Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 S with associated gamepad
|Type||stationary game console|
|generation||seventh generation of consoles|
|Main processor||3.2 GHz PPC Tri-Core Xenon|
|Graphics processor||500 MHz ATI Xenos|
HDD , CD-ROM , DVD-ROM
extension: HD DVD-ROM (production discontinued)
|Controller||Xbox 360 controller|
|Online service||Xbox Live|
|Units sold||approx. 85.5 million
(as of December 19, 2018)
|Most successful game||Kinect Adventures!|
The Xbox 360 is a game console developed by Microsoft and the successor to the first Xbox . The project name of the console was Xenon . It was also referred to as Xbox 2 or Xbox Next in the press before the name was announced . It was launched in the United States , Europe, and Japan in late 2005 . In Oceania it was available from the end of March 2006. It is the second game console, the Xbox product line and is next to the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii for the seventh generation of consoles .
The Xbox 360 included an online service called Xbox Live , which allowed users to play online, download games ( Xbox Live Arcade ), and purchase and stream music, TV programs, and movies through Xbox Music and the Xbox Video Portal .
Microsoft announced in February 2013 that it had sold a total of 76 million consoles and had sales of 3.77 billion US dollars in 2012.
The successor, the Xbox One , was released on November 22, 2013. Microsoft announced on April 20, 2016 that production of the Xbox 360 has been discontinued and the last units will be sold. This does not affect online support for Xbox Live for now.
Marketing in advance
The device was presented to the general public for the first time at the Game Developers Conference in March 2005. The official presentation of the console took place on May 12, 2005 on North American television on the MTV channel with the involvement of the band The Killers . The console was presented to the audience by actor Elijah Wood . In Europe, the show aired a day later. In retrospect, it was criticized that the event had the character of a promotion for the music group. As part of the Games Convention 2005 in Leipzig, the Xbox 360 was presented live on stage for the first time and the audience was informed about further details and games. In September 2005, Microsoft announced the final release dates at the Tokyo Game Show .
The Xbox 360 went on sale November 22 in the United States and Canada, December 2 in Europe, and December 10, 2005 in Japan. It later appeared in secondary markets such as Latin America or Oceania . The console appeared in two different versions, the Core Edition and the Premium Edition. The latter also included a hard drive with 20 GB of memory as well as a wireless controller , a headset and an Ethernet cable. In addition, a remote control was included with the copies of the first delivery.
While 18 titles were released in North America when the console was launched, there were only 15 games when the console was launched in Europe, of which Condemned: Criminal Origins made it onto the BPjM index . Only six games were released in Japan, due to the difficult localization . Internationally, Call of Duty 2 was the best- selling game of all the launch titles.
Peter Moore , formerly Microsoft's vice president, stated that 10 million copies should be shipped worldwide by the end of 2006. This goal was even just exceeded with 10.4 million consoles.
In the course of the market launch it turned out that many of the devices delivered were defective and after a short time no longer worked for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, the shipment volume of 400,000 units in the United States was quickly sold out.
The great demand for the device led some owners to sell their device at inflated prices over the Internet. Over 40,000 consoles were auctioned on the online auction house eBay alone . The market research institute NPD Group reported that a total of 326,000 consoles were sold in November 2005 alone.
Microsoft had to post an operating loss of 3.8 billion US dollars in the "home and entertainment" in the fiscal years between 2005 and 2007, which is primarily due to the Xbox 360. In the fourth quarter of 2007, the console sector again depressed Microsoft's profit, this time due to the major hardware problems of the Xbox 360 that had become known.
After the recent good sales figures, the sales figures of the Xbox 360 plummeted again in 2012 for the first time. According to experts, the ongoing rumors about a successor to the console were one reason for this.
Xbox 360 (2005-2010)
The first version of the Xbox 360 appeared on the market in 2005. It was initially available in two versions. The model called "Core" was the entry-level package and was 100 euros cheaper than the "normal" version. The latter did not officially have a name from Microsoft, but was often referred to as "Premium" by the trade press. Compared to the "Core" version, this contained a 20 GB hard drive, a wireless controller and an additional network and video cable suitable for HDTV. Both consoles were only available in white.
At the end of April 2007, the "Xbox 360 Elite" version was also released in the USA and has also been available on the European market since August 24, 2007. The new top model had a hard drive that was expanded from 20 to 120 GB, an HDMI output and appeared in black instead of white, together with a wireless controller that was also black. A few months after the "Elite" was introduced, the "Premium" model was also equipped with an HDMI output.
Finally, on October 26, 2007, the new entry-level version “Arcade” was introduced, which replaced the “Core”. It had improved features compared to the former "core" version (HDMI output, 256 MB memory card, wireless controller, five arcade games) and has been slightly reduced in price to compete better against Nintendo to get Wii to position. As of August 15, 2008, the 20 GB hard drive of the “Premium” was replaced by a 60 GB model.
At the end of 2008, the 256 MB memory card supplied with the Arcade variant was omitted; instead, a 256 MB internal flash memory was used.
