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  • Lower Xbox 360 sales drops Microsoft's games division revenue

     

     

    While Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division has announced a drop in losses, the company has shown a loss in revenues for the division. The Culprit? - Microsoft is blaming lower Xbox 360 unit sales. In the three months ending March 31st, the division made an operating loss of $315 million, compared to $402 million last year. Revenues fell to $929 million from $1.2 billion, a drop of about 21%.

    500,000 Xbox 360 consoles were shipped during the quarter, compared to 1.7 million in the same period of 2006, which was the first full quarter the console had on the market since its launch in late 2005. The total number of shipments since the console was launched stands at about 11 million.

    However, the first nine months in total of the company's fiscal year tells a different story of the division's performance, showing a rise in Xbox 360 console, peripheral and software sales. Adding on the sales of the Zune music player, there is a 42% year-on-year increase in revenues to $4.9 billion.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:16 AM
  • Wii production set to lift

     

    NINTENDO'S president says the shortage of the hit Wii game machine was "abnormal", promising production was being boosted to increase deliveries by next month.

    "We must do our best to fix this abnormal lack of stock," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told reporters. "We have not been able to properly foresee demand."

    The comments came a day after the Japanese manufacturer of the Wii - which comes with a wand that can be used as a sword, tennis racket or fishing rod depending on the game - reported that sales nearly doubled for the fiscal year, lifted by robust sales of the Wii and the DS portable, a handheld video game.

    Nintendo's net profit jumped 77 per cent to ¥174.29 billion in the year to March, up dramatically from ¥98.38 billion a year earlier. Sales soared 90 per cent to ¥966.53 billion.

    Mr Iwata refused to disclose the monthly production capacity for the Wii, and said it was too early to say by how much the production was being raised.

     

    But he said efforts were under way to increase production, and more machines will get delivered to stores around the world.

    "We will do our best to offer the machine for those who are waiting," he said at a Tokyo hall.

    The Wii's motion-sensitive remote control wand has made it hit even with people unaccustomed to playing video games. It faced some minor problems early on with its wand, which flew out of the hands of some zealous players, snapping the strap and at times crashing into TVs. But that hasn't dented profits, and the console is still flying off store shelves.

    Nintendo, which also makes Pokemon and Super Mario games, is planning to sell 14 million Wii machines for the current fiscal year to March 2008, having sold 5.84 million Wii consoles worldwide in the five months since its release late last year.

    Sony has sold just 1.84 million PlayStation 3 machines so far worldwide, while Microsoft has shipped more than 10 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide.

    The PlayStation 3 went on sale late last year in the US and Japan, and in March in Europe and Australia. Xbox 360 beat rivals to market in 2005.

    Nintendo also has a big hit in the DS, selling more than 40 million since its launch in late 2004. The machine comes with a touch panel, introducing new easy-to-play games such as raising a dog that players can pet on the screen. Nintendo expects sales of 22 million more DS machines this fiscal year.

    Mr Iwata said Nintendo is now producing 2.5 million DS machines a month to meet bursting demand, the highest production ever for a Nintendo game machine.

    The Associated Press

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:17 AM
  • Xbox 360 Elite Met With Mixed Reactions

     

    The Xbox 360 Elite has just hit stores, and initial reports suggest that while demand is steady, the consoles are still in plentiful supply and there aren't any line-ups to speak of. In other words, anyone that wants an Xbox 360 Elite should be able to wander down to their local retailer and pick one up.

    Loot-Ninja has reported on the situation in North America:

    "I just took a trip around to all my local stores that sell video games. After a trip at 1:30pm to Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Gamestop, EB Games, and Circuit City, I found that they ALL still have Elite systems in stock.

    I know some of these stores got as little as 4 units, and they all have systems in stock. Is the demand not there? I would have expected the stores with the smaller quantities to at least sell out, but it doesn’t look that way."

    Will you be picking up an Elite any time soon?

    Apr 29, 2007

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:19 AM
  • Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship

     

     

    Today I got a box with a note about the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship... Yes, that Pac-Man:

    Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship... Yes, that Pac-Man:


    Anyway, back to the competition. Read the press release find all about the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship.


    Drawn from the best players in the Xbox 360 regions of Australia/New Zealand, Asia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Europe and the United States, nine finalists will advance to the finals based upon the highest Xbox LIVE Arcade leaderboard scores and be flown to New York City for the finals on June 5.


    I remember playing this in the arcardes, mid-80s. Good times. No worries. And Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Asteroids were the big thing back then. You can play these on-line (Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong) to find out what was cool back in the 80s.
    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:21 AM
  • Week recap: PS3 fall; Wii No. 1; Xbox 360 Elite sold out

     

     

    Sales for Sony Corp.'s Playstation 3 fell for the fourth consecutive week in the latest Japan sales tally. The console ranked No. 5 in overall hardware sales.

    Ken Kutaragi, chief executive at Sony Corp.'s game division, stepped down this week amid slow PS3 sales. Kutaragi lead the Playstation to a market-leading position for a decade.

    Sony this week announced that it will release the Playstation Eye to the PS3 this summer. The USB camera peripheral will be utilized for voice and video chat, and online gaming.

    Stanford University's Folding@home program this week reached a PS3 user milestone of more than 250,000 registered users. Folding@home allows PS3 consoles to network in a distributed computing project to help study protein folding and diseases.

    PS3's Blu-ray disc are surpassing HD DVD disc sales in the latest Q1 sales figures at retail. Eight of the top ten best-selling high-definition tiles belonged to Blu-ray.

    Sony this week announced that new PS3 demos and trailers have hit the Playstation Store. New offerings include Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Virtua Tennis 3, and The Godfather trailer.

    Sales for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 fell flat in Japan in the latest retail figures. The console ranked No. 6 overall in hardware sales, far behind all current console and handheld offerings.

    Amazon.com this week began offering pre-orders for the Xbox 360 Elite. The new hardware SKU, which includes HDMI and a 120GB hard drive, will be released on Apr. 29.

    Select Sam's Club stores this week sold the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player for $72.54. The figure represents the lowest in-store price found for the $199 peripheral.

    The Xbox 360 Elite this week nabbed a near $200 premium in a pre-release auction at Ebay. The Elite typically retails for $479.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:22 AM
  • Xbox 360 Elite Hits Retail Today

     

     

    The Xbox 360 Elite hits retail stores today. The HDMI enabled Xbox 360, back in black from Xbox 1 days, has been advertised at major retailers in ad circulars this weekend. From Best Buy, Target, Circuit City and GameStop. The Xbox 360 Elite offers a larger capacity hard drive at 120 gigs, up 100 gigs of space from the 20 gig Xbox 360 Premium hard drive. The Xbox 360 Elite retails for $479.99.

    Xbox 360 Elite Specs:
    - 120GB hard drive
    - HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port
    - Wireless controller (black)
    - Xbox LIVE headset (black)
    - HDMI cable
    - Component/SD cable
    - One month subscription to Xbox Live Gold

    In addition to the Xbox 360 Elite going on sale, accessories to match the black scheme will be sold as well:

    - 120GB Hard Drive (standard gray): $179.99
    - Xbox 360 Wireless Controller with Play & Charge kit (black): $69.99
    - Xbox 360 Wireless Controller (black): $49.99
    - Xbox 360 Play & Charge kit (black): $19.99
    - Xbox 360 rechargeable battery (black): $11.99

    If you plan on picking up (or are able to find) an Xbox 360 Elite today and you currently have a Xbox 360 hard drive with data to transfer over, you can request this Xbox 360 Data Migration Kit for the transfer cable.

    For those of you picking up the 120 Gig hard drive, request this Xbox 360 Data Migration Kit for the transfer cable.

    For those of you picking up the 120 Gig hard drive, watch this video see how the data is transferred over from the 20 gig hard drive to the 120 gig drive.

    The initial shipment of the Xbox 360 Elite may be limited, but the console will be part of the three options available of the Xbox 360 here on out (see all models here).

    If you haven't purchased a Xbox 360 yet and have a 1080p capable HDTV with HDMI, the Elite may be worth picking up. If you are a current Xbox 360 Premium Owner, you may just want to pick up a Xbox 360 Black controller (with matching charging kit) or the 120 GB hard drive if you find your hard drive is getting full and you can't just delete some of the stuff that has filled the drive over the past year or so. Those of you who had the launch Xbox 360 console may find that your current white Xbox 360 controller may be discoloring or worn on the thumbsticks, buttons or even the texture. Pickup the black Xbox 360 wireless controller to get that snappy feeling back. Hardcore Xbox 360 gamers will probably make the switch over. The black color scheme may just be enough to get the hardcore to switch. Xbox 360 Core owners, you'll probably be able to pickup one of those 20 gig harddrives from friends, on eBay (which seem to be going for about 1/2 the original price), or used at your local GameStop. If you are just thinking about switching for the 1080p over HDMI, the visual quality/difference will not be apparent.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:24 AM
  • Xbox 360's Moore thinks Wii is less?

    As of right now, Wii has been consistently outselling Xbox 360 every single month ever since the console launched.

    But Peter Moore, head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division, recently questioned how long Nintendo Wii will be innovative and whether it's truly a next-gen contender.

    When asked by 1UP what he thought about it, Moore was both complimentary and condescending at the same time.

    "The same way when I first saw it last year: It's a very innovative device," he explained.

    "It's done incredibly well at the holiday period and retailers seem to be very happy. The question that remains is, how long will the experience be innovative to consumers, and what are the legs of this thing? Is it a real next-gen contender that can continue deep into the lifecycle, that can continue to meet the numbers?"

    Moore acknowledged that he does not own a Wii yet, but "I was hoping my friend Reggie [Fils-Aime, Nintendo's president and COO] would send me one."

    Perhaps he's suffering from Wii envy.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:25 AM
  • Xbox 360 Elite sold out at Amazon.com

     

     

    Amazon.com has sold out of pre-orders for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 Elite. The e-tailer began taking orders for the new hardware product on Thurs.

    The new Elite hardware, which includes HDMI and a 120GB hard drive sold out within hours of release.

    The strong pre-order sales for the item allowed the production to reach the No. 5 position in the best-selling products for Amazon's Computer & Video Games division on Thurs.

    Amazon was one of several online retailers offering the console for pre-sale. This month, Circuitcity.com and Samsclub.com also offered the new hardware to online customers.

    The new release will help the Xbox 360 compete with Sony Corp.'s Playstation 3 hardware, which includes HDMI and a 60 GB standard in its current retail SKU.

    The Xbox 360 is currently the No. 2 home console in the U.S., behind Nintendo Co.'s motion-sensitive Wii.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:26 AM
  • Blue Dragon Xbox 360 Screenshots

     

    Famed game producer Hironobu Sakaguchi of Mistwalker game studio and developer Artoon present the highly anticipated Xbox 360-exclusive "Blue Dragon." Featuring the character design of Akira Toriyama, who designed "Dragon Ball Z," and music by Nobuo Uematsu, the composer for "Final Fantasy," "Blue Dragon" is an epic role-playing game (RPG) centered on a young boy named Shu and several of his friends. These unlikely heroes possess miraculous strength and magical power to control phantom shadows that mirror the actions of their masters.

    Shu and company must use their shadows as weapons as they battle the evil Nene and an antiquated human race of people who command a magical power thought to have perished long ago. Shu and friends must wield their skills to save their world from impending doom.

    Encountering various people on a planet with numerous ancient ruins, the characters and their shadows travel through a world full of mysteries and illusions, where the slightest touch can cause reactions of unparalleled magnitude.

    Features:

    • Innovative RPG gameplay features. As their quest progresses, warriors can create original attack methods by using several types of Shadow Change, including Sword, Assassin and Power Magic. Players can also choose to focus their hero on certain areas of expertise; as they fight, shadows will level up and gain new abilities associated with the job being done. Once gained, abilities remain available to use when needed.
    • Massive scope and engrossing environments. Shu and his companions battle their way through an immense world filled with vividly illustrated remnants of ancient civilizations long forgotten. Their journey takes them through alluring ancient ruins scattered with machines of war that have long since fallen into disrepair.
    • Stunning graphics. Taking full advantage of the power of Xbox 360, "Blue Dragon" will engage gamers in a world and characters that are brought to life with vibrant colors and detail — from Shu’s wild hair to his martial arts-style garb — conveying the beautiful simplicity and sense of adventure found in this truly next-generation RPG.
    • Dazzling character design and effects. Toriyama’s unique influence is evident in the design of the game’s anime-style characters, whose actions are enhanced with next-generation blur effects. In addition, the game’s algorithmic animation system adds heightened realism to character and creature movements.
    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:28 AM
  • Xbox 360 Elite on Sale Today -Already Sold Out on Amazon

     

    The Elite unit goes on sale at your local stores today and Microsoft must be quietly happy with the results already - Sold Out signs are posted on some stores (even at this early hour) including Amazon.com The new Elite hardware, which includes HDMI and a 120GB hard drive sold out within hours of release.

    The strong pre-order sales for the item allowed the production to reach the No. 5 position in the best-selling products for Amazon's Computer & Video Games division on Thurs.

    Amazon was one of several online retailers offering the console for pre-sale. This month, Circuitcity.com and Samsclub.com also offered the new hardware to online customers.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:30 AM
  • Zoozen's conceptual Ovo 360 replacement case for Xbox 360

     

     

    We've certainly got no qualms with hacking up your Xbox 360 case to garner maximum enjoyment out of it, and if production issues can work themselves out, it looks like Zoozen will be stepping to the plate for those who want a pre-fabricated change. Of course, if you're just looking for a glossy white paint job, we're sure Colorware could arrange it, but the Ovo 360 replacement case looks more like a gigantic mouse (albeit a bit less oval-inspired) than a gaming console. The concept displays a full neon underbody kit, all the ports we're become so used to on Microsoft's own design, and a frightening disclaimer that a good bit of "development" is still in the works. But hey, if it's the thought that counts (at least initially), Zoozen's probably got a winner, so be sure to click on through for a brief videotaped overview of the case its
    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:41 AM
  • Burnout Paradise Announced for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 - New Teaser Trailer

     

    EA has announced that Burnout 5 is now called Burnout Paradise. They sent along a new teaser trailer and some screen grabs from the trailer for you to check out.

    Buckle up and prepare to unleash automotive anarchy in the ultimate burner’s paradise. Electronic Arts today announced that Burnout 5 is in development for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360 video game system from Microsoft .

