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Giant News for the Gamer

Summer Xbox Live Update Released

After waves of preview updates were sent out to registered members, Xbox Live Gold users now have an official update to play with. With many new features to try out and use, Xbox Live now has more depth and more reasons to pay the subscription fee.

The new “Games on Demand” section allows just what the title implies, games on demand. This lets Gold members select from a library of old titles to purchase and download using your internet right in the comfort of your living room.

Netflix parties not only add to the Live experience, but also to the experience of watching movies. Netflix customers can invite up to four other customers to a “Netflix party” in which each player’s avatar sits in a movie theatre setting with seats and a screen where the selected movie plays from.

Of course there are more features, so why don’t you check the full listing down below.

Dashboard Updates: Xbox LIVE Update

Updated August 11, 2009

One of the amazing things about the Xbox LIVE experience is that it’s always getting better. The latest Xbox LIVE Update truly cranks it up a notch – with features that improve your entertainment experience and give you new ways to express your individuality and connect with friends. With this update, you can download full Xbox 360® games and play them without a disc, and you and your friends will be able to party watch movies online through Netflix! Dress up your avatar to impress with premium props and branded apparel from fashion labels. And this update allows every piece of game content on Marketplace to be rated, so add your personal ratings and see what others think is cool. But that’s just the beginning. Check out all of the new features of the Xbox LIVE Update below.

Games on Demand
Enjoy the convenience of finding and buying new games right from the comfort of your own living room.  Download a wide selection of full Xbox 360 games over Xbox LIVE. Games on Demand is now available for purchase on Xbox LIVE as part of the latest Xbox LIVE Update. You will be able to browse and purchase games through the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web starting August 13.

  • Shop– Games on Demand are found in the Game Marketplace and include a large library of favorite titles right from the start.  More titles are added every Tuesday, so check back whenever you’re in the mood for a great new game.
  • Purchase – Purchase full games using Microsoft points or a credit card.  Games are downloaded directly to your console (hard drive required), and your purchase history is stored by Xbox LIVE, meaning you can delete games and re-download them again if you run out of space.
  • Playing and Sharing – As with other LIVE content, your game license is linked to your Xbox LIVE account.  Download your purchased games to any console you are logged into with your Gamertag, and anyone else can play on the console that your game was originally downloaded to.  No physical disc is required to play these games!
  • Find Manuals – Game manuals can be viewed, downloaded, or printed from Xbox.com. Just locate your game in Web Marketplace and select “See Game Manual”.
Games on Demand

Avatars
Avatars have seen lots of love!  Check out the new Marketplace and Avatar Props. The Avatar Marketplace is now available on Xbox LIVE as part of the latest Xbox LIVE Update. You will be able to browse and purchase Avatar apparel through the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web starting August 13.

  • Avatar Props – Equip your avatar with animated items they can interact with and carry around.
  • Avatar Marketplace – Reflect your sense of style with the new Avatar Marketplace.  Download and purchase premium items, including branded apparel from your favorite fashion labels and Xbox 360 games.
Avatar Marketplace

Netflix*
Now you can watch movies with your friends and find new movies to add to your Instant Queue without leaving your seat.

  • Party Watch – Catch a show with your friends!  Bring your party into Netflix and watch a movie or TV show together.  (Feature available with supported titles.)
  • Find Content Faster – Browse through New Releases and other genre lists based on the types of shows you’ve previously watched, all from the comfort of your couch.
  • Improved Playback Experience – Improvements have been made to ensure a better experience when adapting to changing network conditions.
  • Improved Presence – Richer information is now displayed in the Friends channel and in the Guide showing what you and your friends are watching.
Netflix

Parties**
Everyone loves to Party!  Check out the new and improved party reconnections and streamlined party invites.

  • Party Reconnections – If a user is disconnected from a party inadvertently, they will be automatically reconnected to the party without any user interaction.
  • Streamlined Party Invites – Invites are now just a click away!  Never again will you have to navigate through multiple screens to get all your friends together.

Account Management
Been an Xbox LIVE member for a while?  Check out some of the new features we’ve added just for you.