After the first rumors in mid-2009 about the discontinuation of the 60 GB version, it was no longer offered from autumn 2009. The 60 GB hard drive could still be purchased separately to upgrade the "Arcade" version. In the course of a price reduction at the end of August 2009, the “Elite” did not have the HDMI cable included in the scope of delivery.
In addition, there were limited special editions of the console painted in special colors, which were used for game premieres, such as B. Halo 3 , Forza Motorsport 2 or Resident Evil 5 have been released. The special editions for Forza Motorsport 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 , which were published from the end of October 2009, were delivered with a 250 GB hard drive, in contrast to the previous models.
The most noticeable difference between the more expensive variants (Premium / Elite) and the cheaper variants (Core / Arcade) were the silver, chrome-plated drive covers.
Xbox 360 S (from 2010)
Microsoft presented this variant of the console at E3 2010. The presented version of the model known as Xbox 360 S is 30% smaller than its predecessor and has, among other things, a 250 GB hard drive and an integrated WLAN adapter. The S model does not support the memory units , but two more USB ports and an optical audio output have been added on the rear of the console. The new console also supports the direct connection of the control concept known as Kinect without a separate power supply unit. The Xbox 360 S was released on June 18 in the North American market and on July 16, 2010 in Europe.
On August 4, 2010, an entry-level model without a hard drive was also released in the USA, which was available in Europe since August 20. This variant was 50 euros cheaper than the equivalent with a hard drive, has a 4 GB internal flash memory and was optically different until autumn 2011 with a matt finish, after which the variant with a hard drive with a matt look was also delivered. The 4 GB model can be upgraded with a hard drive, which is available separately from retailers.
Since November 2010, both console versions have also been available together with Kinect.
In October 2011, a 320 GB hard drive was also released, which had already been installed in various special editions of the Xbox 360 S. A console version with a 500 GB hard drive was offered from August 2014.
Xbox 360 E (from 2013)
Three years after the Xbox 360 S was introduced, a new version was announced at E3 2013. Visually, the model called “Xbox 360 E” is more clearly based on the successor Xbox One . The console was initially sold as a 4 GB version with Kinect or with a 250 GB hard drive. In addition to the visual change, some technical details have also been revised. There is no USB port or optical audio output on the back of the console. The AV output has been revised and has a new connector shape, which makes it incompatible with cables from the old models and only enables composite via a cable whip . The power supply connection on the console and the power supply have also been revised. A 500 GB hard drive has also been available since August 2014.
Game backward compatibility
Microsoft has partially realized the backward compatibility with old Xbox games. The game titles of the previous model are emulated using special software . A disadvantage of this method is the high computing effort. A hard drive is also required in the Xbox 360. There is a backward compatibility list of available legacy titles on the official Xbox site. In November 2007 the last update of the software was published and it was stated that development has ended and no more titles will be added. Some of these older games are emulated with graphics that are better than those on the previous console for which they were originally programmed. The graphics of the most successful games in the past, such as Halo 2 , are adapted to the HD level of the new console. They are calculated in resolutions of 720p or 1080i and benefit from the anti-aliasing capabilities of the Xbox 360. The emulator and updates are available via Xbox Live . When you load an old Xbox game into your Xbox 360, the console automatically tries to download the emulator, unless it is already through updates to your Xbox 360. If you do not have an Internet connection, Microsoft also offers the possibility of downloading the emulator from the official Xbox website via PC and installing it manually on the console. When using a VGA cable, emulated games cannot be played at 50 Hertz , only NTSC games at 60 Hertz.
An Xbox 360 Development Kit is a game programmer's development tool. It is mainly used for developing and debugging games by developers. At the same time, it is used in various variants, including for testing games (magazines, websites, etc.) or for live shows (E3, Games Convention, etc.).
For some time now, more and more development kits have been falling into the hands of amateur programmers. The console is not only used as a programming tool. Rather, it is possible to run unsigned code on it, making it possible to run any homebrew application imaginable on the console. It is also possible to use your own hard drive in connection with the console. With development kits, you don't have to use the hard drives released by Microsoft for the market, you can use your own hard drive in 2.5 "or 3.5" format.
However, unlike retail consoles, development kits are not able to play original games from DVD. However, it is possible to transfer the content to the hard drive in order to then use it.
Other functions of a development kit are, for example, that there are no fixed regional restrictions. You have the option of changing the region of the console, for example from PAL to NTSC-U, if required. Videos and screenshots of running programs / games can also be made.
The following types of development kits are available:
- Demo kit (for live shows such as E3, Games Convention etc. for demonstration purposes or as a kiosk system in electronics stores)
- Reviewer Kit (for game magazines or review websites)
- Test Kit (used when testing games or troubleshooting)
- Dev Kit (developer console to develop or debug games)
- Stress Kit (used by Microsoft in quality assurance or for stress tests)
As a private individual, you cannot buy Xbox 360 Development Kits. Microsoft only awards these to game companies after applying. Every gaming company is obliged to maintain secrecy about technology, costs and other information by means of a non-disclosure agreement .
