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Last Updated: Friday December 02 2005 16:32 GMT

Xbox 360: Questions answered

Newsround Online spoke to John Houlihan, editor of Computer and Video Games, and general expert on everything in the world of hi-tech entertainment.

He gave us the info you need to know about the Xbox 360, the first in the new wave of consoles.

Is Xbox 360 really such a big thing?
Yes, especially if you play it on a high-definition TV. At the top of the range, there is a huge difference in how it looks.

As well as amazing graphics, the online service is brilliant. As more and more people have broadband, it will get easier to play with your friends.

And you can store your photos, share your music, chat, watch DVDs - there's lots of stuff in one box.

What makes it stand out from the other new consoles that are coming out?
The online service, called Xbox Live. It's already got two million users playing games against one another online, and Microsoft want that to expand.

Sony have no plan for a big online service for the PS3, nor do Nintendo for the Revolution.

What safety features does it have?
There's a parental lock that stops you playing games you shouldn't play, and that stops you playing online with people you shouldn't be playing with.

It's up to your parents to set it up, but Microsoft have made that very easy to do.

Are the games any good?
They've got a good, but not spectacular launch line-up.

There are 15 titles, which are in a wide range of types, but they're not amazing.

The thing to remember is that Microsoft will have almost a year to get some great titles out there.

But haven't shops run out already?
The shops have sold most of their consoles, but I don't think it will be too long before they get more in.

It looks good to see "Xbox sells out on launch" in the papers, but if it's sold out too long, no-one can get one.

It sold out in the US, but they got the shops re-stocked in about two weeks. So there should be another wave in time for Christmas.

So what's coming in future?
I think, when the next Xbox comes out in five or so years time, we'll see graphics that are so good it'll be like being in a film.

There will also be a much bigger online community as people play together more.

The controllers will change too - but it's impossible to say how.



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