Looks like what we said was going to happen has already happened, someone has already figured out how to play any HD DVD on an Xbox 360 HD DVD drive. Hackers have exposed the Volume ID and even those that have been revoked are playable on the Xbox 360. So, wonder what they will come up with next to protect their AACS [tag]DRM[/tag]. More from Engadget.
The DRM “protecting” HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc films — AACS — continues to unravel at the seams. In parallel efforts, hackers in both the Xboxhacker and Doom9 forums have exposed the “Volume ID” for discs played on XBOX 360 HD DVD drives. Any inserted disc will play without first authenticating with AACS, even those with Volume IDs which have already been revoked by the AACS LA due to previous hacking efforts. Add the exposed processing keys and you can decrypt and backup your discs for playback on any device of your choosing. So yeah, it looks like last week’s WinDVD update has been quickly and definitively made useless just as we expected it would be. Well, for XBOX 360 HD DVD drive owners anyway but you can see where this is heading, right? Now go ahead AACS LA, revoke the Toshiba-built XBOX 360 HD DVD player… we double-dog dare ya. Source: AACS hacked to expose Volume ID: WinDVD patch irrelevant
Later today, Microsoft will be pushing out a Gears of War update, they are adding the Annex, enhancing game play and fixing some other minor play issues. This will be a rolling release, so everyone will not see it at the same time. More from Major Nelson’s site.
In Annex, gamers seize victory by keeping control over key map locations, or objectives, long enough to collect a winning number of points. Every map contains two to five identified objectives available for capture, with one objective active at a time. Objectives are based on map weapon-spawn locations and have a potential value of 60 points toward either team’s score. Teams collect those points by maintaining ownership of an objective until all 60 points have been distributed. Every second that a team controls an objective, the team gets one point. When an objective falls to zero points, the next objective is selected at random.
And while defending their objectives against the onslaught of Xbox LIVE opponents, gamers may notice the following minor adjustments to “Gears of War”:
VGA Cable Support: Monitor resolution widths greater than or equal to 1280 now render as letterbox. In particular VGA users running at 1280×1024 will now see the game in full 720p (1280×720) resolution in letterboxed form.
Adjusted Assassination Multiplayer Gametype: Leader no longer has to unlock weapons and now has to be executed to die.
Adjusted Boomshot: Splash damage to be more effective rendering targets down-but-not-out
Adjusted Hammer of Dawn: Aiming will be more forgiving of moving targets
Adjusted Roadie Run: Reduced frequency of accidentally grabbing cover while running
Kill Message Ticker: Ticker can now be seen while down-but-not-out and spectating
General: Addressed a number of possible exploits in multiplayer Source: Gears of War Auto Update
This is one of many updates that have happened on Xbox Live, such as the addition of two new maps in January.
Microsoft is adding Instant Messaging to the Xbox platform on Live, allowing the 6 million Xbox Live users to instant message the 260 million users on the Live Messenger service. You will be able to chat with up to six users and you will be able to plug in a USB keyboard to use.
Microsoft announced this evening that they will be integrating Live Messenger into the Xbox platform on May 7, linking 260 million Live Messenger users with 6 million Xbox Live users. Xbox Live users will be able to chat with up to six contacts simultaneously by plugging a USB keyboard into the Xbox. Gamers will love this. The video below shows some of the new features (taken from Kotaku). Source: Microsoft Adds Instant Messaging To Xbox
From the press release from Microsoft,
?Bringing the largest IM community in the world, Windows Live Messenger, to Xbox 360 makes sense, as Xbox LIVE has really become the largest social network on television,? said Jerry Johnson, product unit manager of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft. ?For our growing community of 6 million on Xbox LIVE, using Xbox 360 is a very social, connected experience. They are using Xbox 360 to play games, music and movies while simultaneously communicating with one another through video, voice and text chat. With this announcement we are simultaneously expanding the access of Xbox LIVE users to existing friends and family while introducing Windows Live Messenger users to the benefits of Xbox 360.? Source: Instant Messaging Comes to Xbox 360, Expanding the Largest Social Network on Television
Other features that will be added include:
A richer Achievement notification pop-up will showcase the name of the unlocked Achievement and the gamerscore value without needing to leave the game to check the Achievements list.
Enhanced family settings features for Xbox LIVE communications enable different defaults for video chat and voice chat.
