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Xbox Live Worms Certified

Worms HD

It looks like the Xbox Live Arcade version of Worms should be hitting the Marketplace soon; Team 17 recently confirmed that the game had finally passed Microsoft certification to Eurogamer. While a firm release date was not set, the Team 17 representative claimed the game should be showing up on Xbox Live in the next few weeks.

Read More | Eurogamer

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Guitar Hero 360 to Suck Your Wallet Dry

Xbox 360 Guitar Hero IIWe all know that microtransactions, small payments for incremental additions to games, are the way of the future. But you don’t have to brag about how much of our money you’re going to take! In a recent interview with IGN, Ted Lange, Associate Producer on Guitar Hero II, bragged that the game for the 360 will have “more online content than anyone has ever seen”.

While I’m excited about getting tons of new songs for the game, I often wonder how many of these songs could simply be squeezed onto the original disc if they tried. My guess is that the advent of microtransactions has made some programmers sloppy - there’s probably a fair amount of blank or wasted space on the GHII disc, but why bother putting more on the disc when you can just charge for it later!

Read More | IGN.com

A Brief PartnerNet Tour

A couple of recent Xbox Live Arcade leaks have increased attention on Microsoft’s PartnerNet, the development network for debug Xbox Live content for developers and press. First, Eurogamer leaked the existence of Ikaruga on Xbox Live Arcade, and then Computers & Video Games had an article about the release of Rare’s Jetpak on PartnerNet that was quickly pulled. Now, CheapyD at CheapAssGamer.com has a brief tour of the PartnerNet on video, courtesy of an anonymous informer. The video shows entries for a few titles like Centipede and Millipede and a couple of other new games and gives an idea of what developers on the network can see.

Read More | Cheap Ass Gamer

Major Nelson Wants Your Marketplace Ten Commandments

Heston's Marketplace CommandmentsMicrosoft’s Larry Hryb, aka Major Nelson has a post on his blog asking gamers for their “Ten Commandments” of the Xbox Live Marketplace. Unsurprisingly, a number of the complaints range around some common issues users have with the Marketplace, such as:

  • Charging to unlock content already on the disc (the fantastic 108kb downloads)
  • Charging for content that other platforms get for free
  • Releasing broken content
  • No price reductions for content, ever
  • More consistent Marketplace releases

If gamers have any requests for changes, improvements, or rules that the Xbox Live Marketplace should abide by, submit them to Major Nelson now; Microsoft has listened in the past, they will listen now.

Read More | Major Nelson

Call Of Duty 3 Map Pack Broken

Call of Duty 3 Valor Map PackGaming blog 2old2play is reporting that the Valor Map Pack, the 800 point content add-on for Call of Duty 3 shipped in a non-functional state. Referring to multiple complaints on the Xbox forums, it appears that a small percentage of people have gotten the content working by deleting previously downloaded content, but a majority can not get the maps to work. A post by a Treyarch employee indicates that they are working on the problem, but this appears to be an ongoing quality assurance issue for Xbox Live content. Xbox Live Arcade games and downloadable add-on content for other games have shipped in partially functioning states, and retail games have also seen issues. It appears that Microsoft’s certification testing team can find some issues; anticipated releases like the Crackdown demo have been delayed because of problems found during certification. Balancing the release process against the risks of not finding issues can be difficult, but it seems like major issues are going unnoticed.

Read More | 2old2play

Worms For Xbox Live Arcade HD Screenshots

Worms HD

Team 17’s Worms has been rumored to be hitting Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade service soon. Supposedly the title will sell for 800 points with the possibility of future downloadable add-ons. While the release date of the title is still unknown, HD screenshots of the 2D turn-based game are now available on Xbox Attitude. The most recent 2d entries in the series were somewhat mediocre on the DS and the PSP, and neither supported Internet play; a fully multiplayer version on the Xbox 360 that returns to the series’ roots would be a welcome addition.

Read More | Xbox Attitude

This Week’s Free Xbox Live Marketplace Content: 12/8-12/15

This week there was a lack of actual in game content available through the marketplace so I’ll focus on game and movie videos & trailers.  Hopefully some good free content will be released as we move towards Christmas.  I’ll keep my eyes open and make sure it’s posted as it becomes available.  In the meantime check out this weeks free content. Enjoy!

