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Want To Playtest An Xbox? 231

drix writes: "Microsoft is recruiting people to playtest the Xbox!" Someone over there has got to be reading! Let me have a crack at one guys! (Course, if they don't the conspiracy theorists will know why: and don't say, "Rob Doesn't Live in Seattle" cuz that's too easy. Course who am I kidding: The Microsoft conspirators are too busy saying the xbox will the crappiest system ever without ever touching one. I just see it as Microsoft's way of saying, "We're not a monopoly. Promise!" as they attempt to swallow another industry. The system may very well rock).
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Want to Playtest an Xbox?

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  • What are the odds of an ATI employee getting in on this? :)

    Probably pretty low. :(
  • Dang, gotta live in the Microsoft Regieme (Portland) to do it though. They aint sending out free X-boxes, you have to go there and play.

  • yum, xbox, too bad im in CT. damn it indrema, where is that console???
  • But do I really want to do unpaid market research for the evil empire? Well, unpaid except for some unspecified "FREE stuff!" Such an ethical dilemma.


  • We can playtest games like Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee and well... Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee.

    Seriously this would be very cool though, especially with the Playstation 2 being such a disapointment.

    Not that I could make it as a playtester, I didn't even get into the Tribes 2 beta (what were there? 1,000,000 slots?)

    The X-box is really gonna kick ass. I'm thinking of commuting to Seattle just to playtest the thing (3000 miles.)

  • come on folks. microsoft is the king of user-acceptance testing. if anyone had any doubt they'd do this, they aught to check their head.

    and it's a dang good business decision too. any product should go through this procedure.

  • Can't argue with free stuff. Especially high quality evil empire stuff.
  • I wish they were sending them out, imagine how quickly someone would add a 70GB hard drive and an mp3 player or something ;)
  • Man, just think how cool that blue screen will look powered by such a high-powered video processor.

    My mom is not a Karma whore!
  • Funny that its in the Millennium Building. I was hoping for the Linux building or something. At least they didnt call it the Me buildings
  • hehehe (in my best Trinity voice) "Slashdot this..."

    I wonder if will be slashdotted... :)
  • Doesn't Microsoft have a very solid INTERNAL q/a department already for playtesting and stuff? It's not like Big M to bring in outside people, if you know the history. This is almost definately a public relations thing designed to create a buzz about the (till now very quiet) X-Box rather than a real playtesting thing.
  • It really depends on your definition of how big the Seattle "region" is. I mean, some people would consider Vancouver to be fairly close to Seattle. Wonder if any 13+ Slashdot readers from B.C. are going to give it a try. :^)

    Feel free to extend the analogy in other directions to include tourist destinations in Idaho, Nevada, California, Wyoming... heh heh heh... after all, they post driving directions on their website, and I'm damned sure people will be willing to drive from those states and probably farther to get their hands on an X-Box.

    --- [DrPsycho] Coping with reality since 1975.

  • by hyperizer ( 123449 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @05:08PM (#536089)

    The microsoft conspirators are to busy saying the xbox will the crappiest system ever without ever touching one.

    Are you okay Cmdr Taco? It sounds like you're having a bad day :-)

  • does this mean the xbox will actually be out soon? and that it's finished? or is this a room where you have controlers that plug into a wall so that you can see what the games would look like on a theoretical "xbox" if it were complete?
  • by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @05:09PM (#536091) Homepage
    yes. this is for the masses. you, too, can get your very own X-box before M$ ships them in stores.

    to get one, simply call gateway, or dell, or one of your favorite x-box manufacturers and ask them for the X-box special. this includes:

    a 700Mhz processor
    a DVD player
    a large hard drive.
    nVidia GeForce2
    no keyboard or mouse (those are extra)
    whabam! you have yourself an x-box.

    Bill Gates:"No,'s not just a repackaged computer. i fucking SWEAR!!!!"

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • But what good does it do? Remember BOB? Wasnt that all based on user-acceptance and focus groups. I could go on with a list of ms bombs that vanashed but i'll save bandwidth
  • "High quality evil empire stuff"? Isn't that an oxymoron?
  • Larry Elison is giving out Oracle8i Licenses?

    um.. I done, you can stop reading...
  • I would think someone here would want to get their hands on one as early as posslible.

    Who will be the first to get an Xbox to run Linux?

    It would be nice to see this thing cracked, hacked and repurposed before it ever hits the street.

    Get working boys and girls!
  • Not likely. It blows the Dreamcast away in specs, and after the hype surrounding PS2 dies down (and people slowly realize that no one is gonna buy a modem and hard drive for it) the X-box will probably take over as the number one console.

    Seriously, the Dreamcast is just a novelty compared to Xbox and PS2 from a technical standpoint(though a novelty with some VERY good titles thus far) the Nintendo Gamecube has vaporware written all over it (though if Nintendo actually is making the thing it has potential) and Playstation 2 needs good titles to maintain the hype. In Japan many angry customers are ranting about how incomplete the PS2 is, and unless there is a dramatic turnaround in software quality the same will happen in the US.