  • Gold Member Veterans – Been here long?  Show it off!  Anyone looking at your gamer card will now know how long you’ve been an Xbox LIVE Gold member.  And who knows, there might be other perks for you, too.  Thanks for sticking around!
  • Subscription Notification – If your Xbox LIVE subscription is about to run out, you will now be notified when you sign into Xbox LIVE.  No more surprises the next time you hop in to frag your friends.
  • Fixing Invalid WLID’s – If the Windows Live ID you provided has expired, you will now be prompted to update it the next time you sign into Xbox LIVE.

Account Recovery
Many changes have gone into the account recovery process to speed it up and to increase reliability.

Video Display Options
Various improvements have been made to make it easier for you to see your game in the highest resolution possible when using an HDMI connection.

  • Display Discovery – Override audio and/or video formats independent of the display’s capabilities.
  • How It Works – By default, the console uses the information provided by the display (via its EDID) to determine the audio and video capabilities of the device. However, often the data is invalid or malformed, hence compatibility issues are encountered. When disabling display discovery, the EDID of the display is ignored, thereby enabling the audio and video settings to be overridden with the desired format regardless of display support.
  • Who Should Use It? – The Display Discovery feature is available for DVI and HDMI connections in the Display settings section of System Settings in the dashboard. Please note that Display Discovery should only be disabled if audio and/or video related compatibility issues are encountered, otherwise, the output quality may be compromised.
  • Monitor Support – Additional monitor resolutions are now available for HDMI connections.

User Ratings
User ratings help you find content that other people think is awesome!

  • How It Works – Every piece of game content on Marketplace can now be rated using a 5-star system.  Just open up the details on what you want to rate and choose the Rate button.  Each time you press the Rate button, you add one star to your personal rating.
  • Sort by Ratings – Find great games, demos, and more that you might have missed out on.  Just visit Browse All in the Game Marketplace and click on “Top Rated” to see what everyone’s been talking about.
User Ratings

UI Improvements
Some parts of the dashboard have been slightly re-organized to make it easier to find the things you’re looking for.

  • Indie Games – We listened to our community and have decided to rename Xbox LIVE Community Games to Xbox LIVE Indie Games. This new name better represents the independent spirit of these titles.  User ratings are also available for Indie Games, allowing you to share your rating for a game and use ratings from others to find great new games.
  • Achievement Browser – Launch a game directly from the Achievement browser making it even easier for you to max out your Gamerscore.
  • Achievement Tracking – A new All Games view inside the Profile panel includes a summary of Achievements earned across all the games played, and shows off all your completed games.
  • Achievements – Check out the changes to the Achievement browser while playing a game.  It’s now much easier to read through all the achievements so you can rack up that Gamerscore.
  • Streamlined Navigation – New entry points in the Dashboard for Active Downloads, Redeem Code, Auto Sign-In (via Profile), Create Profile, and Recover Gamertag are included, so that these features are easier to find.
  • Voice Messages – When recording a voice message, a warning is now displayed if no audio is detected so you don’t accidentally send blank messages to your friends.

Console Settings
We’ve reorganized the Console Settings menu with fewer, more intuitive categories.

  • Memory – Time stamps now appear in the Memory Area.  This is particularly handy when managing saved games.
  • Friends List Sorting – It’s now much easier to find your friends!  Sort your friends list by Activity, Gamertag, or Online Status (default).  Just press the Y button while you’re viewing the friends list in the Guide to change the sorting order.

New Experiences Coming
And we have new experiences coming all the time.  This fall, Xbox LIVE will see the addition of the following new features as well:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Last.fm
  • Zune Video

Stay connected to Xbox LIVE to ensure you are getting the best gaming and entertainment experience.  Xbox LIVE is where games, movies and friends connect.  Aside from all of the great additions mentioned above, you’ll find free game demos so you can try before you buy, and tons of free videos, trailers and more.  Plus you’ll have access to Game Add-ons like new songs and adventures to extend the life of your favorite games.  What’s more, thousands of downloadable HD movies and TV episodes are available with the press of a button.  Connect to Xbox LIVE today. It’s free.