GAME DEMOS

:
College Hoops 2K7 – Rated E - 2006 – 961.64MB
Splinter Cell Double Agent (Single Player) – Rated M – - 2006 – 505.86MB
RoboBlitz (Arcade) – Rated E10+ - 2006 – 49.32MB

GAME VIDEOS & TRAILERS

:
Halo3 1st TV Commercial – Rated : NR - 2006
SD - 480p – 14.07MB
HD - 720p - 48.21MB

Battlestations : Midway War Machines Trailer : Rated T - 2006
SD - 480p – 15.46MB
HD - 720p – 73.70MB

Bionicle Heroes Trailer I : Rated E10+ - 2006
SD - 480p – 13.07MB
HD - 720p – 74.07MB

Eragon : Making of Trailer – Rated T - 2006
Unknown format – 126.54MB

Eragon : Director and Designer Interview Trailer – Rated T - 2006
Unknown Format – 160.01MB

MOVIE CLIPS & TRAILERS

:
Eragon Trailer I  : 1 Minute – Rated G - 2006
SD - 480p Widescreen – 23MB
HD - 720p Widescreen – 83MB

Eragon Trailer II : 2 minutes – Rated G - 2006
SD - 480p Widescreen – 33MB
HD - 720p Widescreen – 120MB

Transformers Teaser Trailer : 1 Minute – Rated PG-13 (2007)
SD - 480p Widescreen – 25MB
HD - 720p Widescreen – 86MB

MUSIC VIDEOS

:

Tenacious D : The Pick of Destiny : 2 Minutes – NR - 2006
SD - 480p Widescreen – 32MB

Song of the Heart : (from Happy Feet soundtrack) – 3 Minutes – NR - 2006
SD - 480p Widescreen – 34MB

Hold Me Down : (from Motion City soundtrack) 4 Minutes – Rated Explicit - 2005
SD - 480p Widescreen – 47MB

Bad Religion : Los Angeles Is Burning : 3 Minutes – NR – 2004
SD - 480p Fullscreen – 38MB

Matchbook Romance : Monsters : 4 Minutes – NR - 2006
SD - 480p Widescreen – 45MB


Movies, Television Episodes Now Available Via Xbox Live Marketplace

Xbox Live Downloads

Today, on the one year anniversary of the Xbox 360, Microsoft has announced the first batch of television and movie titles along with pricing for their video download service. Gamers with either an Xbox Live Silver or Gold account will be able to download video content in either HD or SD formats; those that choose the HD formats will also be able to download the SD format at no charge. Microsoft’s pricing has also been set at the following levels:

Content TypeHigh DefStandard
Television Shows240 Points ($3)160 Points ($2)
New Release Movies480 Points ($6)320 Points ($4)
Classic Movies360 Points ($4.50)240 Points ($3)

Right now, the selection seems kind of sparse, and a single high definition movie download will take up well over 1/3 of the available space on a stock 20 GB hard drive. Television episode download prices seem in line with iPod download pricing, with a premium for high definition content, but it doesn’t appear that subscription options will be available. Movie download “rental” pricing seems high, particularly compared to mail-delivery based services like Netflix. Having DRM restrictions on the “rental” doesn’t help a lot either.

The full press release continues below.


Contra Hits Xbox Live, Atari Titles Announced

Xbox Live Arcade

Microsoft dropped a couple of media alerts today, first announcing that Contra will hit Xbox Live Arcade this Wednesday. For 400 Microsoft Points, gamers will be able to download the game, which will feature an original game mode plus an enhanced mode with updated graphics and sounds. The game will also feature online multiplayer, allowing two player co-operative gameplay either over the Internet or locally.

Microsoft also announced six new classic titles from Atari, including: Centipede/Millipede, Battle Zone,Asteroids/Asteroids Deluxe, Missile Command, Tempest, and Warlords. Battlezone will include new graphics, multiplayer modes like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, and support for the Xbox Live Vision camera. Other titles like Missile Command and Tempest will also see visual updates. Hopefully the graphical updates to the classic titles will go way beyond the “enhancements” gamers have seen on Namco’s classic titles.
Read More | Contra Media Release
Read More | Atari Media Release


Could Microsoft Charge for a Halo 3 Demo?

Halo 3My old friend Billy at Game Informer just posted a rumor that we could see a Halo 3 demo by mid 2007. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that were the case, but I’d guess Q3 if it were me. But the more interesting part is that this could be the first demo to come with a price tag.

Pop Quiz: What’s the best way to raise the price for a game beyond the acceptable mass-market threshold without actually raising the price?

Answer…Hide the upcharge in something else that the customers will buy without a second thought. In this case, a chance to play a stripped down, early version of the game (probably multiplayer only) a few months early. My gut instinct is that Microsoft could charge 800 points ($10) for the demo and fans would pay it. That would effectively make the price for the full game $70.


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