    Besides, has Microsoft ever had a commercially unsuccessful PC game?

  • Quoth Redmond:

    "Be one of the first people to see future Microsoft games and hardware by participating in our Playtest program. Help us build the next generation of games for our new console!

    * No experience necessary!

    I mean, really, who out there is going to have experience playtesting an X-Box?

    ...except maybe anyone with a 700Mhz CPU and a GeForce...

    hmmm, ok i see their point.
  • If microsoft gets some kick ass first party games they may have a winner, however, I personally am placing my bets on Nintendo to win the next Console war. If they produce AAA products with their main franchinses there is no way Sony/Microsoft/Sega can compete.

    I am not a nintendo loyiest...just a gaming freak. I own a PS2(SSX is the only great game for that console) and a Dreamcast, although they are both great consoles in their own right, none of them have had a phenom title like Zelda/Mario/Golden Eye/Pokeman (laugh, but it sold 3.5++ million copies.)

    Good luck to you Microsoft (competition only brings better product), but you are entering a crowded market.

  • Someone over there has got to be reading! Let me have a crack at one guys! (Course, if they don't the conspiracy theorists will know why: and don't say "Rob Doesn't Live in Seattle" cuz thats to easy. Course who am I kidding: The microsoft conspirators are to busy saying the xbox will the crappiest system ever without ever touching one. I just see it as Microsoft's way of saying "We're not a monopoly. Promise!" as they attempt to swallow another industry. The system may very well rock).

    dear lord taco, lay off the coffee late after 5pm.
  • I am highly skeptical of the no experience nessesary tag since even open online beta tests prefer those who have previous beta experience.

    But since this seems to be Microsoft's way of saying: "Come test the X-box for 15 minutes, see the pretty lights and go tell all your friends" no experience would be a plus.

  • I hope MS changes it to maybe a green screen so then your about to beat the game and suddenly. Poof! It BSoD's on you. heh That will be the battle cry of the X-Box. Now I'm waiting for someone to make Linux for X-Box :)
  • Question: "Besides, has Microsoft ever had a commercially unsuccessful PC game?" Answer: Yes. Allegience(sp?). It sold less than 20,000 copies (not good, even for a PC game). Being a Microsoft product does not ensure success.
  • by PenguinX ( 18932 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @05:23PM (#536103) Homepage
    As I live in Seattle I figured I would just see if it would work. Oddly enough the "submit" button does not work in Netscape for Linux. Perhaps Mozilla? ;-)

  • that will be a reward for the team who is the first to port Linux to the X-Box.
  • I was thinking when that PS2 Hard Drive comes out couldn't they make a linux distro for the PS2! The only challenges would be the USB and firewire get that working and I think that would rule.
  • Evil Empires always have better stuff its a proven fact. Look at Star Wars for example. Rebels are running around in comfortable clothing for the most part, while the stormtroopers have that cool armor stuff. And who did Boba Fett work for? EVIL EMPIRE Evil Empires always have better stuff.
  • Unfortunately Microsoft has infinate resources to throw at this... so unlike Nintendo, Sega, or any other of the bread-and-butter console players, Microsoft can keep releasing new products again and again, failing until they eventually get it right. If they fail long enough, they will bundle it with free high speed Internet/WebTV, or simply a free console.

    No matter how great the short term loss, long term success is all they care about.

  • ...and a crack at the x-box. Good thing I have that Seattle mailing address handy for anyone who wants to actually apply. Could I just give everyone who wants to apply my Seattle # and mailing address?
  • Serves you right for using a browser like Netscape. Go get Opera (, its fast, comforms to HTML specs and isn't made by AOL or Microsoft! Though I doubt Opera works well either.
  • Nor does Mozilla (latest nightly)

  • im packin my bags for Seattle.
  • While Allgiance was a commercial failure, it was a critical success. So let's say every game Microsoft released did well either critically OR commercially. A console lauded by critics is a lot harder to overlook than a single game (especially one in such a niche genre like space flight sims).
  • I would trust MS more than I would trust Sony.

  • Opera? Crappy? It's the best browser on the market. Hell maybe you don't remember the days when ALL browsers cost money, but I do, so paying for browsers isn't odd. Nor is it pathetic! It shows they have confidence that people want their product. But this a conversation for a different board.
  • I suppose the Visual Studio.NET open beta, the enourmous amount of MS beta newsgroups, and their loyalty to beta testers are evidence that they don't like "outside" people. Sure, for several betas, one must "break in" to prove themselves as a quality tester (not just some idiot who just wants free stuff and doesn't file reports). For their game testers, they often reward them with gratis copies of the finished product.

  • Mixed feelings on that.