The first versions of the Xbox 360 were very loud during operation due to the fan and DVD drive noises and also recorded a high power consumption of over 150 watts, which, however, due to the high computing power and graphics performance, is within the scope of a comparable PC from 2006 with high end graphics card needed. However, changes to the hardware of the main processor, graphics processor and DVD drive have improved and reduced power consumption, heat and noise levels compared to the original version of the console that was released in 2005. The average power consumption fell B. from 2008 through a new console revision to around 100 watts. The current Xbox 360 S consumes 70 to 90 watts, depending on the load. The console is cooled by two 70 mm fans on the rear of the case, which suck the waste heat out of the case. With the Xbox 360 S or E, a 92 mm fan on the side of the case ensures heat dissipation. There is also a fan in the external power supply unit.
The processor called Xenon , which is based on the PowerPC architecture, was developed by IBM exclusively for the console. It consists of three individual cores . Each of these cores can process two threads at 1.6 GHz each at the same time, similar to Hyper-Threading from Intel.
- 77 GFLOPS (theoretical peak power)
- 3 × 3.2 gigahertz clock frequency
- 165 million transistors
- 32 KB L1 cache each for data and instructions per processor core
- 1 MB L2 cache for all three processor cores
- 32 nm structure size (later produced Xbox 360 E, Winchester revision), 45 nm (from Xbox 360 S, Trinity revision), 65 nm from November 2007 to June 2010 (from Falcon revision), before that 90 nm
While a graphics processor (GPU) from Nvidia was used in the first Xbox , a chip from the manufacturer ATI is installed in the Xbox 360 . The graphics processor called Xenos also serves as a northbridge between the CPU, southbridge ( I / O ) and the system memory .
- 500 MHz clock frequency
- From the Xbox 360 S onwards integrated into a chip (“Vejle”) consisting of a main processor and a graphics processor
- 10 MB eDRAM frame buffer , exclusively for anti-aliasing data , also integrated into a chip with GPU and CPU in Xbox 360 E consoles produced from September 2014, before that - also in the Xbox 360 S / E - on a separate chip
- 332 million transistors (232 million GPU, 100 million eDRAM)
- theoretically up to 240 GFLOPS
- 48 unified shader architecture (two operations per cycle per pipeline)
- has tessellation units
- 48 billion shader operations per second (excluding CPU)
- 500 million polygons per second
- 160 shader operations per clock cycle
- Shader Model 3.0+ (means some additional functions)
- The screen formats 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p as well as the TV modes PAL-50 and PAL-60 are supported
- 32 nm structure size (later produced Xbox 360 E consoles, Winchester revision), 45 nm (from Xbox 360 S, Trinity revision), 65 nm from November 2008 to June 2010 (Jasper v1 / v2 revision) , 80 nm from April 2007 to July 2008 (Zephyr revision and Falcon / Opus revision), 90 nm (Xenon revision)
random access memory
The Xbox 360 has a total of 512 MB working memory of the type GDDR3 with a clock frequency of 700 MHz and a memory bandwidth of 22.4 GByte / s, which can be accessed by both the main processor and the graphics processor ( Unified Memory Architecture ).
Image and sound output
All common formats up to Dolby Digital 5.1 with WMA Pro , including Pro Logic 2, are supported. The highest possible sound quality is limited to 640 kbps. The console has an optical output for connection to external devices. Despite the hardware limitation to Dolby Digital 5.1, the developers at Radical Entertainment were able to create 7.1 surround sound in Prototype .
When displaying video games, the internal frame buffer file of the graphics chip differs noticeably in terms of color from the video signal actually output. In contrast to the widely used sRGB standard, the Xbox 360 uses a linear gamma curve (Xenon PWL) which automatically darkens the output image and naturally leads to poorer tracing in dark image areas.
The Xbox 360 has a twelve-slot DVD drive. Until the end of 2006, drives from Hitachi - LG , Toshiba-Samsung and Philips - BenQ were installed. Lite-On drives have been in use since late 2007 because they are quieter. In the Xbox 360 S and E mostly Lite-On drives are used, in rare cases models from Hitachi were installed.
|xenon||90 nm||156-178 W.||203 W, 16.5 A||November 22, 2005||First generation without HDMI output. The exclusively analog video signal is generated by a DAC and hardware scaler called ANA . Due to the undersized GPU heat sink, it is very susceptible to defects, so that only a few functioning copies exist today, which are usually either rarely used or upgraded with a better cooling solution by the owner.|
|zephyr||90 nm||80 nm||90 nm||156-178 W.||203 W, 16.5 A||April 29, 2007||First generation with HDMI output, slightly reduced GPU and GPU heat sink with additional heat pipe . The ANA chip has been replaced by HANA, which includes a DAC and a hardware scaler as well as an HDMI controller.|
|Falcon||65 nm||80 nm||101-122 W.||175 W, 14.2 A||September 2007||
Second generation with HDMI output, GPU cooler of the Zephyr model and modified CPU cooling. Lower power consumption due to the smaller 65 nm structure size of the CPU, in addition, the eDRAM of the GPU has been reduced to 80 nm.
