FAQ Xbox

Q: What is the Microsoft "Xbox"?
A: It is the name for Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console world. 

Q: What games are expected to work on it?
A: Microsoft has announced that only Xbox specific games will work on this new 
console. 

Q: Will it be compatible with PC's?
A: No. During one of the meetings Microsoft announced that it would not. Although 
rumors are now flying that you will be able to port games.

Q: What are some of the audio features?
 
-256 Audio channels  
-3-D Audio support in Hardware (64 Channels) 
-Midi/DLS2 support  
-AC3 encoded game audio  

Q: What brands of hardware will be used?
A: Intel will Design the CPU; NVIDIA the xGPU and MCPx, Thompson the DVD player and 
Seagate the Hard drive. 

Q: Has testing begun?
A: Yes. Only testing internally on location in Seattle. Apply here: 
http://www.microsoft.com/playtest

Q: I'm an independent developer and I would like to develop games for Xbox, where 
should I go for more information?
A: Microsoft has announced it's Xbox Incubator Program geared specifically for 
independent developers. Game developers or potential game developers worldwide can 
participate in the Xbox Independent Developer Program by applying to receive the 
Xbox Prototype Kit (XPK). Available free of charge, the XPK offers software and 
detailed information designed to help creative individuals and game development 
companies create prototype Xbox games using familiar programming tools on standard 
PCs. Developers can use these prototypes to secure distribution deals with licensed 
Xbox publishers. 

Q: I hear there will be a Xbox magazine, is this  true?
A: Yes, the magazine produced by Imagine Media will be released in the summer of 
2000. It will be distributed in 23 countries worldwide. 

Q: Where will it be produced?
A: The console will be produced in Hungary by Flextronics International. 

Q: What processor does it have?
A: Currently, a 733 MHz Intel Pentium III processor technology with Streaming SIMD 
Extensions. 

Q: Who will make the graphic processor?
A: NVIDIA will make a specialized GPU for the console, named NV2x. 

Q: What is the MCPx?
A: In a recent interview with ActiveXbox, Derek Perez of NVIDIA stated "that is all 
of the audio (3D environmental audio), all of the broadband (The Ethernet), all of 
the USB, all of the wireless parts, basically all of the connecting stuff."

Q: Will Xbox support Dolby Digital?
A: Yes

Q: How many games will be ready when Xbox is released?
A: 10-15 minimum, but it could be as high as 35. 

Q: Will Xbox have a hard drive?
A: Yes, Seagate is set to manufacture the hard drives for Xbox from June 2001 
through June 2003. 10 GB.  

Q: Are any pictures of upcoming games available?
A: Yes, you can view Oddworld and Malice Screen pics.

Q: Will it support DVD?
A: Yes, DVD-ROM format is compatible. You will need a special remote accessory 
though. 

Q: What size Hard-Drive will it have?
A: It will have an 10 Gigabyte hard drive, though it hasn't been finalized. 

Q: What size memory has Microsoft stated it will contain?
A: 64MB RAM (including VRAM)

Q: Will the game ports on the X-Box be standard game ports?
A: No. All four are USB ports.

Q: What are some of the graphical performances we can expect to see?
A: 

6.4GB/sec Memory Bandwidth  
150 million micropolygons/particles per second  
150 million transformed and lit polygons per second  
100 million polygons per second sustained performance (shading, texturing)  
4 simultaneous textures  
Compressed textures available at 6:1 compression 
Full-scene anti-aliasing  
DVD movie playback  
1920x1080 maximum resolution  
HDTV support  
Q: Has an internal modem speed been mentioned?
A: Yes. 100 MBps Ethernet

Q: How does it compare against the Playstation 2?

Xbox vs Playstation2
 
                             Xbox                         PS 2 
CPU                     733 MHz Intel                  300 MHz 
Graphics Processor      250 MHz, by Nvidia             150 MHz Sony GS 
Total Memory            64 MB                          38 MB 
Memory Bandwidth        6.4 GB/sec                     3.2 GB/sec 
Polygon Performance     150 M/sec                      66 M/sec 
Storage Medium          5x DVD, 10 GB hard disk,       2x DVD, 8 MB memory card
                        8 MB memory card
Broadband Enabled       Yes                            Future upgrade 
DVD Movie Playback      Built in                       Utility required to be 
                                                       on memory card 

Q: How many Developers are Microsoft working with?
A: So far over 150 developers have been selected to develop games for Xbox. To see 
the list

Q: What do developers use to develop the Xbox?
A: A "XDK"

Q: What is an XDK?
A: A XDK is an Xbox Development Kit, similar to the SDK (Software Development Kit). 
Right now developers have Phase 2 XDK.

Q: What type of controllers will be used?
A: Xbox will make use of USB controllers; four controller ports have been used since 
Sony's decision to use only two ports with the PlayStation 2. The controllers will 
feature new "Rumble" technology. It is also possible that new game pad releases from 
Microsoft (USB only devices) will be compatible with the Xbox...Note: This has been 
confirmed as true on March 9th. 

Q: What kind of stuff will the Xbox offer?
A: Game playing with ease, online gaming through the MS Zone, DVD movie playback via 
the operating system, TV viewing functions (such as taping television shows to the 
hard drive), e-mail, and other Internet functions.

Q: Will Xbox offer a memory card?
A: Yes. 8 MB. It will be available to save games and other information.

Q: So it will be possible to check e-mail and browse the web from Xbox?
A: Yes, there will be features available to do that. But remember, this is a gaming 
console.

Q: How much is it expected to cost?
A: Microsoft are willing to go as low as $200 they have announced, but they also 
stated that it would all depend on the price of the Playstation 2 at the time they 
launch. It would not be significantly higher than PS2. 

Q: Has a release date been set?
A: Microsoft has announced that the console is set to ship by the end of September 
2001.

Q: Have pictures been released on Xbox yet?
A: Yes, you can seen them right here: 
http://www.activewin.com/xbox/screens/box.shtml 

Q: Have any Xbox titles been announced yet?
A: Yes a number of titles have been announced, you can find an updated list on our 
ActiveXBox website.

Q: What department in Microsoft will handle the Xbox and related material?
A: Robbie Bach, vice president of the Home and Retail Division, will over see 
Microsoft's new Games Division which will handle these new products. Ed Fries, 
General Manager, will over see first-party software development. Vice President Rick 
Thompson will direct the division's efforts.

Microsoft Xbox Timeline  
 
First developers signed off: October 1999
X-Box General Specs Officially signed off by Bill Gates and sent to developers: 21st 
December 1999
New Secret 3rd Party Developers Meeting Held In Seattle: February 2000
Microsoft Go With NVidia For Xbox Graphics Engine: March 6th 2000
Bill Gates Officially Announces The "XBox" On CNBC: March 9th 2000
Bill Gates Announces "Xbox" At The GDC and In Japan: March 10th 2000
The X-Box Processor Speed Increases To 733MHz: May 15th
First Screenshot Of A Prototype Xbox System Is Release Unofficially: June 2nd 2000
Microsoft chooses Seagate as hard drive manufacturer: November 7, 2000
Xbox is Unveiled at CES - January 6, 2001  
   
On The Internet

Xbox.com
The Official website for the X-Box

ActiveXBox
The latest news and information on the X-Box

MSXbox.com
One of the best unofficial sites on the internet.