57.6 Million Xbox 360 Consoles Sold

October 21, 2011 -

Buried inside its first quarter fiscal year 2012 results, Microsoft revealed that it has shipped 57.6 million Xbox 360 units around the world to date. The company also revealed that for the quarter the ended on September 30, it managed to move 2.3 million units of its Xbox 360. Compared to last year, that's a 2.8 percent decrease. The good news for Microsoft is that the Xbox 360 has been the top-selling console in North America for the last seven months and revenue for the platform was up 7 percent thanks to sales on Xbox Live.

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Getting Dance Central Tracks into Dance Central 2 Will Cost You

September 21, 2011 -

Microsoft confirmed today that it will cost Dance Central players 400 Microsoft Points to import tracks into Dance Central 2 when it launches in late October. Dance Central owners will need to enter a code from the original game's manual then download an "Import Pack" to move songs over to the new game. Of course, those who pre-order the game can get a voucher that gives them the Import Pack for free.

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Porn Stars Want to Pwn You

September 17, 2011 -

Even with the distraction of a foulmouthed twelve-year-old cursing in your ear, you’ve still got game.  But how well would you hold up against streaming video of a topless porn star?

Adult performers Alana Evans and Misti Dawn have launched PwnedByGirls, a new website that will allow eager gamers to play video games with them or just kick back and watch them mop the floor with competitors who just can’t seem to focus.

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Microsoft: 68 Percent of Live Subscriptions Sold at Retail

September 2, 2011 -

Microsoft claims that over two-thirds of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions purchased are obtained at retail, as opposed to using Xbox Live to renew subscriptions or buy new ones. According to what Microsoft tells MCV, 68 percent of the premium subscriptions for Xbox Live are purchased via retailers.

Robin Burrowes, marketing manager for Xbox Live, also said that Microsoft is "very respectful" of retail, and has no plans to simultaneously release Xbox 360 titles at retail and via digital download at the same time.

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Microsoft Withdraws Patent Infringement Claim Against Datel

August 31, 2011 -

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft plans to withdraw its patent infringement claims (337-715, U.S. International Trade Commission - Washington D.C.) against Datel Design & Development Ltd. over controllers for the Xbox 360. In response to the patent lawsuit, Datel took it upon itself to simply redesigned its controllers and stopped importing earlier versions of the TurboFire2 Xbox 360 Wireless that were the at the center of Microsoft's complaint filed with the U.S.

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Dream.Build.Play XNA Winners Announced

August 29, 2011 -

Guillaume Martin's puzzle/platform game Blocks That Matter has been honored with the grand prize of $40,000 in Microsoft's annual Dream.Build.Play XNA game development competition. Astronomical's Solar 2 won first prize and $20,000, followed by the action-adventure title TIC: Part 1, which won a lovely $10,000 second prize, and rhythm-game/RPG Sequence winning $5,000 for third prize. Honorable mention awards were given to Alien Jelly, for production quality; The Bridge for innovation; and Ninja Crash for fun factor.

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Castle Crashers Pink Knight Downloads Benefit Keep A Breast Foundation

August 29, 2011 -

A new report from The Behemoth development blog brings news of a new title update for Castle Crashers on Xbox Live Arcade, along with some great news for the Keep A Breast Foundation. First, The Behemoth is offering the Pink Knight DLC for Xbox Live Arcade for free and for every time it is downloaded the developer will give $1 to the Keep A Breast Foundation - until it hits the 50,000 download mark.

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Jagex: Platform Holders Were Opposed to 'Universal Community'

August 26, 2011 -

Speaking at the recent Edinburgh Interactive conference, Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard said that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all opposed the idea of the company's MMO Runescape letting players interact with other players on rival platforms.

"Some console owners wanted us to charge five Euros for Runescape. What? It would be crazy to charge for Runescape on consoles," he said. "But Sony was ahead of the game, they said they get it. They understand free. But all three said, 'okay, but, we won’t let our console play online with any other'."

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Home Consoles Still The Devices of Choice for Streaming Media

August 25, 2011 -

According to new data released by ABI Research, the most popular method of streaming Netflix content continues to be through a video game console. The new data also shows that console owners spend a substantial amount of time --seven to eight hours a week-- watching online video through their console devices.