|opus||65 nm||80 nm||101-122 W.||175 W, 14.2 A||July 2008||Corresponds to the Falcon revision, but without HDMI. Was not sold in stores, but served as a replacement console for returned xenon consoles in the USA.|
|Jasper v1||65 nm||80 nm||94-109 W||150 W, 12.1 A||November 2008||
Third generation with HDMI. The cooling concept is identical to that of the Falcon, but with a smaller GPU (65 nm), it consumes less power and waste heat. Later versions have the first generation GPU cooler without a heat pipe, which is sufficient for cooling the 65 nm GPU. In addition, the Southbridge has been made smaller, which now generates less waste heat and has a slightly lower power consumption. The Xbox Arcade variants are also equipped with a larger flash memory (256 MB instead of the usual 16 MB), which can therefore be used not only for system data, but also as a memory unit.
|Jasper v2||65 nm||94-109 W||150 W, 12.1 A||September 2009||Revision of the Jasper generation and the last version of the Xbox 360 in the classic housing format. Uses a new GPU ("Kronos1") in which the eDRAM has been reduced to 65 nm, as well as a new radio module. As with the later Jasper v1, the GPU cooler did not have the additional heat pipe. In addition, the Xbox Arcade variants are also equipped with a larger flash memory, which, however, has a capacity of 512 MB.|
|Xbox 360 S & Xbox 360 E|
|Trinity||45 nm||70-90 W||135 W, 10.83 A||June 18, 2010||Fourth generation "Xbox 360 S" with a smaller housing and a new cooling concept. Reduced power consumption by downsizing the main processor and graphics processor, both processors and the eDRAM are now integrated in a single MCM called "XCGPU" under a common IHS . The MCM consists of two dies , one of which contains the CPU and GPU, the other the eDRAM.|
|corona||45 nm||70-90 W||120 W, 9.86 A||August 2011||New revision of the "Xbox 360 S" without HANA, the functionality of which is now integrated in the southbridge . Power supply with lower power. Also the basis for the "Xbox 360 E" released in 2013, in which the mainboard is installed with some changes to the external connections and the changes to the layout that are necessary for this.|
|Winchester||32 nm||k. A.||120 W, 9.86 A||September 2014||The last revision, in which CPU, GPU and eDRAM are housed on a single die manufactured in 32 nm and a heat spreader is dispensed with. This mainboard was only built into Xbox 360 E consoles. Production stopped on April 20, 2016.|
The Xbox 360 has an external power supply, similar to that of notebooks, but much larger. The power pack has a large finned cooler inside, which is assisted by a radial fan with heat dissipation. The power supply supplies the voltages +12 volts and +5 volts, the latter with a low current of one ampere.
In the first mainboard version with 90 nm technology, the power supply has an output of 203 watts, in the newer Xbox 360 version with "Falcon" mainboard the power supply has an output of 175 watts and is also quieter than the power supply with 203 watts. When the GPU architecture was downsized to 65 nm in November 2008, the console ("Jasper") was delivered with a 150 watt power supply. The Xbox 360 S has - depending on the hardware revision - a 135 W or 120 W power supply. The latest Xbox 360 E comes with a 120 W power adapter, which, however, uses a different connection, which is why it cannot be used on the Xbox 360 S. Likewise, an Xbox 360 S power supply cannot be used on an Xbox 360 E.
The mechanical coding of the console plug of the power supply units is different, so that not every power supply unit can be connected to every Xbox 360 console. Commercially available ATX power packs (with the appropriate performance) can also be used on the console via an ATX- Xbox 360 adapter from another provider.
Commercially available dual-layer DVD discs are used for video games, but due to a copy protection system, they only have 6.8 GB of memory. This means that an Xbox 360 game disc offers less memory than its counterpart for the Sony PlayStation 2 or the Nintendo Wii . In the meantime, this restriction has been lifted with the introduction of a revised game disc format, which allows up to 1 GB more user data compared to the previous one. As of the May 2011 dashboard update, the Xbox 360 supports the new format known as Xbox Game Disc 3 (XGD3). The first XGD3 games appeared in September 2011.
Depending on the variant, different storage media are supported for saving games, download content and other multimedia data. A hard disk with 20, 60, 120, 250, 320 and 500 GB capacity is available. The premium version was delivered with a 20 GB hard drive. Since August 15, 2008, the Premium / Pro Edition has been equipped with a 60 GB hard drive. In the "Elite" version, the hard disk has a capacity of 120 or 250 GB. The Xbox 360 S has a hard drive with 250, 320 or 500 GB storage capacity, depending on the version sold. A 250 or 500 GB hard drive is installed in the current “Xbox 360 E” model. However, the full capacity cannot be used by the user, which is due to the fact that 2 GB of storage space is required for the emulation of old Xbox games and an additional 4 GB is reserved as intermediate storage.