Dashboard Updates: Xbox LIVE Update

Updated August 11, 2009

One of the amazing things about the Xbox LIVE experience is that it’s always getting better. The latest Xbox LIVE Update truly cranks it up a notch – with features that improve your entertainment experience and give you new ways to express your individuality and connect with friends. With this update, you can download full Xbox 360® games and play them without a disc, and you and your friends will be able to party watch movies online through Netflix! Dress up your avatar to impress with premium props and branded apparel from fashion labels. And this update allows every piece of game content on Marketplace to be rated, so add your personal ratings and see what others think is cool. But that’s just the beginning. Check out all of the new features of the Xbox LIVE Update below.

Games on Demand
Enjoy the convenience of finding and buying new games right from the comfort of your own living room.  Download a wide selection of full Xbox 360 games over Xbox LIVE. Games on Demand is now available for purchase on Xbox LIVE as part of the latest Xbox LIVE Update. You will be able to browse and purchase games through the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web starting August 13.

  • Shop– Games on Demand are found in the Game Marketplace and include a large library of favorite titles right from the start.  More titles are added every Tuesday, so check back whenever you’re in the mood for a great new game.
  • Purchase – Purchase full games using Microsoft points or a credit card.  Games are downloaded directly to your console (hard drive required), and your purchase history is stored by Xbox LIVE, meaning you can delete games and re-download them again if you run out of space.
  • Playing and Sharing – As with other LIVE content, your game license is linked to your Xbox LIVE account.  Download your purchased games to any console you are logged into with your Gamertag, and anyone else can play on the console that your game was originally downloaded to.  No physical disc is required to play these games!
  • Find Manuals – Game manuals can be viewed, downloaded, or printed from Xbox.com. Just locate your game in Web Marketplace and select “See Game Manual”.
Games on Demand

Avatars
Avatars have seen lots of love!  Check out the new Marketplace and Avatar Props. The Avatar Marketplace is now available on Xbox LIVE as part of the latest Xbox LIVE Update. You will be able to browse and purchase Avatar apparel through the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web starting August 13.

  • Avatar Props – Equip your avatar with animated items they can interact with and carry around.
  • Avatar Marketplace – Reflect your sense of style with the new Avatar Marketplace.  Download and purchase premium items, including branded apparel from your favorite fashion labels and Xbox 360 games.
Avatar Marketplace

Netflix*
Now you can watch movies with your friends and find new movies to add to your Instant Queue without leaving your seat.

  • Party Watch – Catch a show with your friends!  Bring your party into Netflix and watch a movie or TV show together.  (Feature available with supported titles.)
  • Find Content Faster – Browse through New Releases and other genre lists based on the types of shows you’ve previously watched, all from the comfort of your couch.
  • Improved Playback Experience – Improvements have been made to ensure a better experience when adapting to changing network conditions.
  • Improved Presence – Richer information is now displayed in the Friends channel and in the Guide showing what you and your friends are watching.
Netflix

Parties**
Everyone loves to Party!  Check out the new and improved party reconnections and streamlined party invites.

  • Party Reconnections – If a user is disconnected from a party inadvertently, they will be automatically reconnected to the party without any user interaction.
  • Streamlined Party Invites – Invites are now just a click away!  Never again will you have to navigate through multiple screens to get all your friends together.

Account Management
Been an Xbox LIVE member for a while?  Check out some of the new features we’ve added just for you.

  • Gold Member Veterans – Been here long?  Show it off!  Anyone looking at your gamer card will now know how long you’ve been an Xbox LIVE Gold member.  And who knows, there might be other perks for you, too.  Thanks for sticking around!
  • Subscription Notification – If your Xbox LIVE subscription is about to run out, you will now be notified when you sign into Xbox LIVE.  No more surprises the next time you hop in to frag your friends.
  • Fixing Invalid WLID’s – If the Windows Live ID you provided has expired, you will now be prompted to update it the next time you sign into Xbox LIVE.

Account Recovery
Many changes have gone into the account recovery process to speed it up and to increase reliability.

Video Display Options
Various improvements have been made to make it easier for you to see your game in the highest resolution possible when using an HDMI connection.