    The sort of people who buy consoles, like consoles because they work. They traditionally do not crash, or give problems. X-Box is perhaps going to be hampered in the console market because everyone knows Microsoft stuff crashes. Looks like it will be running PC games generally speaking, too - and all the PC gamers I _personally_ know would actually be the sort who want to play them on their computer, not a console attached to a TV.
  • I work for Charter Communications, a child company of MS because Paul Allen owns it, and we have seen the Xbox in action and it rocks. We will be deploying game servers throughout our cable infrastructure (which is very large) designed to work with GameSpy and the Xbox. The Xbox is a good thing. I have always liked MS's hardware such as the new Intellemouse with no moving parts.
  • no, bob was the brain-child of BG's (then new) trophy wife.
  • Do you use Linux? Opera's linux browser is beta. I'm not going to pay for something that isn't finished. A nag screen for a beta version is stupid.

  • > Being a Microsoft product does not ensure success.

    If their future depends on it it does.....
    Microsofts future is at stake here. IMHO
    I believe that is why they are dumping $500,000 into just the marketing of the XBox. They had to save the desktop from Netscape so they MADE Internet Exploder successful by preloading it.

    The XBox will be marketed to the scale of Windoz 95 because they have to succeed. OS/2 was the reason for the expensive PR from 1993-1995 and PS2 is the reason for the half a billion dollar PR for XBox.



  • Trust me this probably isn't a real beta test, especially with the "*No Experience Nessesary*" thing, it seems more like something where you can go into Redmond for 15 mintues, see the funky visuals and go tell all your friends (and post on msg boards). Big M has a lot of expertise in software, but thats nothing compared to their expertise in marketing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, the XBox has several features that makes building an "off the shelf" XBox impossible and lands the machine purely into console territory: 1) standarized known parts - developers know exactly what is where, giving them an edge to optimize beyond what one can do with a normal PC. 2) unified memory - the graphics memory and the application memory are the same! One can do crazy optimizations with unified memory. 3) a graphics processor one half generation past the GeForce 2 GTX 4) useful caches that are severely lacking in the PS2... you try writing logic that renders multi-million polygon geometry, but must refrain from reaching more than 8K away. The XBox is going to kill the other consoles. (And I'm no where near a friend of MS.)
  • As well as having a good, mature gaming library, the X-Box will also have one of the best graphics processors ever designed.
    which means we'll get alpha-blended bsod's ;)

  • I think Microsoft is one of the only sites immune to the Slashdot effect (its either their massive servers or Big Evil Forcefield).
  • God forbid you should _pay_ for software!!!

    I don't like to break it to you, but the X-Box will probably not have any opensource software, and probably won't be running your warez.
  • They report "Fall 2001" as their release date for the X-box here []. With all the hype, for their sake it better come out then.
  • Hell maybe you don't remember the days when ALL browsers cost money, but I do,

    Umm...when would this have been....since the start of WWW "browsers" there have always been free alternatives. I've never had to pay for a browser, and I'm not about to start now.

    I've found, after bitching about Netscape for the longest time, then bitching about Mozilla...then getting a crappy Netscape 6 and bitching about that, that IE works great for my purposes. It's reasonably small, fast, fairly standards compliant, fast, stable, fast, and works well. On my Linux boxes, I run Netscape 4.7x and deal with it...

  • How is it that when people say Microsoft, everyone points out that Microsoft stuff crashes. I've never seen a Dreamcast BSoD before yet it bears the Powered by Windows CE logo. You bastards! You've polluted everyone's minds with the Linux Hype Machine!
  • Playstation was a success partly because Sony had more experience in 3d computing than Sony or Nintendo, and because they had a lot of money.

    Microsoft has even MORE experience than Sony and even MORE money.

    As the Atari Jaguar would tell us: Do the Math.

  • I dunno... That well may be a tie, there.

  • You would think the largest software company in the world could have come up with a better graphic.. Can anyone read that map? How am I supposed to aim the missles?
  • Good point, but Nintedo does have 3+ billion dollars in the bank (I believe) and Sony is one of the largest corporations in the world. It should be an intesting battle. They all have the money to try again.

    The question is, even if Microsoft gets it right will they succeed? A great console, marketing and games does not ensure success. Look at the Dreamcast; they have Shemue, Sonic, Jet Grind Radio, Soul Calibur (great fighting game of all time) and other games...but they are failing miserably in Japan.

  • (ShadowDrgn): hey skull, are you going to sign up to 'playtest the xbox'? heh heh
    (Skull): heh
    (Skull): i didnt even know they had it
    (ShadowDrgn): you have to live in the seattle area to do it
    (Skull): fuck that, i already work too much

    Even M$ employees don't want to waste their time with this crap :-)
  • Uhhh yeah and since they are a company designed to make money, maybe they should just give the X-Box away what do you think?
  • by TheWhiteOtaku ( 266508 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @05:53PM (#536135) Homepage
    Hmmmmm, Microsoft a company notorious for looking internally for testing and Q/A, is looking outside for beta testers, "no experience nessesary". I'd be willing to bet this is more promotional than technical. I think they will bring in some kids for 15 minutes, show them the pretty lights, and let them run along home to tell all their friends.

