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Xbox 2 to Usher in HD Era of Gaming

We'll have to wait until Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in May to learn all the details about Microsoft's next-generation Xbox, but at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) last week, Microsoft finally revealed some features of its highly anticipated console. In a keynote address at the show, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chief XNA Architect J "I make my own job title" Allard shared his vision for the future of gaming—games that are always connected, heavily personalized, and presented in high-resolution, high-definition (HD) video. Then new Xbox 2 platform will offer features that make it easy for developers to create games that share interactive features. The new features include gamer cards, which let players quickly and easily review information about other Xbox Live subscribers and get in touch with similar players; a marketplace, in which gamers will be able to download new game levels, maps, weapons, and other community-created content; a transaction system, which will give gamers the ability to easily purchase new game items, such as customized racing cars; and custom playlists, which will let gamers listen to their own music while they're playing Xbox games. Allard didn't get into many details about the Xbox 2's hardware features, but he did reveal some information. The system will include a multicore processor codeveloped with IBM that will provide more than a teraflop of processing power, as well as a custom-designed graphic processor codeveloped with ATI aimed at delivering HD graphics. The company showed off some concept screens, and besides the high quality of the images, it's pretty clear Microsoft spent a lot of time developing a fully integrated user experience, making it easy to play games, connect online, and listen to music. We can't wait to see more

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