    Burnout 5 gives players license to wreak havoc in Paradise City, the ultimate seamless racing battleground, with a massive infrastructure of traffic-heavy roads to abuse. Gone is the need to jump in and out of menus and aimlessly search for fun like many open world games; in Burnout 5, every inch of the world is built to deliver heart-stopping Burnout-style gameplay. Every intersection is a potential crash junction and every alleyway is an opportunity to rack up moving violations.

    Of course, rules are made to be broken, and when gamers enter Paradise City, they’re assigned a Drivers License that quickly begins to amass a record of player’s most aggressive, reckless and destructive exploits behind the wheel. But it’s not the law that’s eyeing player’s progress … when gamers push things too hard they’ll be squaring off against the city’s most infamous burners, and these legends aren’t interested in who crosses the finish line first.

    “Burnout 5 is a complete reinvention of the series, built from the ground up for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360,” said Alex Ward, director of game design at Criterion Games. “To create truly next-generation gameplay, we needed to create a truly next-generation game, from top to bottom.”

    Burnout 5 also delivers the next level of speed and destruction, with brand new next-generation technology allowing gamers to literally rip their cars in half, in the most explosive pile-ups in the series’ history.

    Burnout 5 will ship in 2007 under the EA brand and was developed by Criterion Games in Guildford, UK.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:33 PM
  • Under the Hood: Inside Microsoft's Xbox 360 Elite

     

    Commack, NY—Semiconductor Insights got hold of the just-released Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite and kept the cameras rolling as they popped the lid and dove inside (view video). The teardown is a follow-on to the company's teardown of the Playstation 3 (view video) and Nintendo Wii (view video) last year and provides insight into what Microsoft is doing to remain competitive in a hotly contested three-way market.

    "While Microsoft released the XBox 360 a year ahead their competitors, they recently released the Elite to remain competitive, especially against the PS3," said Gregory A. Quirk, SI's technical marketing manager. "Incorporating a larger hard drive and HDMI output, the Elite enables more downloads from XBox Live to be stored and higher graphical resolution to meet the demands of gamers."

    The hard drive's capacity has been increased from 20 Gbytes to 120 Gbytes. Though there is 17 Gbytes of preloaded content on the system, including game demos and video clips, that can be deleted and replaced with new content. "With gaming downloads and videos getting increasingly larger, this is a welcome addition to the system," said Quirk.

    Other features added include a HDMI v1.2 output for higher screen resolution and cleaner cabling. The Sony Playstation 3 has an HDMI v1.3 connection. According to Quirk, the combination of increased hard drive capacity and HDMI connectivity will help promote more downloading on Xbox Live, especially of high-definition (HD) movies. "These revisions to the Elite can help users transition the system from a gaming console to a fully functional media center."

    There has been considerable speculation regarding the lithography of the IBM processor. Some sources have claimed that it uses a 65-nm processes lithography, while other claim that it's 90 nm. Semiconductor Insights (SI) performed a cross section of the device, measuring the transistor length, and confirmed that it's the same as that used by the original XBox 360.

    "The CPU in the Xbox 360 Elite seems to be assembled in Canada whereas the CPU in the previous Xbox was marked 'Taiwan'," stated Rob Hilkes, a lead technology analyst at SI. "This may indicate that while the previous CPU was built on Chartered's Fab7 in Singapore and assembled in Taiwan, the CPU of the Elite may be built in IBM's Fab B323 in East Fishkill, New York and assembled at IBM's assembly facility in nearby Bromont, Quebec." IBM and Chartered share design data at the 90-nm node. "We seem to have evidence now that Microsoft is indeed using both sources for the XBox CPU." Concern about the original Xbox 360's power consumption may also have been addressed. "Microsoft has redesigned some aspects of the power architecture, resulting in a lower component count."

    In the end, there are few hardware differences between the original Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Elite, said Quirk. "The system is the same size, the boards designs are very similar, and most of the components themselves are the same." The only real difference between the systems are the video-interface IC, which had to be revised to accommodate the HDMI output. The new functionality resulted in about a 35 percent larger die area to that of its previous generation component.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:34 PM
  • Report: 65-nm Xbox 360 GPU Coming This Fall

     

     

    The Xbox 360's CPU isn't the only chip expected to be shrunken down. According to a DigiTimes report, a 65-nanometer Xenos graphics processing unit will be introduced this fall. Shrinking down both the CPU and GPU could lead to potential price cuts.

    According to a report in DigiTimes, which cites the Chinese paper Commercial Times, Microsoft will manufacture its Xbox 360 with a new 65-nanometer GPU starting this fall. According to the paper, a 65-nm version of the chip has already been sent out for production, which is expected to start in May.

    This is the first time we've heard of the 360's GPU getting the 65-nm treatment. It was announced last year that Microsoft would shrink down its 90-nm CPU, but the new 65-nm Xenon chip is not expected until mid-2007. This unfortunately means that Microsoft's newly launched Xbox 360 Elite just missed out on receiving 65-nm chips.

    The good news is that new Xbox 360 purchasers this fall/holiday will likely pick up a unit that incorporates a 65-nm Xenon chip and and 65-nm Xenos GPU. The result should be a unit that runs at cooler temperatures, consumes less power, and is ultimately cheaper to produce since more chips can be fit into one manufacturing run. This could potentially enable Microsoft to slash the price on its console right in time for the crucial holiday sales period.

    And perhaps if the unit is running cooler, users might even see fewer "three red lights of death" lock-ups.

    [Via Joystiq]

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:34 PM
  • Classic Atari Games - Centipede(R) and Millipede(R) - Available on Xbox LIVE(R) Arcade
    NEW YORK, April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Atari, Inc. , one of the world's most recognized brands and third-party video game publisher, today announced the launch of Centipede and Millipede, two of Atari's best loved coin-op classics, onto Xbox LIVE(R) Arcade.

    With Centipede and Millipede on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Atari delivers the same gaming sights, sounds and action as the originals. In addition to the classic form of each title, gamers can also play evolved, enhanced versions that include new graphics, sounds and special effects.

    "Atari's 'Centipede' and 'Millipede' on Xbox LIVE Arcade are great examples of classic games taken to the next level. The evolved versions of both games provide gamers with the gameplay they know and love, and are now stunningly rendered in high definition graphics," said Chris Early, product unit manager for Microsoft Casual Games. "Now that gamers have direct access to 'Centipede' and 'Millipede' through Xbox LIVE Arcade, it will be easier than ever for fans of all ages to enjoy these classics just like gamers did in neighborhood arcades decades ago."

    "Atari's classic video games, especially Centipede and Millipede, have had a huge fan base since the originals first entered the marketplace in 1980," said Emily Anadu, product manager, Atari, Inc. "By offering these titles on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Atari extends its classic library to a modern audience and further reaches a global community of gamers."

    The classic version of Centipede challenges gamers to defend their villages against an onslaught of centipedes, spiders, army ants and more. Users will also have access to the evolved version which features pre- rendered, high definition graphics, special effects like motion blur, trails and particle-based explosions that make this classic as enjoyable today as it was in the arcade decades ago.

    Obliterating a chain of arthropods that creep down from the top of the screen is the primary challenge in Millipede. Scattered mushrooms are the gamers' main tool to shoot, destroy and redirect the menacing millipedes. The Xbox LIVE Arcade evolved version of Millipede has been overhauled with updated graphics to offer a modernized version of this Atari Classic.

    About Atari

    About Infogrames Entertainment

    Infogrames Entertainment (IESA), the parent company of the Atari Group, is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange (ISIN code: FR-0000052573) and has two principal subsidiaries: Atari Europe, a privately-held company, and Atari, Inc., a United States corporation listed on NASDAQ (ATAR). The Atari Group is a major international producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment software for all market segments and in all existing game formats (Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony) and on CD-ROM for PC. Its games are sold in more than 60 countries. The Atari Group's extensive catalogue of popular games is based on original franchises (Alone in the Dark, V-Rally, Test Drive, Roller Coaster Tycoon, etc.) and international licenses (Matrix, Dragon Ball Z, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.).

    With the exception of the historical information contained in this release, the matters described herein contain certain "forward-looking statements" that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this release are not promises or guarantees and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. These statements are based on management's current expectations and assumptions and are naturally subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. We caution you not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements. Actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the statements herein. Some of the factors which could cause our results to differ materially include the following: the loss of key customers, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, and GameStop; delays in product development and related product release schedules; inability to secure capital; adapting to the rapidly changing industry technology, including new console technology; maintaining relationships with leading independent video game software developers; maintaining or acquiring licenses to intellectual property; fluctuations in the Company's quarterly net revenues and results of operations based on the seasonality of our industry; the termination or modification of our agreements with hardware manufacturers; and other factors described in our SEC filings.

    The Company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements to conform the statement to actual results or changes in the Company's expectations.

    ATARI, the ATARI logo, and classic Atari game titles and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Atari Interactive, Inc. or its affiliates in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions, and are used with permission.

    Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, the Xbox logos, and the Xbox Live logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

    Atari, Inc.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:35 PM
  • PS3, Xbox 360 battle for players

     

     

    Coke or Pepsi?

    The cola wars used to provide the best example we had of a functioning free market. Whether you bled red for Coca-Cola or were true red, white and blue for Pepsi, most people had a preference and no one really could argue that they were all that different. It was a perfect competition.

    These days, the battle for taste rages between Sony and Microsoft, between PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

    Like their carbonated counterparts, these twin titans of home gaming have more things in common than differentiate them. Sure, the PS3 is sleek and black next to the 360's cool, modern, off-white casing. But once you load the games, the difference becomes detail most gamers will hardly ever notice.

    If you want to know how close together the machines really are, just spend a couple of days comparing games available for both platforms.

    'Core 4'

    "Armored Core 4" shows the futility in such comparisons. You might find the graphics in the PS3 version a bit more detailed and the screen display a bit wider. But once the giant, armored robots rumble into battle, the fun stays the same regardless of the platform. Even the PS3 and 360 controllers so closely follow the same model that switching between the two consoles won't cause a single hitch when it comes to releasing a flurry of homing missiles at the enemy.

    Sega's "Virtua Tennis 3" follows the same logic -- same game, two different machines. Whacking a little green ball back and forth across a high-definition net remains an eternal amusement in spite of any specific allegiance you might have to a particular game company. If 360 gamers need a reason to gloat, the PS3 version curiously lacks online play.

    While playing a computer opponent works well for practice, nothing beats smashing a serve past an opponent in another state.

    'Scrolls 4'

    Back on the PS3 side of the argument, Sony gamers finally get access to a 360 favorite -- "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion." This "Dungeons & Dragons"-inspired role-playing game promises to suck up the hours in your real life and trade them for time in an enormous, detailed fantasy environment.

    In the translation to the PS3, the graphics picked up a little extra shine and the game a bit of new content. Otherwise, the new game remains almost a photocopy of the original.

    Of course, cross-platform titles tend to work to the lowest common denominator of both systems. So, these games never show off the best that either system can offer.

    And every gamer knows the exclusives -- moreso than cross-platform titles -- really define the machine. Until "Grand Theft Auto" was on Xbox, PlayStation was the only machine for many gamers. As long as Microsoft owns "Halo," you can count on resounding sales around that title alone.

    From all this you probably can understand the recent obsession with Nintendo's Wii. In the world of cola, the Wii remains as unique as diet orange cream soda.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:36 PM
  • Digital Joystick: Video Game News & Views

     

     

    Cooperative game play over Xbox Live is absolutely cool.

    On Sunday night I was playing Crackdown on my Xbox 360 and I was attempting to take out the Volk mob boss and I got an invite to let some other player join in my game.

    Now this was sort of like an equivalent of playing an arcade game in an actual arcade and then having someone else walk up and put their quarter (or 50 cents) into the machine and join in. Now rather than trying to kill one another we were united in a task of taking out this mob boss and all his flunkies. Now I am in Bremerton and the guy who wanted to join me is a high school sophomore who lives in Renton. I've never met him before but we are united in our love of the game Crackdown and our willingness to take out this virtual mob boss scum.

    We chatted a bit while taking out the flunky henchman minions and we gave each other advice about how best to climb up the side of the abandon oil rig that was taken over by the Volk mob. We covered each other by taking out the bad guys shooting at us from the other platform and then finally made it to the top where the boss was waiting. He didn't stand a chance with our combined firepower and that portion of my virtual city in Crackdown is now safe from the influence of that guy's mob.

    I realized that it was getting late and I had work tomorrow. He said he had school and before I signed off I sent him a "Friend Request "and a voice message that I had fun at Crackdown. Now should he accept my request I'll get a notice when he logs on to Xbox Live and I'll be able to directly request a joint game with him again.

    Now on Friday I had a real life coworker get this game and we joined in and took out some virtual mobsters together. He was new to the game and I was able to show him around and we found that driving around in the cars are a lot more fun when one of you can literally ride shotgun on top of the car or in the back of a truck.

    I've played Coopertive games in Gears of War, TMNT 1989 Arcade, and Gauntlet.

    Now this is better than split screen cooperative game play because we don't have to be in the same physical room but can communicate over the voice chat microphone headsets. Since we have our own screens we can split up and literally take a different path. playing with someone else over Xbox Live helps make the experience of playing video games a less solitary activity and it really adds a lot of fun to the immersive nature of the game. Playing against other people is cool but working together toward a common goal in a game is just as fun.

    My girlfriend and cats still think it is a bit strange to hear me have one sided conversations with other players over the Xbox headset that they can't hear. Cooperative game play and shared game play experience are something that I really enjoy and I am much more likely to buy games that have it.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:37 PM
  • Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360)

     

     

    The fifth installment in the Burnout series gives players license to wreak havoc in Paradise City, the ultimate racing battleground, with a massive infrastructure of traffic-heavy roads to abuse. Gone is the need to jump in and out of menus and aimlessly search for fun like many open world games; in Burnout 5, every inch of the world is built to deliver heart-stopping Burnout-style gameplay. Every intersection is a potential crash junction and every alleyway is an opportunity to rack up moving violations.

    Of course, rules are made to be broken, and when gamers enter Paradise City, they’re assigned a Drivers License that quickly begins to amass a record of player’s most aggressive, reckless and destructive exploits behind the wheel. But it’s not the law that’s eyeing player’s progress … when gamers push things too hard they’ll be squaring off against the city’s most infamous burners, and these legends aren’t interested in who crosses the finish line first...
    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:38 PM
  • Halo 3 gives Microsoft confidence in Xbox 360 sales

     

    Microsoft chief financial officer Chris Liddell believes Halo 3 will be a big system seller for the platform holder.

    Speaking in a conference call following the release of Microsoft's Q3 financials, Liddell highlighted the importance of Halo 3.