A new Xbox LIVE Marketplace blade lets Xbox LIVE members access the content they seek ? whether it is game content or TV shows and movies (available in the United States) ? from one place on Xbox LIVE.
Updates to Xbox LIVE Arcade allow owners to quickly see which Xbox LIVE Arcade games their friends are playing and join in the fun. Xbox LIVE members can also compare progress of leaderboard scores and Achievements directly with all friends on their friends list. Expanded Tell a Friend capabilities make it easier than ever to boast about Achievements and high scores.
A new option in Auto Downloads provides faster access to the entire collection of free, trial-version Xbox LIVE Arcade games.
New progressive download controls provide easy access to optimal viewing options by letting people fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume as their video is downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
Extension of the background download functionality will allow owners to set their Xbox 360 console to turn off automatically after downloads are complete.
Here is a demo video that Techcruch linked to.
Microsoft is getting ready to unleash Xbox Live for us PC Gamers, dubbed Windows – LIVE, they have only mentioned Halo 2, Shadowrun, and UNO, but the Xbox Live accounts, gamerscores and gamertags will all transfer over from existing users. There will be a free Silver account, that will allow multiplayer gaming, but not matchmaking or cross platform multiplayer, you will need a Gold account for that, and that will set you back $49.99 for a year.
While the editors of Games for Windows’ official magazine may not be ready to drink the Vista-flavored Kool-Aid just yet, Microsoft is ready to give Vista early adopters a handful of reasons to pick up the latest OS upgrade … err, at least they’re ready to announce a date when you may want to plan on doing the picking up: May 8th. Yup, in eight weeks, Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live service (doesn’t roll of the tongue as easily as Xbox Live, eh?) and its inaugural title, Halo 2, will be available for Vista users.
Don’t care much for Halo 2? In “June” Shadowrun — the first Live Anywhere title enabling cross-platform multiplayer — hits the Xbox 360 and Vista with full Live integration. The final title they’re eager to talk about is UNO, which will be released on Vista “later in 2007.” We’re not sure why a seemingly simple title like UNO isn’t making the launch of the service (or even getting a date) but Microsoft assures us there will be more news around this decision later and that it will be apparent why we’re not getting a release date now. They also said cross-platform licensing decisions for titles like UNO have not been worked out yet; we’re betting this is going to get tricky. Source: Games for Windows Live and Halo 2 hit Vista May 8th
From the Microsoft site,
Microsoft Corp. today announced the extension of the Xbox LIVE games and entertainment network to the Windows platform, bringing together the most popular online console game service with the most popular games platform in the world. Debuting on May 8, 2007, with the launch of the Windows Vista version of the Xbox blockbuster Halo 2, Games for Windows LIVE will connect Windows gamers to over six million gamers already in the Xbox LIVE community. Then, launching in June, Shadowrun? will for the first time connect Windows gamers with Xbox 360 players in cross-platform matches using a single service. UNO, releasing later in 2007, will also support cross-platform play between Windows and Xbox 360.
The launch of Games for Windows ? LIVE marks a major expansion of the Xbox LIVE service across multiple platforms, uniting gamers with a single identity, a single gamertag, a single friends list and a single list of achievements attainable on the Xbox 360 and a Windows-based PC. Games for Windows ? LIVE gamers will be able to easily find and play supported titles online with their friends across a Windows computer or an Xbox 360. As a unified service with Xbox LIVE, Games for Windows ? LIVE will be available in every country and region supported today by Xbox LIVE. Source: Microsoft Unites Xbox and PC Gamers With Debut of Games for Windows ? LIVE
Here are the membership level features:
Silver Membership Features
? Single gamertag
? Common gamer profile
? Common gamerscore
? Single player achievements
? Private chat via text and voice
? Common friends list and online presence
? PC only multiplayer including browsing a list of active PC games
Gold Membership Features
? All Silver membership features
? Multiplayer matchmaking with friends
? TrueSkill matchmaking
? Multiplayer achievements
? Cross-platform game play
In his keynote speech at CES, one of the products Bill Gates introduced was the Windows Home Server, a small form, headless, meaning with no monitor, computer that you can set anywhere on your network. The Home Server will backup every computer that connects to it every night, and make it available online using your Windows Live ID. They have a website up at www.stopdigitalamnesia.com, it’s trying to be funny and informative at the same time, be sure to check it out for more information. One of the developers notes below that he has been working on it for three years.