In addition, memory cards ( memory units ) with 64 and 512 MB are available (a 256 MB memory card was included with the “Arcade” version until November 2008, after which a 256 MB flash memory is used). The current version of the Xbox 360 S without a hard drive has a 4 GB internal flash memory and no longer supports a memory unit .
With the dashboard update from April 2010, USB storage media for storing system-related data are also supported. A maximum of only 16 GB could be used on this, however, since the dashboard update from October 2012 a maximum of 32 GB has been available. At the end of April 2015, the storage limit was increased to 2 TB.
Input and output
- Up to four controllers via cable or radio
- Three USB 2.0 ports (two at the front, one at the rear, expandable via a USB hub), five on the Xbox 360 S (two additional at the rear)
- Ethernet interface
- AV output
- HDMI output (since the third quarter of 2007 in all versions except "Core")
3D video over HDMI
Luc Duchaine, Senior International Brand Manager of the game implementation for the film " Avatar ", announced that the game will have an option for stereoscopic 3D , which can only be output via the HDMI output because it requires 1080p mode. The first generation of Xbox 360 does not have HDMI and can therefore only send the image in 2D (not to be confused with 3D graphics) as a video signal to the TV. To create the impression of spatial depth, a 3D-capable television set ( 3DTV ) and special filter glasses are also required.
- Main section: multimedia facilities
The console supports all common CD and DVD formats. Additionally, the more ribs from audio CDs and watching videos in formats .wmv , and MPEG-4 (SP and AVC, so H.264 ) possible. Since the dashboard was updated in December 2007, the Xbox 360 can also play films that are in MPEG-4 Part 2 format in the AVI container. This also includes DivX (from version 5.0) and Xvid films that have been encoded in the Simple Profile or Advanced Simple Profile. These can also be played from a USB stick or an external hard drive.
Several groups are working on circumventing the system's security measures, for example in order to be able to run backup copies or the hardware with alternative operating systems such as Linux . There are modchips for the used DVD drives in the console of Samsung, BenQ, Hitachi and available. Around the same time, various modified firmwares were released for all drives. This makes it possible to play copies of the original data carriers using modified drives.
At the end of 2006, during a demonstration on an Xbox 360, Linux was booted using a “ hypervisor privilege-escalation vulnerability”. This was done using a modified King Kong game that was able to “swap” the data carrier using a shader exploit , ie to remove the game DVD from the drive while the game was still running. At that time, a custom Linux could be booted using a boot loader . A live CD from the Gentoo distribution was later available. Microsoft has closed this vulnerability with a subsequent update so that this method was only possible on consoles with kernel version 4532 and 4548.
With an "Infectus-Chip" it is still possible to downgrade the older mainboard revisions "Zephyr" and "Xenon" to an older version. This method no longer works since the "Falcon" mainboard and a downgrade is therefore not possible.
In August 2007, after several years of work, hackers succeeded in installing their own CPU kernel on the main processor. It is not the CPU key itself that is determined, but the hash value of the key using brute force . With its own CPU kernel, every imaginable software can be executed on the Xbox 360. On December 23, 2008, after several months of work, “Team Jungle” released a modified firmware for the previously unhackable Philips LiteOn drive. Thus, all drives that had appeared up until then could be modified again.
Since the end of August 2009 it has been possible to modify the xenon mainboard of the Xbox 360 in such a way that the console's internal NAND flash can be read and written. Furthermore, an extended version of the XeLL (Xenon Linux Loader) has been published, which enables homebrew software to be run or Linux to be booted. The variant for Falcon mainboards followed on October 5, 2009. The entire hack is based on the King Kong exploit (see above) and now contains significantly more drivers than in 2007. A patched King Kong game is no longer required to boot, which makes it possible to load your own software in less than five seconds after starting the console boot.
There are various homebrew applications, including emulators, graphical interfaces and video players.
Xbox Live is an online Microsoft network. Any Xbox 360 user with broadband Internet access can use this service. Microsoft offers the online services of the Xbox 360 in two different packages , gold and free (formerly silver ) called packages. While Free is available for free to anyone with an Xbox Live account, Gold is chargeable. The costs are staggered according to the duration of the contract and amount to either € 20 for three months or € 60 per year. These costs can be paid by credit card or by purchasing so-called subscription cards in stores. In some countries, it has also been possible to pay via PayPal since 2009 . This payment method has been available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since mid-2011. Gold members have the option of playing multiplayer games on Xbox Live . There are also special downloads available to Gold holders from the Xbox Store . Microsoft occasionally offers free gold trial days for free members as part of its marketing . These are limited to a few days and are mostly offered on weekends.
Any logged-in user can send another user written messages and images created using Xbox Live Vision , a kind of webcam. If both users have Gold and also Xbox Live Vision , not only a voice conversation but also a video chat is possible.
At irregular intervals, users with modified consoles will be banned from the Xbox Live network. However, the devices can still be used locally, as can the user account in the network.