    Even the design of the site with bright colors and flashy catchphrases (* Get FREE stuff!) If they were really looking for quality testers they would probably take a much more lowkey approach (probably contacting previous testers before making an announcement like this).

    As good as Microsoft is at software development, they are even better at promotion.

  • The All-in-Wonder Radeon is a fucking awesome card. Great 3D (up there with a Geforce2 GTS), the best TV tuner i've seen, excellent video capture, excellent video out, wonderful hardware motion compensation, and even a coax digital sound out for good measure.

    Crappy cards? Think again.
  • Actually, it isn't enough anti-MS bias. They look to be getting off of the Monopoly (tm) charge with a slap on the wrist. Even if they are broken in half, so what. That just gives them two monopolies. They need to be broken into about 20 pieces.

    Now if you had said that there was no good reason to say the X-Box software would BSOD, that would be a different matter. One advantage of a totally new platform is that they don't need to maintain 8-bit and 16-bit compatibility, so they may well do a good job, or at least they have a pretty good chance. But it's nearly impossible to be too biased against MS.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • ... stares at the monitor in dis-belief....


    oh no...

    oh god no...

    i.... could.... make ... a beowulf cluster out... of them....

    and mean it....

  • Hglahf nhraf hlaf... Are there any games where you get to kill all living humans, swallow a bunch of blue whales, rule the universe and put your tentacles in all kinds of places fo this X-box? I also wonder if there are any specialiced hand controls for "people" with just one "finger" on each "hand"...
  • by dbarclay10 ( 70443 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @05:58PM (#536142)
    You touch on a very important point here, despite your flippancy ;)

    Right now, Microsoft doesn't own the hardware. They've got the software, lock, stock, and barrel, but they don't control the hardware.

    Despite the anti-trust case, and how badly it seems to be going for them, the release of the X-Box is probably the first of many moves to start controlling hardware. Exactly how long do you think it will be before MS releases a keyboard and mouse for the X-Box? How long before they make a "special" release of Windows that runs on the X-Box?

    The X-Box is basically a PC. Get right down to it, it has an x86 processor, an IDE hard drive, an IDE DVD player, and a video card that is supported by/supports DirectX.

    Three or four generations of X-Boxes later(assuming they're wildly successful, which they probably will be), I can imagine that most MS software will require a special, MS-approved platform to run on. What platform will that be, you ask? Well, probably something that had, as an ancestor, the X-Box.

    Will it be very different? Probably not. I bet it'll still have a keyboard, it'll still have a mouse, it'll basically be a repackaged PC - but "approved".

    Now, there are good economic reasons for this. If Microsoft only needs to support the four or five different versions of the X-Box, then their life will be that much easier. There's won't be as many worries about hardware conflicts, there won't be as many worries about crappy third-party drivers(which are a massive source of Windows instability). This is probably their way out of any accusations about monopolies; a standard PC can actually be a good thing if used correctly, if it's not exploited through high pricing and exclusive developers' rights.

    I won't guess any further than what I've already said - but I *do* think that much of that will come to pass, in one form or another.

    Will I go down fighting? Damn right. Our family motto reflects largely on our attitudes.

    Will this be good for the population at large? Maybe. If the X-Box variants are cheap and work, then the concept of "access everywhere" might actually happen. Not half-assed attempts at non-standard "web terminals" around today. But if Microsoft gets a lock and exercises that power to milk its customers for all they'll stand(and MS has done this before - don't doubt it), then we'll just be, yet again, largely locked into the "MS way".


    Barclay family motto:
    Aut agere aut mori.
    (Either action or death.)
  • The funny thing is, Microsoft hasn't cornered the hardware market, but the hardware they do make(mouses.. keyboards.. SideWinder GamePads) is actually pretty good, and well.. doesn't suck. While on the software end, which they do control, sucks. Coincidence? I think not..
  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @06:12PM (#536153)
    Everything we've heard so far about the X-box seems to indicate that it's going to be an ordinary console with everything that that entails in terms of tight control over software, severe manufacturer-imposed constraints on products, and ridiculously high licensing costs.

    I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark on the basis of Microsoft's acknowledged ability to create markets for its products, and suggest that in practice the X-box will become the exact opposite of a conventional console as described in the paragraph above. Instead, it will become an entirely open platform, in practice.

    Why do I think that this may be so? For a number of reasons:-

    First, the console market is already fairly highly subscribed if not totally saturated, so the X-box will have to be pretty special to make a large proportion of gamers reach into their pockets again. All the other popular consoles are closed platforms. A way of becoming "pretty special" is ready and waiting. [The still-to-be-launched Indrema [] is doing something similar, albeit with a certification hurdle imposed, but hopefully this will not be a substantive barrier.]