I am writing this from the Windows Home Server blogger’s lounge in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Bill Gates just finished up his CES 2007 keynote where the product I have been slaving over for the last 3 years was finally formally announced to the world!
The photo you see in this post was taken today in the blogger’s lounge (with my Windows Mobile phone; hence the picture quality). This is a Windows Home Server Prototype that we built to explore innovative hardware design. I put my hand in the shot so you could get an idea of just how big (small) this particular device is. This prototype uses 2.5″ hard disks and thus has less storage expansion capability than the HP MediaSmart product will, but it was built to show another perspective of what a Windows Home Server could be. Source: cek.log
From the Microsoft Press Release,
Delivered on hardware from leading partners, Windows Home Server will help families with multiple PCs connect their home computers, digital devices and printers, in order to easily store, protect and share their treasured photos, music, videos and documents. By automatically backing up home PCs, centralizing a family’s digital “stuff” and allowing access to it away from home, Windows Home Server will help simplify and enhance family life.
Simple to set up and use, Windows Home Server takes advantage of the familiarity of the Windows operating system to help families easily store and organize digital content. As consumers use Windows Vista to create, find and enjoy digital media, Windows Home Server will be an ideal solution to help manage, protect and access that content. Families using the product will be able to automatically back up every Windows Vista or Windows XP-based computer in the home and completely restore, or ?rewind,? a PC to a time when it was working well. They will also be able to use Windows Home Server to centrally monitor the health of their Windows Vista-based PCs, to proactively identify and resolve problems.
Windows Home Server customers can use a personalized Windows Live Internet address to connect to Windows Home Server from outside of the home. As a result, they can share photos with friends and family and enjoy their music and videos. Families can use the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system or other Windows Media Connect-supported devices to view or listen to digital media stored on Windows Home Server, as well. They can also connect a printer to Windows Home Server in order to print from any connected PC in the home. Source: Bill Gates Unveils Windows Home Server at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show
Windows Home Server will be available from many harder providers, AMD is announcing the AMD LIVE! Home Media Server, at CES this week. Inventec Corp. and Quanta Computer Inc. are also demonstrating hardware designs, complementing the HP MediaSmart Server product demonstrated in Bill Gates’ keynote address and in the Microsoft booth. The HP MediaSmart Server comes with four hard drive bays and four USB ports. It also comes equipped with HP Photo Webshare.
A post from Jesse Lewin has a video and some more info,
As a small, headless box that lives on your network and in your closet, a Windows Home Server can quickly grow the pool of storage from which all of your shared files for each of your users lives. The backup engine in Windows Home Server also silently backs up the entirety of each machine connected to it every night. And because the data is always online, using the built-in remote access abilities, you?ll also be able to access your data from any machine on the planet. Source: 10
A post from InsideMicrosoft, which is huge and contains loads of information, some of it I will quote here, says that it will store all of your files, data, MP3, photos and video, and it will stream to digital media extenders, like the Xbox 360. They plan on it pretty much being plug and play, although you will have to setup some things like the remote access, the hard drives can be of any size, and it will be accessed as one big drive. You can remove the drives and the Server will tell you how it affects the file system and will move the files to other drives. He also predicts that if Microsoft adds wifi to computer sharing, the Zune will be able to download music from it. You will be able to configure a free internet address, yoursite.homeserver.com, for example, and you can access it from a networked computer or a web browser to upload or download files. It says its three primary purposes are,
Automated Computer Backup – Home Server will sit in the middle of your house and completely backup the entire hard drives of every computer connected to it, automatically. Lose anything, even an entire computer, and you will be able to restore it. You will even be able to restore older versions of files, taking advantage of a valuable feature in Windows Vista.
Access Everything From Anywhere – With a Home Server, you will be able to access all of your files from any computer, inside or outside your home, as well as accessing your home computers from outside the home. You will centrally store your files to make them easier to access at all times.
Grows With You – Home Server will be designed to make it easier for users to expand its capabilities, especially making it easy to add more hard drives. Source: EXCLUSIVE: Windows Home Server In Detail
According to Microsoft’s projections, Beta 2 of Home Server will arrive in just two weeks, on January 22. Pre-Beta 1 was reached last July. They are also projecting Release Candidate status by May 15 and the final Release To Manufacturing on June 22. I haven’t seen any pricing information yet, I will add it when it is released.
