Microsoft XBox 360 Product Guide
Like all video game consoles, the Xbox 360 depends on its variety of software and accessories. With virtually more power than some of the most advanced PC models, the 360 is a venerable powerhouse of high-performance entertainment. Unlike a PC, you don't need to hook up to a computer monitor. The Xbox 360 simply connects to a TV. Regardless of the television Xbox 360 connects to, gamers will experience smooth, cinematic experiences that far exceed anything they've seen or felt in games before especially with new high-definition, wide-screen televisions.
The Xbox 360 is an Internet connected console that makes multiplayer gaming simpler and brings high definition gaming and entertainment to a whole new level. These and other great features are packed into a stylish console packed with impressive power. At the heart of the system, three processing-cores running at 3.2GHz each provide the computing power for next generation artificial intelligence and physics. A 20GB hard drive makes it possible to download demos of games and bonus game content and entertainment from the Xbox Live Marketplace, an Internet-based service that extends the game experience well past the traditional game disc. With endless amounts of additional content, and an ever-growing library of games old and new, the Xbox 360 has an obvious edge over other game systems.
An "hourglass" concave shape and candy white Xbox 360 doesn't just look good, it's designed well. The design is very uncluttered, with the wireless antennas (for wireless control) built into the console as opposed to being protruding eyesores. The removable hard drive is a sleek black color that contrasts well with the rest of the console. Two USB ports on the front for wired controllers or for the Play and Charge Cable are hidden behind a hinged door. Also hidden behind hinged doors are two Memory Card slots that when in use do not protrude out too far, keeping the console slim and sleek. The faceplate is completely removable, allowing you to customize your faceplate or purchase professionally designed faceplates to personalize your Xbox 360. The face of the system features a "Ring of Light" that surrounds the power button. The "Ring" is divided into four quadrants of yellow light, with each 90-degree arc representing a different controller, up to 4, to differentiate between players when more than one controller is used.
The Xbox 360 is packaged in a sleek stylish casing that can fit into any home décor with ease. However, its not the casing but what's inside that box that makes the Xbox 360 an extraordinary console that provides an overall gaming experience unmatched by its rivals. 512MB of shared system and video RAM, a custom built CPU with three processing cores running at 3.2GHz each, and a custom ATI graphics chipset come together to provide the speed and horsepower to run your games and digital media.
A 20GB hard drive provides the storage needed for your game saves, downloaded game content, game demos, music, videos, and more. The drive comes preloaded with the Xbox Backward Compatibility software to allow you to play most of your original Xbox games right on the console - so you can put that big ugly Xbox away!
The new Xbox 360 wireless controller revolutionizes game play as we know it but without sacrificing a thing. The controller weighs less than the Xbox wired controller S, despite requiring 2 AA alkaline batteries, which are included. However, most people will grow sick of replacing batteries every so often, so a Play and Charge cable is available that includes a rechargeable battery and a cable that charges the battery during play and while the console is in standby mode. Don't want to be tethered to your console when the battery is low? Pick up the Quick Charge kit that includes an extra rechargeable battery and a dock to charge up to two batteries at a time so you never need to use the Play and Charge Kit. Another great feature, using the Guide Button, allows you to turn off the system right from your controller without ever leaving your couch! Up to 4 wireless controllers can be connected to the console at any given time with no interference at all.
The included wired headset opens up a whole new communications experience with voice chat and messaging in and out of games via the Xbox 360 dashboard. Don't like using a wired headset? The optional Wireless headset has a built-in rechargeable battery and allows you to talk up to 8 hours on a single charge with no ugly wires.
Graphics are undoubtedly one of the most important features of next generation consoles, and it's where the Xbox 360 has no problem delivering! A custom built ATI graphics processor (GPU) running at 500MHz powers the photo-realistic environments and brings objects to life with ultra-realistic textures. See every blade of grass, every drop of sweat, every little detail on a player's jersey, and every car's paint-job all ultra-detailed and life-like with no compromise in performance.
Have an HDTV and want to take full advantage of the Xbox 360's graphical power? The Xbox 360 system connects via Component and VGA (sold separately) to your TV or PC Monitor to provide 720p/1080i/1080p (1080p support via update from Xbox Live) output for stunning visuals that will blow your mind. Don't have an HDTV? Don't worry, Xbox 360 still allows you to connect via Composite or the optional S-Video cable for the best visuals possible with your TV.
HDTV is only half the experience! The Xbox 360 supports full Digital 5.1 Surround Sound to bring your games and DVD movies to life! Hear every note, shot, ricochet, explosion, and voice for immersive environmental with 32-bit processing. Playlists are now standardized, combined with support for most Digital Audio Players (iPod support via download from Xbox Live Marketplace) via USB; you can play your favorite tunes while pushing the pedal to the metal in your favorite racing game, or while playing any of the dozens of games available via Xbox Live Arcade! Don't forget the ability to stream music from your computer Via Media Center or Windows Media Connect, and you'll have endless sources of tunes to rock to, during any game. Don't want to bother with connecting your Digital Audio Player or computer to listen to music? Last but not least, you can still rip your Audio CDs to your Xbox 360 Hard Drive for a never-ending supply of music to game to.
