Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American country singer who rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol.
Carrie Underwood was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma and raised in a farm in Checotah, Oklahoma.
At the age of 13, her manager at the time tried to get a recording contract at Capitol Records, but due to management changes at Capitol it never materialized.
Underwood graduated from Checotah High School in 2001 as salutatorian. Underwood attended Northeastern State University, where she majored in mass communication and is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. She also competed in numerous beauty pageants at the university and was selected as Miss NSU runner-up in 2004.
Underwood's musical influences include pop, but are predominantly country; she stated during Idol auditions that her favorite singer is Martina McBride. On the April 20 elimination show, Underwood demonstrated her ability to play the guitar. She can also play piano and yodel, the latter of which was demonstrated on the Tonight Show the night after she won.
After singing Martina McBride's "Independence Day" Simon Cowell said he couldn't believe no one has discovered her yet.
On the March 22 show, after a performance of Heart's "Alone", Simon Cowell said, "Carrie, you're not just the girl to beat, you're the person to beat. I will make a prediction, not only will you win this competition, but you will sell more records than any other previous 'Idol' winner." Cowell went on to say on the March 30 show that she has the "it factor" that will make her a star.
On her last song of the night in the final two, Carrie's spectacular performance of "Angels Brought Me Here" had Simon saying, "I think you've done enough to win the competition." On May 25, 2005, she became the fourth winner of American Idol, beating Southern rocker Bo Bice, and she joins Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken as the only contestants who have never been one of the "bottom three" singers during any week's results. During the season, Constantine Maroulis tried to flirt with her but she refused to go out with him.
As part of her title, Underwood gained a recording contract with Arista Records; her first single, "Inside Your Heaven", was released on June 14, 2005. The single debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with first-week sales of 170,000 copies, and briefly stopped Mariah Carey's run at #1 with "We Belong Together." One week later, runner-up, Bo Bice, released his version of the song, which debuted at #2. Underwood's version was shunned by country radio reaching a peak of #59 on the country charts.  The B-side is "Independence Day", a cover of the Martina McBride hit.Some Hearts CD Cover
Underwood performed a well-received "The Star Spangled Banner" before Game 4 of the 2005 NBA Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. In the same year, she starred in ads for Hershey's Chocolate. The commercials have Underwood singing Hershey jingles like the jingles for Hershey's, Kit Kat and Almond Joy. She is also wearing vintage Hershey T-shirts that feature Hershey's, Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Reeses and other chocolate brand logos. The T-Shirts are now available to buy with proofs of purchase. Underwood is also the latest spokesperson for Skechers shoes, following in the footsteps of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
Underwood's second single, "Jesus, Take The Wheel" was made available for radio airplay on October 18, 2005. It received so much airplay that it debuted at #39 on the Billboard Country Chart in its first week, setting a record. It is currently ranked at #1 in its thirteenth week on that chart. The single also debuted at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it currently sits at #26 after reaching a peak at #25.
Her initial album release, entitled Some Hearts, hit store shelves on November 15, 2005.  On that same day, she presented an award and performed "Jesus, Take The Wheel" at the 39th Country Music Association awards in New York City. When the week's sales figures were tabulated, Some Hearts entered the Billboard 200 chart with 315,000 copies sold. The large first week sales of Some Hearts made it #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and the biggest debut of any country artist since the advent of the SoundScan system in 1990.
In December 2005, Underwood was named "Oklahoman of the Year" by Oklahoma Today magazine.
On January 9th 2006, Some Hearts was certified Double Platinum by the RIAA with shipments of over 2 million units, making it the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of Nielsen SoundScan.
"Don't Forget to Remember Me" was recently announced as the next single. 
As of November 2005, Carrie Underwood is currently dating Northeastern State University student Chad Eagleton. Pictures of the two of them surfaced when Chad Eagelton posted pictures of him and Carrie at the Maxim after party on his Facebook account. During American Idol she dated Drake Clark, also from Northeastern State University. Carrie Underwood and Drake Clark agreed to break it off since the two were not spending enough time together.
She is a big sports fan. Her favorite sports teams are the Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Lakers.
List of Underwood's performances on American Idol
Auditions and pre-performance rounds
2005 Billboard Music Awards
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2005 Billboard Music Awards. All four lights periodically flash green on the controller: The controller is not initialised by a device. Her favorite sports teams are the Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Lakers. 1 Red Light: Will usually come with the 'Contact Microsoft Support' error message, but either way it means a hardware failure. She is a big sports fan. 2 Left Red Lights: The Xbox 360 system is overheating. Carrie Underwood and Drake Clark agreed to break it off since the two were not spending enough time together. 3 Red Lights: The Xbox 360 system is experiencing a hardware failure.
During American Idol she dated Drake Clark, also from Northeastern State University. . Pictures of the two of them surfaced when Chad Eagelton posted pictures of him and Carrie at the Maxim after party on his Facebook account. 4 Red Lights: The A/V cable is either not properly connected to the Xbox 360 system, or is not being detected. As of November 2005, Carrie Underwood is currently dating Northeastern State University student Chad Eagleton. The patterns are as follows:. . For some errors the Xbox 360 system will display patterns of red lights to occur in place of the standard green Ring of Light to indicate what error is occouring.