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Newell: Microsoft Should Be More Like Sony

August 25, 2011 -

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell says that Microsoft needs to relax the terms and conditions of Xbox Live to allow other platforms onto Xbox Live. Newell made his comments related to the upcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive release, which features Steamworks integration. Newell said that Microsoft would do well to emulate Sony, whose decision to allow Steamworks support in the PlayStation 3 release of Portal 2 resulted in better experience on that platform.

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No Porsche for You in Forza 4

August 25, 2011 -

If you were hoping to drive a Porsche in Forza 4, you can forget about it, according to developer Turn 10. The developer of the popular racing series published by Microsoft says that the fancy car brand couldn't be included because of a licensing deal Electronic Arts already has with the company. While Turn 10 or Microsoft could have sub-licensed Porsche from EA, Turn 10 decided against it. In a post on the official Forza 4 site, Turn 10 community manager Brian Ekberg explained the absence:

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Class Action Lawsuit Filed for Xbox Live Subscription Double Billing

August 11, 2011 -

A new class action lawsuit accuses Microsoft of double billing its customer for Xbox Live subscriptions. Ryan Graves of Bloomington, Indiana has filed a class action against Microsoft in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleging that the Xbox 360 creator double-bills its Xbox Live members and auto-renews subscriptions without their consent.

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XBLIG Title FortressCraft Sees $1.2 Million in Sales

August 11, 2011 -

FortressCraft, the Xbox Live Indie Game that most consider a cheap imitation of Mojang's popular PC title Minecraft (which is coming to Xbox Live Arcade at some point), has made more than $1 million in sales since its launch in April of this year, breaking the record for the highest-grossing XBLIG title to date.

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Zeboyd Games: Microsoft Must Do More to Promote Indie Games

July 26, 2011 -

Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games says that Microsoft must do more to promote the best games on Xbox Live Indie Games or risk losing the service's most talented developers to other platforms. The warning comes after Boyd's games, Cthulhu Saves The World and Breath Of Death VII, sold more in one week on Steam than their entire lifespan on Xbox Live Indie Games.

"XBLIG is a great solution for new developers," Boyd told Edge. "It's cheap, easy to learn, and has a great community of people that are willing to help each other. However, from a perspective of actually making good money, I do not believe it is a viable platform. The greatest strength and greatest weakness of the service is that it's the most open platform we've ever seen on any home console. Just about anyone can release an XBLIG title, and just about anyone does. As a result, the service has got a reputation for being full of garbage."

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XBLA Head Admits That Prices Have Risen

July 23, 2011 -

XBLA portfolio director Chris Charla recently admitted to GamesIndustry.biz that the cost of purchasing an Xbox Live Arcade game has steadily crept up over the last couple of years, but added that the level of quality has kept pace with the rising prices.

"If you look at Live Arcade, and do the math, and look at the publicly available sales numbers, you can see that average prices on XBLA have crept up over the last few years, which has been an interesting trend because on some app markets there's been a race to zero as fast as possible," he said. "We've seen a little bit of the opposite happening. I don't really know where prices are going to go - ultimately, that's set by the market - but it has been really gratifying to see that people are willing to pay a premium price for digital content. "

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Report: Xbox 360 Cloud Saving Available on Select Games

July 6, 2011 -

Microsoft has activated some of its planned Xbox Live cloud save functionality, according to an MCV UK report. A select number of Xbox Live Arcade games get added cloud save functionality, allowing users to download and resume saved games from any console. It also allows for the recovery of gamertags on another machine, according to MCV.

The full set of cloud features promised by Microsoft is expected to go live when the next Xbox 360 dashboard update is released. Microsoft announced plans to introduce cloud-based services for Xbox Live at E3 last month. We do not know as of this writing what games support these new could-based features.

Source: MCV UK

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Report: Microsoft Planning Support for Free to Play on Xbox 360

June 24, 2011 -

According to a report from Develop Microsoft is now offering support for free-to-play titles on Xbox 360. Several sources close to the situation tell Develop that Microsoft is asking developers to discuss future free-to-play game deals. This is being done "behind the scenes" for the time being, according to Develop. Microsoft is looking at games that can be monetized by in-game item purchases or premium upgrades.

