All about XNA games for Zune

Connecting your Xbox and XNA Game Studio

 XNA  No Responses »
May 092008
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I’m considering the XNA pacakge so I can install games on my Xbox. I looked into how hard it is and then I realized it’s a pay only feature. It’s $100 for homebrew games on my Xbox and thats a bit much this week. I gotta find out how many games there are and how easy it is to install them. Wheres the best Xbox XNA games place?

Connecting to Your Xbox 360 Console with XNA Game Studio 2.0

This guide assumes you have already installed a supported version of Visual Studio tools and XNA Game Studio. These products must be installed before connecting to an Xbox 360 console. For information about installing these products, see Setup and System Requirements.

* Step 1: Sign In to Xbox LIVE
* Step 2: Download XNA Game Studio Connect
* Step 3: Connect Your Xbox 360 Console and Windows-Based Computer
* Step 4: Create and Deploy an Xbox 360 Project
* What’s Next?

Step 1: Sign In to Xbox LIVE

Turn on your Xbox 360 console and sign in to Xbox LIVE. You will need at least a Silver Xbox LIVE membership, an XNA Creators Club membership, and a hard drive for your Xbox 360 console to be able to develop games for Xbox 360 using XNA Game Studio. While you are in XNA Game Studio Connect or playing an XNA Game Studio game, you must remain connected to Xbox LIVE.
Step 2: Download XNA Game Studio Connect

XNA Game Studio Connect must be downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace and installed on the Xbox 360 console. XNA Game Studio Connect is listed on Xbox LIVE Marketplace next to the XNA Creators Club Subscription, which may be found by selecting Game Store, More…, Genres, and then Other.
Step 3: Connect Your Xbox 360 Console and Windows-Based Computer

When you develop games for Xbox 360, you develop them on your Windows-based computer, then transfer them over your local network to your Xbox 360 console. This requires that your Windows-based computer and Xbox 360 console share the same subnet. Most home networking layouts support this configuration. If your console and computer share a router or hub, it is likely that they share the same subnet.

With your computer and console on the same subnet, follow these steps to set up a connection between your computer and your console.

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Are Zune and XNA the future of mobile gaming from Microsoft

 XNA  No Responses »
Mar 092008
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Found another great article on Gamasutra about Xbox Live and XNA but the most interesting quote in the entire article was the one below:
Gamasutra – Connecting Communities, Redefining Xbox Live: Chris Satchell On XNA

It’s interesting. There’s always been the theory that Microsoft was going to do the “X Boy,” but there’s never been any real credibility to that theory, as far as I’m aware. Coupling XNA with Zune is an interesting way to still get into the handheld games space with an existing device and not have it be a potential problem or liability.CS: It is interesting, because Zune was never designed for gaming. I don’t know about you, but I love the way this control input feels, especially…

I’m excited about what can be done with XNA on Zune and I think game development is going to be awesome for Zune. I wrote about the XNA platform when it first came out and I knew then that XNA was a great fit not only for Xbox but for Zune as well and recent announcements have confirmed what I already knew. Microsoft mobile games development will be under the Zune platform more so than Xbox. There is no Xboy coming Zune!

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XNA Game Studio Express Challenge

 Games, Gaming, The Zune, Video Games, Xbox, XNA, Zune  No Responses »
Mar 092007
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Today, the XNA Game Studio Express Challenge teams unveiled their completed games to the public at the Game Developers Conference.

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 Posted by rorrotttriemi at 1:56 pm  Tagged with: XNA

Xbox 360 update includes Zune Software support

 DVD, The Zune, Video, Xbox, XNA, Zune, Zune Software  No Responses »
Nov 012006
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Everyone has been so excited about the latest updates to the Xbox 360 which includes the addition of HD 1080p video mode support over VGA and XNA Game Studio Express that it took us our man Spell 125 to point out to us that there was more to the update then HD DVD.

What no one seems to have mentioned just yet is the fact that the Xbox 360 updates also include support to “Stream WMV video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11, Zune software, or Windows Media Connect.”

Whats that? Hold on, did that say stream video? We can now stream WMV video from a Zune to the Xbox 360? Sweet!

Read the complete list of updates here.

