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Microsoft Releases Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator

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350w ago - Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator, enabling film studios and disc authoring companies to model the behavior of HD DVD disc content, including encoded video and HDi interactivity, in a virtual environment before committing to burning a single HD DVD disc.

This comprehensive tool is among the first commercially available, software-based solutions of its kind, eliminating the need for expensive hardware or time-consuming and costly trial-and-error processes for testing HD DVD titles, helping to ensure that titles ship error-free.

The enhanced content and rich interactive capabilities of HD DVD increase the need for an efficient way to troubleshoot coding to maintain the highest-quality consumer experiences. The emulator uses a combination of available hardware (the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player) and specialized emulation software to ultimately enable playback of near-final assets from a network storage share, portable hard drive or optical disc.

This allows focused testing of the layout, the menus, and the behavior of the interactivity functionality of a title. Detailed log reports from the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator deliver valuable tracing information to help quickly and easily pinpoint problems with advanced...
 

Official CLOUD Site Opened

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350w ago - It's now Friday in Japan, marking the official release date of the CLOUD artbook and accompanying DVD. Media Works have now opened the official site for the book which confirms all the trailers which are appearing on the Special DVD and has a preview of some of the pages in the book, including one Fabula Nova Crystallis page.

It should only be a matter of time until the Final Fantasy XIII and Versus trailers appear on the internet so keep checking back!

Official CLOUD Site: http://cloud.dengekionline.com/
 

Assassin's Creed slaughters records as well as bad guys

50°
350w ago - Ubisoft announced some remarkable results today.

Assassin's Creed is now officially the fastest-selling new video game IP in the US, ever. Ubisoft have already shifted over 2.5 million units worldwide on both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, and they have increased their original sales estimate for 2007/2008 from three to five million units of the game as a result.

The net result is that Ubisoft have raised their expectations across the business and are reporting they will clear an additional €15m in sales revenue.

It will be interesting to see how other Ubisoft titles do next year in comparison. With the likes of Haze and Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway on the way, there's a good deal of decent titles to come from Ubisoft in the New Year...
 

Sakaguchi discusses the development of Final Fantasy

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350w ago - In an interview in the latest issue of Famitsu celebrating twenty years of Final Fantasy, translated by Develop, series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has spoken candidly about the development conditions that surrounded the birth of the series' first outing.

Final Fantasy hit after Dragon Quest had proved that role-playing games were a viable genre on the NES. "There were four games that were following on from Dragon Quest," reminisced Sakaguchi. "Final Fantasy was one of those challengers."

Yet despite the groundwork that Dragon Quest had laid before, getting the word out about the game was difficult. "I took an in-development ROM to the editor of 'Family Computer Magazine', but was turned away. They told me they didn't deal with games like that. Only Famitsu dealt with Final Fantasy in any grand way, for which I'm still very thankful."

However, development of the game didn't go smoothly, even within Square. The development team was comprised of seven people - not a small number given the era - but Sakaguchi could tell that things weren't quite right.

"Hiromichi Tanaka [producer of Final Fantasy XI as well as various other Square titles] was heading the other team in Square, and they had about 20 people. That's how I knew we really weren't...
 

DVDs holding gaming back

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350w ago - What does it mean when PS3 games start appearing on DVD?

We noticed something a little strange today - we received PS3 preview and review code (provided to journalists only) on DVD format... not Blu-ray. We won't point fingers or name names, but further research through our piles of discs revealed that this was not an isolated incident and that this phenomenon is restricted to games that are, or had been, released on the Xbox 360 as well. That is, multi-format games' not all of them, but some of them.

On face value that didn't seem particularly weird - after all, most multi-format games are indistinguishable across the consoles - but we couldn't shake the feeling of being sold short. Really, shouldn't there be some type of PS3 specific optimisation that makes use of this all-powerful Blu-ray format? Given that developers have access to an extra, what, 20-odd gig with Blu-ray, shouldn't games be stepping up?

Then it hit us: it's not worth their while. If you build a multi-format game across Xbox 360 and PS3 right now, you have two options: design the game separately for each format or design one game, that maximises the capacity of the smaller format... i.e. DVD. Obviously the second option makes much better business sense, especially given that the PS3's install base is...
 
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