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Cloud Storage, Beacons Coming to Xbox Live

June 7, 2011 -

Microsoft's Larry Hryb offers some new details on Microsoft's Cloud Storage solution for the Xbox 360 on his official blog. Coming "later this year," the cloud-based storage solution will allow Xbox Live members to store game saves and their Live profiles. From the blog post:

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Security Expert: Sony, Microsoft Should Hire Hackers

June 2, 2011 -

Ligatt Security International's Gregory Evans says that both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live remain vulnerable to cyber attacks and that both companies should consider hiring hackers to test security.

"Most big corporations have what’s called an annual security audit and they go out and hire outside security companies," Ligatt Security International's Gregory Evans told Industry Gamers. "But they’re nothing but a bunch of IT managers who went out and got a bunch of certifications and now they come in to see if your system is truly hacker proof. These IT managers who take the test to become a certified computer hacker or a CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional) have to work in a lab and hack into a system that’s in a controlled environment."

Microsoft: 40 Percent of Xbox Live Activity is Non-Gaming

June 1, 2011 -

According to Microsoft's corporate communications Vice President Frank Shaw, 40 percent of all Xbox Live activity is non-gaming. Discussing the evolution of the platform as an entertainment brand rather than a pure gaming console - a theme that will be emphasized through the company’s E3 press event later this month - Shaw mentioned how much Xbox Live users are using the system for non-gaming entertainment such as music and movies.

He says that Microsoft MS intends to market Xbox 360 more "as an entertainment brand this year." Microsoft claims that it is seeing 30 hours of video consumption per month per system.

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New Xbox 360 Firmware Released

May 19, 2011 -

Microsoft has responded to reports that a new dashboard update was causing some older Xbox 360 systems to have a "disc-read error." The company said that the error was actually being caused by disc-reading algorithms, and not defects in Xbox 360 hardware.

The error “is tied to a change in the disc-reading algorithms in a recent software update,” a company spokesperson tells Develop. “It is not specific to older or newer versions of Xbox 360.”

The new firmware offers new anti-piracy measures and 1GB more space for disc-based content. Microsoft says that a "small number” of machines are not compatible with this firmware. In those cases, Microsoft is replacing those consoles with new ones.

Affected users will receive a new Xbox 360S and 12 months of Xbox Live Gold for free, the company said.

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Report: Some Xbox 360s May Be Incompatible with New Disc Format

May 18, 2011 -

You may have heard of Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 disc format and an upcoming firmware update to add support for it, but you may be one of those Xbox 360 owners whose system doesn't support it. The new XGD3 disc standard adds an additional 1GB of useable data to 360 DVDs, but a small number of Xbox 360 systems are having trouble supporting it.

According to Kotaku one beta tester owned such a system, and Microsoft rectified the situation by giving him a new system and a year's worth of Xbox Live Gold. Microsoft has not commented on the story, so this generosity could just be an isolated incident.

"Checking my e-mail earlier today I found a rather interesting message from Xbox Customer Support, saying that a software update is stopping some Xbox 360s from reading game discs," said beta tester Avery Penn.

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Report: PayPal Coming to Xbox Live

May 10, 2011 -

According to a Joystiq report citing an internal Microsoft memo, a new dashboard update is on the way, and it will add a brand new and familiar payment option for Xbox Live members. Microsoft is preparing to roll out this Xbox 360 dashboard update later this month. The internal memo written by a Microsoft tech support employee says the update will be released in stages from May 19 to May 30 "to ensure a high quality deployment." The update will add PayPal online payment services as a billing option. Users will reportedly be able to use the system to buy points, content, and pay for Xbox Live subscriptions.

The update will also introduce support for the new Xbox 360 game disc format which was rumored to be in the works a few months ago. The Avatar Kinect video chat application is also rumored to be released later on May 27.

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Military Billing Options for Soldiers Hit Xbox Live

May 3, 2011 -

Microsoft’s Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) announced via his official blog that military personnel will now have an easier time when conducting commerce on Xbox Live. One of the biggest requests from soldiers serving in the military is to have the ability to use "Military States" as billing addresses. Today Microsoft is allowing just that. As of today Xbox Live now accepts AA (Armed Forces of the Americas), AE (Armed Forces Europe) and AP (Armed Forces Pacific) as options for credit card addresses. To make changes to these addresses, simply makes changes to the billing section on Xbox.com.

"We hope this makes it easier for the men and women in the United States Armed Forces to stay connected to the Xbox LIVE community," said Hryb in the post announcing the new changes.