"Don't Forget to Remember Me" was recently announced as the next single. . On January 9th 2006, Some Hearts was certified Double Platinum by the RIAA with shipments of over 2 million units, making it the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of Nielsen SoundScan.. Microsoft is unable to replace the scratched discs, however they are offering a free copy of Perfect Dark Zero (a Microsoft published game) as a replacement. In December 2005, Underwood was named "Oklahoman of the Year" by Oklahoma Today magazine. The manual that comes with the Xbox 360 specifically warns against moving the system while it is powered on. The large first week sales of Some Hearts made it #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and the biggest debut of any country artist since the advent of the SoundScan system in 1990. When a user moves the Xbox 360 from its vertical position to its horizontal position and vice-versa while the system is reading from a disc, the angular momentum of the disc causes it to brush against the drive's pickup-assembly and results in radial scratches.
When the week's sales figures were tabulated, Some Hearts entered the Billboard 200 chart with 315,000 copies sold. Since its initial release date, some Xbox 360 customers have complained that the 360 occasionally freezes, apparently due to overheating because of high environment temperatures or a limited airflow around the Xbox 360 (and as such the problem can be lessened by allowing a better airflow or cooler environment).  On that same day, she presented an award and performed "Jesus, Take The Wheel" at the 39th Country Music Association awards in New York City. Contact Xbox Customer Support." in a variety of languages and the error code at the bottom. Her initial album release, entitled Some Hearts, hit store shelves on November 15, 2005. The screen contains the text "System error. The single also debuted at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it currently sits at #26 after reaching a peak at #25. The error stops the console and requests that the player contact technical support.
It is currently ranked at #1 in its thirteenth week on that chart. Microsoft placed kiosks for demonstration in some stores and the error began appearing. It received so much airplay that it debuted at #39 on the Billboard Country Chart in its first week, setting a record. It was discovered in Wal-Mart stores days before the official console launch. Underwood's second single, "Jesus, Take The Wheel" was made available for radio airplay on October 18, 2005. The Xbox 360 screen of death is an error screen displayed by the Xbox 360 game console. Underwood is also the latest spokesperson for Skechers shoes, following in the footsteps of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. .
The T-Shirts are now available to buy with proofs of purchase. On January 26, 2006, Microsoft released Q2 2006 earning report, stating the Xbox 360 has reached 1.5 million units in 2005, 0.9 million units in North America, 0.5 million units in Europe, and 0.1 million units in Japan. She is also wearing vintage Hershey T-shirts that feature Hershey's, Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Reeses and other chocolate brand logos. Purchased separately, the price of the items would be AU$209.95. The commercials have Underwood singing Hershey jingles like the jingles for Hershey's, Kit Kat and Almond Joy. To compensate for the Late Xbox 360 release to Australia and New Zealand, Microsoft released a VIP pack priced AU$149.95, containing the items below. In the same year, she starred in ads for Hershey's Chocolate. The Xbox 360 is scheduled to be released in Australia and New Zealand on March 23, 2006, delayed for 3 weeks from the original March 2 launch date.
Underwood performed a well-received "The Star Spangled Banner" before Game 4 of the 2005 NBA Finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. In Hong Kong, there are promotions include: free PGR3 faceplate with purchase of selected titles, DOA4 collectibles with purchase of a extra game, and reduced price when purchased with cross-promotional items.  The B-side is "Independence Day", a cover of the Martina McBride hit. The launch date for Hong Kong and Singapore is March 16, 2006, delayed from original March 2 launch date. Underwood's version was shunned by country radio reaching a peak of #59 on the country charts. Promotions include one free limited edition PGR3 faceplate bundled for the initial shipment, and a gamepad-game combo pack containing Kameo and a wireless gamepad. The single debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with first-week sales of 170,000 copies, and briefly stopped Mariah Carey's run at #1 with "We Belong Together." One week later, runner-up, Bo Bice, released his version of the song, which debuted at #2. It will be released in Taiwan on March 2, 2006.
As part of her title, Underwood gained a recording contract with Arista Records; her first single, "Inside Your Heaven", was released on June 14, 2005. The Xbox 360 is scheduled to be released in South Korea on February 24, 2006. During the season, Constantine Maroulis tried to flirt with her but she refused to go out with him. In Mexico retailers such as the Liverpool, CompuDabo, Game Planet, gdGames, Cyberbox, and Camelot Games have started selling the console, games, and accessories. On her last song of the night in the final two, Carrie's spectacular performance of "Angels Brought Me Here" had Simon saying, "I think you've done enough to win the competition." On May 25, 2005, she became the fourth winner of American Idol, beating Southern rocker Bo Bice, and she joins Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken as the only contestants who have never been one of the "bottom three" singers during any week's results. The Xbox 360 was released in Mexico and Colombia on February 2, 2006. I will make a prediction, not only will you win this competition, but you will sell more records than any other previous 'Idol' winner." Cowell went on to say on the March 30 show that she has the "it factor" that will make her a star. Sony has a substantial amount of Japanese third party developers.
On the March 22 show, after a performance of Heart's "Alone", Simon Cowell said, "Carrie, you're not just the girl to beat, you're the person to beat. Recent surveys in Japan have confirmed that the majority of Japanese 'gamers' are strong supporters of Sony. After singing Martina McBride's "Independence Day" Simon Cowell said he couldn't believe no one has discovered her yet. On the day of the launch, Capcom unveiled their Xbox 360-exclusive sci-fi game Lost Planet, which features South Korean actor Lee Byung Hun in the lead role. She can also play piano and yodel, the latter of which was demonstrated on the Tonight Show the night after she won. On December 17, Rakuten's website announced a special five-day sale starting on December 22 selling 10 Xbox 360s at 24,900 yen.. On the April 20 elimination show, Underwood demonstrated her ability to play the guitar. To entice people into buying the Xbox 360 some retailers are offering discounts on the system if they sign up for a 2 year broadband contract, similar to cell phone deals in the US.
