Microsoft has officially denied the latest rumors regarding the release of a 100 GB hard drive add on for the Xbox 360. In addition, the company also clarified their investments in chip design research to GameDaily. Microsoft’s official stance on the 100 GB add-on is that “Microsoft currently has no plans to release a 100 GB HDD.” The spokesperson was unclear about where the image originated.
In addition, the New York Times recently speculated that Microsoft’s investment into chip design research signaled that the company may be seeking to create its own chip for the next iteration of the Xbox. While any research that Microsoft develops may in fact show up in future versions of the console, Microsoft stated that officially, the company is mainly interested in investigating hardware architecture from a research standpoint.
Read More | GameDaily
Lumines Live hit Xbox Live Arcade yesterday, and is easily one of the most anticipated games to hit Microsoft’s game service. Up until now, DOOM was at the top of the charts as the biggest rip off ($15 for a years-old game), but that title is now squarely on the shoulders of this puzzler from Q! Entertainment. At least with DOOM, the game was there in its entirety.
Despite ringing in at half again the cost of most other Xbox Live Arcade titles (1200 points, or $15), Lumines is not a complete game. Within an hour, I was bumping into messages telling me that I needed to purchase additional content (which is not yet available, incidentally). Outpost Kaloki X offers far more gameplay at half the price. Coupled with frustratingly imprecise controls, and an experience that isn’t as portable as it is on the PSP, I’m instantly regretting having hoarded points for this game.
The latest NPD data showed strong September sales growth; 38% over 2005. Nintendo and the DS showed strong growth, and the “next generation” transition doesn’t seem to have hurt the industry as much as expected. But hidden in the NPD data are some interesting points that various analysts have started to dissect. GameDaily reports on analysis from Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities, and Deutsche Bank analyst Jeetil Patel. Pachter sees the PS2 growth as a good sign, with software sales up 12 percent compared to last year. But the original Xbox has been fading fast. As one looks at the numbers, it appears that the Xbox 360 is completely cannibalizing the original Xbox user base. The Xbox 360 seems to be pushing better than expected software sales, a good thing for Microsoft.
Still, things don’t appear to be completely rosy in the Xbox 360 camp. Jeetil Patel feels like the Xbox 360 is underperforming. Tracking the Xbox 360 versus the original Xbox’s sales path seems to indicate that the Xbox 360 has moved fewer net units than the original Xbox at this point in the console life cycle; the lack of units during Microsoft’s holiday launch last year really set the company back. In addition, NPD data has the total Xbox 360 sell through at approximately 2.7 million units. Japan adds only a fraction to that number, with well under 200,000 units sold through in that territory. An optimistic projection for the Xbox 360 in the rest of the world might match the US total. At this point, it is starting to look like Microsoft’s projections of a 10 million unit head start by the time the Playstation 3 launches was extremely aggressive. With probably just over six million Xbox 360 consoles moved worldwide to date, Microsoft would have to nearly double their worldwide sales in October and November to match their goals before Sony’s November launch of the Playstation 3.
Read More | GameDaily BIZ
Burger King announced that they will be offering three exclusive Xbox/Xbox 360 games this holiday season for $3.99. The games will be available starting on Sunday, November 19, and will be compatible with both the Xbox and the Xbox 360. The three game titles will be Pocketbike Racer, Big Bumpin, and Sneak King. Gamers will be able to play as their favorite creepy mascot as well as the subservient chicken. The games were developed by Blitz Games, whose contributions to the gaming world include titles like Barbie Horse Adventures. Jeff Bell, vice president of global marketing for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business stretched a “Have It Your Way” metaphor to the breaking point, stating, “Consumers are saying, ‘Let me have what I want, the way I want it. In essence, Xbox also is an invitation to consumers to have it their way.”
Read More | Gamerscoreblog
The Playstation 3’s price cut isn’t the only new information coming out of the Tokyo Game Show from Sony. It is well known that the PS3 will support some backwards compatibility with PSOne and PS2 games, but now it has been announced that the PS3 will also be able to play Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx games. The games are likely going to be media downloads, but it may be possible that CD’s or DVD’s will become available including packages of games. Man it’d be cool to play the Sonics all over again! I wonder if 32X, SegaCD, Saturn and Dreamcast games will be added to the list.
I think Nintendo should be a little more hush-hush with their ideas in the future. They announced their motion sensitive controller, so Sony updated theirs to incorporate motion sensitivity. The Wii was announced to play older Nintendo games, and Sony again follows suit with old Sega and TurboGrafx games. Microsoft even jumped on this wagon by starting to offer old arcade games for download on XBOX Live. Being a Genesis and even Master System fan, I am extremely excited about this news, but a little upset that it took an idea from Nintendo to get Sony to add this functionality.
