Our inside source on MS retail ops has struck again to clear
up some 360 kiosk misinformation that's been proliferating online recently:
1. What's installed in the Xbox 360 kiosks (at least at Wal-Mart) are the WIRED versions of MS's next-gen controllers.
2. The controller is plugged into one side of the kiosk control unit, which has its own power supply (and where the memory-card reader is connected as well). The 360's video-out, the TV's video-in, and the controller's USB connector plug into the other side, making the unit an effective gateway for all inputs and outputs (as well as the reset and auto-on functions) for the display system. Thus, the controller "routes through here so that certain… functions are disabled in the demo machines."
3. Not only that, the control unit is preset through the use of DIP switches to signify which store (by company) it's located in. "This will allow each store in the future to have slightly different content [such as new dashboards] coming up due to the console locations." Assuming that every store gets the same 360 demo discs, one can only hope that clever store employees get to hacking the DIP-switch settings in a timely fashion. Perhaps then the display and/or downloading of different content than that which was officially intended for that particular location or chain can be enabled, whether through the HD screen or a 360 memory card.
4. Our source never saw any wireless interference in
any of the stores he/she set up or visited: “The clerks were using their remote pricing guns right there, and we had no
issues.” That doesn’t mean no other stores had problems (or that those same stores didn’t run into problems later), but
it does mean that routine operations of at least a few pricing-guns don’t seem to be affected by standard kiosk 360s.
[Blogger’s note: could specific console resets and 360 wireless-detection procedures, coupled with price-gun printing,
perhaps be responsible?]
5. Plans are in motion to ship 15,000 or so total kiosks in the United States. According to our source: “These consoles are VERY new - all of the ones I’ve see so far were made no more than 2-3 weeks ago.” Does that bode well for our mammoth power-supply concerns for the final retail release?
6. A reminder: each 360 can handle a total of four controllers total, whether of the wired or wireless varieties. Four consoles can handle a total of sixteen controllers (four each) through a recognition system of sorts for the wireless version: “What you do is press a little button on the controller which allows whichever console you want to play on to recognize your specific wireless controller.” Sounds simple enough, but we’ll have to see it in LAN action to follow through for sure. [Note: four wired controllers on one console might not be supported.]
7. One more reminder (just for old times’ sake): “The [Xbox 360] system was designed to NOT interfere with anything else. Doesn’t mean that it can’t happen - just that it was designed to not do so.” Whether an adequate amount of testing was completed by Microsoft is debatable, but at least we can agree with this statement in principle.
8. Our source is unfortunately based in the U.S., so any questions regarding distribution in Europe or the rest of the world may not get an answer. Besides that, though, do you all have any other questions regarding the 360 kiosks for our helpful guide?