2005 Year In Review
-- Posted by HSDEMONZ on January 1 16:17 EST
It's that time of year again, when I sit down, take a look at my notes for the past year and scribble down some of the more interesting, and notable events of the year. This year, that wasn't so easy. As Xbox (especially first gen xbox) goes, it was a dry year, and over-shadowed a lot by hype, lies, and at times misinformation.
2005 started with follow-ups to many stories that were noteworthy at the end of 2004. TeamXodus with another installment introduces us to the mia Skryer add-on for their chips, and announces a new No Solder Adapter for 1.6 boards. TeamXecuter(info) shows us the Xapt3r solderless adapter, and Crystal Pro switches. They follow that up by giving away 100 chips/Switch/LCD bundles in an XS contest. TeamXtender announces the XCM Xbox replacement cases. SmartXX(info) Lite OPX 1mb variant is announced and hits the shops. Those Kai(info) guys give us MacOS PreRelease to wet our MAC appetites for Xbox Tunneling services. XenoChip announce 4/8mb versions of their chips, while SpiderChip makes excuses for their flawed Chips. X-Changer Chip announced, and ships with the scenes first Open Source OS. Rounding out the month XBMC got notable mentions in the Washington post in an awesome article showing off the potential of a modded Xbox paired with XBMC. Somewhere in that whole mess, Sony is ordered to pay 27$ million for Dual shock licence. Microsoft comes off smelling like a rose in that case, and gets a piece of the action.
Xecuter Case Designs appear again, this time a new Desktop case variant. XenoChip blames issues with faulty and dead chips on "clones", while clearly, some of them simply don't work. People sure love Xodus, as they cloned their Xenium(info) again. Xodus comes back with the Xenium S.P. Solderless Pro Adapter and matching chip, designed to fit all boards. They also get around to announcing the winners for their previous contests. TeamXchip tries to compete, with their announcement of the X-Lite(info). Muppet tries as well, with their first foray into the xbox market with the MuppetX Modchip. Xtender announces their new Xtender 2 with new Hydra Cable designed to fix IDE noise and incompatibility issues.
Microsoft didn't Leave February alone either.. they announced the Power Cable Replacement Program, an effort on thier part to downplay the seriousness of issues with the Xbox Power supply that we in the scene have come to know as common knowledge.(other link, link, link)
We learn that the name for the new console has been solidified as Xbox360. More rumors and less denials about the Halo Movie Project reared it's head again. KAI did it again in February, with their release of KAI for Linux.
For some, the most interesting event of the month, possibly the year was watching Tecmo, the Game house behind Ninja Gaiden and DOA take aim and shut down NinjaHacker.Net. More interesting, was watching the scene rally behind the staff of that site and support him with kind words and donations for a legal defense fund.
February also provided me with the chance to review the Xtreme Enterprises "s" Controller Replacement Shells, XPFS from Team Xtender, while Xantium had the opportunity to review the complete Xecuter lineup at the time (Xecuter3CE + Switch + XLCD) On a good note, Xbox-Scene hit a major milestone for any website, much less one for a less than legal scene with 200000 members. A small and informal group of members I affectionately call the "crew" met again for their second event, Modding Mayhem 2005.
Case Modders rejoiced, as Xecuters X3 Control Panels arrive, Blue Canadian LE Case/Bundles arrive, and Xtender tries to entice other devs and shops with bulk rate purchase of their Flashing Xbox Jewel.
Halo fans got news about the new Halo2 Map Pack. We're also told of a doubling of efforts so to speak, with Bungie doubling the HALO2 Staff to get Halo3 done for Xbox360.
In other news, GentooX reached it's second anniversary, and X-DLS Linux Distro was successfully ported to Xbox. The Chip devs treated us to SmartXX and Xodus Solderless Adapters in March.
We found some time for reviews in March, with Xantiums SmartXX OPX review, and my O2XModification's Case Review. In the "you got to laugh" dept for the month, we had more Xbox Power cord Stories and fires and electrical issues, and we were entertained with the claims that Europe would get 1 Million 360's by the end of the year. Microsoft also gave us the announcements about XNA and how it helps game devs get hih quality games to the masses, faster, and better than before.
One of the most interesting events, wasn't even an Xbox Event. Some really smart guys spent some time, and Exploited the Wipeout Pure Game Web Browser for the PSP so that it could be exploited to view content of our choosing. Microsoft Power Cord fiasco reared it's head again, and this time with sites like GameSpot showing their ignorance on the issue.