Read More | Daily Tech
Some info from the Tokyo Game Show 2006 has stated that the XBOX 360 will receive 1080p support (1920x1080) through a dashboard update coming this year. Current games and even DVD’s will be up-converted to this extended resolution, but no native 1080p content has been announced yet. I would imagine that the update is namely due to the upcoming release of the HD-DVD add-on which supports 1080p media. It is also a good tactic to take away some of the hype from the PS3 being released in November, which will support 1080p. Now if they would only add an HDMI port to the thing, it’d be a true HD machine!
Read More | Playfeed
Microsoft has announced pricing details for some snazzy new peripherals coming available later this year.
Enjoy your Xbox Live experience even more with the new, more convenient Wireless Headset and Xbox Live Vision Camera. The headset comes in at $59.99 while the camera comes in two package choices priced at $39.99 and $79.99. Both packages come with the camera, full versions of UNO and TotemBall as well as a free Xbox Live Gold membership, but the 80 dollar “Video Chat Gold Kit” version comes with a full year Xbox Live Gold membership, versus just one month in the basic package. Additionally the more expensive version comes with 200 Microsoft Points, a standard headset and a full version of Robotron.
Also coming at $19.99 is the Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows which allows you to use your wireless Xbox 360 peripherals with your PC. All you need is a free USB port.
And finally, just in time for Forza Motorsport 2 releasing this holiday season, comes the Wireless Racing Wheel with force feedback. The wheel will retail at $149.99 and come with a special edition of Project Gotham Racing 3.
Read More | Daily Tech
Todd Bishop at the Seattle Post Intelligencer has pulled together some interesting data about how the Xbox 360 has impacted video game console sales. By pulling together publicly available data for a few of the largest game publishers, one can get an idea of how the Xbox 360 market is shaping up. This isn’t going to be perfect because first party sales figures aren’t going to be reported and there are many other game publishers that aren’t represented on the list. Also, because not every title released on the Xbox is available on the Xbox 360 and vice versa, there are going to be some gaps in reporting in this area as well. But this does give a really high level view of the console market, and how marketshare is shaping up.
Over the first nine months, it appears that most of the Xbox 360 marketshare is coming at the expense of owners of the original Xbox. A small percentage of Playstation 2 sales appear to have shifted to the Xbox 360, but overall, the console still remains the dominant force on the market. Gamecube sales dropped off, but this may have had more to with the fact that fewer titles are being released on the Gamecube than on the other platforms. Total sales of game titles released for either the Xbox or the Xbox 360 grew year over year, but this may be in part to the 20% premium that Xbox 360 titles claim over their counterparts.
Despite all of the limitations of the data pulled, this gives a really interesting look into which consumers are pursuing platforms. With the Playstation 3 and the Wii releases coming up, one wonders how much brand loyalty is going to play into the success of the next generation.
Read More | Seattle Post-Intelligencer
On Friday, the latest downloadable content for From Software’s Chromehounds hit the Xbox Live Marketplace. For 100 points each, twelve new items were made available, including weapons. All of the new content is usable in online play and highlights some of the issues with downloadable content. The content has pretty much been criticized from all sides, and Luke Smith from 1up sums up the issues in a recent blog post. Other paid content releases have received scrutiny in the past, mainly because of the value proposition that they hold. The original offender, of course, was the almost useless horse armor for Oblivion. Some of the downloadable Ghost Recon content has also been criticized. The new content for Chromehounds will run US gamers about $12.50, which runs about 21% of the cost of the original game.
If things were just a matter of cost, however, there wouldn’t be as much of an issue. The big issue is that potentially game balance altering content is being made available for online play. So far, indications from the online forums indicate that statistically the new content isn’t more effective than existing weaponry. However, this merely highlights the bind that content providers can get into by making these kinds of add-ons available. Either the new accessories are weak and a poor value for the money, or they are stronger and will change the game balance to favor those that can afford the content.
Read More | 1Up
Trends have shown that a lot of you guys watching our show and into games. In fact, a few people on our Xbox Live friends list are there because of this show. We have received requests for more cool game footage, and we think we have delivered with this one. In this episode, Andru and Sparky head down to the Xbox Studios in Redmond to get a tour of the facilities and operations center. We also sit down with Major Nelson to talk about the Xbox 360, Live Arcade, and a bunch more. If you want to get a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes with the Xbox crew, check out this show.
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