  • Display Discovery – Override audio and/or video formats independent of the display’s capabilities.
  • How It Works – By default, the console uses the information provided by the display (via its EDID) to determine the audio and video capabilities of the device. However, often the data is invalid or malformed, hence compatibility issues are encountered. When disabling display discovery, the EDID of the display is ignored, thereby enabling the audio and video settings to be overridden with the desired format regardless of display support.
  • Who Should Use It? – The Display Discovery feature is available for DVI and HDMI connections in the Display settings section of System Settings in the dashboard. Please note that Display Discovery should only be disabled if audio and/or video related compatibility issues are encountered, otherwise, the output quality may be compromised.
  • Monitor Support – Additional monitor resolutions are now available for HDMI connections.

User Ratings
User ratings help you find content that other people think is awesome!

  • How It Works – Every piece of game content on Marketplace can now be rated using a 5-star system.  Just open up the details on what you want to rate and choose the Rate button.  Each time you press the Rate button, you add one star to your personal rating.
  • Sort by Ratings – Find great games, demos, and more that you might have missed out on.  Just visit Browse All in the Game Marketplace and click on “Top Rated” to see what everyone’s been talking about.
User Ratings

UI Improvements
Some parts of the dashboard have been slightly re-organized to make it easier to find the things you’re looking for.

  • Indie Games – We listened to our community and have decided to rename Xbox LIVE Community Games to Xbox LIVE Indie Games. This new name better represents the independent spirit of these titles.  User ratings are also available for Indie Games, allowing you to share your rating for a game and use ratings from others to find great new games.
  • Achievement Browser – Launch a game directly from the Achievement browser making it even easier for you to max out your Gamerscore.
  • Achievement Tracking – A new All Games view inside the Profile panel includes a summary of Achievements earned across all the games played, and shows off all your completed games.
  • Achievements – Check out the changes to the Achievement browser while playing a game.  It’s now much easier to read through all the achievements so you can rack up that Gamerscore.
  • Streamlined Navigation – New entry points in the Dashboard for Active Downloads, Redeem Code, Auto Sign-In (via Profile), Create Profile, and Recover Gamertag are included, so that these features are easier to find.
  • Voice Messages – When recording a voice message, a warning is now displayed if no audio is detected so you don’t accidentally send blank messages to your friends.

Console Settings
We’ve reorganized the Console Settings menu with fewer, more intuitive categories.

  • Memory – Time stamps now appear in the Memory Area.  This is particularly handy when managing saved games.
  • Friends List Sorting – It’s now much easier to find your friends!  Sort your friends list by Activity, Gamertag, or Online Status (default).  Just press the Y button while you’re viewing the friends list in the Guide to change the sorting order.

New Experiences Coming
And we have new experiences coming all the time.  This fall, Xbox LIVE will see the addition of the following new features as well:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Last.fm
  • Zune Video

Stay connected to Xbox LIVE to ensure you are getting the best gaming and entertainment experience.  Xbox LIVE is where games, movies and friends connect.  Aside from all of the great additions mentioned above, you’ll find free game demos so you can try before you buy, and tons of free videos, trailers and more.  Plus you’ll have access to Game Add-ons like new songs and adventures to extend the life of your favorite games.  What’s more, thousands of downloadable HD movies and TV episodes are available with the press of a button.  Connect to Xbox LIVE today. It’s free.

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August 11, 2009 Posted by | Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Xbox Live Marketplace | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Xbox Live Update Coming Soon

It appears that Microsoft has plans to roll out a new update for their superior Xbox Live service, however a release date has yet to be mentioned. So what are these updates I talk about? Here’s a good list:

Netflix Updates
Now you can watch movies with your friends no matter where they are and manage your queue from the comfort of your couch.
· Movie Parties – Xbox LIVE Gold members can sit together in a virtual theater with up to seven friends no matter where they are while your Avatars watch a movie, flirt or even throw popcorn at each other.
· Manage Your Queue – Browse the Netflix Instant Watch video catalogue, choose from the most popular movies and genres and add to your queue all from the comfort of your couch – no computer required.
· Enhanced Playback Experience – Enjoy a smooth viewing experience when your internet bandwidth fluctuates.
· Friends Info – Richer information is now displayed in the Friends channel and in the Guide showing what you and your friends are doing.