It was a quiet month, with Xecuter launching their Blue LE toned Control Panels, and finally getting us a new X2 Bios, first in almost a year. Muppet released a Universal No Solder Adapter for their chips.
Viral Marketing.. I don't know if it was a popular term before this year, but Microsoft made it a household name with the OurColony.net advertising gimmick in the month of April. Later, got a glimpse of the 360 Controller although at the time we weren't so sure.
In the Interesting Dept, Windows 98 was up and running and legal on an Xbox, while GameStop and Electronics Boutique made news announcing their planned merger to create the worlds largest Game Retailer. In the "where do they get this stuff" dept, Goldman Sach predicted 3 million consoles (360) shipped in December 2005. (hold back the laughter..) I Squeezed in some time to push out the Xenium S.P.Ice Review. I was pleased to see Xs Sponsor BMMods.com get their ad into mainstream printed media. Didn't suck to see the XS logo proudly displayed either. :)
May - June 2005
A quiet period.. with the only real action coming from the 360 campaigns like OurColony which revealed dashboard, ring of light, and other details. We were also teased about 360 being "water cooled", and we treated to the Every Ten Minutes Giveaway campaign. A full explosion of 360 details surfaces, including Launch Date Confirmed. Nvidea announces the end of shipping of Xbox (1) components. Microsoft also agreed to pay NVidia royalties to ensure backwards compatibility for Xbox(1) games on 360. (to the glee of future 360 owners)
Playstation and Nintendo, not wanting to be forgotten, also made some revelations about their upcoming consoles.
TeamXtender Announced the XPFS Pro Keyboard/Mouse device adapter for Xbox, while TeamX-Changer announced their v2 chip. Later, Xtender announce the XCM Xbox Replacement cases. Easybuy manages to squeeze out a solderless adapter that is lifted from the designs of Xodus.
Legal issues also made news, with Tecmo dropping their lawsuit against the owner and staff of NinjaHacker.net. Pandora's Cube, gaming shop pleaded guilty to commit conspiracy felony copyright infringement and other charges.
In the monthly milestones area, Xlink Kai reached 200000 members for their online gaming tunnel service, and the Xbox-Linux Project reached it's third year mark. (and the launch of their new Free60.org site) I also had an opportunity to interview Bennet Grill, who won a $105k Scholarship at the Intel ISEF.
Finally, some first glimpses of the Xecuter IR device. IR wasn't the only thing that put them in the news, as Xecuter was seen on TV again. TeamXecuter also announced their intention to sponsor/co-develop a legal Linux based Bios/OS for all modchips.
Xbox Live reaches the 2 Million Subscribers mark. XBMC gets exposure from mainstream media in an awesome article. Xored TEM emu engine announced, now no one needs to use Evolution X Dashboard any longer. The scenes best Trainers can now be enjoy on your choice of dashboard.
In 360 News, it went into mass production in July, and we got an early glimpse of the beta XDK Devkit. Later we were treated to some in the wild photos. Some early innards photos also appeared.
Halo 2 Hacking.. temporarily on hold. Bungie flipped out.. scaring a lot of sites in the scene, forcing some to shut down completely, while others, like us at XS, decided to close the dedicated HALO 2 Hacking section due to abuse.
GTA San Andreas has it's game rating changed due to the fact that an outside mod called Hot Coffee that alters the game. This is an industry first that a console game, that normally isn't customizable etc.. is altered on a users home units.. and the repercussions are felt so widely as to affect the manufacturer. Following that, key game shops removed the original game as it was originally rated.
Xodus announces the Summer Surprises Campaign. (surprise)
In Chip related news for August, SpiderGX chip was announced. Xecuter X3IR updated photography appears, and SmartXX "released" photos of the innards of the 360 Dev Kits.
With 360 marketing moving into full swing, we get full disclosure about prcing, products, and accessories. Microsoft launch new Viral Marketing campaign to lure more sheep with the origenxbox360.com. The Every10Minutes campaign launches. Some shops only looking for press, release details about mega 360 xbox bundles for big bucks. First real photos of 360 Game packaging appears.
Moron, er, man dies after 50 hours of near continuous online game play. In other moron moves Bachus, one of 4 original Xbox designers, take lead position at Infinium Labs. (boy.. talk about your slippery slope into hell) In other sad news, XiFi, formerly ProjectDeck closes shop, and releases designs of prototype to the world.