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Oct 022006
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Our new forum moderator Spell 125 has graciously donated his time and effort to assisting me, the graphically challenged, by designing a new header for the front page of the Zune MAX blog. The goal was to flow better with the design and style of the forums and to show our relationship to the Zune device.
I think it looks awesome and I’m most appreciative of his work for our community. Spell 125 is on a roll considering he was also the lucky winner of a Zune poster when selected as designer of the Zuneguy logo.

Spell 125 is better known as James Hostetler and for his blog DAPularity which offers the low down on the latest digital audio players (DAP) in the market. He’s come up with a cool iPod vs Zune size comparison image that shows the difference between a Zune, an iPod and a deck of cards. It really helps put things in perspective as to the actual size of Zune for those of us unfortunate enough not to have held one yet.

James also has a nice write up on Rock Box on Zune. which is a very designable custom firmware used to extend the software capabilities of digital audio players. He feels Microsoft has no reason not to open up the Zune for customization or "modding". He writes in his DAP blog: "By basing the coding off a commonly used language and OS, Windows made their PDAs easily accessible to windows-based applications and allowed them to run a multi-tude of interesting multimedia programs. I would have to say I expect the same efforts for the Zune. By placing no barriers between the Zune and its customers, I believe Microsoft will open it up to those respectable modders that make our life so much more personalized."

I have to agree with James in that the best move Microsoft can make is to open up the Zune platform to the army of existing Windows developers for an almost endless array of extensions and applications for Zune. The power of the Windows development world is a vital asset in the success and capabilities of Zune. I’m hopeful the announcement by David Cauldon at Zunester about there not being a Zune SDK relates to the fact they have something much larger prepared for Zune developers. I think it may be more like a Zune XNA Framework, or Zune ZNA maybe, that would be used for development on the Zune. David says Zune is not a platform but a  consumer device. I say the consumer will decide that the Zune is in fact a platform and should left for all of us to personalize with third party extensions for a truly "connected experience" in our "digital lifestyle". The market will force them to open the platform to developers if they want it to succeed and in the end there will be a Zune SDK of some form or other.

So, I would like to thank James for his work on cleaning up the look of things around here. I would also like to thank all the other dedicated members of the Zune community for their ambitious assistance in building a great forum. We’re having fun in our Zune boards and you should check it out if you haven’t yet.


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Sep 302006
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The battle for holiday sales of mp3 players should be very interesting this year. Whatever your opinions of it the battle between Apple and Microsoft certainly qualifies as epic. Since the beginning of the digital age both have done their best to assert control of a global industry. One was able to best the other for a very long time until Apple took the mp3 player and changed the music business. Microsoft has entered the ring yet one more time in a fight for much more than mp3 players now. Today’s handheld devices are phones, play music and videos and next generation devices are expected to do far more.

The portable media market is so full of choices including services, formats and licensing standards that the industry is in disarray. Who needs a mobile phone, a PDA, an MP3 player and a laptop? The first company to hit the market with the right music/phone/pda should take the prize. Apple has a huge lead in handheld sales with absolute dominance in the music business. The iPhone has been rumored for years now but still does not exist. Microsoft brings with it an established and flourishing Xbox Live business model and the technology to tie them all together in the PC which resides in so many homes and businesses. Microsoft has already said a Zune Phone is in the works.

We’re not gadget heads or expert of any kind but we did our best to break things down for the Zune Forum fans.

Zune MarketPlace vs iTunes.

Microsoft offers the following information on Zune MarketPlace for us so far.

You can browse the huge selection of music designed to work seamlessly with your Zune in the Zune Marketplace. When you find new music that you love, it’s simple to buy it and sync it on your player. The Zune Marketplace works with the Microsoft® Points program so you can purchase music online without a credit card.

Zune Pass. Downloads or a subscription? It’s your choice. A Zune Pass subscription gives you “all you can eat” access to discover and explore the Zune Marketplace. If subscription services are not right for you the chose to purchase individual songs or albums as well.

What Apple says about iTunes

iPod and iTunes give you a seamless experience, from download to sync. Shop for music, movies, games, TV shows, and audiobooks on the built-in iTunes Store, download free podcasts, or import songs from your CDs. Then connect iPod to your Mac or PC, and iTunes gets to work. You guys now the rest about iTunes and iPod.