The Xbox Store (until 2013 Xbox Live Marketplace ) is a service integrated into the device that allows the user to download content to his console. It offers demos and videos of games as well as profile pictures and games for the Xbox Live Arcade . You also have the option of downloading feature films. These files are paid for in the local currency. The credit can be purchased in stores by credit card , PayPal or on a prepaid card. A purchase by direct debit , however, is not possible. Up until autumn 2013, the deposited credit was converted into so-called Microsoft Points .
In this way Microsoft decouples the possibility of online purchases from owning your own credit card and at the same time abstracts the costs for extensions. The costs for the data move in a wide range. While profile pictures cost only a few points or are sometimes even free, a player has to pay € 5 to € 20 for Xbox Live Arcade titles. In addition, many games are usually also offered as demos. The limited-time feature films cost around 3 to 6 euros (depending on quality), while videos and demos are always free.
Partner.NET can only be reached via development kits. Access to Partner.NET is intended exclusively for developers and can be used free of charge by them. Microsoft Points (until autumn 2013) can be added there using a virtual credit card, all downloadable content is free and it is also possible to play against other developers. Xbox Live and Partner.NET are completely separate from each other. Developers are only able to test the online functionality of a game with other developers (unless a public beta test or something similar is published via Xbox Live). In addition, developers have the option of releasing their games as a "development version" for other developers.
The dashboard (instrument panel) is the central element of the user interface. It appears after starting the console and can also be reached via the Guide button. The dashboard has five individual areas, also called blades . These areas are the store where the user can download demos, videos and other content for the Xbox, Xbox Live , with the help of which the player can manage his profile, his friends list and his messages, games , an overview of the titles already played and content such as demos and videos, media , to manage pictures, music and videos, as well as a system in which all settings of the Xbox 360 can be adjusted.
Microsoft publishes updates with new functions and improvements for existing functions for the dashboard regularly, approximately every six months . These updates can be obtained in three different ways: Via Xbox Live , via an update function integrated on a game DVD or manually by downloading the update to a computer and burning it on CD / DVD or transferring it to a USB mass storage device .
A redesigned dashboard called the New Xbox Experience was released on November 19, 2008.
Another extensive change to the dashboard interface took place in December 2011. The design was adapted to Microsoft's Modern UI (formerly called Metro ), which is used in Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 .
With the so-called guide button , which is available as a separate button on both the controller and the remote control, a user can access a small user interface in every game. After pressing the button, a window appears with which you can access your player-specific user profile with previous successes, games played, news, friend lists and other information. Settings can also be made here and the music player controlled, which can play music from the internal hard drive or from the network while playing. This window still allows you to go directly to the dashboard without removing the CD from the drive or shutting down the console if necessary. The menu offered in this way has the advantage that you do not have to quit the game to access various functions. Closing the window enables the game to continue.
After starting the console for the first time, each user has his own profile and thus his own gamer card. This contains the user name, the gamerscore , a changeable gamer picture and the reputation of a player. It is also possible to add a signature. This service is expanded to include a number of options via Xbox Live , such as the option of setting your own biography. The profile of the desired player can then be selected via the guide. Information about his successes and the games played can then be viewed.
Microsoft offers the Gamerscore , a kind of success system. The player unlocks achievements for special achievements in a game. You can collect 1000 points for every regular game and 200 points for every Xbox Live Arcade game. Since June 1, 2012, up to 400 points can be unlocked in Xbox Live Arcade games. These can be expanded with downloadable content, so that it is possible for some games to collect up to 1750 Gamerscore points. The system creates greater motivation to play through the game and to perform additional tasks.
XNA (" X NA’s N ot A cronymed") is a collection of programming interfaces made available by Microsoft free of charge , with the help of which one can develop games for the console, among other things. The games are then displayed in the dashboard under Games in the Indie Games column . For the installation of a game on an Xbox 360 an XNA Creators Club Premium membership is required. This also includes installation on the Xbox 360 and debugging of your own game.
Xbox 360 Launcher
For the development kit variants, in addition to the normal dashboard, there is also the “Xbox 360 Launcher” dashboard, which is primarily booted on this. With this it is possible for developers to start games in debug mode or to execute other self-programmed code. The normal dashboard can also be loaded via the launcher in order to simulate a “standard” Xbox 360.
In addition to the usual game titles available on DVD, Microsoft offers special arcade games for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade . With this service, users with Internet access can download games and play unlimited games for a fee that is paid for with so-called Microsoft Points . It is also possible to download demos for games free of charge. The puzzle game Hexic HD is already preinstalled on some console variants with a hard drive . The “Arcade” variant is supplied with five games that are installed on the internal console memory. The best-selling Xbox Live arcade game to date is the implementation of the card game Uno .
Game DVDs can also be copied to hard drive since the dashboard update in November 2008. This reduces loading times as well as the noise level caused by read access to the DVD drive. To start the game, however, the DVD must be in the drive.
