Here’s a tech post that was waiting to happen. XBOX 360 released yesterday. I don’t know how much that appeals to most people, but the build up around it in Microsoft was big, especially among the gaming geeks that also pose as employees :-) There was constant talk around the coolness factor, the power of the new platform and the excitement for it. I don’t think it was too misplaced. A friend of mine went to the local Best Buy yesterday and reported that there were people waiting in line since Friday. That’s four days in advance!!
Such mania is beyond my understanding. But gaming dudes are serious about their priorities. There are people who spend endless hours of their lives locked up in their rooms in front of the PC or their TV playing games. They live and die by their virtual identities. I wonder if the boundary between the real and the virtual world blur for them beyond a point. The good thing is that the new Xbox has things to offer beyond just the gaming experience for the average user. That is important for people like me. The only games I like to play are sport-oriented (I have a Cricket 2005 that I am passionate about) or strategy games (Warcraft). First person games like Halo give me nausea in about five minutes.
However, if I could combine my occasional gaming ability with some other function, the Xbox would serve me well. Which is what the new version allows. It serves as a great one stop shop for my music, movies, pictures. To list a few (quoting the website of course), here are some of the major Media features of XBox 360:
• Create picture slideshows, add music, and share with your friends and family.
• Connect to your digital camera and display your latest pictures on your TV.
• Access the classics in the photo collection stored on your Windows XP-based PC.
• Display the pictures saved on CDs.
• Play DVDs in progressive-scan and use the Xbox 360 controller to navigate the onscreen DVD menus.
• Receive game invites or chat with friends even when you’re watching a movie, listening to music, or viewing pictures.
• Combine Xbox 360 with Windows XP Media Center Edition for more digital entertainment options. For eg. I can record or pause live TV. Watch movies On-demand and more.
• Listen to music while you game and create your own custom soundtracks.
• DJ your next party—create custom playlists, and set the mood with interactive visualizers. • Rip songs from your original CDs to your Xbox 360 hard drive for easy access to your favorite music
• Stream music to your Xbox 360 from your MP3 player or Windows XP-based PC.
And there’s the coolness factor. The design is really slick and well thought out. It has an “hourglass” figure. Wonder if their was any psychological research involved in arriving at that :-) The last one was pretty boxy and not that attractive. Oh well, this almost became a pitch for the product, but I think this one deserves some space. I intend to get one for myself sometime next year, as long as I don’t have to wait four days in a line to get it :-)
I haven’t done much justice to the numerous features of this magic box. Find out for yourself. Here, ogle. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/explorexbox360.htm