"Thank you for everything you do," he added.

Indeed, anything that makes it easier for Americans serving our country is a good thing.

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Hulu Plus for Xbox 360 Confirmed for Tomorrow

April 28, 2011 -

Hulu Plus is coming to Xbox Live tomorrow, and Xbox Live Gold and Silver members will get it for free until May 6, Microsoft confirmed today. Hulu Plus will be free until May 6 thanks to a sponsorship deal with Jack Link's Beef Jerky.  As a fan of both beef jerky and free stuff, I approve of this partnership.

After the free week is over, users that want to continue to use Hulu Plus can sign up for a membership- which will cost you $7.99 a month.

Xbox 360 joins other devices that support the popular service including iOS devices (iPad, iPhones, iPod Touch), Android devices, various internet-enabled TV's and Blu-Ray devices (Samsung, Vizio, etc.), PlayStation 3, and Roku boxes (which are awesome).

Source: Joystiq


Microsoft Warns of Modern Warfare 2 Phishing Scheme

April 27, 2011 -

An Xbox Live status update found here warns Modern Warfare 2 users to be on the lookout for scammers who have a brand new scheme ready to trick you into revealing your personal information. The "scheme" will occur while users are playing the game online, according to Microsoft. While hacking and phishing schemes related to Modern Warfare 2 are nothing new to players on every platform the game is on, users who love the game must be ever vigilant in avoiding getting caught in some sort of trap.

"Users may receive potential phishing attempts via title specific messaging while playing Modern Warfare 2," Microsoft warns via the status message.

Microsoft adds that it is "working to resolve the issue."

We hope they figure it out sooner rather than later. However, if you are an MW2 player, be vigilant.

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XBIG Developer Disappointed by Microsoft Actions

April 20, 2011 -

Robert Boyd, developer of the Xbox Live Indie Games Cthulhu Saves The World and Breath Of Death VII: The Beginning, says that he is delighted by Microsoft's decision to fix the ratings system for XBIG, but is disappointed that it won't turn back the clock a little. Boyd says that Microsoft's failure to remove suspicious votes from the system is “highly disappointing” and that affected games will never recover from being "completely buried" by illegal voting.

"Microsoft doing nothing to fix the fake ratings that have already been given is highly disappointing," Boyd tells Edge. He points to research done by XNA community developer Michael C. Neel, which shows that ratings abuse was far more widespread than anyone had thought.

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Xbox Live Indie Games Get Ratings Revamp

April 19, 2011 -

Microsoft has made major changes to the ratings system for its Xbox Live Indie Games channel, after reports that users were manipulating individual game ratings last month. As of today only Xbox Live Gold subscribers can rate indie games on the service.

Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games (Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World) alleged manipulation on the Facebook page for XBLIG game College Lacrosse: The Video Game. The developer of the game had urged fans to provide 5-star ratings to boost the game up the XBLIG charts. Boyd also claimed that those fans went further by providing minimum 1-star rating to competing XBLIG titles to help improve the Lacrosse games' positions. That would explain why Boyd would be talking about it.

A post on the XNA Game Studio Team blog this week detailed the changes:

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Rumor: Microsoft Considering Free To Play on Xbox Live

April 12, 2011 -

Maybe Microsoft is taking its cues from Sony Online Entertainment's and Playstation Network's launch of Free Realms, or maybe the whole story is the stuff of rumors.. According to "trusted source" speaking to IGN, publishers and developers will be able to release games for free on Xbox Live. Developers and publishers will then be able to allow users to purchase content such as weapons, experience points, in-game currency, perks, and novelty items. The first of these titles is expected to arrive next year, according to the source.

While that is fine, next year seems like a very long time to wait to bring free-to-play to Xbox Live. Microsoft is notorious for controlling micro-transactions on Xbox Live, so it is doubtful that it has suddenly changed its policy. More likely, if it does allow for free-to-play products they will be of the first-party nature.

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Toulouse Comments on Xbox Live Account Hacker

April 4, 2011 -

Over the weekend a hacker named "Predator" took over Xbox Live director of policy and enforcement Stephen "Stepto" Toulouse's Xbox Live account. Today Toulouse discussed it with Joystiq, pointing out that "Predator" wasn't trying to be helpful and that he didn't hack Xbox Live - he simply got information from Toulouse's web provider.

