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X-box spec springs a leak on developer site

Doesn't anyone respect NDAs anymore?

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XBOX365, a site for the X-box community, has published a document purporting to be the "official details on XDK", the Microsoft developers' toolkit for the new gaming platform.

Notable features include:

  • Dashboard is to replace the Windows GUI on the X-box.

  • The X-box game image format is not compatible with other executable systems, such as Windows 2000 executable format.

  • There are no dynamic-link library (DLL) loads.

  • Microsoft Direct3D will be the primary graphics API for the X-box game system. Direct3D for the X-box game system will be based on DirectX 8.0, and implemented using a custom driver specific to the final Nvidia chipset and video adaptor.

Speculators

The full document (there's much, much more) is here. It is certainly a lot more detailed than Microsoft's XDK press release, issued on 31 July. And it also fleshes out the skeleton spec gleaned by The Register's Andrew Orlowski, from an interview with
Kevin Bachus, the executive in charge of third-party developer relations for X-box (see Microsoft talks X-box to The Reg).

We wonder how kindly Microsoft will take to this leak -
as Bachus told us, XDK details were intended for the developer community only. A high price was intended to ensure that only serious players signed up for the toolkit. And now one of these serious players, or more probably, an employee of one of these serious players, has let the cat out of the NDA bag.

Unlike Apple, with its recent product leaks, Microsoft cannot argue that it will lose sales through the early release of information. Indeed, the XBOX365 article should fuel the hype surrounding the platform.

Even so, Microsoft will not enjoy losing control of the publicity process so early in the day. Will it get confrontational with XBOX365?

Community politics

XBOX365 was probably unwise to publish the XDK document in full (a red rag to the Microsoft bull). A story drawing on the document ("we have seen", as opposed to "in our possession") would have got the message across equally well. But enough of that: congratulations to the site for the scoop.

Thanks to the Web, "communities" are established these days in record time - as XBOX365 shows. This is a busy-looking venue for a Microsoft gaming platform which has no games, no machines, and no customers. However, there's plenty of buzz around X-box among component suppliers, games developers, and the press. XBOX365 should have handy first mover advantage, if a real X-box community wells up from the mass market. ®

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