Avatar Marketplace
Express yourself! Deck your Avatar out with the latest clothing and props from the top brands and game franchises.
· Clothing – Download premium items, including branded apparel from your favorite fashion labels and Xbox 360 games such as “Halo.”
· Props – You can now equip your avatar with animated items they can carry around and interact with.
· Awardables – The ability to earn Avatar clothing and props as rewards within games has been added. Please stay tuned for an update on supporting titles.

Games on Demand— Please note that Games on Demand will be available in the preview beginning early August.
Enjoy 24 x 7 access to a growing online library of popular full game titles on Xbox LIVE whenever you want them, in the comfort of your living room.
· Purchase Options – Browse and download a great selection of full Xbox 360 games using Microsoft Points, direct debit, or credit card.
· Game Manuals – Game manuals for Games on Demand titles can be viewed, downloaded or printed on Xbox.com.
· It’s Yours Forever! – As with other Xbox LIVE content, Games on Demand titles are linked to your Xbox LIVE account, so you can delete and re-download anything you have already purchased to the same console or another console.

User Ratings
User ratings help you find games that other people think are awesome!
· Rate it – You can now rate every game on the Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace using a 5-star system.
· Sort and Find it – Now you can easily find the games that everyone’s been raving about by visiting the Top Rated games in the Browse All category of Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace.

Xbox LIVE Parties
Everyone loves to Party! Check out the new and improved Xbox LIVE Party features.
· Party Reconnections – If you are accidently disconnected from your party, Xbox LIVE will automatically reconnect you.
· Streamlined Party Invites – Invites are now just one click away! No need to click through multiple screens to get all your friends together.

Video Display Options
We’ve made it easier for you to see your entertainment in the highest resolution possible on your TV using an HDMI connection.

* Display Discovery – Make sure you can see and hear your entertainment in the highest resolution and sound quality possible with the option to override and select audio and video formats independent of the information your television sends to your Xbox 360 console.

Other Improvements
We’re always listening to you for feedback, and this Xbox LIVE update will include numerous dashboard updates.
· Gold Member Veterans – Xbox LIVE Gold members get to show it off with a stamp on your Gamer Card that tells people how long you’ve been a Gold member.

* Indie Games – Xbox LIVE Community Games has been renamed Xbox LIVE Indie Games. We feel this new name better represents the independent spirit of these titles.

· Achievement Browser – We’ve revamped the Achievements browser so it’s now easier to read through all the achievements while playing a game. You can now also launch a game directly from the browser.
· Achievements Tracking – A new view inside the profile panel which includes a summary of Achievements earned across all the games played, and shows of all your completed games.

* Streamlined Navigation – Streamlined navigation, including new entry points in the dashboard for Active Downloads, redeeming codes, recovering Gamertags and more.

· Voice Messages – No more blank voice messages! When recording a voice message, a warning will pop up if no audio is detected.
· Friends List Sorting – It’s now easier to find your friends! Find and sort your friends by activity, Gamertag or online status by pressing the Y button while viewing the friends list in the Guide.
· Memory – Time stamps now appear in the memory area, which particular handy when managing saved games.

Account Management
We’ve made some changes to make your life easier.
· Subscription Notification – If your Xbox LIVE subscription is about to run out, you will now be notified when you sign into Xbox LIVE.
· Updates for Invalid Windows Live IDs – If the Windows Live ID you provided has expired, you will now be prompted to update it the next time you sign into Xbox LIVE.
· Account recovery – We’ve enhanced the account recovery process to make it faster and more reliable.

What does this Xbox LIVE Update not include?

The following features will be coming in future Xbox LIVE updates, which we’ll be sure to let you know about.
· Facebook
· Twitter
· Zune video and 1080p Instant On
· Last.fm

Unfortunately as seen above, Facebook, Twitter, Zune video, 1080p Instant On, and Last.fm will not be included in this update.

July 17, 2009 Posted by | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 1 Comment

Xbox 360 Community unlocks Coral Sea Map from Battlefield 1943

After six days of non-stop gaming on the Xbox 360s version of Battlefield 1943, the Xbox community has unlocked the Coral Sea map.

Having achieved 43 Million kills, the Xbox 360 community has made a major achievement together. They get the Coral Sea map, which features mainly dog fighting between airplanes on both sides of the game.