    Second, it just so happens that virtually all the big players in the console arena either have or will be bringing out new mega-powerful systems within the same time frame, so high technology alone may not be enough, especially since Microsoft is a latecomer to this market. A novel angle may be required to make headway.

    Third, Microsoft knows full well that the popularity of Windows stems very largely from the massive buzz that was created by several years worth of unimpeded free-for-all copying of both the O/S and its applications. The official face of Microsoft may protest about "piracy", but unofficially they must know that in reality unconstrained access is an extremely powerful popularizing mechanism, vastly cheaper yet more effective than advertising.

    These three things all point in the same direction: Microsoft will either make the platform fully open, or it will create an easy and inexpensive method for all and sundry to write and install games on the X-box, or it will turn a very blind eye to the cracking systems which will appear 2 microseconds after the machine hits the streets. Nothing is gained by restricting what can run on a platform (all the talk of controlling for "quality" is unadulterated rubbish --- people like to decide for themselves, thank you very much), but everything is gained by having thousands of products run on a console rather than merely hundreds.

    We'll see. :-)
  • I actually had a copy of Ready to Rumble by Midway that locked the Dreamcast hard. If I recall correctly Midway recalled thousands of the initial release of the game.
  • A large group of people who are appalled at the thought of being given free, state-of-the-art
    Microsoft hardware in hopes that their help will make it better

    are also...

    A large group of people who are thrilled at the thought of being given free, state-of-the-art
    Linux software in hopes that their help will make it better

  • Actually considering the amount of Dreamcast ISO's, and now the PS2 ISO's, and the fact that the xbox is fairly standard hardware, that it will be long at all before warez can be run on it =P
  • We run a little digital film company here at Hammerhead Productions, and recently had a bunch of executives of a game company over for a tour, because they are interested in the convergence of film effects and games -- basically games machines will soon be able to do pretty seriously good pictures in real time; and they were looking to see if any of our filmmaking expertise could be useful to them. Several experience visual effects people have recently been hired by games companies; for just that reason.

    The most interesting questions from my point of view were 1) What is the most important part of game design and 2) Who is the 'director' equivalent in a game.

    We were having dinner at four separate tables, so we got four different groups of people answering the questions; but the answers were completely uniform. 1) The most important part of a game is the 'game-play', the way that the button presses influence the way the game works. Next is visuals, last is 'story'. 2) The 'director', as it were, are the game testers; the people who sit there and play the game all day, every day, as it is developed; to determine how it works and feels. We were quite surprised, and asked the question a few different ways; but the answer was always the same.

    Now, Microsoft is not writing the games (are they?) but are building the boxes, so testers would have a different role there. Still, it's a very important one.


  • I think Microsoft might be able to actually pull it off, though.

    Whether you're talking about Sun or Apple or what have you, they all tried to take on everything at once. Hardware, software, connectivity.

    Microsoft, however, has done things in a very methodical ... hell, a very *scary* way. They really are like the Borg in some respects. One step at a time, relentless. Anyways, MS captured the software market only a wee bit at a time. They're not even there yet. All they've got is a iron grip on desktop software, and a good foot in the door on medium-sized servers. But they keep expanding. Windows CE on one end, NT+IA64 on the other.

    I don't know where it started, but they keep getting a bigger piece of the pie. Then they start on their neighbor's pie. One step at a time.

    Damnit, they're fucking scary.


    Barclay family motto:
    Aut agere aut mori.
    (Either action or death.)
  • It's a cool concept but it's not based around Microsofts main objective. Are they palnning a business shift. Will they spread them selves over many areas and not really maintain the stability of one? (all mishaps to date aside) I thought that as a company that has generally ruined it's reputation, or shall I say, put a dent in it's status in the course of the last year, would have more interest in making up for lost respect. Aren't there isues to be dealt with in terms of the future of the compasny and it's ability to stay in the OS market? Not that I think they could even re-write the book for a better out come, but they could damn sure try. Instead they are targeting a narrow segment of the population in order to establish itself as a magical mystical being in the eyes of kids who are too young to understand what kind of mess Microsoft has piled up around itself.

  • As wacky as this might sound, the XBox might turn out to be a great opportunity for Linux gaming. Since all XBoxes will contain the same hardware, it's a cinch to put together a bootable Linux CD that has everything pre-configured for the known devices in the box. Load that puppy up with NVidia (or whatever) drivers, the sound drivers for whatever audio is in there, and lots of pre-configured settings, and you've got a Linux-based skeleton upon which games could be written.

    Since I'm not a gamer, I have other ideas. If I didn't strongly object to giving $$$ to the evil empire, I'd pick one of these things up, load Linux on it, and use it as a home multimedia terminal connected both to my LAN and to the television and stereo. View web pages on the TV, play MP3's off the server, pick up streaming audio, control the lights in the house via X-10 ... geek heaven!

