platform. Microsoft hopes to have available over 160 high-definition games in time for the holiday season. Of those 160+ titles, two of them are standouts. First up, the company announced that Grand Theft Auto 4 will launch simultaneously for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. And we can't forget Halo 3. Bungie has officially announced the highly anticipated third installment to the hugely popular Halo series. Halo was THE launch title for the original Xbox and Halo 2 racked up over $125 million in sales on its first day on store shelves. The significance of the Halo 3 launch for the Xbox 360 platform can not be overlooked – nor can its possibility to shoot the Xbox 360 into the stratosphere as far as popularity goes with gamers. For those of you who want to take a look at the Halo 3 trailer, you can head on over to Bungie's site to view it.

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Live Anywhere = console gamers are pwned?
By UNCjigga on 5/9/2006 7:04:53 PM , Rating: 3
Seriously, I'd expect 360 gamers will be gettin owned by legions of geeks using high-powered SLI/Crossfire setups and keyboard + mouse FTW?

RE: Live Anywhere = console gamers are pwned?
By killerroach on 5/9/2006 7:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
More than just ownage from high-end PC gamers with keyboard and mouse, but basic annihilation from most any PC gamer with a keyboard and mouse. Wonder how this will work, I'd be excited at the prospect of laying down the law on some 360 owners in F.E.A.R., even if I have to run it at 800x600, Medium Detail to do so.

RE: Live Anywhere = console gamers are pwned?
By jkostans on 5/9/2006 9:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
That would be hilarious, imagine an analog stick trying to keep up with a quick flick of a mouse... or the accuracy for that matter. I'm guessing 90% of the servers will be "xbox 360 only" due to the pure pwnage.

RE: Live Anywhere = console gamers are pwned?
By zeekle on 5/9/2006 9:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
One of the whole points of playing on the console is that you have a equal playing ground with everyone. There is no overclocked SLI systems out there that I have to outspend just to play on a level playing ground.

RE: Live Anywhere = console gamers are pwned?
By drxploder on 5/9/2006 11:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
well, even on pc it ultimately comes down to skill.
I have a friend with a 4800x2 SLI 7800GTX system and I have a Sempron 2600+ w/ 6800le.

He never beats me in any game.
More than anything, people use the supposed between framerate/skill to justify their addiction to upgrading.
Once you break a certain point where you have over 40fps, you don't get a true advantage by upgrading.

RE: Live Anywhere = console gamers are pwned?
By abhaxus on 5/10/2006 3:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
the higher the framerate, the lower the latency between what you see and what is actually happening. at a great enough differential, a higher framerate can provide a 5ms or higher advantage to a player. between equally skilled or slightly different players, 5 ms can be a big difference.

depends on the level of competition i suppose. i think the main reason people are spending more on hardware now is because high resolution LCDs force you to run games at high resolution rather than being able to simply play at 640x480 or 800x600 like in the past. and with the advent of pixel shaders, resolution is about much more than just simple fill rate.

RE: Live Anywhere = console gamers are pwned?
By Griswold on 5/10/2006 5:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
at a great enough differential, a higher framerate can provide a 5ms or higher advantage to a player

But you do know that the human response time is around 100ms (for some its a little higher and for some lower) - the time between seeing something, processing this information and then moving your hand/leg.

By josmala on 5/10/2006 5:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
The 100ms is average but the point for the 5ms-15ms differential that people get by hardware, is large enough in comparison of DIFFERENCE in two different gamers human response time. Remember it isn't always how fast you can do it in absolute time but who acts first. When you are comparing two fast individuals the difference in hardware can be the differenting factor. Another point that comes, is the resolution, higher resolution helps aiming and helps seeing where opponents are. Then there is quality of mouse etc... factors coming.
Sure skills means more than equipment, and people with far less practice always loose for people who spend their entire life on playing those games. But the equipment makes difference when both sides have high and pretty equal skill level. Its when both you and your opponent have quite high accuracy in aiming, and for improving speed by skill has started to get to human limits. Its when you are in the limits of what you can do that good equipment makes difference.
However one thing to come, a really crappy equipment makes difference also.
If you are high skilled but with computer that brings frame rate way under 10 in certain situations no matter of skill can help unless opponent is incompetent enough to let the chance go past.

