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Xbox Live Arcade

The release of Lumines Live on the Xbox Live Marketplace last week stirred up a storm of negative reaction regarding the content available in the game, the pricing, and the need for additional content packs for full enjoyment of the software. This disappointment was echoed by Playfeed’s own experiences with the game. 1up follows up on the controversy, and talks with Microsoft’s Greg Canessa, the group manager for Xbox Live Arcade, to try and sort through the issues with the title, Xbox Live Arcade, and microtransactions in general. The short version of the interview: Microsoft’s Xbox Live Marketplace is a great service, and all the problems are the fault of game developers.

Canessa states that Microsoft issues guidance on the three pricing points for Xbox Live Arcade titles, whether that is 400, 800, or 1200 points. While Canessa didn’t want to specifically discuss EA’s penchant to charge from everything from tutorials to cheat codes, he did claim that providing microtransactions were all about providing choice; Canessa believes that charging for additional content means that gamers that don’t want the content will essentially be paying less for their software. While it is true that gamer’s no longer have to pay for content they don’t want, gamers are already paying a premium for Xbox 360 titles over their previous generation counterparts, and are now being forced to pay extra for content that was formerly free.

Regarding Lumines Live, Canessa basically throws Q Entertainment under the bus. At first he claims that there is nothing wrong with the presentation of Lumines Live on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Then, when confronted with the messaging in the game, he claims this is solely the responsibility of Q Entertainment. Microsoft at this point claims to only be the platform provider, and holds no other responsibility.

As gatekeepers for the platform, the company needs to own up to the user experience that they and their partners provide. Microsoft’s approval process for boxed games at retail already seems to be broken, given the number of basic issues that have required patches to the consumer. Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade should be even more controlled, but apparently is not. From poor user experiences with Xbox Live gameplay in titles to the latest Lumines debacle, Microsoft needs to step up and act as an advocate for the gamer.

Read More | 1up


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.

Click to continue reading Lumines Live Is A Huge Disappointment

Lumines Live Microsoft today announced that Lumines Live will hit the Xbox Live Marketplace on Wednesday, October 18th when the service becomes available after the scheduled maintenance. The game will be made available in two parts; the main Lumines Live game will sell for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15) and an “Advanced Pack” with 22 additional skins for 600 Microsoft Points ($7.50). If gamers pony up for the full Lumines package, this would be one of the most expensive Xbox Live Arcade games available to date. Microsoft does not sell a Marketplace Points card that has enough points to buy the complete game; the largest denomination that Microsoft makes available in stores is 1600 points. $22.50 is also more money than the PSP version of the game, which sells for $19.99. Of course, the Xbox 360 version offers features like online multiplayer over Xbox Live and a Skin Edit mode in the basic version; this package may be enough for the casual user as long as the title isn’t nagware.

Update: The “Advanced Pack” is not available right now, and will show up at a later date. Presumably so that gamers don’t look like dorks when they have to buy two 1600 points cards to pay for the game.

The full press release continues below.

Click to continue reading Lumines Live Hits Xbox Live

Latest Gear Live Videos

Xbox 360 Ring of LightFry’s has possibly the best deal yet on an Xbox 360 system, for all of you out there mulling over your next-gen console choices. For $370 (shipping included!), you can get the Xbox 360 Platinum console with 3 free games. But these aren’t just any 3 games - the games you’ll find packed-in with your system are three of the best and most well-reviewed 360 titles out there: Dead Rising, Saint’s Row, and Test Drive: Unlimited.

This deal can only be found online at Fry’s Outpost and doesn’t appear to be available in their brick-n-mortar stores yet, so be prepared for this one to go fast. We’re betting that this is part of a broader strategy by Microsoft to find a competitive new price point / package for their year-old console, so we may be seeing this deal or something like it again in the future. Still, if you’ve been thinking about getting a 360, don’t take the chance of missing out on this one!

Special thanks to SlickDeals.net for finding this one!

Read More | Outpost.com via SlickDeals.net

X06 Barcelona

Microsoft is making a download of their opening announcements for the start of X06 in Barcelona available at Xbox.com. Microsoft announced a new game in the Banjo & Kazooie franchise coming from Microsoft Game Studios. For Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft announced that Doom would be available starting tonight on Xbox Live Arcade. Other Live Arcade games announced include:

  • Sensible Soccer
  • Contra
  • Ultimate Mortal Kombat
  • Small Arms
  • Gyrus
  • TotemBall
  • Defender
  • Assault Heroes
  • Heavy Weapon
  • Settlers of Catan

In terms of upcoming games, the Japanese RPG Blue Dragon will be available in the US and Europe in 2007. Bungie will have an announcement about Halo 3 by the end of the year. Project Gotham Racing 4 was officially unveiled. Rockstar announced that Grand Theft Auto IV will have two exclusive episodes available for download on Xbox Live. Ubisoft demonstrated Assassin’s Creed interactive gameplay for the first time ever. Bioshock was announced as an Xbox 360 and Windows exclusive. Lost Odyssey was confirmed for the US and Europe, with a trailer showing some of the battle gameplay. More than 500,000 gamers downloaded the Lost Planet demo, and both multiplayer and single player gameplay will be available on the show floor. Splinter Cell: Double Agent footage was shown, and the sequel will be exclusive to the Xbox 360 and on Windows.