Minimum System Requirements:
- 1 GHz Pentium 3 (or equivalent)
- 512 MB RAM
- 80 GB internal hard drive as primary drive
- Bootable DVD drive
- Display (only for software installation)
- 100 Mbps wired Ethernet
- Keyboard and mouse (only for software installation)
Two Zune articles in a row? Wow, the device must be going on sale soon, lets see, yep November the 14th, 2006 is the big day, tomorrow to be exact. So, no wonder we are seeing so many blog posts, articles and reviews popping up the past few days. I expect we’ll see many, many more this week as people get hold of their Zune’s and start blogging about them. We’ll see many for and many against, some will have agendas against Microsoft, others against Apple, some will just be reviews of the Zune and the Zune marketplace. Anyway, Ballmer announced today that they will add video sharing and will eventually combine it with a phone, Zunephone, no wait zPhone. Honey, answer z phone.
Microsoft Corp. plans to add a video-sharing feature to its Zune player and will eventually sell a model that combines the device with a phone, Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said.
The video function would probably be used to transfer content created by Zune customers, Ballmer said in an interview today from Redmond, Washington. He declined to comment on when Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, would add video sharing or announce a phone model. Bloomberg
There is also an article at the NYTimes that discusses how the Zune and the team were born from the Xbox360 and how they grew and grew the device with them. At the end he asks them the question we all want to know,
Would the Zune ever be able to connect to the Internet? Could someone walk into a Starbucks and use the connection there to download a song?
Mr. Lee answered without hesitation: Probably, one day. Source: NYTimes
Allright, internet access someday, better than never, I always say. The Zune was reviewed and slammed by the Times recently, but here is a big fluff piece the day before the launch, what gives? Seth Godin has a good answer,
Of course, the question every entrepreneur asks is not how do I get a Zune, but, “How do we get an article like that one?”
The answer is surprisingly transparent. The Times considers this news, news worthy of two photos and a front of the biz section placement because, “…after committing hundreds of millions of dollars, Microsoft is scheduled to release that device, Zune.” Source: Seth Godin
As I said, we will see many, many articles, I will be writing my own, as soon as I get one that is. Hopefully, the video sharing, and internet access will be added, SOOOON!
Yes you read that right, DOOM comes to Xbox Live Arcade! I can’t wait to try this out, I remember when Doom first came out, the only network we had at the time was the one at work, so a bunch of us would meet up there to try to kill each other. Time would just fly, and it would feel like we had only been there an hour when we had been there all day. The game will support the deathmatch, hooty hooo, and two to four player co-op.
Xbox Live Arcade made a surprise unveiling of one of the greatest games of the 3-D era: DOOM (id Software) is now available for download for 800 Microsoft points from Marketplace.
The game brings legendary DOOM mayhem to the next generation. For the first time ever, relive the classic demon-blasting fragfest in both single-player and two-to-four player co-operative and deathmatch modes over Xbox Live. Also a new, multititle relationship with Codemasters was announced, with the first title being the classic, fast-action soccer game, Sensible World of Soccer.
This title is only available to Xbox 360 owners with an Xbox Live Silver or Gold membership, through download from the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Simply enter you Live gamertag and 360voice.com will automatically, based upon what you did that day, create a blog entry for your 360. The blog is updated once a day and even offers RSS feeds to your own, and others 360′s blogs.
this was originally posted on Major Nelson’s site, the Xbox Live’s Director of Programming’s personal blog about Xbox and more, and this is pretty cool and scary at the same time. Check out Major Nelson’s Xbox blog here. It tells you what you do everyday, wether the Xbox just sat there lonely, wether you played MP3′s or DVD’s through it, or how many points you scored on Xbox Live. Pretty cool.
In a blog called Mini-Microsoft a Microsoft employee calls for the current leadership to be fired for missing another fourth quarter with the recent delay of Windows Vista and Office 2007.
I was upset at missing the back-to-school market. Now we’re missing the holiday sales market. All of those laptops and PCs are going to have XP on it. What percentage will upgrade to Vista? Well, I guess that’s the little dream that I need to give up on. Vista’s deployment is going to come from people buying CPUs with the OS pre-installed, not dancing down the CompUSA aisle as they clutch that boxed version of Vista to their loving chest. So not only did we miss last year’s opportunity, we’re missing this year’s opportunity, too. With the convergence of high-tech media, this holiday season would have been an explosive nodal point to get Vista out for a compounded effect.
