Microsoft finally comes forth with the first details of its next-generation Xbox? video game system platform, highlighting how hardware, software and services are being fused to power enhanced game and entertainment experiences.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chief XNA TM Architect J Allard further outlined the company’s vision for the future of entertainment, citing the emergence of an “HD Era” in video games that is fueled by consumer demand for experiences that are always connected, always personalized and always in high-definition.
“In the HD Era the platform is bigger than the processor,” Allard said. “New technology and emerging consumer forces will come together to enable the rock stars of game development to shake up the old establishment and redefine entertainment as we know it.”
[B]Gamer Cards.[/B] Gamer Cards provide gamers with a quick look at key Xbox Live TM information. They let players instantly connect with people who have similar skills, interests and lifestyles.
[B]Marketplace.[/B] Browseable by game, by genre, and in a number of other ways, the Marketplace will provide a one-stop shop for consumers to acquire episodic content, new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins and new community-created content.
[B]Micro-transactions.[/B] Breaking down barriers of small-ticket online commerce, micro-transactions will allow developers and the gaming community to charge as little as they like for content they create and publish on Marketplace. Imagine players slapping down $.99 to buy a one-of-a-kind, fully tricked-out racing car to be the envy of their buddies.
[B]Custom playlists. [/B]This feature eliminates the need for developers to support custom music in games. The guide instantly connects players to their music so they can listen to their own tracks while playing all their favorite next-generation Xbox games.
The next-generation Xbox hardware design principles include the following:
A well-balanced system that will deliver more than a teraflop of targeted computing performance
A multicore processor architecture co-developed with IBM Corp. that provides developer “headroom” and flexibility for the HD Era
A custom-designed graphics processor co-developed with ATI Technologies Inc. designed for HD Era games and entertainment applications
In addition, familiar software technologies such as DirectX, PIX, XACT and the recently announced XNA Studio – an integrated team-based development environment tailored for game production – complement the new hardware to help game developers unlock increasingly powerful and complex silicon.
To listen to a podcast or watch video of the keynote, go to [a]http://www.xbox.com[aa]www.xbox.com[/a].