    "Halo 3 is clearly going to have a positive impact in two senses. One, it gives us more confidence in the number of consoles we think we're going to be able to sell next year, said Liddell. "In terms of the direct impact, obviously it's a first-party product so it's reasonably profitable from our point of view, and it will be several hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue next year."

    Liddell also noted that Microsoft sold around 500,000 Xbox 360 consoles to retail during the quarter, with a slightly higher sell-through to customers.


    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:44 PM
  • Nintendo Hustles to Get More Wii to You

    Consumers hoping to buy a Wii gaming console have had a hard time finding one for sale, even several months after Nintendo started shipments. On Friday, the company's president promised a ramp-up in production in order to meet demand. The Wii, with its unique controller interface, is the sales leader among rivals Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:47 PM
  • Xbox 360 GPU Going 65nm, TSMC To Benefit

     

    DigiTimes, citing sources from the Chinese-language Commercial Times, says the Xbox 360 GPU will get a 65nm die shrink in the fall. According to the report, TSMC projected sales contribution from the move to 65nm would amount to 5% during mid-2007.

    The paper cited the sources as saying that an engineering version of the 65nm-made Xenos has been sent out and production will start in May. TSMC projected sales contribution from 65nm would amount to 5% during mid-2007.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:48 PM
  • Xbox 360 GPU to go to 65nm in fall, TSMC to see side benefits, says paper

     

    Sources at equipment makers were cited by a Chinese-language Commercial Times report as saying that the Xbox 360 will be equipped with a 65nm-made Xenos graphics processing unit (GPU) in the fall and that corresponding foundry partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will see benefits.

    The paper cited the sources as saying that an engineering version of the 65nm-made Xenos has been sent out and production will start in May. TSMC projected sales contribution from 65nm would amount to 5% during mid-2007.

    On a separate note, TSMC announced the introduction of 65nm-made embedded DRAM in March. Embedded DRAM is one of the two dies that comprise the Xenos. In the 90nm version of the Xenos, embedded DRAM is manufactured by NEC.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:52 PM
  • Xbox 360 Elite Met With Mixed Reactions

     

     

    The Xbox 360 Elite has just hit stores, and initial reports suggest that while demand is steady, the consoles are still in plentiful supply and there aren't any line-ups to speak of. In other words, anyone that wants an Xbox 360 Elite should be able to wander down to their local retailer and pick one up.

    Loot-Ninja has reported on the situation in North America:

    "I just took a trip around to all my local stores that sell video games. After a trip at 1:30pm to Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Gamestop, EB Games, and Circuit City, I found that they ALL still have Elite systems in stock.

    I know some of these stores got as little as 4 units, and they all have systems in stock. Is the demand not there? I would have expected the stores with the smaller quantities to at least sell out, but it doesn’t look that way."

    Meanwhile, a reader at Kotaku has reported quite the opposite:

    "My walmart up the street got 8 units. sold them all at midnight. i had to go to the other walmart 10 miles down the road. They had 8 units sold 5 and had 3 left. I bought one so they had 2 left.

    My local gamestop had 5 and sold them all at opening. There was a line. They did have 3 wiis in stock when i stopped by so i got a wii as well.

    Depending on where you are some places had alot higher demand than others. some places sold out and had lines others did not."

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:54 PM
  • A WOMAN has donated an Xbox games console to a youth club that was ransacked by burglars.

    The Bolton News featured an article about the break-in at Brazely Community Centre in Cedar Avenue last week, when thieves stole items including an Xbox games console, a DVD player and a disco ball.

    Rebecca Whitefield, of Queen Street, Horwich, read the story and decided to donate her Xbox to the youngsters.

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    Cllr Stephen Rock, leader of Horwich town council, founded the youth club in 1999 and had nominated the centre as one of his charities when he was mayor last year.

    He said: "The youngsters were devastated about the burglary, but now they are over the moon to have an Xbox back, thanks to this kind lady. It shows that there are still some kind people out there who support our young people."

    Police are still searching for the culprits of the burglary.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 0161 856 5782.

     

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:55 PM

All replies

  • Lower Xbox 360 sales drops Microsoft's games division revenue

     

     

    While Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division has announced a drop in losses, the company has shown a loss in revenues for the division. The Culprit? - Microsoft is blaming lower Xbox 360 unit sales. In the three months ending March 31st, the division made an operating loss of $315 million, compared to $402 million last year. Revenues fell to $929 million from $1.2 billion, a drop of about 21%.

    500,000 Xbox 360 consoles were shipped during the quarter, compared to 1.7 million in the same period of 2006, which was the first full quarter the console had on the market since its launch in late 2005. The total number of shipments since the console was launched stands at about 11 million.

    However, the first nine months in total of the company's fiscal year tells a different story of the division's performance, showing a rise in Xbox 360 console, peripheral and software sales. Adding on the sales of the Zune music player, there is a 42% year-on-year increase in revenues to $4.9 billion.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:16 AM
  • Wii production set to lift

     

    NINTENDO'S president says the shortage of the hit Wii game machine was "abnormal", promising production was being boosted to increase deliveries by next month.

    "We must do our best to fix this abnormal lack of stock," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told reporters. "We have not been able to properly foresee demand."

    The comments came a day after the Japanese manufacturer of the Wii - which comes with a wand that can be used as a sword, tennis racket or fishing rod depending on the game - reported that sales nearly doubled for the fiscal year, lifted by robust sales of the Wii and the DS portable, a handheld video game.

    Nintendo's net profit jumped 77 per cent to ¥174.29 billion in the year to March, up dramatically from ¥98.38 billion a year earlier. Sales soared 90 per cent to ¥966.53 billion.

    Mr Iwata refused to disclose the monthly production capacity for the Wii, and said it was too early to say by how much the production was being raised.

     

    But he said efforts were under way to increase production, and more machines will get delivered to stores around the world.

    "We will do our best to offer the machine for those who are waiting," he said at a Tokyo hall.

    The Wii's motion-sensitive remote control wand has made it hit even with people unaccustomed to playing video games. It faced some minor problems early on with its wand, which flew out of the hands of some zealous players, snapping the strap and at times crashing into TVs. But that hasn't dented profits, and the console is still flying off store shelves.

    Nintendo, which also makes Pokemon and Super Mario games, is planning to sell 14 million Wii machines for the current fiscal year to March 2008, having sold 5.84 million Wii consoles worldwide in the five months since its release late last year.

    Sony has sold just 1.84 million PlayStation 3 machines so far worldwide, while Microsoft has shipped more than 10 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide.

    The PlayStation 3 went on sale late last year in the US and Japan, and in March in Europe and Australia. Xbox 360 beat rivals to market in 2005.

    Nintendo also has a big hit in the DS, selling more than 40 million since its launch in late 2004. The machine comes with a touch panel, introducing new easy-to-play games such as raising a dog that players can pet on the screen. Nintendo expects sales of 22 million more DS machines this fiscal year.

    Mr Iwata said Nintendo is now producing 2.5 million DS machines a month to meet bursting demand, the highest production ever for a Nintendo game machine.

    The Associated Press

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:17 AM
  • Xbox 360 Elite Met With Mixed Reactions

     

    The Xbox 360 Elite has just hit stores, and initial reports suggest that while demand is steady, the consoles are still in plentiful supply and there aren't any line-ups to speak of. In other words, anyone that wants an Xbox 360 Elite should be able to wander down to their local retailer and pick one up.

    Loot-Ninja has reported on the situation in North America:

    "I just took a trip around to all my local stores that sell video games. After a trip at 1:30pm to Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Gamestop, EB Games, and Circuit City, I found that they ALL still have Elite systems in stock.

    I know some of these stores got as little as 4 units, and they all have systems in stock. Is the demand not there? I would have expected the stores with the smaller quantities to at least sell out, but it doesn’t look that way."

    Will you be picking up an Elite any time soon?

    Apr 29, 2007

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:19 AM
  • Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship

     

     

    Today I got a box with a note about the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship... Yes, that Pac-Man:

    Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship... Yes, that Pac-Man:


    Anyway, back to the competition. Read the press release find all about the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship.


    Drawn from the best players in the Xbox 360 regions of Australia/New Zealand, Asia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Europe and the United States, nine finalists will advance to the finals based upon the highest Xbox LIVE Arcade leaderboard scores and be flown to New York City for the finals on June 5.


    I remember playing this in the arcardes, mid-80s. Good times. No worries. And Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Asteroids were the big thing back then. You can play these on-line (Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong) to find out what was cool back in the 80s.
    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:21 AM
  • Week recap: PS3 fall; Wii No. 1; Xbox 360 Elite sold out

     

     

    Sales for Sony Corp.'s Playstation 3 fell for the fourth consecutive week in the latest Japan sales tally. The console ranked No. 5 in overall hardware sales.

    Ken Kutaragi, chief executive at Sony Corp.'s game division, stepped down this week amid slow PS3 sales. Kutaragi lead the Playstation to a market-leading position for a decade.

    Sony this week announced that it will release the Playstation Eye to the PS3 this summer. The USB camera peripheral will be utilized for voice and video chat, and online gaming.

    Stanford University's Folding@home program this week reached a PS3 user milestone of more than 250,000 registered users. Folding@home allows PS3 consoles to network in a distributed computing project to help study protein folding and diseases.

    PS3's Blu-ray disc are surpassing HD DVD disc sales in the latest Q1 sales figures at retail. Eight of the top ten best-selling high-definition tiles belonged to Blu-ray.

    Sony this week announced that new PS3 demos and trailers have hit the Playstation Store. New offerings include Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Virtua Tennis 3, and The Godfather trailer.

    Sales for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 fell flat in Japan in the latest retail figures. The console ranked No. 6 overall in hardware sales, far behind all current console and handheld offerings.

    Amazon.com this week began offering pre-orders for the Xbox 360 Elite. The new hardware SKU, which includes HDMI and a 120GB hard drive, will be released on Apr. 29.

    Select Sam's Club stores this week sold the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player for $72.54. The figure represents the lowest in-store price found for the $199 peripheral.

    The Xbox 360 Elite this week nabbed a near $200 premium in a pre-release auction at Ebay. The Elite typically retails for $479.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:22 AM
  • Xbox 360 Elite Hits Retail Today

     

     

    The Xbox 360 Elite hits retail stores today. The HDMI enabled Xbox 360, back in black from Xbox 1 days, has been advertised at major retailers in ad circulars this weekend. From Best Buy, Target, Circuit City and GameStop. The Xbox 360 Elite offers a larger capacity hard drive at 120 gigs, up 100 gigs of space from the 20 gig Xbox 360 Premium hard drive. The Xbox 360 Elite retails for $479.99.

    Xbox 360 Elite Specs:
    - 120GB hard drive
    - HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port
    - Wireless controller (black)
    - Xbox LIVE headset (black)
    - HDMI cable
    - Component/SD cable
    - One month subscription to Xbox Live Gold

    In addition to the Xbox 360 Elite going on sale, accessories to match the black scheme will be sold as well:

    - 120GB Hard Drive (standard gray): $179.99
    - Xbox 360 Wireless Controller with Play & Charge kit (black): $69.99
    - Xbox 360 Wireless Controller (black): $49.99
    - Xbox 360 Play & Charge kit (black): $19.99
    - Xbox 360 rechargeable battery (black): $11.99

    If you plan on picking up (or are able to find) an Xbox 360 Elite today and you currently have a Xbox 360 hard drive with data to transfer over, you can request this Xbox 360 Data Migration Kit for the transfer cable.

    For those of you picking up the 120 Gig hard drive, request this Xbox 360 Data Migration Kit for the transfer cable.

    For those of you picking up the 120 Gig hard drive, watch this video see how the data is transferred over from the 20 gig hard drive to the 120 gig drive.

    The initial shipment of the Xbox 360 Elite may be limited, but the console will be part of the three options available of the Xbox 360 here on out (see all models here).

    If you haven't purchased a Xbox 360 yet and have a 1080p capable HDTV with HDMI, the Elite may be worth picking up. If you are a current Xbox 360 Premium Owner, you may just want to pick up a Xbox 360 Black controller (with matching charging kit) or the 120 GB hard drive if you find your hard drive is getting full and you can't just delete some of the stuff that has filled the drive over the past year or so. Those of you who had the launch Xbox 360 console may find that your current white Xbox 360 controller may be discoloring or worn on the thumbsticks, buttons or even the texture. Pickup the black Xbox 360 wireless controller to get that snappy feeling back. Hardcore Xbox 360 gamers will probably make the switch over. The black color scheme may just be enough to get the hardcore to switch. Xbox 360 Core owners, you'll probably be able to pickup one of those 20 gig harddrives from friends, on eBay (which seem to be going for about 1/2 the original price), or used at your local GameStop. If you are just thinking about switching for the 1080p over HDMI, the visual quality/difference will not be apparent.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:24 AM
  • Xbox 360's Moore thinks Wii is less?

    As of right now, Wii has been consistently outselling Xbox 360 every single month ever since the console launched.

    But Peter Moore, head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division, recently questioned how long Nintendo Wii will be innovative and whether it's truly a next-gen contender.

    When asked by 1UP what he thought about it, Moore was both complimentary and condescending at the same time.

    "The same way when I first saw it last year: It's a very innovative device," he explained.

    "It's done incredibly well at the holiday period and retailers seem to be very happy. The question that remains is, how long will the experience be innovative to consumers, and what are the legs of this thing? Is it a real next-gen contender that can continue deep into the lifecycle, that can continue to meet the numbers?"

    Moore acknowledged that he does not own a Wii yet, but "I was hoping my friend Reggie [Fils-Aime, Nintendo's president and COO] would send me one."

    Perhaps he's suffering from Wii envy.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:25 AM
  • Xbox 360 Elite sold out at Amazon.com

     

     

    Amazon.com has sold out of pre-orders for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 Elite. The e-tailer began taking orders for the new hardware product on Thurs.

    The new Elite hardware, which includes HDMI and a 120GB hard drive sold out within hours of release.

    The strong pre-order sales for the item allowed the production to reach the No. 5 position in the best-selling products for Amazon's Computer & Video Games division on Thurs.

    Amazon was one of several online retailers offering the console for pre-sale. This month, Circuitcity.com and Samsclub.com also offered the new hardware to online customers.

    The new release will help the Xbox 360 compete with Sony Corp.'s Playstation 3 hardware, which includes HDMI and a 60 GB standard in its current retail SKU.