    And just think -- with XFree86 running on it, it'd be a real X-Box!
  • PSX2 A Dissapointment? Christ. Wait 6 months. Wait longer. Wait for the *real* games. I fully intend to get this system just for the Square games anyhow.

  • Atari followed the "let anybody build a game" philosophy, and got some serious trash games. Far more than what is available on today's systems. Having a gatekeeper seems to have worked well on modern (post-Atari 2600) consoles.

  • by evilned ( 146392 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @07:29PM (#536194) Homepage

    Two small problem with your arguement. The dreamcast bears a logo that states Compatible with WinCE, not powered by. Secondly WinCE games for the dreamcast are extremely few and far between. WinCE on dreamcast has a reputation for slow loading times, and wasting alot of resources.

    The only game I can think of that runs WinCE on the dreamcast is some vegas gambling game. Think Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, or NFL2K1 run WinCE underneath? Nope. Now, you are right, bsod's on dreamcasts are few and far between. But it has little to do with Microsoft. Prolly 95% of the games for it have nothing to do with WinCE, and wont load it. I'm all for giving Microsoft credit when they deserve it, but the dreamcast's success has little to do with them.

  • Good god, no. Are you not paying attention to industry developments at all? Microsoft is OFFICIALLY trying to transition to a 'culture of economy'- and release this- both at the same time. They've been hammered by the miserable seasonal PC sales doldrums. You're a couple years late: you're still talking 1999, and it's 2001 and things are different now.

    Personally, I'm amazed that they appear to be going through with it- X-Box will bankrupt them. The smart thing to do would have been hyping it to kill PS2 adoption, and then quietly let it die like Farenheit or .NET without spending too much. They may be actually trying to go through with it- I didn't think they were that stupid. I guess they mix the Kool-Aid pretty strong up there in Redmond :)

  • Yeah this isn't a real beta test but a desperate attempt to conquer the all-important Seattle/Puget Sound market!

    Everyone knows that that is the market you must ultimately conquer and what better way to do this than to create a sham playtest available to people in this region only.

    Their hopeless attempts at deception were made very obvious when they didn't launch it in bigger market areas like New York and LA. Everyone knows that those markets are irrelevant when it comes to creating a buzz about a product.
  • Haven't needed tech support yet, it's worked beautifully on my Athlon box. And, there's been at least 5 driver releases since I bought it two months ago.

    And, i bought it for less than a Geforce2 with video-in/out and no tv tuner at all. This card handles all the video needs I have beautifully. Replaced a Geforce + tv tuner + video capture card gorgeously.

    Oh yeah, 2D is wonderful too :P
  • Look at MS's corporate history. They have never tried to get into the hardware game and they were ultimately very successful --partially-- due to that. I doubt they're getting into hardware any time soon; I am guessing they will take it upon themselves to establish the X-Box brand and will then license it to box manufacturers (Sony, Dell being the obvious choices for different reasons).
  • they'll probably have an option where you can change the color of the screen of death and market it as a feature.

    Seeking; proceeding by inquiry.

    A specious but fallacious argument; a sophism.
  • Copying of windows had precisely no effect on anything. Having Windows come with everything is what made Windows big - that, and running DOS accounting software.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 02, 2001 @09:45PM (#536219)
    Just to clear up some things about playtesting for Microsoft like the requirement of living in the seattle "area" and the free stuff. Pretty much you just have to live with-in driving distance of Seattle. My brother and I play tested Crimson Skies for them and you just have to make an appointment with them once they've called you to set it up then drive up there to play the stuff. Its not like a Beta test where they send out the CDs, you go in so they can poke and prod you while you play the game. As for the Free stuff you get to pick an item off of a list. When we went it was all computer games. Hope that clears up any misconceptions.
  • When you apply to be a Microsoft playtester, you are put into a general pool. Based on the information that you give during signup, as well as information gleaned from previous playtesting sessions (which involve alot of paperwork), they build a profile of your gaming interests and experience. When they want to test any given product, they build a series of ideal profiles for the testers which are then matched against existing profiles, and contact the individuals with the closest matches, with preference given to previous testers (already familiar with the system, know how to give meaningful feedback, etc). What this boils down to is that you sign up for testing in general, what (if anything) you are offered tests for will vary depending on what the needs are for any particular set of tests, usually separate groups for lots of experience in relevant areas as well as no real experience in the given area.
  • >Except for the EULA of course, barring you from using any other but Microsoft software. I think this time they'll REALLY MEAN it...

    so does the law that forbids this (ofcourse ms won't require ms software only onb the X-Box.. that would be cutting off a LOT of big time games). what is left is a huge licensing fee required, ala CSS. and DeCSS is legal :)

  • by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2001 @01:13AM (#536235) Homepage
    Does this mean that Microsoft are going to turn into (dan dan dan) Apple?
  • Yes, it's always someone else's fault, never the poor design of the OS, which AFAIK doesn't produce core dumps, making it more difficult to debug errors on users' PCs and thus fix them more quickly and accurately.
  • I've seen WinCE crash on a workmate's HP Jornada, but no doubt it was HP's fault and nothing to do with the flawless software from Redmond.
  • Except for the EULA of course, barring you from using any other but Microsoft software.

    That depends on whether they sell the X-box or just loan it out under a license. If the latter then you could be right, but if the former then the hardware is yours and you can do what the heck you like with it.

    Of course, the previous point will be highly debated by lawyers what with DVDs and DeCSS and the DMCA and all that, but everyone will ignore such restrictions utterly because any possible law in this area would be unenforceable. Somehow I don't think that taxpayers around the world would be too happy if their police forces start dedicating their resources to raiding a million console users.
  • by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2001 @03:43AM (#536241) Homepage
    What's wrong with turning 'repackaged computers' into something else? People have been turning cheap PC clones into 'Unix Workstations' by means of Linux and *BSD for years now.

    um....what exactly is a PC clone?

    secondly. what makes a *nix any less of an OS than, say windows, or BeOS, or MacOS? a 200Mhz computer is still a computer whether you run Windows, or Be, or Linux, or OpenBSD.

    the fundamental point here is that microsoft is simply repackaging a PC and calling it a gaming console. I'm not irritated that they're getting into the gaming market. I'm irritated that they're trying to promote sales by telling the uneducated masses that this wunderbox is the next big console when it's nothing more than a mass-produced e-machine without the monitor and 3-years' worth of payments.

    oh well, i suppose it's simply another case of Microsoft taking standard tech, repackaging it, and calling it theirs. that sure seems pretty fsckin' innovative to me!

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • I don't see it. I see the media saying the sky is falling, and I see corporations failing to upgrade tens of thousands of machines (if not more) first because of y2k freezes, then because of hardware shortages. This year might show a turnaround... unless this silly pseudo-recession impacts the sales.

    Nonetheless, I wasn't speaking specifically of PC sales. This is the strategy they've been using on the handheld platform too. Operating systems are still desparately required by corporations, as are perpetual system replacements, upgrades and license renewal.

    Sony and Nintendo have oodles of power, but they have not locked in... the world?... to their plaform.

    What do you mean by 'Culture of Economy?'

  • Ever heard of a good opensource game? Freeciv? LOL.

    What about TOD []? or Hampsterdeath []? or Tux Racer []? Or any of the many cross-platform Allegro games []? Or the entire GNOME Entertainment [] collection? I forgive you for not having looked hard enough.

    Tetris on drugs, NES music, and GNOME vs. KDE Bingo [].
  • Sure, you could spend hours hacking around yourself to get Win98 working, but I doubt you're an example the average projected X-Box user. The nice thing about running Linux games on the X-Box would be that it wouldn't have to be hacked by users; *game publishers* could do it, putting a stripped-down, drivers-installed Linux distro on the CD configured to boot directly to the video game on the same CD. You can't do that with Win98, not without per-CD licensing fees swallowing your revenues.
  • The subject line is a joke that mirrors many of the posts under this story. The sad thing is that many of these neanderthals are SERIOUS.

    The irony is that any Microsoft produced book on code design, code quality testing, management, etc., absolutely FLY off the shelves. I've had Linux anti-MS zealots recomment MS Press books that basically document the internal work activities at Microsoft. Doesn't anyone see the absurdity of this paradox? Any of you people who talk about the "notoriously bad code quality" of Microsoft code please ensure that you get rid of all of those MSPress books that line your bookshelves.

    Of course the reality is that Microsoft is a benchmark for code quality in the industry, with some of the lowest failure rates per line of code in the field. Do I wish they did a better job? Absolutely! Most of us would love if the failure rate was 0.0%. I would love if Windows could run on any mixture of a virtually infinite combination of hardware with drivers of astronomically varying quality levels and auto-magically fix code problems in third party applications. I would love if they made their code immune to the meanderings of poorly written third party applications (i.e. DLL hell though it is largely immune to it as of Windows 2000). However we must dream on.

    As far as anecdotal evidence there are always reams of people yapping about how they define the standards because on their system Windows 2000 BSODs once a day, and NT BSODs before you even start it up. Then again there are many people like myself that have run 2000 without a single BSOD...ever (have single applications failed? Absolutely...but never taking down the system). I manage heavily used NT4 SP6a systems that run several months on end perfectly until finally being rebooted to enact a new security fix.

    Bah. I don't even know why I'm going down this path. The reality is that Microsoft produces code that is better than average in the industry. With a solid, target platform and minimal services running on the system (i.e. it's pretty damn easy for a PS2 to be stable when the game is _ALL_ that's running on the machine...the propensity for failure is geometrically proportional to the complexity of the system) I have no doubt whatsoever that the system will be rock solid. Of course the day a game by Basement Publications crashes it'll somehow be considered MS' fault.