Framerate delay in ms
70 14.2
60 16.6666
50 20
40 25
30 33.33
20 50

The difference between 30 frames and 60 frames is significant.
Getting below 30 frames in fast action games is handicap when some people get 60 fps.

By josmala on 5/10/2006 5:08:37 PM , Rating: 2
Actually on LCD with native resolution of 1600x1200 the 800x600 resolution should be just fine.
Just remember as long as you can multiple the downsized resolution with integer to get native resolution of LCD its just fine.

By bighairycamel on 5/10/2006 7:22:33 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention my friend the sucker paid a fee to play his game online while on my PC I get to play for $0.00 FTW.

RE: Live Anywhere = console gamers are pwned?
By granulated on 5/10/2006 12:01:39 PM , Rating: 2
surely a mouse can be used in 360 FPS games !!

Does anyone know for a fact that you can't simply plug a USB mouse into a 360 to play, say, COD2 ?

By Trisped on 5/10/2006 12:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
I know you can plug in a keyboard and mouse and the system will recognize it (That is how I put all those stupid 64 character market point codes in), but I don't think the games are set up for it.

I understand that most FPS users are more proficent with a mouse/keyboard combo, but the same accuracy can be gained using a controller while also gaining a simple interface for all your commands (logical button placment rather then convoluted "I have to take my finger off the controlls to go hit numbers 5-0). The problem is controls of sufficent quality are extreamly expensive and wear out a little to quickly.

By InternetGeek on 5/12/2006 6:14:02 AM , Rating: 2
You all missed the point of Live Anywhere. Games made for this matter will provide no advantage for the PC user. Interfaces and overall gameplay will be made in such a way that your nitrogen-cooled double-Quad SLI 8-core AMD Triple Raid-5 16Gb DDR2-5.4Ghz System will make no difference.

This won't be achieved the same way doom did (sell the PC version using the same Xbox tweakings) but rather in a way you won't be able to modify it. There might be some advantage from using Keyboard/Mouses but nothing that will make PC gamers unbeatable.

Good stuff
By Trisped on 5/9/2006 6:11:14 PM , Rating: 1
Steering wheel - I don't do driving games, but I know lots of people who will like this.
Wireless headset - If it will stop my feed back issue I will get it. Otherwise, why worry about a 3 foot cord from your controller to your head?
USB Wireless adapter - nice, now I can use my wireless controller on my PC
Live Camera - Don't see the point unless they add video chat. Of course I bet a lot of people will be using it for personal porn pages, but the same thing happens with myspace, so it is to be expected.
Live Anywhere - sounds cool, but I don't have any multi-player games that are out for both the 360 and PC.

The 720p max res thing is kind of annoying. The site talked about how HD DVD was capable of up to 1080p, yet the 360 won't deliver that? how stupid is that. Still, it should do 1080i, since it is lower res then 720p

RE: Good stuff
By shadowzz on 5/9/2006 6:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
1080i is not lower resolution than 720p. it is, however, much less bandwidth since the signal is not progressive but interlaced.

RE: Good stuff
By Hulk on 5/9/2006 6:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
No not much less bandwidth, same as 1080p.

1080i=60 fields per second of resolution 1920x540

1080p=30 fields per second of resolution 1920x1080

1080i=1080p bandwidth, only anamorphic HDV 1080i at 1440x1080 is lower bandwidth and resolution.

So you are wrong on both counts since both 1080i and 1080p both have higher bandwidth requirements than 720p at equal temporal resolution (fps).

RE: Good stuff
By Trisped on 5/9/2006 7:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
Hulk smash, Trisped think:
1080i is the same bandwidth as 1080p at 30HZ = 1920×1080×30=62208000
720p is 1280×720×60= 55296000

So I was wrong about 720p being bigger then 1080i, but you can see they are rather close.
1080p is 19201080×60=124416000

1080p is not 30Hz. If it was you could see the screen refresh. TV has been at 60Hz for as long as I have been a live, so they are not going to take a step backwards just because there are more pixels. Also, if 1080i is 1920×540×60 and 1080p is 1920×1080×30 you would be getting a worse picture.

I don’t know where you got the 1080p30 idea from, but if it was from wikipedia you should reread the article. Those are over the air transmissions, so they have lower total frames due to media limitations.

RE: Good stuff
By PrinceGaz on 5/9/2006 9:39:23 PM , Rating: 2
Screen refresh-rate are not the same as video framerates, and with many types of display (other than CRT) the refresh-rate is not that important as flicker is not an issue.

Your comments about 30hz progressive being inferior to 60hz interlaced were only relevant in the days when all TV displays used CRTs scanning at the same rate as the received signal. Those days are long gone except for low-mid range CRT TVs; good CRTs and all flat-panels use de-interlacing circuitry and/or framerate adjustment before the signal is actually displayed. A 1080p @ 30fps source will appear just as good as 1080i @ 60fps.

Yes I know computer games look choppy at a constant 30fps when there is any significant motion, but the same is not true of filmed or videoed material because the process of capturing the image by its nature includes motion-blurring which appears quite natural when viewed at 30fps. You don't even need 30fps for it to look fine; even today Hollywood movies are filmed at 24fps and they look fine on the big-screen.

Ideally, HD-DVD and BluRay discs of movies will have the video stored in 1080p @ 24fps as that will give the best possible results with optimal use of media space. 1080i @ 48fps would be a waste of time, and 1080i @ 50fps or 60fps would both waste disc space and give an inferior picture. 1080p @ 48fps or higher would be nuts for movies as you would be wasting loads of disc space.

Having movies on HD media with 1080p @ 24fps video will also make it a lot easier to convert them to other formats as there will be no need to go through stupid deinterlacing or 3:2 pulldown to recover something close to the original material before you can do anything with the video.

RE: Good stuff
By abhaxus on 5/10/2006 3:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
i think the reason framerates are at the industry standard 1080i/p rates on HD-DVD discs is because usually i would rather a much more expensive scalar/deinterlacer doing the 3:2 pulldown than my own dvd player/tv doing it.

hopefully MS's scalar will be better than toshiba's, because the HD-XA1 looks absolutely TERRIBLE at 720p. it actually looks better to run 1080i out whether the tv is 1080p or 720p resolution and let the TV handle the downconversion.

for the bandwidth calculations... 1080i sends more pixels per frame than 720p does. i prefer my 1080i CRT at home to most of the 720p displays out right now. obviously i would prefer a pioneer elite to my samsung crt, especially if it was calibrated as well as mine is. once more 1080p TVs come out with good scalars (or once vista comes out and revolutionizes the HTPC market) i will probably look at switching. for the time being, an HD-XA1 hooked up to a sony SXRD at 1080i is the best video experience out there.

RE: Good stuff
By Trisped on 5/10/2006 1:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
The DTV standard used in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico is named ATSC, after the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the industry-led group that originated it. ATSC allows resolution as high as 1080 by 1920 pixels, but only in an interlaced format. That means the picture is scanned in two passes, or “fields,” each lasting 1/60th of a second. The first pass leaves blank spaces between lines, which are filled in by the second pass. Because each field takes 1/60th of a second, and there are two of them, 1080i actually needs 1/30th of a second to convey a full frame—it is a 30-frames-per-second medium. Fixed-pixel displays don’t need to use scan lines but approximate the same thing in dots.

The upside of interlaced scanning is that it conserves bandwidth while still providing more than two million pixels onscreen (1080 times 1920 equals 2,073,600). The ATSC adopted interlacing for the 1080-line format specifically to fit over-the-air HDTV into the same 6MHz bandwidth as an analog TV channel (though 1080i also travels via cable and satellite). The downside of interlacing is that it induces motion artifacts and other forms of distortion. The best example would be a horse race. With interlacing, the horses’ legs become a blur.
Remember, 1080i delivers only a half-frame every 1/60th of a second, while 1080p can deliver a full frame in that amount of time. That gives the video processor some headroom that it can use to manipulate the signal. This is exactly what a progressive-scan DVD player does, except that it converts a 480i signal to 480p. If you can see the difference between an interlaced-scan DVD player vs. a progressive-scan model, you may see the difference between 1080i and 1080p.
Another reason why 720 looks better than 1080 in HDTV is because the 1080-line formats that can offer better temporal resolution than 720 are not part of the standard. Although the ATSC includes 1080p formats, they are capped at 24 and 30 frames per second; so there are neither 1080p50 nor 1080p60 variants, which are the only 1080-line formats that will (in practice) surpass 720p60.
The reason for that is that 1080p50 and 1080p60 would exceed the 19Mbit/s bandwidth allotted in a 6Mhz channel as required by the ATSC standard. The highest HDTV formats that don’t exceed that limit (and in fact are very close to it) are 720p60, 1080p30 and 1080i60.
Just because the ATSC standard doesn’t include 1080p formats with higher frame rates than 30 frames per second doesn’t mean there are no higher display rate formats in existence, or that TV manufacturers can’t go beyond the ATSC 1080 line formats. TV manufacturers have already produced displays that can display a 1080 progressive signal up to 60 frames per second; those are the HDTV sets advertised as 1080p.

Read, Know, Post.

RE: Good stuff
By jkresh on 5/9/2006 7:36:00 PM , Rating: 2
I could be wrong but no where in Microsoft's announcement does it say limited to 720p, Dailytech seems to suggest that but it does not appear in the original article so I don’t know if this is an assumption on their part, a typo or they have read something else which they didn’t link to (or heard something specific at the show that’s not currently in writing).

By Zurtex on 5/9/2006 6:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
Pleasantly surprised by the conference :-), but nothing that special.

They kept with their strategy and didn't pull any low punches like nicking someone else's controller system, for example. When the price drops a bit more I might buy a 360, but we'll see.

RE: Nice
By DigitalFreak on 5/9/2006 7:32:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, ripping off Nintendo's motion sensing controller was pretty pathetic. I also noticed that there was hardly any clapping during the Sony conference, as opposed to the Microsoft one where the audience clapped for nearly every announcement / demo.

The PS3 graphics look really good, but they seem to have ripped off everyone else when it comes to features (motion sensitive controller, micro-transactions, etc.) Not really that impressed, considering the console is $599, vs $399 for the 360.

RE: Nice
By Tuanies on 5/9/2006 8:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yes because Nintendo invented motion sensing in a game controller didn't they. Or wait didn't a handful of PC game controller manufacturers including MS, Logitech, etc... do the same thing?

RE: Nice
By bpurkapi on 5/9/2006 10:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
Come on, claps don't equal anything, just think of it this way...

Microsoft employees and other various "cheerleaders" sit down and clap, while sony didn't invite its employees to sit and artificially clap at every comment.

Remember this is only an example of what could be done...
You see this stuff in politics all the time so I wouldn't be suprised to see it in a business venue.
The basic point is that claps don't equal anything in a controlled environment such as E3. When did you see a product unveiled at E3 that received "boooos"?

RE: Nice
By Trisped on 5/10/2006 12:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, most of those people are reporters.
And since Sony is so delayed, marketing would take any steps it though necessary to keep the system looking strong.

Claps do mean something, even in a controlled environment. As proven in certain previous E3 shows, if there isn't enough crowed enthusiasm the clapping sounds forced or fake. Was that Sony’s show that had that 1-2 years ago? I can’t remember…

RE: Nice
By swatX on 5/10/2006 10:49:13 AM , Rating: 2
microsoft annouced that there is going to be a price drop before PS3 is released ;)

299$ yes!!

By rudyv1 on 5/10/2006 9:57:03 PM , Rating: 3
No one has commented on this new piece of hardware for the 360.

I cannot find any more information on it on the web

Can someone please shed some light on this new memory unit?


Gears of War ROCKS!
By DigitalFreak on 5/9/2006 7:33:48 PM , Rating: 1
Nuff said.

By stash on 5/9/06, Rating: 0
Pretty weak.
By sxr7171 on 5/9/06, Rating: 0
RE: Pretty weak.
By Knish on 5/9/06, Rating: 0
By pornpassplanet on 5/11/06, Rating: -1
By Scabies on 5/11/2006 1:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
Wonderful. Go away

By pornpassplanet on 5/10/06, Rating: -1
"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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