The Xbox 360 has a removable faceplate called a faceplate . By exchanging this front panel, you can customize the appearance of the Xbox 360 to your own liking. Often there are also, mostly limited, special front covers with motifs from Xbox 360 games. Microsoft officially offers four different front covers. In addition, a cover was offered to match the 2006 World Cup , but it was only available in conjunction with an Xbox 360.
On the new Xbox 360 S and E models, the front panel can no longer be removed and due to the changed shape of the housing, the old faceplates can no longer be used.
20, 60, 120 and 250 GB hard drives are commercially available. The hard disk is connected to a port on the top of the console. The hard disk extension is specially designed for the core or arcade versions that are delivered without a hard disk. The Xbox 360 in the premium and elite version comes with a hard drive, but this can also be removed and replaced with another.
For the current Xbox 360 S and E, hard drives with a size of 250, 320 and 500 GB are available, which are inserted into a drive slot provided on the housing.
Memory cards, the so-called memory unit , for the Xbox 360 are available in sizes 64, 256 and 512 MB and are plugged into the two interfaces on the front of the console. The 256MB memory card was included with the Arcade version until November 2008. Since the console was revised (mainboard "Jasper"), a 256 MB internal flash memory has been used.
With the Max Memory Unit, the manufacturer Datel sells its own memory card with a storage capacity of 2 and 4 GB. It can be expanded to up to 16 GB by inserting a microSD storage medium. In the meantime Microsoft has stopped the use of these memory cards because the console has not recognized any data memory cards since the dashboard update in October 2009.
Due to the missing connection, the memory unit can no longer be used since the Xbox 360 S. Instead, as with the first Xbox 360 model, any USB storage device can be used to store game and system-related data.
Microsoft has designed two different gamepads for the Xbox 360 : a USB cable version and a wireless counterpart. Both controllers can be operated on a conventional PC . However, an adapter is required for the wireless controller. The cordless has a range of around nine meters. This controller is powered by accumulators or conventional batteries. The Guide button is located on both controllers , with which one has access to the Guide menu and thus the personal profile, as well as the "Ring of Light", which shows the position of the controller. Both variants also have an input for the headset .
With the WLAN adapter , the owner can integrate his console into a wireless network . To do this, the adapter is attached to the back of the console and connected via the USB port. The adapter has a transmission speed of 54 Mbit / s and supports the standards 802.11a and 802.11b / g with WEP and WPA encryption. With the dashboard update from late October 2009, the console also supports WPA2 .
In November 2009, a new WLAN adapter was also brought onto the market that supports 802.11n in addition to the previous standards . In addition to a transmission rate of up to 300 Mbit / s, the Wireless Network Adapter N has a second antenna.
The WLAN adapter is no longer absolutely necessary for the Xbox 360 S and E model, as this already has an integrated WLAN module.
Play & Charge Kit
Optionally, a replaceable battery is available with the Play & Charge Kit and a battery charging station for the controller with the Quick Charge Kit . The battery promises a playing time of about 25 hours. The charge status of the battery can be called up at any time by pressing the Guide button .
The Play & Charge Kit contains a battery and a charging cable that is attached to the back of the wireless controller. The battery can be charged when it is switched off (the power supply unit is switched off when finished), but also while playing. In addition, the Quick Charge Kit appeared , which enables two batteries to be charged at the same time; the loading process must be ended manually here. Since the charging cable is connected to the console via USB, the controller can also be operated on a PC. The drivers for controllers connected in this way are already included in the scope of delivery from Windows 7 onwards, so the Xbox 360 gamepad can be operated on a PC without any problems (this only works with the cables, which in addition to the power lines also have data lines; thus the cables of many third-party manufacturers are out of the question). The driver supplied with Windows also enables the console to be controlled via the network with the controller connected to the PC, provided that the console and PC are in the same network.
The headset offers the possibility to communicate with other Xbox 360 owners. The accessories attach to the front of the controller. Microsoft also released a wireless version in November 2006.
The remote control can optionally also be used on a PC and on a normal television. The guide button is located on it like on the controller . With it it is possible to navigate through the dashboard of the Xbox. During the launch of Xbox 360 in Europe, a scaled-down version of the remote control was included in the premium package.
A number of cables have been released for the console which, among other things, enable operation on high-resolution televisions and computer monitors.
Xbox Live Vision
The Xbox Live Vision is a webcam and is connected to the Xbox 360 via a free USB port. The console has supported this camera since the first dashboard extension. The package includes the camera, the Xbox Live arcade games Uno and TotemBall as well as a month of Xbox Live Gold and a headset.
A wireless steering wheel with pedals and force feedback support was presented at E3 2006 . Not all of the controller's buttons and levers are on the steering wheel. The accessories can also be used on a computer and appeared in Germany at the end of 2006.