  • by jon_c ( 100593 )
    It's very easy to support VBScript, in windows all you do is make IActiveScriptSite object, and create an IActiveScript object from the vbscript.dll. if you can support any script language, then you should be able to support VBScript no problem.

    Also Microsoft has been known to license VBScript, the now defunked Chili!Soft licensed it so they could port ASP to *nix. Everyone says Microsoft policy is to "Embrace and Extend" this is true, but sometimes the extensions are worth while, I find VBScript a much easier language then JavaScript. the MS DOM makes a lot more sense then the Netscape DOM, people should support what Microsoft has done, even if the WC3 has gotten around to it.


    btw: i'm not trolling, I believe this
  • A stray application should never, never never have priviledge to take a machine down, period.

    No, it shouldn't. Who doesn't agree with that? However if that "stray application" interacts with a system `feature' in a way that exploits a flaw that exists in system code then it can take the system down JUST LIKE IT CAN IN ANY MAINSTREAM OPERATING SYSTEM. A lot of the video driver runs in ring 0 in NT & 2000, just like the drivers do in Linux, and if an application twiddles the bits just right yes it can bring the system down, though it's the system bringing the system down, not an application. Your moronic perspective that this simply shouldn't be possible is absurd (i.e. you're saying that all system calls have to be 100% stable under any situation and condition which is ridiculously naive) and the only OS that should satisfy you is QNX. I certainly hope you're not a Linux fan because an errant driver called can certainly take the system down. As far as me blaming third party applications I did in two ways:

    1. There are a lot of numbnuts dumbfucks that don't understand the difference between a system failure and an application failure. My point was that if a game APP fails on the X-Box there will be countless drones clamoring over how unstable the X-Box is. On Windows 2000 in some configurations Explorer.exe crashes on occasion. The knowledgable user restarts Explorer.exe. The dumbfuck runs to Slashdot to yabber over how their machine "BSOD"d.
    2. Many apps have been known to substantially degrade the OS' stability by replacing system DLLs will custom DLLs, old versions, etc. This is the reality of a mainstream system where development tools are easily accessible. This has been fixed in Windows 2000.

    As far as your claim that "Microsoft created their own ratsnest when they decided that the operating system should provide everything for everybody instead of clean". Let me give you a little piece of advice : You don't have to run DirectX games on your [mother's] server system(s). Oh, what's that? You're running your machine as a game machine? What's that : You're using shit video drivers from a crap vendor? Oh.... okay. Well gosh in that case yes Microsoft should march right over to your hardware vendor and give them a stern talking to! This is unacceptable! DAMN THAT MICROSOFT!

  • I have thought about this before too, but even my cynical self doesn't think that things will go this way. There is obviously value in exerting control on the hardware world, but there is MORE value in dominating the software world.

    Microsoft will, IMHO, run with their .NET lunacy, and move all of their software to a "pay-per-view" model. (Heck, they've plain SAID as much, haven't they? Somewhere?)

    Software will become a service, not something you necessarily buy on a CD. You'll be charged subscription fees to use your word processor. Hell, they may charge you for each new document you create, or each time you use bold text, or apply a $n surcharge to any document that features colored text. Sky's the limit in this model, and they will push us right up to the edge of revold with their fees. This IS the future, and we need to prepare for it.

    In this model, it is more valuable to them to have their software running on ANY hardware possible, not just MS-approved boxes.

    Personally, I find the thought of subscription based software that is always in communication with the MS Home Office to be repulsive. Each day I am closer to becoming one of those wild-eyed, long-haired, sandal wearing free software advocates. :) (Oh, wait, since I run FreeBSD and now Debian on another box I guess I am!)
  • Dreamcast games that use WinCE will have a specail addition to the sega start up screen with the windows logo and i think it says powered by windowsCE as well. but to be honest, i've been avoiding the wince games at all cost, so i wasn't paying much attention. BTW- shenmue is *not* a WinCE game :)
  • The solution to that problem is to brand games 'X-Box Approved' (and trademark that) so that the public can tell which ones are MS certified. The rest just say something that isn't a trademarked phrase, such as 'Works with an MS(r) X-Box(tm)'. Much the same as replacement windshield wipers saying 'Works with Ford(r) F150(tm) and etc...'

    The reason that MS wants to license games has sweet fuck nothing to do with quality, it's because they sell the console at a loss and want to make up for it with the game sales. And since they don't write the games, they want a piece of the games that other people make.

    There's nothing (legally) that they can do to stop someone from sitting down and writing a game for the X-Box. In fact, reverse-engineering any piracy prevention measures to make your game work with them is about the only use allowed for under the DMCA (which would only hit US game companies anyways.) I'm sure MS would lie, cheat, and steal, throwing fake lawsuits at anyone who tried this, but then that's their tactic with everything.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin