Xbox 360 Update 4.25.05
Leaks, rumors, and everything we've learned about the next Xbox.
by David Clayman
April 25, 2005 - This weekend more information was released concerning the Xbox 360 through Ourcolony.net. The site hooks visitors with cryptic blurbs of information, images, and some riddles. Gamers are encouraged to register with the site and either join a colony, or create their own. It is heavily emphasized that only players who work together and spread the message will be successful in advancing the game. The site features a leader board that awards points to colonies that sign up more members and answer questions correctly.
Fans of Halo 2 will remember the last 4orty2wo campaign that was based around Ilovebees.com. This URL was released along with the Halo 2 trailer in theaters and led millions of visitors on a wild goose chase. People who followed the game to its completion were given access to events on November 4th, where they were able to play Halo 2 before its release to the general public. 42 Entertainment's web site claims they create large scale "search operas," designed to cause consumers to look for the product.
Like the previous ARG, this one features a timer that counts down to May 12th. This is the date that the Xbox 2 will be revealed to the world on MTV. You can read more about the recently announced event here. The new system will be revealed to the world in less than a month's time, but so much information has already been leaked we decided to sum things up with a feature.
The first puzzles on Ourcolony.net were solved to reveal partial images of a white controller. Basically, this piece of hardware is a streamlined version of the Controller S, with the black and white buttons moved to the top of the controller, just above the triggers. Developers have also reported that they are using current Xbox controllers to test software on the Xenon development kits, leading us to believe that both controllers are very similar.
Shortly following this puzzle a high resolution image of a car appeared on ourcolony.net. The car is a Ferrari 360 Modena, which can be interpreted as further proof of the system's name. It is also a hint pointing towards Project Gotham 3 as a possible launch title for the next generation system. The cover of the original Project Gotham Racing showcased a Ferrari F50 and the sequel featured a red Ferrari Enzo. Also, one version of the car picture that was constructed out of smaller, segmented images has a "3" inserted next to the headlamp.
After the car images appeared, we were presented with what appears to be a partial shot of the next generation Xbox console. Because the item depicted in this image is gray-silver color and includes a honeycomb mesh, early speculation linked these shots to the Xbox 360 development kits which are simply G5 towers. The tower is shown on the right with an orange background.
This past weekend an incredibly hard puzzle on ourcolony.net was solved to reveal a small picture which seemingly shows a section of the memory card. There is a 64 clearly printed on the front of the card which leads us to believe that the system does in fact use 64 megabyte, removable memory cards.
This doesn't rule out the other big memory question regarding the Xbox 360, which is the inclusion of a hard drive. In a second leaked image which is apparently not from Ourcolony.net, the top of the system is shown in high detail. It is possible this image displays an attached hard-drive. The thin, rounded slit is most likely an activity light common on PC towers that shows when the hard drive is being accessed. On the side of this component there is also a block of text that says "40 GB", a pretty good indication that this is a 40 gigabyte hard drive attachment.
Later in the week, another, high resolution picture of the system surfaced on the internet. The exact source of these images is unknown and it is likely that they are not associated with Ourcolony.net. This image shows a complete front shot of console.
While the source of this image is questionable there are a number of factors contributing to its legitimacy. The image corroborates the design ideas we've heard about, with the system looking more like a PC or a TiVo than a gaming console. The system is rumored to have a single button and be able to be placed on its side like the PS2. Previously leaked information states that the system will be a metallic-silver color.
As we've been told the face shows two memory units slots, no controller ports, and a concave profile. Instead of the multiple green swirls shown in previous Microsoft ads, a large green circle appears on the right-hand side. A round-edged sliding disc tray appears above the memory units.
There are still unexplained aspects of the picture. The button next to the memory card slots has a small icon next to it featuring three curved lines. This is a common symbol for a Wi-Fi connection and would be an ideal place to put a reset switch for the wireless controllers. A similar version of the symbol is used on the PSP, Apple Airport, and numerous wireless modems to represent wireless capability. A Wi-Fi connection would enable the transfer of the large amounts of data that would be necessary for both controller functions and voice communication over Xbox Live.
Interestingly, Microsoft products using Bluetooth connectivity often have a small "B" next to their reset buttons, possibly ruling out a connection to that technology being associated with the button. Another interesting note on the system using wireless controllers is that it potentially expands the number of players the system can support at the same time. One of the cool things about EA sports games on the PS2 is that with the Multitap, up to eight people can jump into a game. Without hard linked ports, the player limit is only capped by the amount of transferable data and the software.
The black port to the left of the memory card slots resembles a traditional infrared port which would be used for a remote control. This points towards DVD playback capability out of the box, although the remote could be sold separately. The purpose of the oval on the far right side of the system is also questionable. It appears to be an access hatch and it is possible this is where normal controller ports may reside, wires and all. Of course, none of this information has been confirmed and the final system specs and design remain up in the air.
Using the size of the disc drive as a constant (every DVD drive is the same size) we were able to estimate the size of the Xbox 360 compared to the older system. The black Xbox is approximately 12 and 3/4 inches across and 3 1/2 inches high. The Xbox 360 appears to be about 10 and 1/4 inches across and about 3 and 1/4 inches high on the sides. At the slimest point in the center of the system it only measures about 2 and 1/2 inches high.
We'll have more information on the viral campaign, the future of Xbox hardware, and next generation software as E3 and the MTV announcement loom closer.
this is the console