Underwood's musical influences include pop, but are predominantly country; she stated during Idol auditions that her favorite singer is Martina McBride. Maruyama is widely credited for attracting support from Japanese game developers. She also competed in numerous beauty pageants at the university and was selected as Miss NSU runner-up in 2004. Microsoft Japan executive Yoshihiro Maruyama stated that he expects sales of Xbox 360 in Japan to hit one million units sometime next year. Underwood attended Northeastern State University, where she majored in mass communication and is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. It should be noted that this number is roughly equal to the number of Xbox units sold in Japan by November of 2005. Underwood graduated from Checotah High School in 2001 as salutatorian. Namco expects to sell 500,000 copies of Ridge Racer 6 in Japan.
At the age of 13, her manager at the time tried to get a recording contract at Capitol Records, but due to management changes at Capitol it never materialized. Initial predictions were highly optimistic as the highest rating launch game reviewed by Famitsu, Namco's Ridge Racer 6, scored 35 out of 40 stars. Carrie Underwood was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma and raised in a farm in Checotah, Oklahoma. Matsui predicts however that the Xbox 360 will likely gain momentum coming into January 2006 when new titles come out which includes Ninety-Nine Nights. . The 2-day 62,135 sales figure of the Xbox 360 is a little past half of the 123,334 units of the old Xbox that Microsoft sold in the first 3 days in Japan in February 2002. Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American country singer who rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol. He even added information that over 60% of his readers had planned to buy the much anticipated Tecmo fighting game which is set for a December 29 release.
Top-Selling Country Single of the Year: "Inside Your Heaven/Independence Day," Carrie Underwood (Won). For his part, Famitsu Xbox 360 editor-in-chief Munetatsu Matsui pointed to DOA4's absence as the main factor behind the slow start. Country Single Sales Artist of the Year: Carrie Underwood (Won). Others have also attributed this slow start to titles such as Dead or Alive 4 and Enchant Arm missing the launch date while others point to the marketing strategy that focused on selling the Xbox 360 as a fashionable item when customers were looking for an affordable or a high performance gaming console. Top-Selling Hot 100 Song of the Year: "Inside Your Heaven/Independence Day," Carrie Underwood (Won). Some believe this is mainly due to the other popular and prospective video game handheld consoles like the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation Portable, all of which have sold far more than the Xbox 360. Final Results Show (post-win performance of first single) - "Inside Your Heaven". .
Final Results Show (performance with Rascal Flatts) - "Bless the Broken Road". While other regions such as the United States or Europe enjoyed successful launches, sales in Japan have trailed the other regions, totalling 100,000 by the end of 2005. Final Results Show (duet with Bo Bice) - "Up Where We Belong" (O.A.: Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker). . Finals Top 2 Performance 3 (song originally written for Australian Idol) - "Angels Brought Me Here" (O.A.: Guy Sebastian). Three North American titles (Ridge Racer 6, NBA 2K6, and NHL 2K6) were not available for the Europe launch. Finals Top 2 Performance 2 (favorite from season) - "Independence Day" (O.A.: Martina McBride). .
Finals Top 2 Performance 1 (new song written for AI) - "Inside Your Heaven". A total of 15 games were available for launch, including critical hits Call of Duty 2, Project Gotham Racing 3 and Perfect Dark Zero. Finals Top 3 Performance 3 (Judges' choice) - "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" (O.A.: Shania Twain). . Finals Top 3 Performance 2 (Performer's choice) - "Making Love out of Nothing at All" (O.A.: Air Supply).  By the end of 2005, Microsoft sold 500,000 consoles in the region. Finals Top 3 Performance 1 (Clive Davis' choice) - "Crying" (O.A.: Roy Orbison).  In turn, some retailers blamed Microsoft for failing to provide enough consoles in the Christmas period.
Finals Top 4 Performance 2 (Gamble and Huff Songs) - "If You Don't Know Me by Now" (O.A.: Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes).  The shortages led to some consumers criticising retailers, and others attacking Microsoft itself for failing to fill demand. Finals Top 4 Performance 1 (Nashville Songs) - "Sin Wagon" (O.A.: The Dixie Chicks).  As in North America, thousands of Xbox 360 appeared on auction websites like eBay, selling for more than twice their retail price. Finals Top 5 Performance 2 (Billboard top 40) - "Bless the Broken Road" (O.A.: Rascal Flatts' version of Marcus Hummon's "Bless the Broken Road"). Microsoft confirmed that 300,000 units were available for the European launch. Finals Top 5 Performance 1 (Leiber and Stoller Songs) - "Trouble" (O.A.: Elvis Presley). , and Microsoft has revised their initial 90 day estimate down to 2.5 million units, though their 6 month sales estimate remains unchanged at 4.5 to 5.5 million consoles..
Finals Top 6 Performance (Songs of the 21st Century) - "When God Fearin' Women Get the Blues" (O.A.: Martina McBride). Analysts believe Microsoft will not meet the original worldwide target of 2.75-3 million units sold in the first 90 days after launch. Finals Top 7 Performance (70's Dance Music) - "MacArthur Park" (O.A.: Donna Summer's version of Richard Harris' hit). . Finals Top 8 Performance (Songs from Contestants' Birthyear) - "Love Is a Battlefield" (O.A.: Pat Benatar). By the end of 2005, Microsoft sold roughly 900,000 units. Finals Top 9 Performance (Broadway Musicals) - "Hello Young Lovers" (O.A.: Johnny Mathis).  In Canada, all 32,100 units available for launch were sold.