I managed to get the TeamXtender Xbox Case Repleacement review done after 2 months of trying.
In another quiet month for the scene, Xbox Live, gets an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Technology and Advanced New Media. Congrats to the Xbox Live team! Canada, finally got it's own major free giveaway for the 360, "beFirstToPlay"
Xecuter gave us some more photos of their X3IR to dream about. DreamX owners got a patch for their over-priced broken Xbox's that allow them to actually play xbox games without breaking them.
Chips news, Xecuter X3IR shown off in first real photos, Franz tries to spin the whole Stolen XDK fiasco from the August SmartXX news. SmartXX, help bury the Franz shenanigans with the announcement of the V3 chip. Akira 2 Se and XenoFX modchips announced. (and quickly forgotten)
Australian Courts Rule, Modchips are illegal again. Microsoft settles all lawsuits between them and RealNetworks. End result, Real got a boatload of cash, and is now an official developer for LIVE marketplace. Microsoft got their hands caught in the cookie jar again, allegedly lifting soundtracks from band Ink and Dagger in Amped3.
360 in the news as well, with the Power Brick of Doom photos appearing.. and the launch of the new XBOX.com and forums relaunched.
In the sad news dept., TD, "theDaddy" from TeamXlink retires, and bid us a fond farewell. Not all news was sad in October, as Xbox-Scene.com forums hit another milestone and grew to 250,000 plus members.
Sorry folks.. 360 is the story, and pretty much the only story in November. As much as I wanted to try and limit the 360 news in this review, it's pretty clear the White Elephant that was 360 sat on the scene.
Xbox360 disassembled and analyzed all over the scene. Others started in with their Frankenstein experiments to see what it can and can't do. Others gave us even more info to whet our appetites. Microsoft showed us they are perfectly willing and able to completely sidestep the quality control process and send games straight to press before they completed Certification.
Zero Hour Launched, and it was a huge event in the desert. I myself became a part of the launch news a bit, by visiting a lineup at Best Buy the night before the launch of the 360. I took some photos, interviewed a few people.. and left only to return the next morning. Stood in line for over an hour, and scored my 360. The interesting part of that was being in the same line with the SMASHMYXBOX.com guy.
First huge Compatibility updated for 360 is made available immediately at launch. A week in, I gave my first impressions of the console. Free60.org starts to review early findings.
In non-360 news, Xodus announces they are back in production, but where is the summer surprise from July? My X-Changer v2 review also appeared..
December, both an anti-climatic month after the November North American launch of the 360, and a month of new things to come with the Japan launch, which was met with a lukewarm reception. Some lineups for the Jap console could be counted on a pair of hands.
Pirate release groups started to feed the frenzy with the releases of some 360 Game Isos and utils. The average user can't use them yet, but it will fuel interest, and drive the modchip guys to get going on a 360 modchip.
Halo Zero was released, as an independent effort. It's a nice 2d side scrolling game, that loosely fallows the adventures of the Master Chief as we've known him.
Chip news, SmartXX v3 finally goes retail after months of hype. More hype for the X3IR from Xecuter. Xodus surprised us all with 2 announcements. First was to announce the second announcement. The second, was to announce their new 24k Gold Plated chip. Xantium's SpiderGX Modchip review rounds out the month.
Well.. that pretty much covers most of the year in my eyes. Teams like the XBMC team gave us updates on a monthly basis, improving what is hands down still the scene's best and most useful app/dashboard. It is the killer app for a modded Xbox. Rest of the homebrew scene treated us to a few updates of some old favorites, and Shallax and other linux devs gave us some new additions to our Linux on Xbox collections.
What does the New Year hold for us? Clearly, with have the Modchip devs scrambling to deliver the first 360 modchip, and other pirate release groups lining up to give us their dumps, the next month or two should prove really interesting for 360 owners.
For those of us still enjoying the original console in all it's modded glory, we can expect all the teams to release yet more modchips I'm sure, whether we need them or not. What I'm waiting for is the continued price drop that will make the Xbox(1) a real sexy purchase in the new year. As long as we got XBMC to slap on it, the original console is going to be an awesome unit for some time to come.
For commentary on this review, check out HSDEMONZ.com later tonight or tomorrow where I'll spend some time and discuss certain events, and why I thought they were of interest. Blogcast to follow.
From the staff of Xbox-Scene, I'd like to wish you and yours, a Happy New Year!