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DesktopWeb FormText   a month with the XBox 360Sat, 21 Jan 2006 06:42:07 GMT # 

had mine for a month now ... time for another review.

reported issues : have it running mostly nonstop and it has locked up about 5 times. a couple times when i was exiting the PGR3 game and a couple times in media center (usually after network congestion occurs). the only time it bothered me was when it locked up in the middle of a movie. definitely not from overheating. nor do i ever pay attention to the noise it makes. the only time i hear it is when i'm actively listening for it ... which is never.

accessories : the wireless controllers are great. one of my wireless controller seems to have charging issues (which i'll get xbox support to fix), but i like the controllers (overall) so much that i don't care. get these controllers to work on the PC. the wireless adapter works great too ... but start working on 802.11n. need a bigger harddrive soon (er, um 5-6 gigs for Final Fantasy alone). the headset sucks ... especially with my interest in speech technologies. i want wireless, behind the neck, stereo, and a noise cancelling mic. the remote controls suck too ... especially with my interest in media center. i want a remote to come out that uses the same wireless technologies as the controllers. nor do i care for the play and charge cables. i'll swap them out for the charging dock when it comes out. i'd also like to see a wireless keyboard come out to work with both the XBox and MCE (the Final Fantasy guys will want this too). i'm anxiously awaiting the camera ... especially if they let MS research get their hands on it. oh yeah, when visiting the parents, my mom wanted a mouse for playing Zuma :) and after further thought, i would not get an HD-DVD drive add-on. would just upgrade to an MCE computer that had HD-DVD instead.

media : i REALLY did buy an XBox just so i could figure out the MCE dev for extenders (e.g. the /mceDivX360 article). not on the best network so i do experience some lag. the lag is annoying when i'm trying to flip quickly through pictures or find a song. not as click happy when watching a video ... so it works great there. and now that i've been able to see Hosted HTML on my TV ... i hate it (Hosted HTML) even more. but the question remains if the Extender experience is good enough to keep me from hooking the MCE computer directly to the TV too. going to withhold that judgement until Vista MCE. really excited about the new dev options that we'll get at that time. windows media connect would be interesting if it shared video. but there's also talk of MS working on a streaming solution ... this could get confusing. and what the hell is the Video button doing on XBox that i can't download or upload content to? not even sure how to delete the samples that came there? i'm assuming that it means we will ultimately be able to download movies or tv shows over live?

live : bought the gold but (so far) could have gotten by with silver. MS is going to have to differentiate the offering more (beyond online play) to make it worthwhile for me. otherwise the marketplace is great. love the full game demos that they are putting up there. but why aren't new movie trailers popping up? MS points still suck, why aren't they just dollars? and there is something about Messenger integration in the works ... that could be interesting.

arcade : is where i'm sold. quick games that are easy to get into, and just as easy to get out of. cost is acceptable, except i have to say that bankshot billiards is definitely not worth $15. and i love not having to get up to swap discs to change games. this arcade feature actually makes me bitter when i have to load a CD for a full game. now i want managed copies of full games so i don't have to put a CD in for them. my only complaint about arcade is that it seems like its been a while since we got a new game.

full games : been able to play Kameo and PGR3. not to be a girl, but i liked Kameo better. because there was a story and some variety. PGR3 looked great, but got repetitive. drive drive buy car drive drive buy car drive drive. got PDZ and DOA4 on deck, but don't know when i'll get a chance to play them. also have some XBox1 games that i got cheap, but since they don't have achievements, i've pretty much lost all interest in playing them. in other words, i don't see the limited backwards compatibility as an issue.

final fantasy : i just dont get it. 5 to 6 gig install which takes hours (but the CD has to be in), along with some registration. wired USB keyboard is basically required. separate online service is required, i think with additional cost? no, no, no. then you have to spend time upskilling your character. i prefer less work with my games. i'm told FF is supposed to be a big deal ... but no thanks.

gamertags : achievements and gamer scores are still evil. they've forced me to do stuff in the games that i would have never attempted otherwise. and when one of my friends has an achievement that i don't, then i'm kind of compelled to attempt to get it. also like the integration with xbox forums. for games, it lets you know who to take advice from. for media, it provides a visual clue to find posts from the same person. as an experiment, i added my gamertag to the 2 XBox related dev articles i've written. now the /mceDivX360 article got ALOT of hits. but it only got me 2 new XBox friends. anyway, that was interesting to me.

hacks : it has been fun reading the hacking newsgroups. got the kiosk disk and seen how to create WMV disks. even done a little network sniffing of my own :)