There is a trailer featuring the new map, and here is a release by Electronic Arts and Dice, creators of Battlefield 1943, about the new map:

Coral Sea is the ultimate online multiplayer dog fighting map ever released! With two aircraft carriers supplying your team with all the F4U and Zero fighters you’ll need as your conquest to control the skies and make your place in history as an Ace Pilot of Battlefield 1943. Use the volcanic island terrain to your advantage and flank your enemies or weave in and out of the low arches to avoid enemy fire. Stay with your wingman, practice the Thach Weave, and soon you’ll dominate the skies of the Pacific! The choice is yours once you’ve helped achieve the 43,000,000 kills.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=2377328&dest=-1]

July 14, 2009 Posted by | PC, PlayStation 3, PSN, Trailer, Videos, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Xbox Live Marketplace | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

E3 09:Microsoft E3 Press Conference reveals Modern Warfare 2 Gameplay

Modern Warfare 2
With almost everyone expecting to see Infinity Ward’s hot title Modern Warfare 2, its no surprise that Microsoft debuted Modern Warfare 2’s first gameplay at their E3 2009 conference today.

After Jason West of Infinity Ward appeared on-stage it was down to business, starting up Modern Warfare 2, and showing the first ever gameplay to the public. Starting off on the side of a cliff with a familiar face, “Soap” McTavish guides you across a thin ledge. Soap digs his picks into the side of the mountain and starts to climb, signaling for you to follow. Once at the top, McTavish nearly slips when a plane flies overhead but manages to pull himself over the edge.

Gamespot UK’s Guy Cocker states “The level of detail was incredible: The ice cracks under pressure as you plunge in your hook, and your clothing blows in the vicious mountain winds.”

The game skips to a snowy naval base in which the player has an interesting weapon new to the series. With an attached radar to seek out enemies, the player can use his gun to navigate and seek out enemies in an already minimal-visibility setting.

McTavish instructs you to plant C4 on the fueling station and let it blow. As soon as the explosion is seen, enemies chase you and McTavish out with snowmobiles. McTavish makes a great move and uses a knife to steal an oncoming enemy on a snowmobile, with which both of you grab a snowmobile a head down the hill. While on the snowmobile, you have the option to use a semiautomatic pistol to shoot enemies while driving.

With Modern Warfare 2 looking very impressive so far, what can we expect the final product to look and play like?

Microsoft also announced that two Modern Warfare 2 map packs will arrive first for a time-exclusive on Xbox Live, and the Playstation 3 and PC(maybe) will have to wait for their share.

[VIA: Gamespot]

Here is the first trailer debuted a few weeks ago:

[blip.tv ?posts_id=2111853&dest=-1]

June 1, 2009 Posted by | DLC, E3, Microsoft, PC, PlayStation 3, Trailer, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fallout 3 Broken Steel – New Screenshots

Fallout 3’s next DLC, “Broken Steel”, has been featured in some new pictures. This new DLC pack looks to be a must-have, and hopefully this wont be the last that we see of the DLC series of releases for Fallout 3.

“Broken Steel alters the ending of the original Fallout 3 to allow continued play after the end of the main quest line. This means that when it is time to go into the reactor at the end of Take it Back!, you can still go in yourself or you can send one of three side characters. However, even if you go yourself, you do not die. Instead, you survive the ordeal and wake up two weeks later at the Citadel. If you allow the Purifier to explode, the game will still end.”

Broken Steel hits PC and Xbox Live May 5th for $10, or 800 Microsoft Points.

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April 29, 2009 Posted by | DLC, PC, Screenshot(s), Xbox 360, Xbox Live | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Microsoft getting the Community involved in E3 this year; Microsoft’s E3 2009 booth is HUGE

While listening to Major Nelson’s (Microsoft’s own Director of Programming for Xbox Live, Larry Hryb) podcast for today, Major Nelson announced some very interesting news.

Major Nelson stated:

“I can’t say much but I will say this; part of the Xbox Experience is Xbox Live, and part of Xbox Live is the community. The community will definitely play a role in this.”

In response to Major Nelson, “e” stated:

“We’re gonna try and get the community involved in E3 this year.”

So what is this “Community getting involved in E3”? Unveiled at E3 2008, Microsoft introduced its Xbox Live expansion named Xbox Live Primetime. Featured in Xbox Live Primetime was a game based off the hit TV game show 1 vs. 100. Will Microsoft invite the community to play 1 vs. 100 with them at their E3 press conference? Will we see new games that will be released for Primetime?

Also stated in Major Nelson’s Podcast, Major Nelson talked about Microsoft’s booth:

“I’ve seen that picture of our booth, its gonna be HUGE.”

So with Microsoft’s booth will be plentiful of games, and with the introduction of the fans participating in Microsoft’s E3 2009 press conference, it looks like we can certainly look forward to E3 this year.

[AKA: Major Nelson Podcast #312]

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March 15, 2009 Posted by | E3, Microsoft, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | , , , , , , | 21 Comments

New Gears of War 2 Update Inbound

Gears of War 2, one of the hottest releases of last year, and it still has its share of multiplayer problems. Why must we anticipate these great games, buy them at midnight, and pop them in for a little multiplayer session only to get lag and glitches? Hopefully this incoming patch will fix most of the problems we have been dealing with since day one.

The new update, scheduled for March 24th, will be plentiful of fixes:

  • Offering a new ranking system based on experience, players get 100 levels of experience levels to play to, which you can gain through experience earned in public matches. Don’t worry though, the TrueSkill feature is still utilized to set up the most competitive matches possible, but skill ranks are now hidden. Players who decide to leave a match early will be docked experience as a penalty.
  • A new autobalance feature creates bots to replace a player when one leaves early.
  • Several improvements include region preference for matchmaking, playlist optimization, and nine new achievements that require the new Snowblind Map Pack.
  • Exploit fixes include the ability to mantle greater distances by swapping weapons during cover slide and to melee attack through walls while holding an enemy weapon, plus adding many more fixes.
  • New fixes include more reliable chainsaw interruption detection, better headshot tracking for certain character models, improved flag AI in Submission games, and more.
  • New balance fixes for Subway weapon spawns, smoke grenade stun duration, an increase to the forward angle that triggers chainsaw duels, and several other balance revisions.

To see the full list of title updates, visit the Gears of War 2 Official Site.

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March 15, 2009 Posted by | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Digital Download Games aren’t Mainstream yet

What do the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have in common? Yes you can play videogames, but it’s the ways in which you purchase your games which the question is implying. What options does a consumer have when buying their games? Can consumers only purchase in-store, or can they purchase online? One thing that was introduced in this round of consoles is the ability to download a game straight to your console without having to go outside your house, or wait for a shipment to arrive.

So what are the advantages to downloading a game?

Just like with new downloadable movies and music, consumers don’t want to wait to receive the game they preordered a year before the actual release. Gamers like to have the game they preordered right in front of them, ready to play at release without having to slip out of their house and into the store.

Also, if you forgot to preorder the hot new game release that landed in stores today and call up your local game store, you might find that they were sold out five minutes after they opened at midnight. Fortunately, instead of frantically searching your phone book or driving into numerous stores to find a copy, Microsoft and Sony has your game waiting in their online store, which never runs out of copies.

Have limited storage room at your house? Digital Download games take up no space, except for the bytes on your hard drive.

What are the disadvantages to downloading a game?

Just like with movies and music, something special goes along with the box such as extra features in a movie, or the cover art for your favorite groups CD. Some games have special items included in the purchase if preordered at a certain retailer such as a limited edition gun, shirt, or even bobble-head. Some games also have special features such as interviews with the creators, or artwork.

Consumers today are confused with the different bundles of consoles on the market. Whenever I take my weekly stroll down to my local Best Buy or GameStop, there is always someone asking about the differences in bundles for each console. One question always arises when in the games section “Is a bigger Hard Drive necessary?” Hard drives these days are too small to download all your games to. One triple AAA title can take up the whole 50 Gigabyte Blu-Ray disk on the PS3, while Xbox 360 games can take up to 9 Gigabytes of space. Even today consoles are sold without hard drives, such as the Xbox 360 Arcade. The 60 GB or 120 GB included in today’s bundles of the Xbox 360 aren’t enough to hold all your games, movies, music, and demos. Even Playstation 3 owners who either have 40 GB, 60 GB, 80 GB, or 160 GB don’t even have enough for games, movies, music, or demos.