HD DVD drive
On the E3 2006 an external USB drive is for playback of HD DVDs presented. A possible use of the HD-DVD medium (and the resulting significantly higher storage capacity) for games was ruled out by Microsoft at the time. The HD DVD drive went on sale in Germany on November 24, 2006 at a price of 199 euros including the HD DVD film King Kong . In January 2008 the price of the drive was reduced to 99 euros. At the beginning of May 2008, the Internet retailer Amazon even lowered the price to 10 euros in order to sell remaining stocks. This price development took place after Toshiba, as the biggest supporter to date, gave up the HD-DVD format in mid-February 2008. The result was that in the future no films would be published in HD-DVD format and no new HD-DVD devices would come onto the market. In late February 2008, Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 would no longer support optical media with high-definition video content. Microsoft will increasingly rely on delivering HD content via digital distribution via Xbox Live .
An extension has been available for the Xbox 360 since November 2010, which was developed to control games with your own movements. Be in the bar, a camera and an infrared sensor, which transmit the movements of the player on the screen, where - unlike the Wii - Remote or PlayStation Move the PlayStation 3 no controller is used more -.
Kinect is sold with the Xbox 360 console, but is also available separately. With the dashboard update from November 2010, Kinect can be used on the current console generation as well as older Xbox 360 consoles. For older consoles, an additional power cable is required, which is only included in the scope of delivery of the individual package. The Xbox 360 S and Xbox 360 E provide the power supply via a special connection.
Music from audio CDs can be copied to the connected hard drive. With some CDs, the console automatically detects the artist and which song it is. This is not possible with MP3 and WMA files, but they can, like the copied files, be played in the dashboard and in all games. This means that external data storage media such as MP3 players can also be connected.
If images are available on a connected digital camera or an external data carrier, they can be played back in a slide show, but cannot be copied to the hard drive. For example, the size and order of the images or their orientation can be determined during playback. All common formats are supported. If necessary, image motifs can also be set as a background.
In addition to playing audio CDs and pictures, the Xbox 360 can also play video DVDs . Videos in WMV format can also be played, but not copied to the hard drive. The console also supports playback of high resolution WMV files.
Videos and music can also be streamed from a server or computer with Windows Media Center Edition in the network to the Xbox 360 and played there. This is possible with videos up to HD resolutions and in several codecs (MPEG-2/4, WMV) and containers (WMV, MOV, TS).
A general hardware defect of the console is indicated on the Ring of Light , the ring on the front, by three red light-emitting diodes (which is often ironically referred to as the Red Ring of Death ). Due to the - according to Microsoft in June 2007 - "unacceptably high number of repairs" of the Xbox 360 with this error, changes were made to the Xbox 360. In addition, the warranty period has been retrospectively extended to three years worldwide for all affected devices. In addition, there should be compensation for repairs that have already been paid for due to this error.
As early as 2006, there had been a large number of problems with the Xbox 360, and according to media reports, the failure rate at the time was 30–50%. In December 2006, Microsoft extended the warranty period from 90 days to one year in the USA and Canada. In a survey conducted in August 2009 by the game magazine Game Informer of around 5000 readers, the Xbox 360 had an error rate of 54.2 percent, which is more than five times as high as that of the following consoles, PS3 and Wii.
The most talked about issue that Microsoft is struggling with is console overheating. Due to the higher output, damage can result from excessive heat generation, especially if there is insufficient air supply. The need for strong ventilation of the console was repeatedly criticized because of the high volume associated with it.
According to media reports, the cause lies in the lead-free solder used , which is brittle in about a third of all devices due to the frequent temperature changes between switched off and operating status, so that contact is lost. During the repairs by Microsoft, only these soldered joints were initially restored, but this led to further failures after a while. In the meantime, additional coolers are attached during the repairs, which are connected to the cooler of the graphics chip via a heat pipe .
A new hardware design for the console (“Falcon” mainboard) has been bringing improvement since November 2007 , in which the structure size of the main processor was changed from 90 nm to 65 nm and the CPU cooler was enlarged. As a result, the power consumption and thus the heat development have been reduced. Another measure followed in November 2008 with the "Jasper" model. In contrast to the previous version, this is delivered with a 65 nm GPU (previously 90 nm) and is intended to further reduce the failure rate and power consumption.
The Xbox 360 S model has a self-protection mechanism that automatically switches off the console if it overheats until the temperatures are back in the uncritical range. The user is shown the cause of the shutdown on the screen, and a red light on the power button lights up. Hardware errors caused by overheating, which had led to the Red Ring of Death in previous generations , are thus counteracted.
The very high number of repairs required leads to considerable delays. Microsoft has responded by including additional partners in the repair process.
On February 3, 2009, Microsoft released a patch for an HDMI sound problem. There are more and more reports on the Internet from users who suddenly saw the Red Ring of Death after installing the update . It has not yet been confirmed whether the update really contains a bug and is responsible for an alleged mass failure of the consoles.
The Xbox 360 can scratch CDs and DVDs if moved while in use. The then EU consumer protection commissioner Meglena Kunewa has been dealing with the problem since June 2007 after the problem was demonstrated on the Dutch TV show Kassa . She gave Microsoft an ultimatum to comment on possible solutions to the problem.
In the United States, a class action lawsuit was filed against Microsoft in July 2007 for allegedly wronging a fee for swapping games that had been scratched by Xbox 360.
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