The results of our comparison.

Online Music Services

As far as the online music service goes Zune MarketPlace has a long way to go before they can say they have topped iTunes. The Apple music service is in it’s seventh generation software version and although there have been a few problems it’s a definite improvement over previous versions. iTunes offers an extensive collection of media and has set the bar, much to the chagrain of the recording studios, for low prices in the digital music industry.

With the limited information available it will be hard to tell if Zune MarketPlace offers a better deal or not. Watching Microsoft and their actions so far we expect to see a huge storefront with just about everything we could ever need or want in music and movies. We doubt Microsoft will allow the Zune Live service to suffer when it appears the service is what is most important to them.

New music fans that invest in more than 15 cd’s per year will find the Zune Pass a wonderful way to really sample new music. The ability to download and play new music risk free is certain to expand your musical tastes and will open Zune owners up to a whole new world of music. If a subscription based service is not your cup of tea you can still buy songs or movies.

We do not consider a portable media player to be a viable solution for long term storage of your collection. For your favorite albums or movies we suggest your purchase hard copy CD or DVD compilations. The purchase of digital music should be considered limited by the inevitable device failure or loss of data as well as DRM restrictions enforced by content providers.

An added benefit to being a Zune owner will come when the Zune MarketPlace is opened up to new artists wishing to sell their music without a label through the Zune player and music services. You’ll hear more about that later.

iPod vs Zune Hardware and Features specifications

As for hardware and features, now that Microsoft has matched prices, the Zune is a much better value for the average or new user. The Windows software and integration with our existing "digital lifestyle" will make the Zune a great choice for PC owners and Xbox fans. The Zune is not the best MP3 player on the market but when coupled with the available features and services it offers the best bang for the buck. If you are a high end audio fan you may appreciate a different player but for the rest of the world the Zune rocks.

The hardware specs are awesome. The 400 MHZ processor is capable of much more than audio video playback. This processor will support gaming features with ease. The 30GB hard drive is standard. Some may wish for more but with the integration with Windows XP and Vista we’re hoping moving data back and forth wont be so difficult. Why people need to carry their entire collection around is beyond us but the Zune offers plenty of storage for the money. With an FM tuner built in and an FM Transmitter available in the car pack you can pick up radio stations on the go and play back your Zune music through your car stereo system. The wireless lan module offers broadcast capabilities far beyond any comparable player.

The social networking capabilities of the wireless sharing seem destined to be extremely popular amongst the younger crowd. We can see Zune wifi parties popping up where kids drop in to swap songs and videos on their new Zune players. Seems far fetched but don’t expect Microsoft not to put a heavy push on this type of use. Building a generation of fans is a sure part of their goals for Zune.

Some have decried the limitations in the Zune in regards to the wifi features as well as the DRM scheme. The Zune seems to be designed for a wider audience and kids are a big part of the plan. We expect many of the wireless sharing limitations are a result of security concerns with sharing files in pubic. The Zune DRM is more restrictive in some ways but does allow for portable user to user sharing capabilities which requires heavier licensing fees from recording studios. The DRM restrictions will effect a small percentage of the market and not the average Zune user.

The new Microsoft DRM will some day allow an army of Zune musicians and artists of all kinds the opportunity to promote their music on the Zune MarketPlace. The DRM will facilitate user generated content sales and establish a robust market place similar to what is being done with the Xbox Live and XNA Framework.

The inevitable merging of the Zune and Xbox Live systems will create a powerful network of devices and services that will go beyond what any of us ever expected from our "digital lifestyle". With the help of Windows Vista and the Office Suite you may soon have the tools to manage your entire lifestyle.

We’re very excited to see what Zune becomes. If we’re lucky enough tehy will have a huge success and teh Zune will change they way people share music. Visit the Zune Boards and check out the discussion on Zune MP3 players.


Technical Specifications and Hardware Features

Microsoft Zune 30GB

Apple iPod Video 30GB

Here is a side by side comparison of the Zune MP3 Player and it’s top competitor the Apple iPod video player. These Zune specifications were compiled with the help of many Zune websites and fans including Zunerama.com


Capacity Claims by Manufacturer


  • Holds up to 7,500 songs
  • Holds up to 25,000 photos
  • Holds up to 100 hour video


  • Holds up to 7,500 songs
  • Holds up to 25,000 photos
  • Holds up to 40 hours video
Display 3″ LCD @
320×240 resolution
operates in landscape or portrait mode
2.5″ LCD @
Audio / Video Play Yes
plus AV output enabled
Audio formats


AAC, MP3, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV
Video formats
H.264, MPEG-4, WMV
H.264, m4v, mp4, mov, MPEG-4
FM receiver Yes, plus add on FM Transmitter accessory available
Accessory only
Height/Width 4.4 x 2.4 inches 4.1 x 2.4 inches

.58 inches .43 inch

5.6 ounces

4.8 ounces
Wireless Networking 802.11b/g (“Wi-Fi”) No
Wireless community features

Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing. Zune lets you share selected full-length sample tracks of your recorded media

You can listen to any song you receive up to three times in three days. And if you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device to easily find it later.

features currently available
USB 2.0
USB 2.0
Battery Type
Li-Ion rechargeable, built-in
Li-Ion rechargeable, built-in
Battery life

12 hour Music play
3 hour Video

14 hours Music Play
3-1/2 for Video

Available Colors White, black, brown White, black
PC / Mac Compatibility PC only Mac and PC
Price $249.99


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Now, the Zune DRM Thing Gets Interesting

 Community, DRM, Microsoft, Music, The Zune, Xbox, XNA, Zune  No Responses »
Aug 232006
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Article discusses the Microsoft DRM and it’s use in Xbox XNA and the upcoming Zune music player.

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Microsoft Zune and the Xbox XNA Game Studio

Aug 222006
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Last weeks announcement of the Microsoft XNA Game Studio Framework has confirmed for us our suspicions of the use of the new Microsoft DRM as reported on June 30th. When we posted about the new DRM being worked on by the research team at Microsoft we gave details of a possible relationship to the Zune. We posted how it could be used to facilitate user generated content sales and turn musicians into their own producers and marketing agents. A brilliant move by Microsoft as it would turn every struggling musician into the biggest Zune fan ever. We strongly believe that by courting the content producers Microsoft will take the lead on both Apple and Sony.

In private we discussed the possible uses of this technology with John Porcaro of the Xbox team. In an email sent to John the day after our first post on the DRM we explained to him how cool it would be to allow gamers the chance to design and develop their own games. We also discussed how integrating the Photosynth software Microsoft is working on with the game development would create the ability for user generated virtual reality games.

John was rather silent and we found that odd. With last weeks announcement we understand why he never replied to our suggestions for the Xbox. We had predicted it just 2 weeks before it’s actual release. XNA Game Studio Pro will offer exactly what we said. Xbox users will be able to produce games for the Xbox and Windows for commercial release. That’s absolutely huge for the gaming industry and creates a serious threat to other game companies. Sony had better be very concerned with this. Their strength has always been in their selection of games and by opening up the doors to millions of potential developers Microsoft has changed the game on them.

Check out the Photosynth software demo and then think how cool a tool like this would be for developing games. Users could work with Photosynth to create virtual recreations of real world scenarios and then using the XNA Framework they can develop games to play in them. XNA Game Studio Pro will allow them to make this game available for commercial release under the new DRM. Microsoft has turned every game fan with $100 a year into a prospective video game developer and producer.

In the future the Microsoft DRM will manage sales of user generated games for the Xbox and music for the Zune. It will be possible for one person to develop a video game for play on the Xbox using the XNA Framework and Photosynth software. Another person can use the Zune XNA Framework to produce audio and video content. Or will that be the Zune ZNA Framework and Zune ZNA Music Studio Pro? The two of them could form a partnership and license their content together as an Xbox user developed video game with Zune user developed audio and video content.

Whatever happens it seems certain that Microsoft is serious about building a user driven community behind the Xbox and Zune and the XNA tools and the new DRM are sure to be an important part of things. No doubt it’s more than Apple and Sony that need to look out for this combination of tools and services. What need for a record label when you can create, produce and market your own music? Why get a job at a game company when you can just build your own games?

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