Yes it would have, and Microsoft is missing the boat with Vista, but, each of the machines they do sale, will still have Windows XP on them, or atleast, most will. The post said he had been waiting until it was released to get his new mega-big-iron PC. Saying, “I’m super-excited to get Vista Ultimate on that new PC and be able to hook Media Center up to my Xbox 360. And now I’ll wait.” See, I don’t understand this point, most people just buy a new pc when they need one, in the workplace, most businesses should have a policy set on how often they replace their pc’s, people like me who are geeks, look forward to playing with the new stuff, but most people don’t care. I don’t need Vista, my mom doesn’t need Vista, so, I won’t see Vista in final release form until I buy a new PC, or until Microsoft sends me a copy, hehe. I haven’t even played with any of the beta’s, XP has been great for me. So, delay Vista all you want, I won’t be buying a new PC for atleast another year anyway, and I certainly won’t be buying a copy of Vista off of the shelf.
Coming to a big screen near you. The Xbox 360, when it debuts, will have the ability to stream music files from just about any MP3 player, including, gasp, Apple’s iPod. And during the preview of the Xbox 350 in San Francisco last month, Microsoft execs were really excited to be able to play music from the apple iPod, and talked up the functionality quite a bit.
“When you plug your iPod in,” Xbox digital-entertainment executive producer Jeff Henshaw told CNET News.com, “the Xbox 360 automatically detects that it’s there. You can browse by artist or album or genre or by custom playlist.”
And, although it can stream the music from your iPod into games like Project Gotham Racing 3, replacing the game sound track with your own tunes, this was done without Apple’s support.
“We do not have an official relationship with Apple for the iPod connectivity,” said Scott Henson, product unit manager in Microsoft’s advanced technology group. He maintains that “Xbox 360 leverages standard protocols such as USB mass storage to enable iPod support.”
Henshaw said Microsoft tried to “engage” Apple in a partnership that would have officially made the iPod interoperable with Xbox, but Apple rejected the overture.
“So we went in and built all of the support we could,” Henshaw said. Microsoft plans to release the new Xbox in North America on Nov. 22.
Henshaw said the Xbox 360 would be able to stream any standard MP3 file or AAC file from an iPod, but not protected songs purchased through the iTunes Music Store. Those songs, he said, will appear grayed out in menus on the Xbox.
Microsoft would not comment as to wether they had to reverse engineer anything, but industry folks assume they did, since the iPod actually scatters the songs accross directories and renames them, which makes them really hard to find.
iPods have a database that cross-references the location of music files and their names so users can select them through the device’s menu. Microsoft would have had to include simple software in order to engage that database, he said.
“They have to read that database to get a list of songs on the iPod and present that to the user,” Benson said. “Once a user has selected what song to play, then you use the database to find the song and play it.”
So, it sounds like they would have to figure out how to find them first by talking to their database. I would say Apple isn’t going to like this very much, and will probably be ready to counter the ability with an iTunes update of some kind, like they did when RealNetwork’s made it possible to copy songs from their online offerings with the iPod.
“It would be unfortunate if that happened, because people are enjoying the flexibility,” said Henshaw. “It would be unfortunate to see Apple inhibit people’s ability to enjoy their own music.”
Hehe. That’s their line and they are sticking to it. This article quoted the News.com article, and they said Apple did not have a comment at this time. I’m sure there will be one when the system ships near the end of the month.
Here’s a post on Microsoft blog on SeattlePI.com, where a journalist actually got to try it out with an iPod Nano and his own iPod, and he said it worked just fine, even has a pic with it connected.
Bink.nu has an article about it posted here, and it has some quotes from J Allard and he says,
“I’m pro consumer on this one to the end. Anybody in my company who thought this was a bad idea to plug in Sony or Apple devices into this thing, I ended that conversation pretty quickly. This is the right thing to do for consumers. Once they invest $500 in their digital media library, you can’t ask them to go buy a 360 music player and a 360 digital camera, and a 360… NO! They got their stuff. They’re going to want to plug it in. We’re going to be open here, guys. And if anything, I wish we could be more cooperative with the other companies that are doing those things. And if Sony or Apple were to call me up and say, “hey, we want to [do] some special things with the 360,” i’m on it. I think it would not be in anybody’s interest to say, we’re not going to work with 360. It’s good for them, it’s good for us, and it’s good for consumers.”
Sounds good to me.