"He got an old cell phone [number] of mine, and yeah, he called it occasionally," Xbox Live director of policy and enforcement Stephen "Stepto" Toulouse told Joystiq. "I can play you a voice message if you want, to show you the nature of his contact with us."

He did just that and Joystiq described them as full of expletives not suitable for print. Toulouse went on to mention one six-minute call where "Predator" and some friends talked about having sex with his wife.

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InfophilePut that way, "right to work" seems to have BLEEP-all to do with gay rights. Thing is, union-negotiated contracts used to be one of the key ways to prevent employers from firing at will. Without union protection, nothing stops at-will firing.07/07/2015 - 11:06am
Infophilehas an incentive to pay dues if they're represented either way, so the union is starved for funds and dies, unless things are bad enough that people will pay dues anyway.07/07/2015 - 11:02am
InfophileFor those who don't know, "right to work" laws mean that it can't be a condition of an employment contract that you pay union dues. That is, the right to work without having to pay dues. Catch is, unions have to represent non-members as well, so no one...07/07/2015 - 11:01am
MechaCrashUnexpected? Seriously?07/07/2015 - 10:55am
Mattsworknamejob they wanted without the unions getting involved. The problem is, it has some unexpected side effects, like the ones Info mentioned07/07/2015 - 8:49am
MattsworknameThe problem being, right to work states exsist specificly as a counter to Unions, as the last 20 or so years have shown, the unions have been doing this countries economoy NO favors. The right to work states came into being to allow people to work any07/07/2015 - 8:49am
Infophile(cont'd) discriminatory. This can only be done for protected classes which are outlined in law (race, sex, religion, ethnicity everywhere, sexual orientation in some states). So, a gay person could be fired because they're gay and have no recourse there.07/07/2015 - 7:27am
Infophile@Goth: See here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/sexuality/firedforbeinggay.asp for a good discussion on it. Basically, the problem is that in the US, most states allow at will firing, and it's the burden of the fired person to prove the firing was ...07/07/2015 - 7:25am
Goth_SkunkAssuming that's true, then that is a fight worth fighting for.07/07/2015 - 6:58am
Yuuri@ Goth_Skunk, in many states being gay is not a protected status akin to say race or religion. It's also in the "Right to work" states. Those are the states where one can be fired for any reason (provided it isn't a "protected" one.)07/07/2015 - 6:07am
Goth_Skunkregarded as a beacon of liberty and freedom that is the envy of the world, would not have across-the-board Human Rights laws that don't at the very least equal those of my own country.07/07/2015 - 5:47am
Goth_SkunkI find that hard to believe, Infophile. I have difficulty believing employers can *still* fire people for being gay. I would need to see some evidence that this is fact, because as a Canadian, I can't believe that the United States,07/07/2015 - 5:46am
InfophileFor that matter, even women don't yet have full legal equality with men. The US government still places limits on the positions women can serve in the military. And that's just the legal side of things - the "culture wars" are more than just laws.07/07/2015 - 5:43am
InfophileAnd that's just LGB issues. Get ready for an incoming battle on rights for trans* people. And then after that, a battle for poly people.07/07/2015 - 5:41am
InfophileA battle's been won. In many states employers can still fire people for being gay. And in many states, parents can force their children into reparative therapy to try to "fix" being gay. Those battles still need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:40am
Goth_Skunkand now they've switched to battles that don't need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:37am
Goth_SkunkIn my opinion, it was the final legal hurdle denying homosexual couples final and recognized statuses as eligible spouses. But even though this war's been won, some people are still too keen to keep fighting battles,07/07/2015 - 5:28am
Goth_SkunkAnd it's a trend I don't mind seeing continue. Same-sex marriage was at long-last made definitively legal by SCOTUS, and it's about time. I'm glad it's finally happened, as it was desperately needed.07/07/2015 - 5:25am
Infophile(cont'd) It started long before that. Perhaps the American Civil War comes to mind?)07/07/2015 - 3:59am
InfophileOn Goth's linked article: Historically speaking, there may have been cycles, but remember that the left has steadily gained ground. Is there a good reason to expect that to be different this time? (Oh, and no, Culture War 1.0 wasn't with the Baby Boomers.07/07/2015 - 3:59am
 

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