Physics and Artificial Intelligence
The custom CPU with 3 individual cores running at 3.2GHz each provides the necessary horsepower required to bring your game environments to life. Physics are taken to a whole new level, with every object including characters and vehicles reacting to changes in the environment in the most realistic way possible. Watch every punch, kick, gunshot, crash, and splash react just as it would if you weren't playing a game! Let's not forget about A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)! The processing power of the Xbox 360 allows programmers to bring non-player characters in game to life, reacting to your every move, ducking, dodging, attacking, and coordinating together, making for a challenging and ever changing game environment. You might even forget you're playing against computer-controlled bots! The possibilities are endless!
The Xbox 360 isn't just a gaming system; it's an Entertainment powerhouse! Play music from your digital audio player, rip and store Audio CDs to your Xbox 360 Hard Drive, stream music from your Windows PC. View pictures from a CD, Digital Camera or stream from your Windows PC and then add music to create a slideshow for family and friends. Watch DVDs in full 480p Progressive Scan using the Xbox 360 controller or the optional Xbox 360 Media Remote while still connected to Xbox Live, chatting with friends or family! It gets even better! With a Windows XP Media Center Edition PC you can stream movies and record or pause live TV and FM radio, right from your Xbox 360!
The Xbox 360 Guide Button is your portal to the Xbox Guide, the place where all the magic happens. From the Xbox Guide, you can control your music, see your friends list, read messages, check your gamer profile, personalize your Guide, go to the Xbox 360 Dashboard, and much more! The Guide Button features a "Ring of Light" that surrounds the round button. The "Ring" is divided into four quadrants, with each 90-degree arc representing a different controller, up to 4, to differentiate between players when more than one controller is used.
The Xbox 360 Dashboard is the heart of the console. Aside from getting access to the Xbox Guide, you can visit the Xbox Live Marketplace to download various content, play Xbox Live Arcade games, change various system settings, and play digital media. Both the Xbox Guide and Dashboard are customizable with several Themes that are included, and many more available from the Xbox Live Marketplace.
The Xbox 360 ships with a 1-month trial of Xbox Live Gold, with free Xbox Live Silver for those who choose to not continue with a Gold level subscription. Among the many features included with the free Silver level subscription is the creation of a gamer profile. The gamer profile is your online identity, storing your achievements, maintaining a global friends list, and storing your gamer points. Other features include access to the Xbox Live Marketplace to download demos, trailers, and Xbox Live Arcade games, ability to send and receive text and voice messages, and massively multiplayer games (may require an additional fee). In addition, you can use Microsoft points to now purchase full length movies and TV shows right on the console, in both Standard and High definition! No more trips to the movie store or finding a rerun of the TV show you missed!
However, if you really want to enjoy what Xbox Live has to offer, the Gold subscription level is what you want. It opens the console up to multiplayer gaming with over 3 million other subscribers at the time of this writing. But that's just the start! When you create your gamer profile, you choose from four "Gamer Zones" to choose from: Recreation (for the casual gamer), Family (for clean family oriented fun), Pro (competitive), and Underground (for those who aren't afraid to talk trash, and never shut up). The choice you make will affect your experience when you are matched up with other players online. After you've created your profile and chosen a unique gamertag, you can begin playing online and building up your friends list. Add friends and family who are already on the Xbox Live Community, or anyone you've met online through Xbox Live. Once you add someone, a "Friend Request" will be sent to that player and assuming they accept it, they'll be added to your friends list, and you can always see when they sign on, what game or activity they are in at any given time, and when they last signed on. You can even compare the games they've played and the achievements they've unlocked. Achievements are pre-set goals that when accomplished, add points to your total gamer score that is tied to your gamertag. Achievements are built into every Xbox 360 game, including Live Arcade games, and can be as simple as finishing a game level, or as difficult or tedious as killing 10,000 zombies.
Want to start a game with a friend who's online? It's simple, send them a chat invite, and you can use your headset to talk to them privately to decide on a game to play! Once you've loaded the game and have started a new game lobby, you can send an invite very easily by just going to your friends list and inviting someone. Once the invitation has been accepted, the game disc must be inserted and your friend is automatically sent to your lobby, instead of going through menus and sifting through hundreds of other lobbies to find you.
Don't want to play with a friend? There are plenty of ways to get in a game fast with the Quick Match feature found in Multiplayer games. Quick Match will find the best possible game with no criteria and get you gaming in not time! Want a little control over what game type or match length you want to play? Try the Custom Match feature and use filters to find only the games that interest you. You'll get a list of game lobbies that match your criteria and you choose what lobby you want to join.
Don't like someone who joined your game? Submit a player review and decrease your chances of ever being matched up with that player again. Unlike traditional feedback, it actually works here. When you submit a negative player review, the matchmaking system takes into account your negative player review and if that other player is also trying to find a game, it will not match you together. On the flipside, submitting a positive player review will increase the chances of being matched up with that particular player again. Player reviews also affect your "Rep", which is a 5 star rating system that is displayed on your gamercard that can be viewed by anyone. If the player is violating the Xbox Live Code of Conduct by cheating or using vulgar language or racial slurs, you can file a complaint that is taken very seriously and can result in a permanent ban from Xbox Live.
Xbox Live Arcade
For those people who love playing arcade games, Xbox Live Arcade provides access to dozens of games, some classics and others new. With trial versions available for most of the Arcade games, you can try them before you buy them. They're reasonably priced, generally no more than $15 in Microsoft points. They feature multiplayer, HD visuals, achievements, and just classic fun!
Xbox 360 Accessories
Add to your Xbox 360 gaming experience with optional accessories.
Play and Charge Kit
Sick and tired of replacing AA Alkaline batteries in remote controls, digital camera, and now the Xbox 360? Then this is the one accessory you MUST have. The Play and Charge Kit includes a Rechargeable NiMH Battery and Play and Charge cable that connects to your Xbox 360 to allow you to Charge your battery and play at the same time. Once you're charged, you can play for up to 25 hours without needing to recharge again. Best of all, you can connect the Play and Charge Cable to your controller before you turn off the Xbox 360 and it will charge the battery to full capacity while the system is off so you'll be ready to go for your next gaming session.
Quick Charge Kit
Do you like the Play and Charge Kit but don't want to have another ugly cable cluttering up your living room? The Quick Charge Kit includes a charging stand, one rechargeable battery and power cord and it can charge up to two batteries simultaneously. Pick up an extra rechargeable battery to make sure you have a backup that's always fully charged in the charging stand for a quick swap during those intense gaming sessions.
HD DVD Drive
Add next generation HD DVD playback to your Xbox 360 for much less than a standalone set-top player would cost and experience 7.1 channels of Dolby Digital Surround Sound and up to 1080p video output (that's up to 6 times higher resolution than standard DVD) for an unbelievably stunning home theater experience.
VGA HD A/V Cable
Have a widescreen PC monitor but don't want to invest in an HDTV? With the VGA HD A/V Cable, you can get up to 1080p (dependent upon your PC monitor's native resolution) output for stunning HD visuals without the need for shelling out the money for an HDTV. Of course, 480p, 720p and 1080i are supported, and so is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound via an Optical out connection.
Universal Media Remote
Play back movies, music, and more on your Xbox 360 with ease with the Universal Media Remote. With included Media Center functionality, control your Windows XP Media Center PC with a dedicated Media Center button. Turn your console on and off and eject the disc tray without ever having to get up. The controller is fully backlit, so you won't have to stare at the controller to find the right button in the dark. Universal compatibility allows you to control your TV's power, volume, and channel controls with included codes for most televisions.
Xbox Live Vision
Do you want the ability to take pictures and video chat on your Xbox 360 with friends and family? The Xbox Live Vision Camera adds that functionality and more! Play interactive games using your body gestures to control the game and add your face to your in-game character in supported games!
Wireless Racing Wheel
Why just get half the experience of racing games when you can use the Wireless Racing Wheel with Force Feedback. Using the same wireless technology as the Wireless Controller, you'll never miss a beat! It includes a floor standing pedal set and the wheel itself is table mountable, or can be used in your lap.
Don't like to be tied down with wires? Free yourself from the Wireless Controller with the Wireless Headset and get the same high quality voice quality and functionality as the wired headset, but without any wires strapping you to your controller. Using the same wireless technology as the wireless controller, you can have up to four wireless headsets with 4 wireless controllers, without any interference at all. You can even send voice commands to select games that utilize it. With dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons, and up to eight hours of use per charge with the built-in rechargeable battery, there's no loss in functionality whatsoever.
Wireless Networking Adapter
Tired of having wires cluttering up your room? Eliminate the need for one more with the Wireless Networking Adapter and forget about running an Ethernet cable to your router or DSL/Cable modem. Provided you have a wireless network, the Wireless Networking Adapter connects to 802.11a, 802.11b, or 802.11g networks with ease. Plus, the small adapter has a dedicated mount on the back of the Xbox 360 Console to conceal the adapter and keeps your 360 looking sleek.
Xbox 360 Elite
The newest version of the Xbox 360, instead of having a 20GB Hard Drive, the Elite comes with a 120GB drive. It also adds an HDMI port for 1080p connectivity with the latest HDTV models.
The Xbox 360 continues to make gaming and entertainment fun and simplistic with an expansive array of features and peripherals to keep any techie or beginner satisfied for a while, and with Xbox Live, the possibilities are endless!
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