Finals Top 10 Performance (Songs of the 90's) - "Independence Day" (O.A.: Martina McBride). According to the NDP Group, North American sales totaled 326,000 units in November. Finals Top 11 Performance (Billboard #1's) - "Alone" (O.A.: Heart). As of January 26, 2006 at 4:59 EST, major online retailers are sold-out of both Xbox 360 packages (including Amazon.com, circuitcity.com and buy.com). Finals Top 12 Performance (Songs of the 60's) - "When Will I Be Loved" (O.A.: The Everly Brothers). It was reported  that 40,000 units appeared on eBay during the initial month of release, which would mean that 10% of the total supply was resold. Semi-Final Performance 3 (Women Top 8) - "Because You Love Me" (O.A.: Jo Dee Messina). eBay in particular was a popular location for such offers with thousands of consoles going up for auction, some selling for many times the original retail price.
Semi-Final Performance 2 (Women Top 10) - "Piece of My Heart" (O.A.: Faith Hill's version of Janis Joplin's classic). The high demand for the Xbox 360 led to some owners almost immediately re-selling their console for vastly inflated prices. Semi-Final Performance 1 (Women Top 12) - "Could've Been" (O.A.: Tiffany). Microsoft has stated that they will look into the reports and have offered assistance reachable by phone. Hollywood 2 - "Independence Day" (O.A.: Martina McBride). Microsoft claims that these problems are to be expected on a large scale release for a console and the number of reports versus the number of consoles released was very minimal. Hollywood 1 - "Young Hearts (Run Free)" (O.A.: Candi Staton)".  The manual contains warnings about not placing the Xbox 360 on soft surfaces or in enclosed spaces to avoid heating problems.
Louis Auditions - "I Can't Make You Love Me" (Original Artist: Bonnie Raitt). Some reported the Xbox 360 crashing with errors, some reported the hard drive does not respond in certain situations while others report error messages during various games or unusually fast overheating. St. Immediately after the launch, reports about the new machine's technical glitches started coming out. . Peter Moore, Microsoft corporate vice president, predicts that shipments will reach 10 million units worldwide by the end of 2006.
This allowed them to launch several months earlier than would otherwise be possible, but also led to shortages. They did not, however, build up a sufficient supply of consoles to satisfy the entire demand at launch. they did not withhold produced consoles). Evidence indicates that Microsoft launched with all consoles available at the time, and operating at maximum production capability (i.e.
Prelaunch reports assume that Microsoft intentionally restricted supply , although there is no evidence to support this and Microsoft has said they are releasing all units into supply chains as quickly as possible  . contest that offered participants a chance to win one of three hundred and sixty Xbox 360 console bundles six days before the official launch.. The campaign was later revealed to be a U.S.  This website hosted a number of images that appeared to perpetuate obscure conspiracy theories, but sometimes contained obtuse references to Xbox 360.
On October 13, 2005, members of the TeamXbox forums were directed to the Hex168.com website through mysterious messages posted by someone called "Lutz". October 2005 saw the launch of "Hex168", another viral marketing campaign commissioned by Microsoft and executed by the Marden-Kane advertising agency. Design for the website employs flash animation of a Bonsai tree and bland elevator music to create a serene environment that is punctuated by visually intense psychedelic episodes involving the host rabbits. New contests include a Halo 2 tournament and a competition to design a "Gamertile" (an avatar icon).
The initial contest was a raffle that required participants to answer three trivia questions regarding the Xbox 360 for a chance to attend a promotional pre-launch event. Unveiled on September 27, 2005 the website, hosted by talking rabbits Boss and Didier offers visitors an opportunity to enter in various contests. OrigenXbox360.com was the next viral marketing campaign from Microsoft. Allard.
On May 12 the ARG section of OurColony closed, visitors were instead greeted with a promotional video hosted by J. Throughout March and April OurColony.net offered challenges to its community, rewarding solutions with cropped pictures of the console and game screenshots. The promotional campaign for Xbox 360 began on March 14, 2005 with the opening of an alternate reality game called OurColony. EB Games locations received the Xbox 360 kiosks in their stores just over a week prior to its release.
In the first week of November, the Xbox 360 screen of death was reported. In October/November 2005, North American Target and Wal-Mart stores received kiosks to demonstrate games like Call of Duty 2 and Kameo: Elements of Power. Microsoft claims that most of the games were running at 25-30% of full capacity because they were not running on actual systems. The demos were running on "Xbox 360 Alpha Development Kits" which were Apple PowerMac G5s, chosen due to the PowerPC processor architecture that the machine shares with the Xbox 360.
The system, along with some playable games, were shown off at E3 2005. In the article he says "It's perfect...The day Sony launches [the new PlayStation], and they walk right into Halo 3."  Read more at wikiquote. Microsoft executive Robbie Bach later clarified this statement, saying "Philosophically the point Bill was trying to make is that we're not just going to ship and not have great stuff coming up." Gates himself later clarified that "Halo 3 will ship when Bungie is ready." . The Xbox 360 was also featured on the cover of Time magazine's May 23, 2005 issue with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates holding up one of the units. The official unveiling of the system occurred on Thursday, May 12, 2005 on MTV in a program called MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed hosted by actor Elijah Wood with a musical performance by the band The Killers.
See Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Microsoft Points. Points can be purchased directly through Live or via game cards sold at retails shops such as Target. While game demos and trailers are free, full versions of games must be purchased using a system called Microsoft Points. By far one of the most interesting features of the Xbox 360 Live is the capability to download arcade-style games through Xbox Live Arcade, as well as game demos and other content through Xbox Live Marketplace.
It offers the following selections:. The Xbox Game Guide is a tabbed user interface that can be accessed instantly by pressing the Guide Button on any Xbox 360 controller. An Xbox Live Gold account costs $49.99 USD, £39.99 Pounds Sterling, €59.99 per year (or, in the UK, a 3-month Gold membership is available for £11.99). Then when the user goes to add a Xbox Live enabled profile to their console, the user just needs to provide the console with their passport account information.
To transition an Xbox Live account to the new system the user needs to link a Microsoft Passport account to their gamer tag on Xbox.com. Microsoft has allowed for previous Xbox Live subscribers to maintain their profile information, buddy lists, and games history when they make the transition to Xbox Live Gold. However, video conferencing was not available when the console was first released. Xbox Live Gold has the same features as Silver plus online game playing capabilities and video conferencing.
Microsoft has also announced there will be trial weekends for Silver members to access the full features of Gold service temporarily. Silver members are not allowed to play any games online. Xbox Live Silver is free of charge and allows users to create a profile, join on message boards, access to Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade, and talk to other members. With the launch of the Xbox 360, Microsoft's online gaming service, Xbox Live went through a major upgrade adding a basic non-subscription service (Silver) to its already established premium subscription-based service (Gold).
Microsoft has changed the content of several Xbox games when running under the 360's emulator, such as when they blocked the Halo 2 trailers from running off of later copies of Halo: Combat Evolved discs, presumably because the advertisements promoted a very different game than what ended up being released. . Microsoft states that they will be adding more emulation profiles as they become available, with the intended goal of making the entire Xbox library playable on the Xbox 360. As of January 10, 2006, the Japanese Xbox site shows only 30 .
list includes over 200 games, fewer games are listed as backward compatible in the European markets. Although the U.S. market was released on November 11, 2005 and is maintained at Xbox.com. The list of backward-compatible games for the U.S.
. Updated emulation profiles can be obtained through Xbox Live, by burning a CD with content downloaded from Xbox.com, or by ordering an update disc from Microsoft at a small charge for shipping. Hard drives purchased separately or as part of the console package will include a certain number of "emulation profiles" for games, including Halo and Halo 2. A hard drive is required to enable backward compatibility.
Software emulation is far from perfect, as significant drops in framerate are observable in some titles.. Some games have slightly improved draw distance, possibly due to the system's greater memory bandwidth. Games have minor graphical enhancements due to being rendered in 720p resolutions with Anti-Aliasing enabled. The Xbox 360 achieves backward compatibility through software emulation of the original Xbox hardware.
The Playstation 3 also has impressive procedural synthesis capabilities, but the technical implementation differs significantly. Other interesting examples of procedural synthesis are shown in various demoscene demos. Procedural synthesis is also found outside of the Xbox 360 in the advanced freeware FPS game .kkrieger, where such techniques have reduced the size of the visually stunning game to a mere 96 kilobytes. The downside to this approach is that when part of the L2 cache is locked, there is even less data immediately available to keep the 3 symmetric cores in the Xenon CPU running at full efficiency (1 MB of shared L2 is already a rather small amount of cache for 3 symmetric cores to share, especially considering that the Xenon CPU does not support out-of-order execution to more efficiently use available clock cycles).
The rationale behind this design is that procedurally generated game content can be streamed directly from CPU to GPU, without incurring additional latency by being stored in system RAM as an intermediary step. The Xenos GPU can then read directly from this locked cache space and render the procedurally generated objects. When locked, a segment of cache no longer contains any prefetched instructions or data for the CPU, but is instead used as output space for the procedural synthesis thread. The Xbox 360's architecture was designed with this approach in mind. When running procedural synthesis algorithms, one of the Xenon CPU's cores may "lock" a portion of the 1 MB shared L2 cache.
Instead, a general recursive algorithm will generate the tree's model and textures, so that each tree looks different from the next, and do so with high efficiency. A game with only one model for a tree will appear odd, as nature is far more random; the game loses some of its immersion as a result. For example, trees are one of the most complicated objects to render in a game, due to their organic complexity. Procedural synthesis is an approach to generating game content via algorithms.
A newer approach to generating content is utilised for Xbox 360 titles, a method referred to by Microsoft as procedural synthesis. As complexity in each rises, the demand for storage rises as well. In traditional games, all content is statically stored and generally immutable; that is, textures, meshes, and other game content is stored on a storage medium. For the Xbox 360, Microsoft has drawn on recent research in computer graphics to enable a new method for game programming.
For example, John Carmack stated at QuakeCon 2005 that the Xbox 360 had "the best development environment" he has seen for a console. To date, some developers have endorsed XNA Studio. Microsoft believes that this will give developers more time to generate unique content and reduce time running the content process. XNA Studio will allow team members to collaborate using familiar techniques and tools, even when elements of the team are distributed geographically, an increasing trend in game development.
These tools are designed to work together to automate common development tasks and present interfaces tailored to the different functions within the team. XNA Studio will provide versions of key production tools such as asset management, defect tracking, project automation and work lists. Based on Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 Team System, the XNA Studio is the Visual Studio for game development; an integrated, team-based development environment tailored for game production. XNA Studio will enable collaboration between content creators, programmers, management and QA staff to speed the game production process.
XNA Studio covers three areas: Content Creation, Production Processes and Game Technologies. The Xbox 360 game development will be centered around the XNA Studio game development platform. In March 2004, Microsoft announced a new game development software strategy dubbed "XNA", which Microsoft claims would enable game studios to cut development times by up to a third if developing across multiple Microsoft platforms, by means of tools created with the increasing difficulty of programming for a machine with three processor cores in mind. During early development the Xbox 360 was referred to as "Xenon", "Xbox 2", and "Xbox Next".
. By using a program "mceDivX360" on the PC, the Xbox 360 is able to receive streamed films which are converted to WMV format from DivX by Windows Media Encoder. The Xbox 360 is able to stream movies from a PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition, although it is unable to stream movies in DivX format. Windows Media Connect allows users to stream their favorite music collection through the Xbox 360 Dashboard, and allows users to play their music via the Xbox 360 Guide in place of the game's original soundtrack.
After installation the computer and the and Xbox 360 will automatically detect one other. To connect the Xbox 360 to a computer the user will need to download Windows Media Connect. The Xbox 360 has the ability to connect to Windows XP based computers over a home network to stream music and pictures right to a TV. The main dashboard is divided into 4 main sections:.
From there, the full Dashboard can be run, exiting the current game. The Dashboard can also be accessed via the Xbox Guide button on the controller at any time to open a player specific blade. The Dashboard will launch automaticially at boot if no game disc is inserted into the console. The Dashboard is the main interface to the Xbox 360, governed by a series of "blades" to subdivide categories.
Due to the limited space of standard DVDs, some games made for the system may span multiple discs, although procedural generation of textures and models (as seen in the PC game .kkrieger) may reduce the need for multiple discs. Xbox 360 games are set to the standard 7.95GB of storage available on a dual-layer DVD. Bill Gates has confirmed during his keynote speech at CES 2006 that an external HD-DVD drive will be released for the 360 this year. However, Peter Moore has stated that if HD-DVD loses the format war, Microsoft may release an external Blu-Ray drive.. .
It has been confirmed by Yoshihiro Maruyama, Japan's chief of Xbox operations, that Microsoft will never release games for Xbox 360 in a format other than DVD. The other supported formats are: CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R/RW, WMACD, MP3CD, and JPEG Photo CD. A 12X DVD-ROM SATA drive, capable of reading DVD+R/RW discs and DVD-R/RW, is part of the console, with game titles shipping on single or dual-layer DVDs. The system bandwidth comprises:.
The graphics processing unit (GPU) is a custom ATI R500-based "Xenos". . The central processing unit (CPU), named Xenon (Microsoft) or Waternoose (IBM) is a custom IBM triple-core PowerPC-based design. Specifications are also available at the official Xbox website.
The price of these custom designs are around $20 with more to be released by third party manufacturers. Microsoft has also distributed two promotional faceplates, one for those present at the E3 2005 unveiling and one for VIP X05 attendees. The default faceplate (Xbox 360's Chrome or Core System's Chill) can be replaced with a range of custom designs, each to be sold separately. According to J Allard, the chief of Microsoft's Xbox division, Microsoft may sell larger capacity detachable hard drives for the Xbox 360 in the future, and territories outside of North America may have a differently sized hard drive in the retail unit.
This drive will not be included in the Core System bundle at launch, and also will not be sold separately in Japan. This content will be included on both the bundled hard drive and the stand alone product. The individual drives will come pre-loaded with a promotional video about the making of the Xbox 360, the "XBOX 360 Custom Mix" (A collection of music), additional Dashboard skins, songs, additional Xbox Live Gamertag images, and Hexic HD, an Xbox Live Arcade game from Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov. A hard drive is also required for the user to be able to play backward compatible Xbox games.
Only 13 GB of this hard drive are available to the user; the rest is reserved for the system and games. A detachable SATA 20 GB hard drive is used for the storage of games, music, downloaded trailers, levels, demos, player preferences, and community-created content from Xbox Live Marketplace; it may also be used to transfer such content between Xbox 360 units. This port replaces the two proprietary USB connectors on the front of the Xbox controller. The rear of the controller includes a port where the player can connect a headset.
The black and white buttons have been redesigned as shoulder buttons, now referred to as bumper buttons, located above the left and right triggers. The ring of light lights up the quadrant (on the controller as well as the console) that represents the player number assigned to that controller (starting with the top left quadrant as player one, and proceeding clockwise to player 4 in the bottom left). Pressing the Xbox guide button will bring the Xbox 360 out of sleep mode, turn the console on or off, and bring up the "Xbox Guide" for access to digital movies, music and games libraries. The Xbox 360 controller adds an Xbox guide button, which has the appearance of the Xbox 360 emblem and is surrounded by a ring of green LEDs.
The controller for the Xbox 360 is a similar version of the Type-S gamepad for the original Xbox. The wireless controller has a battery life of up to 25 hours on the NiMH rechargeable battery pack (optional and recommended) and a recommended range of up to 30 feet (9.14 m). The controllers have two digital Touch-sensitive trigger buttons.The rest of the buttons are not Touch-sensitive. The wired controller has a nine foot (2.74 m) long cord with a break-away feature.
Since the controller has a USB cable, it is also usable in Windows PCs. Alternately it can support two wired controllers through the use of its USB ports at the front, the USB port on the back will support a third controller. The Xbox 360 has the ability to support up to four wireless controllers.
This discrepancy is partially accounted for by the time needed to localize the games. Japanese customers, however, only had six titles to choose from by the time the Xbox 360 was released on December 10, 2005. The European countries had fifteen titles available for the launch date of December 2, 2005. Eighteen launch titles were available for customers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico on November 22, 2005.
For full details see Console Launch. Without it the Xbox 360 numbers sold were less than originally anticipated. The main reason for this may have been the delaying of Dead Or Alive 4 which remains an extremely popular Xbox 360 Japanese game. In Japan, it was received far less enthusiastically, despite the low price and bonus features.
Many stores sold out on the first day, and as of mid-January consumers had to hunt across many stores to find one in stock. The Xbox 360 has been released in North America, Puerto Rico, Europe and Japan. They have also stated that they may release a similar Blu-ray attachment, depending on which format (HD-DVD or Blu-ray) becomes standard, though there is currently no plan except the support for HD-DVD. Microsoft plans to release an external HD-DVD attachment to play high-definition movies.
Xbox 360 is compatible with DVD movies, but not HD-DVD nor Blu-Ray. Microsoft hopes to avoid such a predicament with its new console, the company is predicting that a greater market share and falling hardware costs will make the Xbox 360 a profitable item. Microsoft's home entertainment division posted a loss through nearly every quarter of the console's lifecycle as a result. Because of these chips and the added expense of a hard drive component, Microsoft was never able to reduce the cost of manufacturing an Xbox below the break-even point.
Both of these were very similar to "off the shelf" PC hardware and were therefore sold to Microsoft at inflated market prices. This flexibility stands in contrast to the situation faced by the original Xbox, which contained a processor from Intel (a slightly modified Pentium III) and a GPU from NVidia (a modified GeForce 3). Also, since Microsoft owns the patents or licenses thereunder for all custom hardware used in the Xbox 360, they can easily switch to new fabrication processes or change suppliers in the future in order to reduce manufacturing costs. The strategy of selling a console at a loss or near-loss is common in the console games industry, as console makers can usually expect to make up the investment with revenue from game licensing.
BusinessWeek magazine compiled a report which estimates that the total cost of all of the components in the "premium" bundle is $525 USD, aside from additional manufacturing costs, meaning that Microsoft is losing at least $126 on every Xbox 360 system sold in the US, and at least as much in Japan. However because of the existence of a Core System edition, many games do not require a hard drive. Microsoft's decision has also allowed Japanese developers to fully utilize the hard drive to optimize game performance, since it is part of the default system configuration in their market. Japanese pricing of the console has drawn some criticism, as customers there will be able to purchase the Xbox 360 full package, albeit one region-coded for Japan, for a lower price than in other countries.
The Xbox 360 Premium Edition is being sold in America for $399.99. The Core System is not available in Japan, instead Microsoft offers a package identical to the Xbox 360 SKU for ¥37,900 ($323.90 as of 21 December 05 8:09 UTC, ). In United Kingdom and Europe, the console is available in two versions: an Xbox 360 SKU, frequently referred to as the "Xbox 360 Premium Package"; and an Xbox 360 Core System SKU. Microsoft's current retail strategy involves two different configurations of the Xbox 360 in most countries.
. Australia and New Zealand, after being delayed, have been set-back from March 2 to March 23. It will be released February 24 in South Korea, March 16, 2006 in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan (Delayed from original March 2 launch date). The Xbox 360 was released on November 22, 2005 in United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, December 2 in Europe, December 10 in Japan, February 2, 2006 in Mexico and Colombia.
It is equipped with 512 MB of RAM and uses the DVD-ROM storage medium for Xbox 360 game software. The console hardware is based on a custom IBM PowerPC-based "Xenon" central processing unit (CPU) and a custom ATI R500-based "Xenos" graphics processing unit (GPU). The Xbox 360 configuration, often referred to as the "Premium Edition", includes a hard drive (required for backwards compatibility with original Xbox games), a wireless controller, a headset, an Ethernet cable, an Xbox Live silver subscription, and a component HD AV cable (which can also be used on non-HD TVs). In all countries except Japan the console is sold in two different configurations: the "Xbox 360" and the "Xbox 360 Core System".
The Xbox 360 will compete amongst the upcoming generation of consoles, including the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution, and was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, a week before the E3 trade show. The Xbox 360 is Microsoft's second video game console, the successor to their original Xbox. Membership to the Xbox 360 VIP website. One Xbox 360 Preview DVD.
One Wireless Controller. Perfect Dark Zero. Xbox 360 Faceplate. Friends Lists.
Custom Playlists. Favorites List. Marketplace. Xbox Live.
Initial Setup - Runs the system setup that executes the first time the Xbox 360 is used. Computers - Manage connections to other computers over network. Network Settings - Create and manage internet connections, set up wireless connections. Memory - Manage things on the harddrive such as game saves, profiles, and downloaded content.
Family Settings - Toggle parental controls, adjust profile levels. Console Settings - Edit Xbox 360 settings such as display, audio, and language. Media Center - Activate Media Center extender. Video - Watch videos stored on the HD.
Pictures - View pictures stored on a camera, a computer or other portable devices. Music - Listen to music from the hard drive, computer or other USB-connected devices. Trailers - Watch downloaded movie/game trailers. Demos - Play downloaded game demos.
Xbox Live Arcade - Allows the user to play games they have downloaded from the Xbox Live Marketplace. Played Games - Displays a list of all the games the user has played. Achievements - Allows the user to view all of their unlocked achievements from games they have played. Xbox Live Marketplace - Download a wide variety of content such as avatars, trailers, even game demos.
Friends - Displays the user's Xbox Live friend list. Messages - View messages, friend requests or game invites sent by other Xbox Live members. Connect to Xbox Live - If offline, allows the user to connect to Xbox Live. There are several ways to utilize the custom soundtrack option: by ripping music from audio CD's, by streaming music directly from a PC, plugging in a USB Flash Drive, or by plugging in a USB-capable portable music player.
Microsoft claims all games will support custom music. 3 USB 2.0 ports. Some games will optionally support native 1080i and 480p video resolutions as well. The GPU can downsample 720p to lower display resolutions (including 480i SDTV and 480p) and dynamically crop or scale 16:9 to fit 4:3 screens.
All games must support a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a minimum of 720p HD resolution with 2x full-scene anti-aliasing enabled. DVD playback on the console has similar lockouts. Games bought for the console in a specific region can only be played in a console from the same region, though some games are region-free. The console makes use of regional lockout.
Media Center Extender capability. Support for WMV HD and progressive or interlaced DVD video playback. 45.9 cm (L) x 35.8 cm (W) x 18.3 cm (H) (22.15 x 20.15 x 13.27 in). Weight 3.5 kg (7.7 lb).
additional MPEG2 decoder for DVD video playback. Bink Video is licensed for games like Project Gotham Racing 3. VC-1 supports DVD quality and high definition quality video. VC-1 or WMV will be used for streaming video.
VC-1 at non-HD NTSC and PAL resolutions. Uses XMA codec (advanced audio technology from Microsoft). Voice communication except during games or applications that do not support voice. No voice echo to game players on the same Xbox console; voice goes only to remote consoles.
256+ audio channels. 32 bit processing. 320 independent decompression channels. Supports 48 kHz 16-bit audio.
All games support at least six channel (5.1) Dolby Digital surround sound. 1 TFLOPS theoretical peak performance of CPU and GPU combined. 115 GFLOPS theoretical peak performance for CPU. 1 GB/s southbridge bandwidth (aggregated 500 MB/s upstream and downstream).
21.6 GB/s front side bus (aggregated 10.8 GB/s upstream and downstream). 32 GB/s GPU to eDRAM bandwidth (2 GHz × 2 accesses per clock cycle on a 64 bit DDR bus). 256 GB/s eDRAM internal logic to eDRAM internal memory bandwidth. 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth (700 MHz × 2 accesses per clock cycle (one per edge) on a 128 bit bus).
512 MB 700 MHz GDDR3 (1400MHz effective) RAM (Total system memory is shared with the GPU via the unified memory architecture.). Dot product operations: 24 billion per second or 33.6 billion per second theoretical maximum when summed with CPU operations. Pixel fillrate: 16 gigasamples per second fillrate using 4X multisample anti aliasing (MSAA) or 4 gigapixel per second without multisample anti aliasing (8 ROPs x 500MHz). Texel fillrate: 8 gigatexel per second fillrate (16 textures x 500MHz).
Maximum polygon performance: 500 million triangles per second. 16 Filtered & 16 unfiltered texture samples per clock. 8 ROPs in daughter die. Shader performance: 48 billion (48,000 million) shader operations per second (96 shader operations x 500MHz).
96 Shader operations per cycle across the entire shader array. 2 Shader operations per pipe per cycle. Support for DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0, limited support for future DirectX 10 shader models. Unified shader architecture (This means that each pipeline is capable of running either pixel or vertex shaders.).
1 ALU per fragmentpipe for vertex or pixel shader processing. 3 groups of 16 arithmetic logic units. 48-way parallel floating-point dynamically-scheduled shader pipelines
500 MHz 10 MB daughter embedded DRAM framebuffer (90 nm process, 90 million transistors)
DOT products performance: 9,6 billion per second. 512 megabytes of L-2 memory bandwidth (256bit x 1600MHz). 1 MB L-2 cache (lockable by the GPU) running at half-speed (1.6 Ghz) with a 256bit bus. 128×128 register file for each VMX unit.
One VMX-128 (IBM's branding for AltiVec) SIMD unit per core. Three symmetrical cores, each one SMT-capable and clocked at 3.2 GHz. 90 nm process, 165 million transistors. The remote controls interface with the Xbox 360 via infra-red.
Both remotes allow basic control of games, along with being able to navigate the dashboard. The universal media remote is a bigger version of the media remote that was initially shipped with the premium version of the console. Universal Media Remote: assists in the playing of DVD movies and music (although the console can play such media without the remote) , and offers controls for a TV or Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC. Headset: allows gamers to talk to each other when plugged into the controller and connected to Xbox Live, and has an in-line volume control and a mute switch.
Using an official or third-party wireless bridge the console will automatically detect and link up with other Xbox 360 consoles that are within range and form a mesh network. Wireless Networking Adapter: The Wi-Fi (802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g) adapter is sold separately and will be sold for $100/€80/£60/C$130/¥8,925. Memory Unit: a portable 64MB device which allows the transfer of saved games, in-game achievements and unique gamer profiles to other Xbox 360 consoles. Also includes the rechargeable battery pack.
Play and Charge kit: allows the controller to be recharged while playing. It also ships as part of the Play & Charge Kit. It is recommended in place of disposable AA batteries (which differ slightly in voltage). Rechargeable battery pack: This nickel metal hydride battery pack provides up to 30 hours of continuous gaming for the wireless controller.
Composite video cable with SCART adapter. VGA HD AV Cable. Xbox 360 D-Terminal AV Cable (Japan only) This cable is included in the Japanese Xbox 360 System. S-Video AV Cable (U.S., Japan, and Canada only) or Xbox 360 SCART AV Cable (Europe only).
Xbox 360 Component HD-AV Cable.