Another disadvantage to Digital Download games sweeping the market is download speeds. Modern day internet connections in the United States aren’t fast enough to download your favorite new triple AAA release in a few minutes. It takes most Americans an hour with high-speed internet to download a demo that is one gigabyte. Why would I want to wait so long, when I can run out to my local game store and back in 15 minutes with my new game in-hand?

What about in the future?

So can we expect games to be download-only in the near future? It seems highly impossible with the disadvantages above, unless some major improvements are made. Could we see digital download-only further in the future? Sure we could.

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March 11, 2009 Posted by | PlayStation 3, PSN, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Battlefield 1943 Details

Battlefield 1943, shown off at the New York Comic Con, is the newest addition to the Battlefield series. Taking place in World War 2, Battlefield 1943 gives the player three maps to enjoy with 24 players, a small, but surprisingly action-packed 12 versus 12 battle for survival. Players can choose to play as either a soldier of the U.S. Marines or a soldier of the Japanese Imperial Army.

In previous installments to the Battlefield series, players could choose from up to four different classes, but in 1943, players have the choice of up to three different classes, or kits. The first class, Riflemen, is best known for its mid-range weapons and abilities. The second class, Infantry, caters to the short-range, more run-and-gun type player. Using short-range weapons, Infantry players can battle in close-quarters combat with the opposing players. The infantry load-out also includes anti-tank/vehicle weapons such as a Bazooka to take down the pesky vehicles. The third and final class in Battlefield 1943 is for the long-range sniper oriented player. Named Scout, it includes Sniper Rifles and other various long-range weapons. Scouts also are equipped with demolition weapons, but it is unexplained as to which exact weapons these will be.

Battlefield 1943 will include one game mode titled Conquest. Originating from its former Battlefield counterparts, 1943 utilizes the flag-capture mode to gain territory and spawn points closer to the enemy. The game indicates which flag is the players by the color blue, and indicates the enemies’ flag by the color red. Unlike Battlefield Bad Company where “Double Assault” mode in which players could capture all the flags was used, 1943 features “Head-On Assault”, where each team has a locked base which cannot be captured.

Bomb Dropping from Rear View

Bomb Dropping from Rear View

Many changes have been made from Battlefield 1942 to Battlefield 1943, including the addition of parachutes. Bridges can also be blown-out, meaning you can blow up bridges to stop an oncoming enemy, but they can also find another route around to the other side. Also, Gordon Van Dyke of DICE Studios states “If you have played Battlefield 1942, you will recognize the maps included in the game, but also notice the many changes that have happened to them over the time between the two games.” Battlefield 1943 will also introduce a new form of game play, unlimited ammo and rechargeable health means no medics or support classes needed giving a reason for only being three classes in the game (stated above). The game will not feature any unlocks meaning that every player will have every weapon unlocked for them at the beginning of the game.

The mini-map, included in all previous installments of the Battlefield series did not appear in the pre-alpha build shown off at the NYCC, but is said to be added into the game by the time of its release. The spawn-in map shown at the beginning of the game is where the player can pick his or her class and choose a place to spawn in (represented by a flag). There are two systems for choosing a spawn-point, one named “Front-Lines System” in which the game automatically spawns the character in the middle of the action, while there is the “Regular Choice Spawn” in which players can choose where they spawn.

Classes and Spawn-In

Classes and Spawn-In

Battlefield 1943 will feature the Frostbite Engine used by EA and DICE for Battlefield Bad Company, and will be released as a download-only game on Playstation Network (PSN), Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), and the PC.

February 8, 2009 Posted by | PC, PlayStation 3, PSN, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Battlefield 1943 Announced!

The latest edition to the popular Battlefield series by EA is Battlefield 1943. Starting off 1 year after the first Battlefield game, Battlefield 1942, players are yet again sent to fight in some of the most famous World War 2 sites, including Iwo Jima, Wake Island, and Guadalcanal. DICE is hard at work on the upcoming sequel to one of the most popular games in the series, and is planning for the game to be download-based. Battlefield 1943 has no confirmed release dates, but one can only hope that it will be released later this year or early next year.

February 7, 2009 Posted by | PC, PlayStation 3, PSN, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment