Zune Game Player

The Zune now has games but when will Microsoft make a portable Zune game player ?

Microsoft to challenge every handheld future Zune devices

Mar 092007
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Microsoft has not been exactly forthcoming with specifications of future Zune devices but they have unveiled hints that intrigue the public and encourage tech enthusiasts to keep an eye on Redmond in the future. Although Microsoft has made some mistakes during the Zune launch no one has completely discounted their efforts and what Zune means to the portable device market.

Just as Microsoft released their Zune MP3 player, the company confirmed the rumors spreading over the tech industry that they are preparing a lineup of devices that would compete with almost every existing handheld player on the market. According to Microsoft, their future technological innovations would connect home, office and automobile audio-visual systems and enable users to experience multimedia entertainment at their fingertips. It’s their Live Anywhere Initiative and the Zune family of devices appear to be the “Anywhere” component.

The trademark of Zune, which filed documents describe as a “family of multimedia devices” rather than one product, draws quite a bit of attention from many handheld enthusiasts and critics. Many bigwigs from the industry opined that Microsoft is having a “risky game” with existing multimedia devices, threatening them all as the company develops new devices under Zune trademark that would integrate functionality that are offered by separate portable devices nowadays. Many are concerned with Microsoft’s abandonment of their previous market endeavors such as the Plays4Sure program. Microsoft defends their position by claiming they plan to support both Zune and Plays4Sure as two separate programs. The Zune devices will allow Microsoft more control over the device design and upgrade progression.

The Zune system’s trademark documents submitted to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expose that one of the future features of Zune family would be electronic games. This means that Microsoft intends to have their own product representation in handheld games industry that is currently dominated by companies such as Sony and Nintendo. The software giant’s confidence on their handheld game device venture is strengthened by the success previously realized by their own Xbox – as you may remember, it became the world’s number two game console when it was launched – surpassing the game entertainment veteran, Nintendo. A Microsoft portable game player has been discussed since the beginning of the Xbx was introduced and many have looked forward to the “Xboy” for quite some time. Many in the industry have high hopes for the Zune game player and there is no longer doubt that one is being planned, the only speculation left is what will a Zune gaming device do?.

Microsoft has partnered with several big companies to develop future Zune devices. With the information leaked in the filing of device prototype at FCC from a consortium involving Microsoft, it revealed that their current partners are Intel, Dell, Phillips and HP. Rumors were confirmed by Microsoft and its partners that they are currently working on a smart phone dubbed the “Zune phone.” Though the company did not confirm that their new Zune device is aimed to compete with Apple’s iPhone that will be launched on June 2007, they said that it would be available on the holiday season of the same year. The revelation of the Zune smartphone and iPhone would potentially stir telecom companies as these new products take advantage of wireless VOIP. Wireless VOIP would be attractive to public because calls are generally cheaper because they are routed through the Internet.

“Microsoft is getting involved with everything” would seem true statement when other Zune mobile phone devices scheduled for release. The company’s greater cross-platform ambitions apparently would strike existing handheld manufacturers and encourage them to undergo massive re-strategy either to keep their dominance on their market or to protect their product’s existence. As these competitions push technological development and innovations more rapidly, it is clear that Microsoft is trying to steal the crown from companies as they join the handheld battle of the fittest.

The only question that remains is that if the software giant will be able to realize their plans. While future Zune devices will not immediately materialize, people involved in the industry have plenty of time to wait and see – and it begins with the Microsoft’s first Zune device. Microsoft’s attempt to topple down Apple’s market-leading iPod is merely the beginning of a long, exciting battle in the portable media player market.

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Zune Game Player could use new AMD Imageon processors

Mar 082007
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Following up on our rumor from yesterday with some more Zune game player speculation today we have an article from Arstechnica on the announcement at GDC by AMD of their development of a suite of tools which allow developers to produce gaming content for their next generation mobile graphics products.

AMD has a new line of processors developed for mobile applications named Imageon which has support for 3D and 2D graphics, audio processing, digital still and video cameras, TV out, video recording with image stabilization, video transcoding, and various other multimedia features. The Arstechnica article speculates on a use for the new processor. They feel the Imageon chip would be the great match for a Microsoft portable game player and would be just what you need for a Zune gaming device. Of course this does not mean it will end up in any gaming device from Microsoft but just the fact people are mentioning it as a use may means there is interest in the player. Let’s hope Microsoft is paying attention and the rumored development of the Zune game player is on track. A holiday release date for a Zune 2.0 player and crossover with the existing Xbox fan base is just what Zune needs to kick start the social.

AMD brings Xbox 360 tech to handhelds

At GDC today, AMD announced a suite of tools for developing handheld gaming content for the company’s next-generation mobile graphics parts. The suite includes Rendermonkey 1.7, a shader tool that will let game developers write graphics code for a range of devices that support the OpenVG 1.0, OpenGL 2.0, and Unified Shader Architecture technologies. ATI’s Unified Shader Architecture in particular is one of the main selling points of the Xbox 360, and AMD will offer support for unified shaders on its next generation of mobile parts.

Rendermonkey is already widely used by PC and console developers, so the fact that the latest version makes it easier to author mobile gaming content should help foster porting and the development of original titles for handheld devices containing the AMD’s forthcoming Imageon processors.

The Imageon processor line, announced by AMD last month, is essentially a “GPU” for mobile devices. Imageon is more flexible than a desktop GPU, of course, since with a mobile device you want to save on cost and battery life by cramming as much of the phone onto one piece of silicon as you possibly can. So Imageon has support for 3D and 2D graphics, audio processing, digital still and video cameras, TV out, video recording with image stabilization, video transcoding, and various other multimedia features. All of this stuff is on a single chip that’s separate from the phone’s radio chip, so that the handset maker can upgrade to a new version of Imageon without having to go through the process of FCC qualification each time they add features.
A portable Microsoft gaming device?

Read more here:

AMD brings Xbox 360 tech to handhelds

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Mar 072007
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There is an interesting Zune rumor just getting started and although we don’t normally jump on rumors so fast this one is to good to pass. Seems Gizmodo heard a rumor (that we are helping to spread) that the second generation Zune player will be a Zune gaming device and I’m ever hopeful it turns out to be true. I’ll go ahead and contribute to the web echo because I believe this one may play out. A gaming device is just what Zune needs to put them on the front of the portable market with a music video and gaming device on the platform and the phone on the way. The Xbox community is the largest asset Microsoft has in building the Zune family of devices and a gaming device is just what Zune needs to create that crossover into the Live service and the  existing community. A Microsoft game player will certainly be accepted by the fan base even if it’s not labeled under the Xbox family won’t it?

Rumor Overheard at GDC: Next-Gen Zune Available in August – Gizmodo

Apparently, if the person was correct and our ears didn’t fail us, the next-gen Zune will be available in August. Unfortunately for the first-gen Zune team, the next version will feature gaming, which is supposedly making them feel dejected over working on a product (1st gen) that will be “abandoned”.

It might be a rumor but just like Giz says it’s a juicy one because it has apparently earned this response from the Zune Release Manager who says that they will not be abandoning the first generation devices which is of course a good thing and easy to believe. I can’t think they would drop a new player on us this soon and not continue development or support for the first generation players. They have barely tapped the potential of this first player and there is much more to be done with it. Besides the list of features so many Zune users want there are issues with stability on some devices that must be dealt with fast. They can’t expect to attract new business when the first customers are having problems. It would also be suicide for the product line if they did abandon the first Zunes as no one would stick with them and Microsoft would have a hard time convincing new customers they would not do the same thing to them on future Zune players. He does not deny any second generation devices in the works or even mention them really. He goes on to say we can expect much more to come from the wireless capabilities in first generation players which is good to hear from the someone who should know.

Zune Insider : . . . And Now a Word from the Zune Release Manager

Some of the comments I read said things like “Microsoft is abandoning this generation of Zune,” but nothing could be further from the truth. We see Zune today as simply the baseline – not the endgame. That means we’re still planning on adding features to the existing platform just like MS has done with the XBOX platform (recall that Xbox Live was not part of the initial v1 launch but was added later), plus the fact that Zune has wireless which can make the potential very interesting. Stay tuned to Cesar’s blog for more on this as it develops.

I have noticed a bit of traffic building up for keywords such as “zune games” and zune game player which we apparently rank #1 for on Google. I think most of those searching for zune games are looking for games to play on the existing players. The number of searches for game player is nowhere near that of games alone but both are growing quicly. There’s been quite a bit of traffic for it and our page needs some updating but it’s nice to know so many people are looking for a Zune game player cause we’re ready for it. The rumor claims the Zune game player release date is in August which lines it up for this Holiday Season coming and that would probably put a Zune Phone out in time for Holidays 2008.

So what do you think a Zune game player should be? What do you think it will be? Honestly ever since I though about a portable Xbox game player or what was dubbed the Xboy I saw it as a slightly larger version of the Original Xbox controller with a fold up screen top and center. I had the green Halo version of the first Xbox and for some reason I see the player as that. I guess it’s because it’s an obvious fit to existing players as well and using the same design as the existing Xbox controllers will make the game player more acceptable to Xboxers. Drop me a comment and tell me what you would like to see in the Zune game player or drop by the forums and leave your opinion.

Will they still be adding games to the existing players? I think so. They need Zune to be a better value than the iPod and the continued development and a steady release of enhanced features for first generation players will create a greater interest in Zune players and boost sales. The more players sold the more possible subscribers to the Zune Pass and the subscription service is what they want us all using. The Zune Pass is great but being stuck with a subscription does feel like you’re wasting money when you’re not using your player all the time. I’ve found myself leaving my Zune off for a few days and even up to a week recently as I’ve been busy with other things and when I pick it back up and have to sync it because the subscriptions expired I wonder if it’s such a great deal. Then of course I cruise through my library of music and create a new playlist with some fresh new music on the next sync and the convenience of the a la carte menu and unlimited downloads reminds me of why I pay $15 a month for music now.

Zune MarketPlace is nice and I’m hoping they will continue to build on it. I’m looking forward to movie downloads at some point in the future. The Zune marketplace has some great features and the search functions are pretty handy. The live search is really cool and pretty fast although the site seems bogged down on occasion. It’s usually much smoother and the Zune software is better than the iTunes software in my opinion but Apple does have the podcast directory full of free content which seems so huge. Podcasting is huge and ready to explode as more people get online and the convenience of personal broadcasts reached more people. I doubt Microsoft will ever be able to catch up to them when they barely seem to recognize the importance of proper podcast support. Zune firmware 1.3 is scheduled for roll out soon and the update will not offer anything for podcasts and my guess is it will be Firmware 1.5 before we get full podcast support on Zunes. What exactly full support for Zune means to Microsoft remains to be seen.

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Zune fans waiting for game player from Microsoft

Mar 022007
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The Zune game action is heating up and talk of a portable Zune game device now circles around the when and not the if. Lot’s of folks are talking about what they want to see Microsoft do with their game player and many are making comparisons to existing players. There are existing game players on the market that although fall short in some way or another have a huge fan base for each player respectively and are sure to influence the design of the Zune game player. Playing games on a current model Zune player will be limited to the type of games that can be played because of the control pad and button layout of the Zune.

Microsoft faces stiff competition in the gaming market and key players such as Sony and Nintendo don’t plan on giving up much of their market. The PS3 may not be doing well but the Sony PSP is in fact a popular device and has sold a a substantial number of units since release. The Nintendo DS is also a very popular game device and game play on the DS is said to be as much fun or more than any other player on the market. Many of our current Zune fans are also Nintendo DS owners and they love their games. Some have hoped to find some of their favorite Nintendo DS Games reviewed here at ZuneMAX.com but we reserve this space for consoles only. If you want to find Nintendo DS game reviews you will need to drop by DSBrowse and check out their selection of fresh game reviews.

If Microsoft wants the Zune game player to be a success they will need to take the best features from the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP and incorporate them into the Zune game device or come up with something even better using ideas and experience from lessons learned by competitors. The weaknesses in each player should be addressed and by doing so Microsoft should be able to wow us with the next generation portable game player from Zune.

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Zune to be the portable game player as well?

Dec 242006
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I have expected since long ago that the Zune players would some day have games. I don’t know exactly why but I have had my doubts about an Xbox portable game system since I first heard about Zune. I kinda think the Zune family will cover all the portable players including music, phones and games.

I think that by making the portable player a Zune it will help insure success of the Zune line. A Microsoft portable game player that ties to the Xbox Live service does not have to be named Xbox in order to succeed and by lending it the Zune name they automatically grab this many new Zune users as well.

I hope some day I will have my Zune Music Phone and my Zune Game Player as a choice of what to carry.

MS considering games for Zune – Joystiq

It’s been oft rumored that Microsoft’s music-playing, photo-sharing Zune (which was almost called the Xpod) will eventually have some sort of game-playing ability as well. Now, Microsoft Europe Chief Chris Lewis has thrown some more fuel on the rumor fire, telling TotalVideoGames in an interview that “gaming is certainly something we’re considering for the device.”

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Zune US Trademark Application filed

Sep 122006
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Microsoft has revealed quite a bit more about the potential plans for the Zune family of devices and services. The US Trademark application Serial Number 78953571 has been posted at USPTO website. The site requires you create a new session in order to do a search so click the Search button on the right hand navigation to get started. You will find multiple applications for trademarks under Zune but the top result should be Serial Number 78953571 which is from Microsoft. The rest seem to be others trying to gain from the previous lack of application by Microsoft. We’re pretty sure those will soon be dead much like the one for Zune.us is now.

The newest news here seems to be the application for the gaming device as listed in US 022 023 038 050 where they claim among other things use namely as "pinball and arcade game machines; hand-held units for playing electronic games". Sounds like confirmation of a Zune gaming device sometime in the future to us. That’s great news as we are very excited about the potential for the portable game player. We’re still unsure why they would abandon the Xbox name for a hand held gaming device so it’s probably just to cover themselves but we can always hope. We would rather see a Zune game player than an Xboy or XboxGo anyday.

A search of the term Zune reveals an application by Microsoft for the Zune as follows:

Word Mark ZUNE
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: multimedia player, entertainment and communications devices; peripherals and accessories for use with multimedia player entertainment and communications device; headphones; earphones; docking stations for use with multimedia players; wired and wireless remote control devices for use with multimedia players; battery chargers; battery packs; electrical connectors, wires, cables, and adaptors; headphones and earphones; speakers; stereo amplifier and speaker base stations; automobile stereo adapters; audio recorders; radio receivers; radio transmitters; hardware and software for connecting multimedia players to existing audiovisual systems in homes, offices and automobiles; memory devices for storing music, audio and other digital content; computer software for use with multimedia player, entertainment and communciations devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating and reviewing text, data, audio, image and video files; a full line of computer application software for use on multimedia player, entertainment and communications devices; carrying cases, sacks, bags, straps, armbands and clips all for use with multimedia player, entertainment and communications devices; computer hardware and software for recording, playing and organizing music and video recordings; computer hardware and software for online accessing and purchasing of music, videos and other digital recordings; and cell phones; computer software for operating cell phones; peripherals and accessories for use with cell phones

IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: publications, namely, user manuals, magazines and newsletters all in the field of music, videos, entertainment, and multimedia player, entertainment and communications devices; pens, pencils, markers, stationery, stationery-type portfolios, clipboards, desk sets, pen and pencil holders, mounted and unmounted photographs, posters, magnetic boards, memo pads, binders, staplers, paperweights, paper coasters, calendars, notebooks, book covers, sticker books, greeting cards and note cards

IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: shirts, vests, sweatshirts, sweaters, sweatpants, pants, overalls, shorts, rompers, jackets, caps, pajamas, robes, night shirts, suspenders, jumpsuits, coats, sweatbands, scarves, gloves, mittens, socks, hosiery, stockings, underwear, footwear, headwear, hats, ties, visors, wrist bands, cloth bibs, aprons and Halloween and masquerade costumes

IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: toys and games, namely, action figures and accessories therefor; balloons; bathtub toys; toy building blocks; dolls and accessories therefor; doll clothing; board games; card games; play cosmetics for children; costume masks; miniature die cast vehicles; toy airplanes and helicopters; battery operated remote controlled toy vehicles; flying discs; inflatable vinyl figures; jigsaw puzzles; kites; marbles; indoor slumber and play tents; plush toys; hand-held puppets; sit-in and ride-on toy vehicles; train sets; play shaving kits; skateboards; roller skates; toy banks; water squirting toys; toy pistols; Christmas tree ornaments; pinball and arcade game machines; hand-held units for playing electronic games; model craft kits of toy figures; playground balls; sport balls; basketballs; golf balls; golf ball markers; tennis balls; baseballs; rubber action balls; rubber sports balls; rubber playing balls; squeezable balls used to relieve stress; bags for carrying golf equipment; bags for carrying basketball equipment; bags for carrying baseball equipment; bags for carrying tennis equipment; manipulative puzzles and construction toys; crib mobiles; mobiles for children; target sets consisting of a target, rubber suction darts and toy dart gun; and playing cards

IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: advertising services; online retail store featuring multimedia players, entertainment and communications devices, cell phones and peripherals and accessories therefor, music, video and other digital recordings

IC 038. US 100 101 104. G & S: telecommunication services; electronic transmission of data files, documents, music and videos over the Internet and wireless networks; electronic mail services; web messaging services; text messaging services; paging services; streaming of audio and video material over the Internet and wireless networks; wireless voice mail services; voice-activated dialing services; providing wireless access to computer networks and the Internet; cellular telephone services; and audio, video and television broadcasting and transmission

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: entertainment services; providing information on the music, video and entertainment industries; providing website featuring information in the fields of music, video and entertainment including downloadable music, videos and other digital content and allowing website users to interact with one another for remote support.
Standard Characters Claimed
Design Search Code
Serial Number 78953571
Filing Date August 16, 2006
Current Filing Basis 1B;44D;44E
Original Filing Basis 1B;44D;44E
Owner (APPLICANT) Microsoft Corporation CORPORATION WASHINGTON One Microsoft Way Redmond WASHINGTON 980526399
Attorney of Record William O. Ferron, Jr.
Priority Date May 29, 2006
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

UPDATE: It appears that Mr.William O. Ferron, Jr and the USPTO needs to run a spell checker as the word communications is misspelled in the application above.

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