The Xbox 360 HD DVD was confirmed to be available in Mid-November 2006 in Europe and the United States for $199.00 US, 199.99 Euros, and 129.99 British Pounds. The package will also include remote, and for a limited time King Kong on HD DVD. Moore also discusses Microsoft’s Games for Windows initiative, and indicates that Windows Vista is still on track for a January 2007 release. Moore also revealed the first preview of Marvel Universe: Online for the Xbox 360 and Windows.

Peter Jackson spoke at the presentation and announced that he has formed a partnership with Microsoft Game Studios. His first project will be an interactive entertainment title set in the Halo universe, apart from Halo 3 and the upcoming film, and Jackson will also be creating a new interactive game series based on original IP. Finally, the presentation wraps with a trailer from a Halo real-time strategy game from Ensemble Studios, called Halo Wars.

The video should be available online soon on Xbox.com at the link below, and should be available as a download via Xbox Live.

Read More | Keynote Summary at Xbox.com

Read More | Xbox.com

Xbox 360 Core JapanMicrosoft just conducted their Tokyo Game Show presentation, and Kotaku was able to live-blog the event. Some of the key announcements include:

  • Core System, Hard Drive, Live Vision Camera, and Wireless Headset availability on November 2nd
  • HD DVD drive to be available on November 22nd, for 20,790 Yen (~$176)
  • HD DVD drive will support full 1080P.
  • Xbox Live Arcade Titles: Yie Ar Kung Fu to be Japan exclusive. Gyruss, Rush’n Attack, New Rally-X also announced for Live Arcade.
  • Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 will ship November 15 in the US and November 22 in Japan
  • Peter Moore promises 50 exclusive titles for Japanese market
  • Tri-Ace’s upcoming Infinite Undiscovery gameplay was not shown

Kotaku has a bunch more detail from the conference. It certainly looks like Microsoft is still actively trying to penetrate the Japanese market, but even with all the hardware and software announcements, they still do not have a really compelling offering for the Japanese gamer.

Read More | Kotaku

Xbox Live Arcade

The guys over at 360gamesaves.com have discovered that Xbox Live Arcade titles will execute from CD/DVD-R media, if the correct directory structure is burned. Now, the titles will still run in trial mode, unless the console owner has previously purchased the content. For gamers without the Xbox 360 Hard Drive, though, this may be a good way to play around with the trial versions of Arcade titles if they have a friend willing to download the games and burn them to disc.

Read More | 360gamesaves

Xbox 360 European Gamers will get a free week of Xbox Live Gold action from September 20th through the 29th. Similar to the promotion that US gamers got earlier this summer, Xbox 360 owners in Europe with a broadband connection will be able to experience Gold membership status, thanks to a sponsorship from Windows Live Spaces. Like the previous US free week, Microsoft plans on hosting several special events for gamers signed into Live during the nine days of the offering, including contests, newcomer nights, and the opportunity to face off against special guests.

Read More | Xbox.com

Xbox Live Microsoft today reported that their Xbox Live Marketplace service has served over 50 million downloads to consumers since Marketplace launched. In three months since Microsoft last reported download statistics, the number of total files downloaded has doubled. In addition, according to reports on Gamasutra, Xbox Live users have logged 2 billion hours online since the original Xbox Live service launched on the Xbox. Microsoft’s recent Texas Hold ‘Em offering also averaged 100 downloads per minute during the first 24 hours of its initial free period. 65% of Xbox 360 users have downloaded Xbox Live Arcade titles, and over 2 billion Marketplace points have been purchased; this translates to roughly $25 million US spent on the service. Microsoft did not clarify how many of these downloads were re-purchases of content when a gamer’s Xbox 360 died and had to be replaced.

Read More | Gamasutra

Lumines Live It looks like the saga of downloadable content on Xbox Live will continue with the release of Lumines Live on the system. Gaming Bits reports on a couple of irksome tidbits mentioned in a review of the game in OXM, the Official Xbox Magazine. According to the review, gamers that advance far enough in either Mission Mode or VS CPU mode will see messaging telling the gamer to buy additional content to continue. The review states that the new “Puzzle/Mission Pack” will cost gamers an additional 400 Marketplace points, and the “VS CPU Pack” will run 300 points. This cost comes in addition to the 1200 Marketplace points that consumers will already have paid out for what they thought was the “full” game. Now, additional levels and paid content for games has been a staple of the Xbox Live Marketplace for a long time now, but this is the first instance where gameplay in the unlocked game is interrupted to shill for additional content. Normally, add-ons wouldn’t be a problem, but this implementation seems horribly poor and would be a slap in the face to the gamer that just dropped $15 for the game download.

Read More | Gaming Bits