NEWS - Thursday, September 1, 2005

GDCE: New Xbox 360 Details Revealed

In a talk given as part of Microsoft’s Developer Day at Game Developers Conference Europe 2005 in London, Andre Vrignaud, part of the Xbox Platform Strategy Group, has outlined some of the details vital to game developers creating content for Microsoft’s next-gen console platform, including much new information about specifics for Xbox Live and other services. Some of the highlights of the lecture were the following details: - Microsoft is implementing an eBay-style rating system for Xbox Live on the Xbox 360, so that opponents can immediately rate and comment on other gamers after playing them. According to Microsoft, this feedback/review system very important for effective matchmaking. - In addition, when playing against other gamers on Xbox Live for the 360, players will be able to self-rate themselves as one of four main types, including ’Competitive’ and ’Social’, so even when picking random opponents, Xbox 360 Live will be able to choose from other gamers who want broadly similar types of opponents, from the hardcore to the casual. - the Xbox 360 music player will be compulsory for all next-gen titles, so players will be able to switch out background music on every single Xbox 360 game, regardless of genre or type, though voice-over and other separately flagged audio will obviously play despite the soundtrack change. - Default, game independent ’gamer profiles’ on Xbox 360 will include some extremely broad, optional settings which all games will check, including 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. - Quick voice chat with Xbox Live friends will be available at any time on Xbox 360, even if the player is currently using another game. The game will simply pause and the voice conversation will be carried out - the game automatically mutes any other in-game voice. More details on the lecture on ’Integrating Xbox 360-Specific Features Into Games’, regarding creating content for Microsoft’s next-gen console platform, will be available in a Gamasutra feature to debut on the site tomorrow.


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