    The Xbox 360 is currently the No. 2 home console in the U.S., behind Nintendo Co.'s motion-sensitive Wii.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:26 AM
  • Blue Dragon Xbox 360 Screenshots

     

    Famed game producer Hironobu Sakaguchi of Mistwalker game studio and developer Artoon present the highly anticipated Xbox 360-exclusive "Blue Dragon." Featuring the character design of Akira Toriyama, who designed "Dragon Ball Z," and music by Nobuo Uematsu, the composer for "Final Fantasy," "Blue Dragon" is an epic role-playing game (RPG) centered on a young boy named Shu and several of his friends. These unlikely heroes possess miraculous strength and magical power to control phantom shadows that mirror the actions of their masters.

    Shu and company must use their shadows as weapons as they battle the evil Nene and an antiquated human race of people who command a magical power thought to have perished long ago. Shu and friends must wield their skills to save their world from impending doom.

    Encountering various people on a planet with numerous ancient ruins, the characters and their shadows travel through a world full of mysteries and illusions, where the slightest touch can cause reactions of unparalleled magnitude.

    Features:

    • Innovative RPG gameplay features. As their quest progresses, warriors can create original attack methods by using several types of Shadow Change, including Sword, Assassin and Power Magic. Players can also choose to focus their hero on certain areas of expertise; as they fight, shadows will level up and gain new abilities associated with the job being done. Once gained, abilities remain available to use when needed.
    • Massive scope and engrossing environments. Shu and his companions battle their way through an immense world filled with vividly illustrated remnants of ancient civilizations long forgotten. Their journey takes them through alluring ancient ruins scattered with machines of war that have long since fallen into disrepair.
    • Stunning graphics. Taking full advantage of the power of Xbox 360, "Blue Dragon" will engage gamers in a world and characters that are brought to life with vibrant colors and detail — from Shu’s wild hair to his martial arts-style garb — conveying the beautiful simplicity and sense of adventure found in this truly next-generation RPG.
    • Dazzling character design and effects. Toriyama’s unique influence is evident in the design of the game’s anime-style characters, whose actions are enhanced with next-generation blur effects. In addition, the game’s algorithmic animation system adds heightened realism to character and creature movements.
    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:28 AM
  • Xbox 360 Elite on Sale Today -Already Sold Out on Amazon

     

    The Elite unit goes on sale at your local stores today and Microsoft must be quietly happy with the results already - Sold Out signs are posted on some stores (even at this early hour) including Amazon.com The new Elite hardware, which includes HDMI and a 120GB hard drive sold out within hours of release.

    The strong pre-order sales for the item allowed the production to reach the No. 5 position in the best-selling products for Amazon's Computer & Video Games division on Thurs.

    Amazon was one of several online retailers offering the console for pre-sale. This month, Circuitcity.com and Samsclub.com also offered the new hardware to online customers.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:30 AM
  • Zoozen's conceptual Ovo 360 replacement case for Xbox 360

     

     

    We've certainly got no qualms with hacking up your Xbox 360 case to garner maximum enjoyment out of it, and if production issues can work themselves out, it looks like Zoozen will be stepping to the plate for those who want a pre-fabricated change. Of course, if you're just looking for a glossy white paint job, we're sure Colorware could arrange it, but the Ovo 360 replacement case looks more like a gigantic mouse (albeit a bit less oval-inspired) than a gaming console. The concept displays a full neon underbody kit, all the ports we're become so used to on Microsoft's own design, and a frightening disclaimer that a good bit of "development" is still in the works. But hey, if it's the thought that counts (at least initially), Zoozen's probably got a winner, so be sure to click on through for a brief videotaped overview of the case its
    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:41 AM
  • Burnout Paradise Announced for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 - New Teaser Trailer

     

    EA has announced that Burnout 5 is now called Burnout Paradise. They sent along a new teaser trailer and some screen grabs from the trailer for you to check out.

    Buckle up and prepare to unleash automotive anarchy in the ultimate burner’s paradise. Electronic Arts today announced that Burnout 5 is in development for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360 video game system from Microsoft .

    Burnout 5 gives players license to wreak havoc in Paradise City, the ultimate seamless racing battleground, with a massive infrastructure of traffic-heavy roads to abuse. Gone is the need to jump in and out of menus and aimlessly search for fun like many open world games; in Burnout 5, every inch of the world is built to deliver heart-stopping Burnout-style gameplay. Every intersection is a potential crash junction and every alleyway is an opportunity to rack up moving violations.

    Of course, rules are made to be broken, and when gamers enter Paradise City, they’re assigned a Drivers License that quickly begins to amass a record of player’s most aggressive, reckless and destructive exploits behind the wheel. But it’s not the law that’s eyeing player’s progress … when gamers push things too hard they’ll be squaring off against the city’s most infamous burners, and these legends aren’t interested in who crosses the finish line first.

    “Burnout 5 is a complete reinvention of the series, built from the ground up for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360,” said Alex Ward, director of game design at Criterion Games. “To create truly next-generation gameplay, we needed to create a truly next-generation game, from top to bottom.”

    Burnout 5 also delivers the next level of speed and destruction, with brand new next-generation technology allowing gamers to literally rip their cars in half, in the most explosive pile-ups in the series’ history.

    Burnout 5 will ship in 2007 under the EA brand and was developed by Criterion Games in Guildford, UK.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:33 PM
  • Under the Hood: Inside Microsoft's Xbox 360 Elite

     

    Commack, NY—Semiconductor Insights got hold of the just-released Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite and kept the cameras rolling as they popped the lid and dove inside (view video). The teardown is a follow-on to the company's teardown of the Playstation 3 (view video) and Nintendo Wii (view video) last year and provides insight into what Microsoft is doing to remain competitive in a hotly contested three-way market.

    "While Microsoft released the XBox 360 a year ahead their competitors, they recently released the Elite to remain competitive, especially against the PS3," said Gregory A. Quirk, SI's technical marketing manager. "Incorporating a larger hard drive and HDMI output, the Elite enables more downloads from XBox Live to be stored and higher graphical resolution to meet the demands of gamers."

    The hard drive's capacity has been increased from 20 Gbytes to 120 Gbytes. Though there is 17 Gbytes of preloaded content on the system, including game demos and video clips, that can be deleted and replaced with new content. "With gaming downloads and videos getting increasingly larger, this is a welcome addition to the system," said Quirk.

    Other features added include a HDMI v1.2 output for higher screen resolution and cleaner cabling. The Sony Playstation 3 has an HDMI v1.3 connection. According to Quirk, the combination of increased hard drive capacity and HDMI connectivity will help promote more downloading on Xbox Live, especially of high-definition (HD) movies. "These revisions to the Elite can help users transition the system from a gaming console to a fully functional media center."

    There has been considerable speculation regarding the lithography of the IBM processor. Some sources have claimed that it uses a 65-nm processes lithography, while other claim that it's 90 nm. Semiconductor Insights (SI) performed a cross section of the device, measuring the transistor length, and confirmed that it's the same as that used by the original XBox 360.

    "The CPU in the Xbox 360 Elite seems to be assembled in Canada whereas the CPU in the previous Xbox was marked 'Taiwan'," stated Rob Hilkes, a lead technology analyst at SI. "This may indicate that while the previous CPU was built on Chartered's Fab7 in Singapore and assembled in Taiwan, the CPU of the Elite may be built in IBM's Fab B323 in East Fishkill, New York and assembled at IBM's assembly facility in nearby Bromont, Quebec." IBM and Chartered share design data at the 90-nm node. "We seem to have evidence now that Microsoft is indeed using both sources for the XBox CPU." Concern about the original Xbox 360's power consumption may also have been addressed. "Microsoft has redesigned some aspects of the power architecture, resulting in a lower component count."

    In the end, there are few hardware differences between the original Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Elite, said Quirk. "The system is the same size, the boards designs are very similar, and most of the components themselves are the same." The only real difference between the systems are the video-interface IC, which had to be revised to accommodate the HDMI output. The new functionality resulted in about a 35 percent larger die area to that of its previous generation component.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:34 PM
  • Report: 65-nm Xbox 360 GPU Coming This Fall

     

     

    The Xbox 360's CPU isn't the only chip expected to be shrunken down. According to a DigiTimes report, a 65-nanometer Xenos graphics processing unit will be introduced this fall. Shrinking down both the CPU and GPU could lead to potential price cuts.

    According to a report in DigiTimes, which cites the Chinese paper Commercial Times, Microsoft will manufacture its Xbox 360 with a new 65-nanometer GPU starting this fall. According to the paper, a 65-nm version of the chip has already been sent out for production, which is expected to start in May.

    This is the first time we've heard of the 360's GPU getting the 65-nm treatment. It was announced last year that Microsoft would shrink down its 90-nm CPU, but the new 65-nm Xenon chip is not expected until mid-2007. This unfortunately means that Microsoft's newly launched Xbox 360 Elite just missed out on receiving 65-nm chips.

    The good news is that new Xbox 360 purchasers this fall/holiday will likely pick up a unit that incorporates a 65-nm Xenon chip and and 65-nm Xenos GPU. The result should be a unit that runs at cooler temperatures, consumes less power, and is ultimately cheaper to produce since more chips can be fit into one manufacturing run. This could potentially enable Microsoft to slash the price on its console right in time for the crucial holiday sales period.

    And perhaps if the unit is running cooler, users might even see fewer "three red lights of death" lock-ups.

    [Via Joystiq]

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:34 PM
  • Classic Atari Games - Centipede(R) and Millipede(R) - Available on Xbox LIVE(R) Arcade
    NEW YORK, April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Atari, Inc. , one of the world's most recognized brands and third-party video game publisher, today announced the launch of Centipede and Millipede, two of Atari's best loved coin-op classics, onto Xbox LIVE(R) Arcade.

    With Centipede and Millipede on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Atari delivers the same gaming sights, sounds and action as the originals. In addition to the classic form of each title, gamers can also play evolved, enhanced versions that include new graphics, sounds and special effects.

    "Atari's 'Centipede' and 'Millipede' on Xbox LIVE Arcade are great examples of classic games taken to the next level. The evolved versions of both games provide gamers with the gameplay they know and love, and are now stunningly rendered in high definition graphics," said Chris Early, product unit manager for Microsoft Casual Games. "Now that gamers have direct access to 'Centipede' and 'Millipede' through Xbox LIVE Arcade, it will be easier than ever for fans of all ages to enjoy these classics just like gamers did in neighborhood arcades decades ago."

    "Atari's classic video games, especially Centipede and Millipede, have had a huge fan base since the originals first entered the marketplace in 1980," said Emily Anadu, product manager, Atari, Inc. "By offering these titles on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Atari extends its classic library to a modern audience and further reaches a global community of gamers."

    The classic version of Centipede challenges gamers to defend their villages against an onslaught of centipedes, spiders, army ants and more. Users will also have access to the evolved version which features pre- rendered, high definition graphics, special effects like motion blur, trails and particle-based explosions that make this classic as enjoyable today as it was in the arcade decades ago.

    Obliterating a chain of arthropods that creep down from the top of the screen is the primary challenge in Millipede. Scattered mushrooms are the gamers' main tool to shoot, destroy and redirect the menacing millipedes. The Xbox LIVE Arcade evolved version of Millipede has been overhauled with updated graphics to offer a modernized version of this Atari Classic.

    About Atari

    About Infogrames Entertainment

    Infogrames Entertainment (IESA), the parent company of the Atari Group, is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange (ISIN code: FR-0000052573) and has two principal subsidiaries: Atari Europe, a privately-held company, and Atari, Inc., a United States corporation listed on NASDAQ (ATAR). The Atari Group is a major international producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment software for all market segments and in all existing game formats (Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony) and on CD-ROM for PC. Its games are sold in more than 60 countries. The Atari Group's extensive catalogue of popular games is based on original franchises (Alone in the Dark, V-Rally, Test Drive, Roller Coaster Tycoon, etc.) and international licenses (Matrix, Dragon Ball Z, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.).

    With the exception of the historical information contained in this release, the matters described herein contain certain "forward-looking statements" that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this release are not promises or guarantees and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. These statements are based on management's current expectations and assumptions and are naturally subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. We caution you not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements. Actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the statements herein. Some of the factors which could cause our results to differ materially include the following: the loss of key customers, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, and GameStop; delays in product development and related product release schedules; inability to secure capital; adapting to the rapidly changing industry technology, including new console technology; maintaining relationships with leading independent video game software developers; maintaining or acquiring licenses to intellectual property; fluctuations in the Company's quarterly net revenues and results of operations based on the seasonality of our industry; the termination or modification of our agreements with hardware manufacturers; and other factors described in our SEC filings.

    The Company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements to conform the statement to actual results or changes in the Company's expectations.

    ATARI, the ATARI logo, and classic Atari game titles and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Atari Interactive, Inc. or its affiliates in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions, and are used with permission.

    Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, the Xbox logos, and the Xbox Live logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

    Atari, Inc.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:35 PM
  • PS3, Xbox 360 battle for players

     

     

    Coke or Pepsi?

    The cola wars used to provide the best example we had of a functioning free market. Whether you bled red for Coca-Cola or were true red, white and blue for Pepsi, most people had a preference and no one really could argue that they were all that different. It was a perfect competition.

    These days, the battle for taste rages between Sony and Microsoft, between PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

    Like their carbonated counterparts, these twin titans of home gaming have more things in common than differentiate them. Sure, the PS3 is sleek and black next to the 360's cool, modern, off-white casing. But once you load the games, the difference becomes detail most gamers will hardly ever notice.

    If you want to know how close together the machines really are, just spend a couple of days comparing games available for both platforms.

    'Core 4'

    "Armored Core 4" shows the futility in such comparisons. You might find the graphics in the PS3 version a bit more detailed and the screen display a bit wider. But once the giant, armored robots rumble into battle, the fun stays the same regardless of the platform. Even the PS3 and 360 controllers so closely follow the same model that switching between the two consoles won't cause a single hitch when it comes to releasing a flurry of homing missiles at the enemy.

    Sega's "Virtua Tennis 3" follows the same logic -- same game, two different machines. Whacking a little green ball back and forth across a high-definition net remains an eternal amusement in spite of any specific allegiance you might have to a particular game company. If 360 gamers need a reason to gloat, the PS3 version curiously lacks online play.

    While playing a computer opponent works well for practice, nothing beats smashing a serve past an opponent in another state.

    'Scrolls 4'

    Back on the PS3 side of the argument, Sony gamers finally get access to a 360 favorite -- "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion." This "Dungeons & Dragons"-inspired role-playing game promises to suck up the hours in your real life and trade them for time in an enormous, detailed fantasy environment.

    In the translation to the PS3, the graphics picked up a little extra shine and the game a bit of new content. Otherwise, the new game remains almost a photocopy of the original.

    Of course, cross-platform titles tend to work to the lowest common denominator of both systems. So, these games never show off the best that either system can offer.

    And every gamer knows the exclusives -- moreso than cross-platform titles -- really define the machine. Until "Grand Theft Auto" was on Xbox, PlayStation was the only machine for many gamers. As long as Microsoft owns "Halo," you can count on resounding sales around that title alone.

    From all this you probably can understand the recent obsession with Nintendo's Wii. In the world of cola, the Wii remains as unique as diet orange cream soda.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:36 PM
  • Digital Joystick: Video Game News & Views

     

     

    Cooperative game play over Xbox Live is absolutely cool.

    On Sunday night I was playing Crackdown on my Xbox 360 and I was attempting to take out the Volk mob boss and I got an invite to let some other player join in my game.

    Now this was sort of like an equivalent of playing an arcade game in an actual arcade and then having someone else walk up and put their quarter (or 50 cents) into the machine and join in. Now rather than trying to kill one another we were united in a task of taking out this mob boss and all his flunkies. Now I am in Bremerton and the guy who wanted to join me is a high school sophomore who lives in Renton. I've never met him before but we are united in our love of the game Crackdown and our willingness to take out this virtual mob boss scum.

    We chatted a bit while taking out the flunky henchman minions and we gave each other advice about how best to climb up the side of the abandon oil rig that was taken over by the Volk mob. We covered each other by taking out the bad guys shooting at us from the other platform and then finally made it to the top where the boss was waiting. He didn't stand a chance with our combined firepower and that portion of my virtual city in Crackdown is now safe from the influence of that guy's mob.

    I realized that it was getting late and I had work tomorrow. He said he had school and before I signed off I sent him a "Friend Request "and a voice message that I had fun at Crackdown. Now should he accept my request I'll get a notice when he logs on to Xbox Live and I'll be able to directly request a joint game with him again.

    Now on Friday I had a real life coworker get this game and we joined in and took out some virtual mobsters together. He was new to the game and I was able to show him around and we found that driving around in the cars are a lot more fun when one of you can literally ride shotgun on top of the car or in the back of a truck.

    I've played Coopertive games in Gears of War, TMNT 1989 Arcade, and Gauntlet.

    Now this is better than split screen cooperative game play because we don't have to be in the same physical room but can communicate over the voice chat microphone headsets. Since we have our own screens we can split up and literally take a different path. playing with someone else over Xbox Live helps make the experience of playing video games a less solitary activity and it really adds a lot of fun to the immersive nature of the game. Playing against other people is cool but working together toward a common goal in a game is just as fun.

    My girlfriend and cats still think it is a bit strange to hear me have one sided conversations with other players over the Xbox headset that they can't hear. Cooperative game play and shared game play experience are something that I really enjoy and I am much more likely to buy games that have it.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:37 PM
  • Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360)

     

     

    The fifth installment in the Burnout series gives players license to wreak havoc in Paradise City, the ultimate racing battleground, with a massive infrastructure of traffic-heavy roads to abuse. Gone is the need to jump in and out of menus and aimlessly search for fun like many open world games; in Burnout 5, every inch of the world is built to deliver heart-stopping Burnout-style gameplay. Every intersection is a potential crash junction and every alleyway is an opportunity to rack up moving violations.

    Of course, rules are made to be broken, and when gamers enter Paradise City, they’re assigned a Drivers License that quickly begins to amass a record of player’s most aggressive, reckless and destructive exploits behind the wheel. But it’s not the law that’s eyeing player’s progress … when gamers push things too hard they’ll be squaring off against the city’s most infamous burners, and these legends aren’t interested in who crosses the finish line first...
    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:38 PM
  • Halo 3 gives Microsoft confidence in Xbox 360 sales

     

    Microsoft chief financial officer Chris Liddell believes Halo 3 will be a big system seller for the platform holder.

    Speaking in a conference call following the release of Microsoft's Q3 financials, Liddell highlighted the importance of Halo 3.

    "Halo 3 is clearly going to have a positive impact in two senses. One, it gives us more confidence in the number of consoles we think we're going to be able to sell next year, said Liddell. "In terms of the direct impact, obviously it's a first-party product so it's reasonably profitable from our point of view, and it will be several hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue next year."

    Liddell also noted that Microsoft sold around 500,000 Xbox 360 consoles to retail during the quarter, with a slightly higher sell-through to customers.


    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:44 PM
  • Nintendo Hustles to Get More Wii to You

    Consumers hoping to buy a Wii gaming console have had a hard time finding one for sale, even several months after Nintendo started shipments. On Friday, the company's president promised a ramp-up in production in order to meet demand. The Wii, with its unique controller interface, is the sales leader among rivals Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:47 PM
  • Xbox 360 GPU Going 65nm, TSMC To Benefit

     

    DigiTimes, citing sources from the Chinese-language Commercial Times, says the Xbox 360 GPU will get a 65nm die shrink in the fall. According to the report, TSMC projected sales contribution from the move to 65nm would amount to 5% during mid-2007.

    The paper cited the sources as saying that an engineering version of the 65nm-made Xenos has been sent out and production will start in May. TSMC projected sales contribution from 65nm would amount to 5% during mid-2007.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:48 PM
  • Xbox 360 GPU to go to 65nm in fall, TSMC to see side benefits, says paper

     

    Sources at equipment makers were cited by a Chinese-language Commercial Times report as saying that the Xbox 360 will be equipped with a 65nm-made Xenos graphics processing unit (GPU) in the fall and that corresponding foundry partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will see benefits.

    The paper cited the sources as saying that an engineering version of the 65nm-made Xenos has been sent out and production will start in May. TSMC projected sales contribution from 65nm would amount to 5% during mid-2007.

    On a separate note, TSMC announced the introduction of 65nm-made embedded DRAM in March. Embedded DRAM is one of the two dies that comprise the Xenos. In the 90nm version of the Xenos, embedded DRAM is manufactured by NEC.

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:52 PM
  • Xbox 360 Elite Met With Mixed Reactions

     

     

    The Xbox 360 Elite has just hit stores, and initial reports suggest that while demand is steady, the consoles are still in plentiful supply and there aren't any line-ups to speak of. In other words, anyone that wants an Xbox 360 Elite should be able to wander down to their local retailer and pick one up.

    Loot-Ninja has reported on the situation in North America:

    "I just took a trip around to all my local stores that sell video games. After a trip at 1:30pm to Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Gamestop, EB Games, and Circuit City, I found that they ALL still have Elite systems in stock.

    I know some of these stores got as little as 4 units, and they all have systems in stock. Is the demand not there? I would have expected the stores with the smaller quantities to at least sell out, but it doesn’t look that way."

    Meanwhile, a reader at Kotaku has reported quite the opposite:

    "My walmart up the street got 8 units. sold them all at midnight. i had to go to the other walmart 10 miles down the road. They had 8 units sold 5 and had 3 left. I bought one so they had 2 left.

    My local gamestop had 5 and sold them all at opening. There was a line. They did have 3 wiis in stock when i stopped by so i got a wii as well.

    Depending on where you are some places had alot higher demand than others. some places sold out and had lines others did not."

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:54 PM
  • A WOMAN has donated an Xbox games console to a youth club that was ransacked by burglars.

    The Bolton News featured an article about the break-in at Brazely Community Centre in Cedar Avenue last week, when thieves stole items including an Xbox games console, a DVD player and a disco ball.

    Rebecca Whitefield, of Queen Street, Horwich, read the story and decided to donate her Xbox to the youngsters.

    advertisement

    Cllr Stephen Rock, leader of Horwich town council, founded the youth club in 1999 and had nominated the centre as one of his charities when he was mayor last year.

    He said: "The youngsters were devastated about the burglary, but now they are over the moon to have an Xbox back, thanks to this kind lady. It shows that there are still some kind people out there who support our young people."

    Police are still searching for the culprits of the burglary.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 0161 856 5782.

     

    Monday, April 30, 2007 4:55 PM
  • Three New Titles Announced For XBox Live Arcade

    D3Publisher of America has recently announced that it will be releasing three games on the XBox Live Arcade.  The first title announced is Mad Tracks by developer Load Inc.  The second title announced is Rocketbowl which appears to be a miniature bowling game.  The third and final game announced is Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords by Infinite Interactive.  If the title Puzzle Quest seems familiar to you it is because that game also makes an appearance on the Nintendo DS as well as the Sony PSP. 

    Even though these are the only three titles at this time, they are only the first of many that will appear on the Live Arcade in the future.  There has been no mention as to whether these titles will also show up on the Playstation Network or the Virtual Console respectively. 

    "What ties all of D3PA's titles together are not genre or size of game or developer, but an unsurpassable element of fun," said Yoji Takenaka, executive vice president and COO of D3PA. "We look forward to capitalizing on Xbox Live Arcade's wide reach and ease of use to bring gamers unique titles that fit the bill of delivering the highest enjoyment factors."

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:45 AM
  • THQ and Big Huge Games to Launch New RPG for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2009

     

     

    THQ has got into a developmental contract with Big Huge Games for a new Role-Playing Game (RPG) that is slated to hit the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (PS3) and the Windows PC platforms in 2009.

    Ken Rolston, the lead designer of Big Huge Games is leading the team for the new project. His latest designs such as Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Elder Scrolls III; Morrowind have won him enormous appreciation. The American has had a 25-year old tenure in the RPG arena. He started his career with popular pen and paper RPG’s Paranoia and Rune Quest and has gone on to create the highest rated, top selling RPG games across every relevant gaming platform. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion topped the sales charts in North America, as well as every major European market following the franchise debut in March, 2006.

    “THQ has built its business by identifying the right content to compete and win in the genres gamers are most passionate about. Partnering with Ken Rolston and the rest of the team at Big Huge Games is a major win for THQ and marks a bold, first move into the traditional Role-Playing Game space,” said Kelly Flock, executive vice president of worldwide publishing, THQ .

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:46 AM
  • Fracture Announced, New Screenshots

     

     

    LucasArts announced yesterday that it has partnered with Day 1 Studios to publish Fracture for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. The game features an "epic war fought on American soil" that "pits cybernetically enhanced soldiers against warriors augmented by the benefits of advanced genetic engineering."

    “Exciting new intellectual properties serve a vital role to the growth of LucasArts,” said Jim Ward, president of LucasArts. “Fracture represents the next step in this company initiative, complete with the intriguing story and compelling characters audiences expect of a LucasArts release.”

    Here's the word from LucasArts and Day 1:

    Fracture advances players to the year 2161, where ecological and seismological disasters have radically altered the planet’s landscape, and a clash in ideologies places society on the threshold of war. Players set foot on the frontlines of this epic conflict in the role of Mason Briggs, a demolitions expert fighting for the Atlantic Alliance, the side that relies upon cybernetic enhancement. Pitted against the genetically enhanced soldiers of the Pacifican army, players will experience a revolution in 22nd-century warfare. In utilizing the core gameplay mechanic of Fracture, a destructive next-generation technology known as Terrain Deformation, players are equipped with an arsenal of futuristic weaponry to strategically reshape their surroundings on the fly. Every action they perform dynamically reshapes the earth in ways no videogame has ever seen. When Briggs throws a tectonic grenade on a level battlefield, the ground blasts upward to provide access to an otherwise unreachable area. Moving on, when he comes across what appears to be an impenetrable structure, Briggs utilizes the alt-fire functionality on his rocket launcher to create enormous craters to burrow underneath the wall. Surrounded on all sides by enemies, Briggs heaves a vortex grenade, creating a swirling tornado-like mass of boulder, dirt and debris to dispatch his foes. These are just a few samples of the possibilities for Terrain Deformation. Players not only change the battlefield – they change the face of the battle itself.


    “LucasArts’ excitement for Fracture is palpable, and it only inspires us even further to ensure the game lives up to its lofty expectations,” said Denny Thorley, president of Day 1. “The opportunity to work with a company such as LucasArts, that knows not only how to launch large entertainment properties, but also successfully bring new IP to market, is truly a privilege. With Terrain Deformation leading the way, we know we’re creating something special, and we have absolutely no doubts that LucasArts is the only company to make sure Fracture receives its due.”

     

    New screenshots are presented below.

     

    http://news.gaminghorizon.com/media2/1178292780.5114.html

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:47 AM
  • Role-players stumble into whole new worlds Video-game reviews

     

     

    One of the delights of a well-designed role-playing game is the feeling that you’re exploring uncharted territory. The stories may be intriguing, the battles may be pulse-pounding, but the real thrill comes when you discover a new city, an abandoned ruin or even an unsettled planet.

    That’s why RPGs can take 40, 60 or even 100 hours to play: You never know if that rock you just stumbled over may be hiding the gateway to another dimension. A great RPG is like a Tolstoy novel, with a compelling story bolstered by a variety of subplots and digressions.

    Even when the game is over, there’s a temptation to go back and wander down some of those unexplored byways. Fortunately, RPG designers know we’re always hungry for more – and always eager to revisit the worlds they’ve spent so many years building.

    “The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles” (Bethesda Softworks, for the Xbox 360; $30). This expansion pack for last year’s brilliant “Oblivion” delivers about 30 hours of fresh action – more than most full-priced games. You have to download it from Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade, so if you’re an “Elder Scrolls” fan, it’s time to get hooked up.

    A portal takes you from the relatively benign land of Cyrodiil to the realm of Sheogorath, an insane prince who’s prone to saying things like “Come visit again” or “I’ll pluck out your eyes!” Sheogorath’s kingdom is divided into two sides: the colorful Mania, home to high-strung eccentrics, and the muddy Dementia, whose citizens are more fearful.

    The prince needs your help stopping an approaching menace, and sends you on a series of quests. There’s a nice variety to the missions, ranging from stealthy detective work to bloodthirsty monster hunting, and the plot features a number of clever twists. You can also take on jobs for the locals or just do some freelance treasure-hunting. It’s a satisfying side trip; alas, it probably represents Bethesda’s farewell to this engrossing world.

    “Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales” (Square Enix, for the Nintendo DS; $29.99). One constant in the long-running “Final Fantasy” series is the chocobo, a giant, chicken-like thing that’s used more for transportation than for food. The chocobo takes center stage here in a lighthearted adventure that combines role-playing, card battling and an assortment of arcade minigames.

    After the chocobo’s friends are imprisoned in an evil book, he has to rescue them by hopping into various stories and rewriting the endings. Typically, that involves beating a short action challenge, which rewards you with a friend to return home, a new area to explore or a new card to play with.

    Those cards become the basis for an engaging card-battle game, similar to but simpler than “Magic: The Gathering” or “Yu-Gi-Oh!” It’s a good introduction to the genre for younger players, but more experienced gamers will find it challenging at times. “Fables” may be too cute for some “Final Fantasy” vets, but this is one tough bird.

    “Shining Force EXA” (Sega, for the PlayStation 2; $49.99). I played the original “Shining Force” back in 1992, but I’ll admit that I’ve been negligent in following all its permutations since then. You don’t need to be familiar with the series to pick up “EXA,” although it will try your patience in other ways.

    Let’s start with the generic plot: A warrior and a sorceress try to bring peace to a world shattered by a long-running war. It’s a mission that, typically enough, requires the team to run around killing monsters all over the planet. There’s a lot of fighting, and it quickly gets dull; most of the time you just need to pound on one button over and over.

    The most innovative, entertaining parts of “EXA” involve the reconstruction of the Geo Fortress, a huge, moving castle in which you can beef up your weapons or build up your skills. Unfortunately, you have to go through a lot of boring battles to find the resources you need.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:48 AM
  • Burnout Paradise For PS3, Xbox 360

     

     

    Friday, May 04, 2007:  Electronic Arts Inc. has announced the next-generation Burnout videogame for the PLAYSTATION 3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360 videogame system. Burnout Paradise will let players to take their dangerous driving experience to a whole new level.

     

     

    Burnout Paradise proves to be completely next-generation as there will be an unprecedented level of crash deformation allowing to experience the most explosive pile-ups in the series' history. In Burnout Paradise players will be given the keys to the city, to explore the city, discover events, and look for the best opportunities to crash, jump and pull signature takedowns. And can earn the keys to the meanest and most dangerous cars on the street, and earn their Burnout licence.

    “We have been working towards Burnout Paradise for quite some time. Next generation consoles have opened up a raft of new gameplay opportunities and the Criterion team has leapt at the chance to innovate and raise the bar to an all-new high,” said Pete Hawley, executive producer, Burnout Paradise.

    “There are going to be some big surprises and a lot of new features but the core of the game is still pure Burnout. Instant accessibility will be reinforced by innovative on-line capabilities which will see Burnout Paradise smash racing conventions," added Hawley.

    Burnout Paradise will ship under the EA brand and is developed by EA’s Criterion Studio in Guildford, UK. It is expected to launch in this winter.
    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:50 AM
  • Xbox 360 'spring update' available Monday

    Bank holiday Monday sees the release of Microsoft's free 'spring update' for the Xbox 360, bringing with it a host of tweaks and improvements to the system.

    Most significant will be the ability to chat with friends on Windows Live Messenger using a virtual on-screen keyboard or a new Xbox 360 Text Input Device, which will be available in the summer and is essentially a controller with a built-in qwerty keyboard and a new wired headset.

    A number of interface tweaks will also be featured in the update and when a user sends a message a pop-up window will appear allowing you to quickly send a reply.

    Some of the improvements featured within the update will include:

    Enhanced family settings features for Xbox Live communications enable different defaults for video chat and voice chat.

    A new Xbox Live Marketplace blade lets Xbox Live members access the content they seek—whether it is game content or TV shows and movies (available in the United States).

    Updates to Xbox Live Arcade allow owners to see which Xbox Live Arcade games their friends are playing and join in the fun. Xbox Live members can also compare progress of leaderboard scores and achievements directly with all friends on their friends list.

    A new option in auto downloads will provide access to the entire collection of free, trial-version Xbox Live Arcade games.

    New download controls provide access to viewing options by letting users fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume as their video is downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace.

    Extension of the background download functionality will allow owners to set their Xbox 360 console to turn off automatically after downloads are complete.

    Switchable aspect ratio will become available during video playback (Auto to Letterbox, Zoom, Stretch, Native).

    Bookmarks will now be stored for each video that the user plays remembering the last location in the file as well as the aspect ratio.

    Video trick modes (fast forward, rewind, chapter skip) can now be used while downloading Video Marketplace content.

    Skip forward and backward functionality has been updated to skip to the next or previous chapter. Each video is divided into 10 chapters allowing users to skip around video content.

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:51 AM
  • FlatOut Ultimate Carnage – Xbox 360

     

    Developed by Bugbear Entertainment, FlatOut Ultimate Carnage is rebuilt from the ground up and specifically developed to take advantage of the additional feature sets and improved processing ability of the Xbox 360 to produce an entirely new FlatOut experience.

    Some of the many brand new design and gameplay components featured in FlatOut Ultimate Carnage include 12 cars racing on screen up from eight in FlatOut 2, five all-new single player and two all-new multiplayer game modes over the Xbox Live, over 8,000 dynamic objects per track up from 5,000 in FlatOut 2, widescreen High Definition resolution (720p), dynamic lighting and shadowing all with proper real-time environment mapping on all vehicles, downloadable content via Xbox Live, and 20,000 polygons per car up from 7,500 in the previous generation.

    So, something to look forward to then... although i was hideously bad at the first two games, although the ‘Olympics’ were damn good fun!

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:52 AM
  • New deal looms for 360 GTR

    GTR developer SimBin has informed CVG that it's to make an announcement regards the Xbox 360 version of the game next week.

    We confirmed yesterday with THQ, who was to publish GTR on Xbox 360, that it has in fact dropped the game.

    A spokesperson for the publisher told us its "focus within the racing genre is continuing to build THQ's internally developed Stuntman, Juiced and MX franchises."

    In response to a query regarding the future of the hardcore racing sim on Microsoft's console, SimBin vice president and CCO Magnus Ling told CVG, "We are preparing a public announcement to be distributed in next week regarding GTR X360 plus our road forward".

    We read from that that game hasn't been canned at least, with SimBin set to announce a new publishing deal with the title. We'll let you know as soon as we hear more.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:54 AM
  • [Xbox 360 Media] New Fracture Movie

    One new movie for Fracture is now available. You will be redirected to it automatically in 10 seconds, or you may view it now by clicking the "[MEDIA]" link below.
    Saturday, May 5, 2007 6:59 AM
  • New PS3 model rumoured(News)

     

     

    An Australian technology website has suggested that a revised PlayStation 3 could be less than 18 months away, citing "a Sony insider" as its source, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.

    The Smarthouse report refers to the proposed machine as a "PlayStation 4", but goes on to state that it will be based on the same chipset as PS3, differing from the current model only in the "drive bay and attachment area". According to the source, it will also include a software suite for managing streaming of content to TVs and hi-fis, and feature improved output.

     
    ony spokesperson declined to comment on the story, classing it as speculation.

    Smarthouse quotes the source as saying, "We have even looked at a Sony home server based on PlayStation technology. This would allow consumers to connect home automation devices to the Sony server while also delivering online gaming and access to an extensive movie and music library."

    The idea of a full-fledged PlayStation 4 coming so soon after the company's vast investment in designing and launching PS3 is far-fetched. But expanding PS3's abilities as a media server, connected to multiple devices in the home, would be consistent with Sony's oft-repeated vision of PS3 as a multimedia home entertainment centre.

    The device outlined in the aritcle is also consistent with Reuters' recent report that Sony is considering launching PS3s with larger hard drives, much as Microsoft has done with the Xbox 360 Elite.

    However, PS3 hard disks are industry-standard components, and users are free to fit larger drives themselves if they wish. Many of the other features described in the story could be achieved by updating the PS3 firmware, with no need for a hardware revision.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:05 AM
  • What if Microsoft released a handheld?

     

    In a Nintendo universe and a Sony planet, what if Microsoft decided to compete in the world of portable gaming?

    With the games industry having moved on to the next-generation of consoles, it’s not hard to imagine the endless possibilities of new games and technology that continues to push gaming to new and exciting levels. It wasn’t too long ago that Nintendo was the only dominant figure that claimed a hold on handheld gaming until Sony’s PSP came along to offer some competition. With Nintendo pushing its Nintendo DS and Sony its PSP, we wonder why Microsoft hasn’t joined these two leading powerhouses by designing and marketing their own portable gaming machine.

    In a time when Sony and Nintendo’s consoles were fighting for gamers’ attention, Microsoft introduced the Xbox. It was a risky move, yes, but one that quickly became an established force to be reckoned with and one that was successful enough to move on to the next-generation with much fanfare. Would it be risky for Microsoft to push a handheld of their own? Yes, but just like the Xbox the risk would probably worth it if the quality of the handheld matched that of the two consoles. The Xbox Portable (as we’ll call it here) will run into many obstacles along the way but in the end these are hurdles Sony had to go through as well. 

    One major obstacle that can play against Microsoft is the already established Nintendo brand that is still dominating the handheld market despite the fact that Sony’s PSP has reduced it’s retail price from $200 to $170. Nintendo’s hold on the market doesn’t mean that Microsoft’s handheld would go the way of the Gizmondo but it means that the company Bill Gates founded should not underestimate the house that Super Mario built. All one has to do is look at the Rune, Microsoft’s very own sleek and sexy MP3 player, and how consumers are snubbing it for the Apple iPod, a product that most consumers already know and are comfortable with since it found itself on the store shelves a long while back.

    Let’s say that the Xbox Portable doesn’t design its handheld with any next-gen bells and whistles such as a touch screen like the Nintendo DS or motion sensor technology like the PS3 SIXAXIS controller or Nintendo Wii Remote. It will have to rely on the ability to display graphics that would exceed the impressive graphics capabilities of the Sony PSP. What if Microsoft designed a graphics chip that was capable of displaying original Xbox quality graphics? It would definitely be a major advantage for the Xbox Portable. 

    Yet a handheld (or a console) isn’t anything without the main attraction … games. Sony’s attempt to give Nintendo some competition wasn’t off to a good start since the majority of launch titles didn’t exactly push all the amazing things the handheld could do and there wasn’t a major title that had casual gamers salivating. What the Xbox Portable will need is a killer ap and all Microsoft has to do is look to their console’s exclusives, one of which is the Halo franchise. Imagine launching the Xbox Portable with a handheld Halo game that would link the events seen in Halo 3 with Halo 4. While PSP gamers have yet to get their hands on Gran Turismo Mobile, why not launch with a portable Forza game? Sure, we love the third-party offerings but in order to make a real impression on launch it’s important to bring console exclusives to the table. Imagine if the PSP had launched with a God of War title or the Nintendo DS with a Legend of Zelda game and you’ll see what I mean.

    Another feature that will help sell the Xbox Portable will certainly be the Xbox 360 and new Xbox Live features. Using the USB port on the Xbox 360, the handheld could be hooked up and could, say, download games from the Xbox Live Arcade as well as trailers and shows. Imagine being able to download classics like Castlevania to memory card to play whenever you want. Let’s say you missed the latest episode of 24, why not connect your Xbox Portable to your 360 and download the latest episode? Speaking of online, the Xbox Portable would have to connect via an Infrastructure mode or Wi-Fi to play games online. Online multiplayer could even be handled similar to the Xbox Live service. Who wouldn’t want to be sitting in a café and participating in a portable Halo deathmatch tournament?

    Another important factor in making a new handheld stand out is the controls and the Xbox Portable should at least outdo the PSP by adding a second analog stick. One of the biggest complaints is the fact that both the DS and PSP don’t really do justice to first-person shooters. It was interesting to see how Microsoft had made changes to the original Xbox controller (doing away with the bulk original for the Controller-S) and getting it right for the Xbox 360. Since triggers would be really out of the question, a second analog stick or nub would be something to consider.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m in love with my Nintendo DS and my Sony PSP. Both have enough titles to satisfy a hungry gamer such as myself but - if you’re like me - you can’t help but think what might happen if Microsoft did jump into the portable market. If they do decide to design and release their own handheld, I would jump in line as long as they design it with every intention of bringing the same quality we have come to love since the Xbox came into our lives.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:09 AM
  • 'FlatOut: Total Carnage' (X360) - 30 New Screens & Trailer

     

    Developed by Bugbear Entertainment, FlatOut Ultimate Carnage is rebuilt from the ground up and specifically developed to take advantage of the additional feature sets and improved processing ability of the Xbox 360 to produce an entirely new, breathtaking FlatOut experience.

    Some of the many brand new design and gameplay components featured in FlatOut Ultimate Carnage include 12 cars racing on screen up from eight in FlatOut 2, five all-new single player and two all-new multiplayer game modes over the Xbox Live online game service, over 8,000 dynamic objects per track up from 5,000 in FlatOut 2, widescreen High Definition resolution (720p), dynamic lighting and shadowing all with proper real-time environment mapping on all vehicles, downloadable content via Xbox Live, and 20,000 polygons per car up from 7,500 in the previous generation.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:10 AM
  • Ten lessons the Xbox Team can teach the rest of Microsoft

     

     

    When it comes to building community — and profiting from it — Microsoft's Xbox team is helping write the playbook.

    That fact isn't lost on the rest of the company. Increasingly, other divisions at Microsoft are studying what the Xbox folks are doing right and trying to apply those lessons to their own products and services.

    Microsoft launched the Xbox in November 2001. Xbox Live, the accompanying online gaming service, launched in November 2002. Halo 2 hit in November of 2004. The Xbox 360 subscription business went live in November 2005. And the Web-chat camera and video marketplace functionality launched in November 2006.

    I recently chatted with JJ Richards, General Manager of Microsoft's Xbox Live unit, about what the Xbox team has to teach the rest of the company.

    Rule No. 1 is "Everything needs to be live now because customers are demanding it," said Richards. That realization has set the tone for the Xbox team, in terms of how it designs products, to how it rolls out updates, he said.

    "You want to go to where your community is and build around it," Richards noted. "And once you are connected, your ship cycle is totally different. You can roll out new stuff every six months. This changes your staging and prioritization of features."

    What are other Xbox learnings that various Microsoft teams — from Windows, to Office Live, to CRM Live — are looking to adapt and apply to their divisions? Richards offered up a number of examples:

    1. Tiers need to be clear and simple. In Xbox Live, there is gold and there is silver. Fewer, simpler SKUs are better.

    2. The dashboard is the UI. Users want access to lots of data, all in one place. They don't want to have to hunt for it.

    3. An online marketplace sells content. The Windows and Office Live teams already grok this one. Making Microsoft and third-party wares available as a one-stop shop helps move more add-on hardware, software and services.

    4. Arcade: Not everyone is a shooter-game pro. Users come with different skill sets and interests. Some prefer "Geometry Wars" to "Gears of War." Microsoft's Developer Division gets this, and is launching Express versions of its tools for hobbyists/nonprofessional programmers.

    5. Achievements are a way to stay in touch. The more ways you can encourage community members to stay in touch, the better.

    6. Ubiquitous voice and text are de rigeur. In the Web 2.0 world, everyone's a multi-tasker. All services and apps should bake-in messaging, mail and other unified-communications technologies.

    7. Roaming accounts are key. Users want their audio and video content, contact lists, address books, favorites and other settings available on any device, anywhere at any time.

    8. Build communities within your community. Gamerzones in the Xbox world allow similar types of users to more easily connect. What's the business equivalent of Xbox Live's "Underground"? Good question.

    9. Points are the new online currency. Office Online already is moving in this direction, and other Microsoft Live services will likely do the same.

    10. Gamerscore = reputation. Other divisions at Microsoft have been wrestling with how to rank community participants by "reputation" to help users gauge which content/commentary to trust. Gamerscore could become the model here.

    Richards acknowledged that the Xbox Live team can learn a thing or two from other Microsoft divisions, as well, such as how to handle child safety settings in world with more and more user-generated content. But it seems to me that it's Microsoft's non-gaming businesses that have more to learn from the Xbox team — at least when it comes to building community — than the other way around.

    There are more than 6 million Xbox Live users now.

    "With online services (like Xbox Live), you are always in touch with all of them" all the time, Richards said. "We don't really have to do customer research any more."

    Any other Xbox/Xbox Live technologies or techniques that you think could be well-applied to Microsoft's Windows, Office, tools and/or other products and services?

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:11 AM
  • Awesome new FlatOut shots

     

    The latest batch of awesome-looking FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage screenshots have just landed on our desktop - and here they are for your viewing pleasure.

    Bugbear's racer is revving ever close to its June release date, so you've got not got long to wait before you're smashing over 8,000 dynamic objects across excessively bump-mapped Xbox Live tracks.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:12 AM
  • Tron Invades Xbox Live Arcade

     

    Celebrating 25 years of Disney’s most innovative sci-fi franchise ever, the guys and gals at Disney Interactive are re-releasing two classic Tron games for the Xbox 360's Live Arcade. The new (yet old) games will come complete with high-definition visuals and re-mastered sound to take full advantage of the 3-6-0's high-end gaming capabilities.

    I loved the entire concept of Tron. To me it was just great stuff. Bringing the Light Cycles into the next-gen arena (even though it’s only on Xbox Live Arcade) is a really great thing and hopefully we’ll see a real version of Tron released for the Xbox 360 or PS3, sometime soon. Meanwhile, all XBLA gamers alike will be able to play the newly enhanced Tron games this summer.

    According to the press release, “Each game includes the original version as well as an enhanced version with new graphics and audio features. Through Xbox LIVE Arcade, players can also compete in both games against another player in four online modes.”
    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:12 AM
  • New Online PS3 Content Available

     

    Sony may not be offering downloadable content for the PS3 at the Playstation Store on a regular basis like the Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii, but every once in a while they drop a few things off for gamers to pick up. Today, a variety of content has become available including original arcade games, trailers and the PSOne games that were previously promised with the 1.70 firmware update

    Gamers will now find a free demo and the full game ($6.99) of the much talked about Super Rub a Dub title at previous Sony press conferences. These cute little ducks have mostly been used as tech demonstrations for not only the PS3 but the PS2 as well. Now they have their very own game where you navigate ducks in tubs filled with water using the motion sensing capabilities of the SixAxis controller.

    The second Midway arcade classic from Sony Online Entertainment, Gauntlet II is also available. Now relive your arcade youth and get your Elf, Warrior, Valkyrie or Wizard more food!

    When it comes to trailers, get a quick peak at Super Stardust, Rampart, BlackSite Area 51 and the movie trailer to the anticipated movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’ coming out this summer.

    But the big additions to the Playstation Network are the ten classic PSOne titles that you can now play on your PS3. Pick and purchase 2Xtreme, Crash Bandicoot, Destruction Derby, Jet Moto, Jumping Flash, MediEvil, Rally Cross, Syphon Filter, Tekken 2 and WipeOut for $5.99 each. PSP owners that have already pick some of these games up can download the PS3 version for free.

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:13 AM
  • Spider-Man 3 Swings Onto Wii, PS3, 360 and More

     

    Possibly the most anticipated sequel hitting movie theaters this year, today marks the opening of Spider-Man 3, and with it of course comes the video games. As most of you likely know, Activision has announced the title for just about every system – including the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP, DS and GBA - and unfortunately they aren’t all exactly the same, so some of you may have a bit of trouble deciding which version you want to get.

    Do you go for a true next-gen version of Spider-Man 3 and wow yourself with the graphics on Xbox 360 or PS3? Do you put out a little more money to get the PS3 Collector’s Edition, complete with special SIXAXIS-controlled Goblin levels? Or do you say, to hell with graphics and go for motion-sensitive web slinging with the Wii version? Of course, as they are all three free-roaming (a weakness of mine), I can’t fault any of them, so you’ll have to decide for yourself by reading the full press release below:

    Santa Monica, CA – May 4, 2007 – Even the noblest of Marvel’s Super Heroes have a dark side – it’s time to unleash yours in the Spider-Man 3 video game from Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI). Timed to the highly anticipated theatrical release of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man 3,” based on the famous Marvel characters, the game allows players to experience for the first time Spider-Man’s mysterious black-suited persona, as well as heroic red suit while battling villains in a massive New York City playground teeming with activity.

    “The Spider-Man 3™ video game gives fans the chance to relive their favorite scenes from the film, as well as new storylines brought to life by movie talents Tobey Maguire, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church, James Franco and J.K. Simmons,” said Rob Kostich, vice president, global brand management, Activision, Inc. “Players will swing into action and choose to follow the film plot or new storylines, fight off crime waves, explore vast exterior and underground locations or battle super-villains while harnessing the power of the black suit.”

    Set in a large, dynamic, free-roaming New York City which includes over 20 miles of subterranean environments, Spider-Man 3™ for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC, gives players more freedom than ever before to choose their own gameplay experience through multiple movie-based, comic-based and original storylines, fully integrated city missions and performance rewards including improved speed, combat maneuvers and agility. Utilizing an all-new combat system, Spider-Man 3™ allows players to perform a huge variety of suit-specific attacks as they protect the city, complete challenges and defeat nemeses using expanded aerial and ground fighting, finishing moves and dynamic webbing during missions and epic boss battles which feature the villains from the movie as well as a host of legendary comic book foes.

    Spider-Man 3™ on the Wii™ video game console and PlayStation®2 share the overarching storyline of the movie, feature an expansive free-roaming city, incorporate their own unique red-suited and black-suited Spider-Man combat and gang warfare mechanics, and deliver two exclusive storylines featuring the notorious Marvel villains, Shriek and Morbius. Additionally, Spider-Man 3™ on the Wii takes full advantage of the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuk™ controllers’ capabilities allowing players to experience Spider-Man gameplay in an entirely different way. With a unique new way of web shooting and swinging through the city – the Wii Remote and Nunchuk become your webshooters.

    Spider-Man 3™ for the Nintendo DS™ is set in a 3D side scrolling world and delivers complete touch screen handling, in which players must draw upon Spider-Man’s vast array of moves, attacks and upgrades as they choose their path and embark on a wide variety of city-based missions and multiple movie-based and original story arcs. Additionally, Spider-Man 3™ for the Nintendo DS features local wireless multiplayer gameplay featuring with a variety of modes enabling awesome two-player head-to-head challenges like Brawler, Hot Potato, Target Practice, and Combo Challenge. Gameplay differs on the Game Boy™ Advance platform.

    Partnering with Activision and Sony Entertainment on the launch of Spider-Man 3™, GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), the world’s largest video game and entertainment software retailer, hosted the official game launch at Studio 450 in New York City on Thursday, May 3, 2007, allowing celebrities and guests to be among the first to experience the next chapter of the Spider-Man story through game clips, movie trailers and hands-on time with the PlayStation®3 version of the game. Video clips from the launch event can be viewed at www.gamestop.com/spiderman3webweek. Additionally, GameStop held midnight launch events on May 4, 2007 at approximately 300 of its stores in the United States allowing consumers to get their copies of Spider-Man 3™ timed to the midnight release of the motion picture.

    Spider-Man 3™ is available now for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system for a suggested retail price of $59.99, the Wii™ video game console for $49.99, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system for $39.99 and the Nintendo DS™, Game Boy® Advance and PC versions are $29.99. The console and PC platform versions have been rated “T” (“Teen” – Animated Blood, Mild Language and Violence), the Nintendo DS™ version has been rated “E10+” (“Everyone 10+” – Animated Violence) and the Game Boy® Advance version has been rated “E10+” (“Everyone 10+” – Cartoon Violence) by the ESRB.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:14 AM
  • Time Crisis 4 heading to Xbox 360, bringing new peripheral with it?

     

     

    Another Sony-only franchise appears to be taking a step into multiplatform territory as IGN has revealed (in a round about sort of way) that Time Crisis 4 is heading to PS3 and Xbox 360. This also means that there will be a new gun peripheral to go along with it because Time Crisis, perhaps the definitive gallery shooter, wouldn’t really amount to much without it. Due to the shift to flat-screen display technologies, traditional light-gun designs won’t work, so the new peripheral is going to use infrared emitters instead of cathode ray timing. I’m not sure how it works, but I suppose it may mean having to mount a sensor above the screen like the Wii remote.

    Sony fans will no doubt be disappointed at losing yet another exclusive, but I think Wii owners are the real victims here. Time Crisis 4 is currently not expected to get a Wii port despite the fact that the Wii remote seems to lend itself perfectly to this type of game. Perhaps there’s just too much money to be made from the sale of peripherals.

    As a long time lover of Time Crisis titles, it will be nice to see the series get both a next-gen makeover and a redesigned wireless peripheral. I just have a horrible suspicion that the new light gun is going to be some ludicrous shape or colour to avoid kids using it to hold up their local post office. Fingers crossed for a co-op multiplayer mode over Live though!

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:15 AM
  • HDTV Q&A Volume 27

     

    May 4, 2007 - In this week's HDTV Q&A we take a look at NuVision, a rare American manufacturer of HD displays, consider the state of SED technology and how it compares to newer high contrast ratio technologies, and council an Australian friend who has too many plugs and not enough holes.
    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:15 AM
  • Spider-Man 3 Review

    Of all the movie licensed video games that have been released over the years, the Spider-Man series has been one of the best. Spider-Man 2 presented a free-roaming city for Spidey to swing in and that swinging was pretty damn good. With expectations for Spider-Man 3 being incredibly high it was hard not to be a little excited when loading up Activision's Xbox 360 effort. Was this to be the ultimate companion to this summer's most hyped blockbuster movie?

    Spider-Man 3 gives players a fully recreated New York City to play in, and for the first few minutes that's exactly what you'll do. The 360 controller's Right Trigger spins Spidey's web and your direction is handled by the left analogue stick. This simple control scheme makes cruising the New York skyline a complete joy and you can spend hours zipping about without touching a mission. You'll want to move to the actual game at some point though as they serve to move you through the game and give Spidey some advanced moves - including the black suit that you've no doubt seen in all the movie trailers.

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:17 AM
  • Xbox Marketplace Territory Controls Strengthened

     

    As you may have noticed over the past few months, Xbox LIVE Marketplace has seen tremendous growth with tons of additional gaming and entertainment content, as well as a number of new partners. We are committed to providing great content to all of our users, however not all content is available for use in all countries. For example, as indicated in our Terms of Use, the movies and TV shows available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace are currently available only for use in the United States.

    Some of our contracts and agreements with content partners, particularly in the area of entertainment, restrict in which countries we may make certain content available. There are a number of reasons for these restrictions, including legal rights and regulations. In addition, various countries such as Germany have regulations when it comes to what content is acceptable for distribution to their residents. As a digital distributor of content, we are responsible and accountable to comply with those government regulations and the licensing agreements we have with our partners. As a general policy we try to get global rights to content, but in some cases, it's not possible because of legal restrictions. In other instances, we have to get legal rights on a country-by-country basis, which unfortunately results with us having content on the service that has to be filtered based on geographical location.

    So what does this mean to you? Well, if you have an account that matches the country where you are located, then you will probably notice little to no difference. However, if you have set up an account that does not match the country where you are located, you will find that these new security measures will only allow you to purchase and download content that is licensed in the country where you are located.

    For example, if you are not located in the US, but have created a US Xbox LIVE account, you will not be able to download TV shows and movies that are currently available for use only in the US.

    Again, for most people this will not be an issue, but we have heard that there are a few folks out there who have tried to access restricted content this way. We understand that this may be frustrating for some users, and hope they understand our responsibility, and the necessary security requirements that need to be in place in order to comply with applicable laws and honor our agreements with content providers

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:18 AM
  • Xbox Business Profitable Next Year

     

    Microsoft's Robbie Bach (right), president of the Entertainment and Devices Division, has said that the Xbox 360 business will become profitable in 2008 and he outlined the ways in which Microsoft plans to make money with the console.

    Microsoft has been in the console video game space for nearly six years now, and the Xbox business has yet to be profitable. In fact, one analyst believes it's been a "disastrous endeavor" for the company. For the nine months ended March 31, Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division (EDD), which houses the Xbox business, just reported an operating loss of $693 million.

    EDD President Robbie Bach doesn't expect the losses to keep piling up, however. In a new interview with eWeek.com, the executive explained Microsoft's thinking behind making money on Xbox and he promised that the business would indeed be profitable in 2008.

    "Right now we're doing a pretty good job," he said. "We're humming pretty well in the business. Our costs are a little higher than we'd like, [but] we're pushing those down; there are good initiatives underway to drive that. Game attach rate [is at the] highest level in history for a game console at this stage in the life cycle. The same with our peripheral attach rate. Xbox Live has over 6 million members.

    "The pieces are in place to drive the proverbial billion dollars. Specific date—oh, that's going to depend on what happens in pricing, which partly we control, partly we don't. You know what happens in component costs—mostly we have pretty good influence over that, but there are places where we don't. Pricing on memory goes up and down seemingly like a yo-yo, so [we have to manage] through that. So, it's a business that will be profitable next year—we'll make money next year and that will be the first time, which is pretty exciting. And then the next two or three years are the place where you need to make tracks, and the next two or three years are where you have to make money."

    Bach also explained the ways in which Microsoft can make money, mostly focusing on the standard "razor and blades" model, but also adding in services like Xbox Live and the sale of peripherals.

    "There are three ways to make money on an Xbox," he stated. "Generally it's not on the hardware itself; we'll probably be gross margin neutral on that over the life cycle of the product and try to break even on that. The second thing you try to do is you make money on the games themselves, and there are two models there. One is first-party games that Microsoft produces. The other is games that Electronic Arts or an Activision produces, and we get paid a royalty on those games. The third place you make money is on Live, and where we actually have a very nice service that's scaling very well, and that is a business model that's subscription, ad-based, and download-based. It kind of has the full gamut of business models associated with it, and I think you're going to continue to see that grow. And then the final place you make money is on peripherals, so game controllers, cameras, steering wheels, a whole other set of things."

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:21 AM
  • GamePro summarizes the top stories of the week, including the wrath of Iwata, Xbox 360 shrinkage, and the PS4? Already

     

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:22 AM
  • skate Hands-on Preview (Xbox 360)

    A few weeks ago, we brought you our first look at skate., the upcoming skateboarding game from Electronic Arts’ Black Box studio. The game attempts to give players an idea of what it’s really like to be on the board, as the developers have come up with a revolutionary control scheme. However, like many new and innovative gameplay mechanics, it’s not something that you can just pick up and play. When I played the game for the first time, I felt like I had barely scratched the surface of what one could do with the controls. Thankfully, a recent trip to EA’s studio on the outskirts of Vancouver gave me a chance to sit down and spend some serious time getting my skate on.

    Essentially, the core gameplay mechanic in skate is a control scheme that allows you to recreate the movements of your feet and the board with the analog sticks. Called “Flickit,” this allows you to forego the button-pressing style of play found in other skating games (hmmm, I can’t think of one off the top of my head). For instance, if you want to jump, all you’ve got to do is pull back and press forward on the right analog stick. If you want to pull off tougher tricks, rotate the analog stick in different directions, or perform a Street Fighter II-style fireball. Sometimes it was fun to just fool around with the stick, as there's a chance you'll be able to pull off a move that you didn't previously know existed.

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:24 AM
  • Bach: Xbox To Turn Profit In 2008

     Following Microsoft's recent Q3 report that showed its Xbox division posting a $315 million loss and sales slipping 21 percent to $929 million, division president Robbie Bach has said that 2008 will be the first year for Xbox to turn a profit.

    Asked when Xbox might contribute its first billion dollars to Microsoft's company line in a new interview with online tech news source eWeek, Bach responded that "the pieces are in place."

    "Specific date—oh, that's going to depend on what happens in pricing," said Bach, "which partly we control, partly we don't. You know what happens in component costs—mostly we have pretty good influence over that, but there are places where we don't. Pricing on memory goes up and down seemingly like a yo-yo, so [we have to manage] through that."

    However, Bach predicted, "it's a business that will be profitable next year—we'll make money next year and that will be the first time, which is pretty exciting. And then the next two or three years are the place where you need to make tracks, and the next two or three years are where you have to make money."

    Microsoft's third quarter results showed an overall $4.93 billion in profits and $14.40 billion in sales, but its Xbox-encompassing Entertainment and Devices division posting a $315 million loss, up 22 percent from last year's $402 million, and sales slipping 21 percent to $929 million, down 21 percent over last year's $1.18 billion.

    Microsoft says the drop in sales came primarily because of decreases in the sale of Xbox 360s. During the quarter, the company shipped a half million consoles, as compared to 1.7 in the third quarter of 2006, that being the first full quarter in which Xbox 360s became available.

    Quarterly losses were blamed on expenses related to the launch of Microsoft's Zune media player, as well as expenses from a lengthening of the Xbox 360's warranty period.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:24 AM
  • New Gears maps hit Live

     

     The promised Hidden Fronts map pack for Epic's Xbox 360 shooter Gears of War is now available on Xbox Live, yours for 800 Microsoft Points (£6.80).

    Cough up for the pack and you get four new multiplayer maps - Bullet Marsh, Garden, Process and Subway - with the pack weighing in at 230MB.

    We ran screenshots from the new maps yesterday, so if you want to see what they look like go check the shots out here.

    If your credit card shudders at the thought of paying for map pack, it will be released for free - but not until September 3.

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:25 AM
  • New Xbox Live Video Marketplace offerings

     

     

    This week on XBLVM for your Xbox 360, there will be several new TV and movie additions. Included will be the third season of Babylon 5, Driving Force, King of Cars and Flavor of Love. As for movies, The Italian Job (HD), Death of a President (HD), Escape for Alcatraz, Orca and several more. Freebies include Jay Leno Headlines from 3/27 and 4/10 and some ads for the Transformers. Thanks to Gamerscoreblog for the info.
    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:26 AM
  • Activision Spins Out Spider-Man 3

     

     

     

    Activision has set loose the official video-game tie-in for the latest installment of the Spider-Man movie franchise—and it's aptly titled Spider-Man 3. Activision is leaving no stone un-turned with this release, rolling out Spider-Man 3 titles for a variety of major game platforms, including all the so-called next-gen systems (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii) plus the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS handheld system.

    "The Spider-Man 3 video game gives fans the chance to relive their favorite scenes from the film, as well as new storylines brought to life by movie talents Tobey Maguire, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church, James Franco, and J.K. Simmons," said Rob Kostich, Activision's VP of global brand management, in a release. "Players will swing into action and choose to follow the film plot or new story lines, fight off crime waves, explore vast exterior and underground locations, or battle super-villains while harnessing the power of the black suit."

    The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows versions of the Spider-Man 3 game sport a sprawling New York City with over 20 miles of subterranean enviroments for players to explore. Players can choose between original storylines, as well as stories derived from the Spider-Man movies and comics. The game features an all-new combat system which offers a variety of suit-specific attacks, expanded aerial and ground moves, and dynamic webbing. Boss battles feature villains from the movies as well as the comics, and players can complete city-based missions and earn performance rewards.

    On the PlayStation 2 and the Wii feature unique storylines with the Marvel villians Morbius and Shriek; both games feature a large free-roaming city, and players can tap into unique red- and black-suit combat and gang warfare mechanics. The Wii version takes full advantage of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers—just be careful slinging those Webs.

    The Nintendo DS version offers a 3D side-scrolling world with both original and movie-based stories, and supports supports wireless head-to-head multiplayer challenges. A version for the Game Boy Advance is also available, although game play is different than the DS version.

    About 300 GameStop locations will be open at midnight for folks who just have to get in on the rush of everything Spider-Man. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions carry a suggested price of $59.99, the Wii version runs $49.99, the PS2 edition carries a $39.99 price tag, while the Nintendo DS, GBA, and Windows PC versions are priced at $29.99. Versions for the PC and game consoles have been rated T for "Teen", while the DS and GBA versions have been rated E10+ by the ESRB.

     

     

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:27 AM
  • MICROSOFT: Xbox: Gears of War Hidden Fronts Map Pack Media Blast

    PRESS RELEASE          3.5.2007

    Microsoft Oy

    Xbox Press Information 3.5.2007

    Gears of War Hidden Fronts Map Pack Media Blast

    Recon reports are in. Stop. Front line surveillance indicates Locust
    movement. Stop. Four new sectors now under enemy control. Stop. Do we
    engage? Stop. Awaiting orders. Stop.

    End transmission…

    HELSINKI 3. toukokuuta 2007 – On Thursday, May 3, at 9 a.m. GMT, Xbox
    LIVE® gamers should ready their weapons and prepare for battle as “Gears
    of War®”, rated M for Mature, releases four new action-packed multiplayer
    maps in the thrilling “Hidden Fronts” Multiplayer Map Pack. For 800
    Microsoft points, COG soldiers and the Locust Horde will clash once again
    for control of these four dynamic new areas, including Bullet Marsh,
    Garden, Process and Subway.

    Bullet Marsh: In this Kryll-infested swamp, an old generator still
    powers the area lights. A few stray bullets could easily knock out the
    generator, leaving combatants to fend for themselves against the Kryll.

    Garden: This overgrown and crumbling conservatory still has a working
    fertilization and pesticide system. This system can pose a serious hazard
    to anyone who ventures into the greenhouse without first venting the air.

    Process: Teams must fight for control of this subterranean Imulsion
    processing plant, still active despite the cessation of the Pendulum
    wars.

    Subway: Timgad’s Central Subway station used to serve as a central
    hub for commuters. Now the tunnels are crawling with Locust.

    The “Hidden Fronts” Multiplayer Map Pack will explode onto Xbox LIVE
    Marketplace on May 3 for 800 Microsoft Points as gamers steady their aim,
    pull the pin from their grenades and get ready to battle once more! All
    four of the new maps will be made available at no cost over Xbox LIVE on
    Sept. 3, 2007.

    Jari Keskitalo, Microsoft Oy, gsm 050 431 7015,
    jari.keskitalo@microsoft.com

    About Microsoft Game Studios

    Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of
    games for the Xbox® and Xbox 360™ video game systems, the Windows®
    operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top
    developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative
    and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including
    such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo
    Tycoon®”; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games
    as “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo,” “Fable®,” “Project
    Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport™”; and MSN® Games
    (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN
    network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.”

    About Xbox 360

    Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system,
    delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live
    online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that
    revolve around gamers. More information can be found online at
    http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

    About Xbox Live

    Xbox Live is the first and only unified online entertainment network
    seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it
    easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want
    from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live connects
    millions of members across nearly 25 countries to enjoy hundreds of
    multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox Live Arcade, free and
    premium playable game demos, music videos and movie trailers, as well as
    new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail
    games. More information can be found online at
    http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.

    About Microsoft

    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in
    software, services and solutions that help people and businesses
    realize their full potential.

     

     

     

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:28 AM
  • Speedball II Comes to Xbox LIVE Arcade

     

    LONDON, May 3, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Empire Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary of Silverstar Holdings (NasdaqTongue TiedSTR), today announced that it will bring the furious excitement of the classic Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe to the Xbox 360(tm) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft via Xbox LIVE(r) Arcade. The highly anticipated title was recently voted one of the most wanted games for Xbox LIVE Arcade in an article by the Computer and Video Games website. Its arrival will please both hard-core fans and new generations of gamers who have yet to experience what some believe is the finest combat sports game ever made.

    The Bitmap Brothers classic, Speedball, was first released for the Amiga in 1990 and quickly became a huge success. However, it wasn't until the release of its sequel, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe that the title reached new gaming heights and sold over two million units. It is still considered by many to be one of the best games of all time. The Xbox LIVE Arcade version is a perfect conversion of Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe but with the addition of an all-new High Definition version, more teams and downloadable content.

    This new Xbox LIVE Arcade version of Speedball II will enhance this classic game while still retaining all the classic elements that have made it a firm favorite among gamers.

    "We are pleased to be bringing this all-time classic to Xbox LIVE Arcade," commented Ian Higgins, CEO of Empire Interactive. "With its brutal and addictive gameplay, and the ability to play multiplayer over Xbox LIVE, we are sure this will be the definitive version of Speedball."

    "This is another example of Empire updating a classic IP and bringing it to a brand new audience. Double Dragon will launch next Wednesday, and will be our first foray onto Xbox LIVE Arcade. Our announcement of Speedball 2 demonstrates our continued intention to bring high quality classic titles to a broader market," said Clive Kabatznik, CEO of Silverstar Holdings.

    Xbox LIVE Arcade is the central destination for Xbox 360 gamers to find, download, try, and buy smaller games on the Xbox 360 console. Xbox LIVE Arcade offers a large catalog of fun, broad-appeal games that can be downloaded via Xbox LIVE.

    The Xbox LIVE logo is available at http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3682

    About Empire Interactive:

    Empire Interactive is a leading publisher of interactive entertainment software that has been established for 18 years. Headquartered in the UK, Empire Interactive also has offices in the U.S., Germany, Italy, France and Spain. The company develops and publishes a varied range of titles for all current platforms in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Games such as Starsky & Hutch, Big Mutha Truckers, Ford Racing and FlatOut have all enjoyed success across the world. Its budget label, Xplosiv, is one of the fastest growing in Europe. Further information about Empire Interactive and its products can be found at www.empireinteractive.com

    The Empire Interactive logo is available at http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3408

    About Silverstar Holdings:

    Silverstar Holdings Ltd. is a publicly traded company (NasdaqTongue TiedSTR), focusing on acquiring controlling positions in high-growth retail-driven and fee-based electronic game businesses that stand to benefit from the economies of scale generated by the Internet and other technology-related platforms. It currently owns Empire Interactive as well as Strategy First, Inc., a leading developer and worldwide publisher of entertainment software for the PC.

    About The Bitmap Brothers

    Originally Founded in 1987, The Bitmap Brothers are considered by many to be the original 'rock stars' of computer game development: a small but highly successful development team with a history of creating unique, critically and commercially acclaimed IP across a number of popular platforms. www.bitmap-brothers.co.uk

    The Bitmap Brothers logo is available at http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3683

    The Bitmap Brothers logo(tm) is a registered trademark of The Bitmap Brothers

    Speedball(tm) is a registered trademark of The Bitmap Brothers

    Speedball 2(tm) is a registered trademark of The Bitmap Brothers

    The statements which are not historical facts contained in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to risks associated with the uncertainty of future financial results, additional financing requirements, development of new products, regulatory approval processes, the impact of competitive products or pricing, technological changes, the effect of economic conditions and other uncertainties detailed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:29 AM
  • FIVE New Halo 3 Videos Leaked

     

    Bipchizzle is at it again, this time he has posted FIVE leaked Halo 3 videos. We have them all in one place below for your viewing pleasure. The quality isn't good, it looks like he was using the Xbox Live Vision Camera, but we do get a glimpse of the new M6G pistol and some other weapons. The first video below actually features Major Nelson. I wonder if they will identify which gamertag is leaking these. Or maybe Microsoft want leaked footage getting out.

    Update: Looks like the Bungie police got the videos taken down, hey, we did tell you to be quick!

    Saturday, May 5, 2007 7:35 AM
  • Thanks m8, nice one Wink
    Tuesday, May 8, 2007 6:36 AM
  • The Xbox 360 Core is the entry level Xbox 360. It was not originally available in Japan, but was released on November 2, 2006.[19] In Australia and New Zealand and Mexico[20] a Media Remote was included as a substitution for the Xbox Live headset in the Xbox 360 Package. The same remote was included for a limited time at launch in the premium bundle.[21] The three configurations contain different video cables; the core system comes with composite cables, the premium includes a hybrid composite and component cable with optional optical out, while the elite includes the aforementioned cables with the addition of an HDMI cable. All three configurations include one year warranties, although consoles purchased in Canada and the United States before December 21, 2006 originally had 90 day warranties; later extended to one year.[22]

    Source : http://jjk.charles.googlepages.com/XBOX.htm
    Thursday, May 10, 2007 3:31 PM
  • I have a question... Which XBOX360 will MS give the winners of the StudentRockstar contest ?
    Thursday, May 10, 2007 5:06 PM