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Custom Soundcrap

January 6th, 2005 · No Comments · Gaming, Xbox

Burnout 3 was the first Xbox game that I bought that includes the ability to use a custom soundtrack. Since an Xbox is just a mini-Windows box including a hard disk, it makes sense that the games should include customization tools like this.

After playing way too much Burnout 3 and getting, well, burnt out on the included soundtrack, I figured I’d make my own soundtrack. After all, I have fairly large iTunes library, so it should be trivial to whip of a playlist, make an MP3 cd, and load it on to the Xbox.


The first step is loading the songs on to the Xbox. This is done from the Xbox dashboard (thus allowing a custom soundtrack to be used by multiple games.) Before I start, I figure, since the Xbox is a PC, it will probably read an MP3 cd, thus allowing the custom soundtrack to automatically load the MP3 metadata. After all, I can’t imagine any idiot would expect someone to key in song title names using a joystick.


Before I burn an MP3 cd, though, I take an old one I have lying around to see if the Xbox will read it. Turns out the Xbox has no support of mp3 CDs.

The Xbox, being made by Microsoft, likes to store songs stored on the hard drive in Windows Media Files. The only way to load a custom soundtrack is via audio CDs, which the Xbox will then rip into Windows Media files.

All I can say to this is smooth move, Microsoft. So this means to move all the songs I want for my new soundtrack from iTunes to the Xbox, I have to burn four audio CDs. After I load them into the Xbox, there is, of course, no title information at all. If I want to add titles to the songs, I can use my joystick to very slowly key in the names.

Frickin’ brilliant design. And I’m sure it was done because some pinhead at Microsoft was worried about pirated music or some other digital rights management bullshit. This is a fine example of a piece of technology being crippled for no good reason. Why else would Microsoft completely eschew the singularly most common file format for digital music? This makes the Xbox custom soundtrack feature more useful how?

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