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Xbox Live Free WeekendFor all of the Xbox 360 owners who haven’t made the leap and subscribed to Xbox Live Gold, this weekend (3/31 - 4/2) features free Xbox Live Gold play for all Silver members. According to Major Nelson, the Xbox Live Free Weekend actually starts at 7pm PST, on March 30th. All Xbox Live Silver accounts will still report as Silver, but all services will see the account as Gold. It will be interesting to see how many people take advantage of this, and how this changes the complexion of the online gamers. Microsoft has also published the list of Xbox Live Ambassadors to try and make the new users feel welcome. This promotion is available only for U.S. Xbox Live gamertag holders only.

Read More | Xbox.com Free Weekend via Major Nelson


Xbox Live FriendsXbox Live’s Major Nelson has announced the new Xbox Live Friend Management features on Xbox.com, with a few screenshots showing off the new interface. Now it is possible to send and receive friend requests, and manage friend your list over the web. You have the option of simply entering the Gamertag of someone you want to add to you list, or you can send a friend request while viewing another’s profile. Any requests sent your way canbe accepted or rejected through the new interface as well. The new features will be particularly useful when one is trying to add friends when not near the Xbox 360; remembering if it was 0blivi0n or Oblivion or 0b7lv10n to be added doesn’t have to wait until you get home.

Read More | Xbox.com via Major Nelson

The Outfit DemoFor those of us who wait with baited-breath for new playable content to hit the Xbox Live Marketplace, we can now breath easy while we download the latest demo. The Outfit demo is available in all Xbox Live regions, which rocks because this one is multiplayer (up to 8 people) if you are an Xbox Live Gold subscriber. Silver members get to play as well, but they get an offline experience. Here are some level details:

Name: Estate Assault
Game Type: Strategic Victory
•After a coordinated offensive - Allied Command has commandeered a French villa just across the river from the Axis HQ.
•Choose your side (Allies or Axis) and squad leader to play (3 from either side; 6 total) and lead your squad into battle to destroy the enemy’s HQ, while defending your own.
•Capture strategic points located throughout the map to earn Field Units (F.U.s) – that can be used on the fly to call in Destruction on Demand™ - air-dropped into the action at any time. Everything can be called in from tanks, jeeps and half-tracks to squad reinforcements, machine gun nests, anti-tank guns and even air-strikes on enemy positions.

This one weighs in at 440.89 MB.

Read More | Major Nelson

Xbox 360

The Xbox Live guys have pushed a new dashboard upgrade out, available now:

The March 2006 Xbox 360™ update will prepare your Xbox 360 console for future system and title updates. This free* update is available to all Xbox Live® members. Your console will be updated the next time you sign in to Xbox Live.

*Requires a broadband connection and an Xbox Live account.

Being that the last Dashboard upgrade bricked my Xbox 360, I am not to keen on installing one that doesn’t give details on what’s in the upgrade.

DOA4 PatchXbox News reports that a DOA4 patch should be coming out this Februrary.

[The patch] would correct some of the data save problems and smooth out some of the balance between characters.

We’re glad developers are able to get patches out their to fix their games but is this becoming a problem? Similarly, Activision recently released a problematic COD2 - that locks up at times and has issues with multi-player. Are developers becoming too reliant on being able to patch games as they have in the PC market? Would they be more willing now to ship a glitch-filled product than before?

Read More | Xbox-News

Xbox Live According to Major Nelson’s blog, the following is a list of the top ten most popular games played on Xbox Live last week.

1) Halo 2
2) Call of Duty 2
3) Perfect Dark Zero
4) Dead or Alive 4
5) PGR3
6) Need for Speed Most Wanted
7) Battlefield 2: MC
8) Madden NFL 06
9) Full Auto Demo
10) Madden NFL 2006

Firstly, is anyone surprised to see Halo 2 on top? With no real strong competition, it’s not much of a shocker. However, it’s good to see the newer Xbox 360 titles covering a good reminder of the list. I’m a bit surprised to see the Full Auto demo up there, but then again, the demo’s free and gamers are looking for more content. Unfortunately though, the Full Auto demo isn’t very hot and early word says the full version of the game is lacking.

Read More | Major Nelson

Xbox 360 UpdateMicrosoft has just released the January 2006 System Update for Xbox 360, highlighted by improvements to the Xbox Guide. Here are the details:

We’ve been listening to what the community has been telling us, so we’re happy to announce that this update will improve your gaming experience.

Here are some of the changes in this update:

Improvements to the Xbox Guide.
Option to retain your saved games when you delete a profile.
Increased accuracy of “last time played.”
Network configuration improvements for Xbox Live members in the Netherlands.
More detailed messaging for unreadable disk or region errors.
This free update is available to all Xbox Live members. Your console will be updated the next time you sign in to Xbox Live.

Boot up your 360 to grab the update.

Full Auto DemoEarlier today, we were pleasantly surprised to log into Xbox Live and discover that SEGA’s Full Auto demo had been released. After a few minutes of downloading, we jumped right into the game. The main concept behind the game is this: get behind the wheel of a car and race to the finish line - while firing weapons at your opponents, utilizing boost, and gaining air.

Unfortunately, the play experience wasn’t as smooth as you’d hope it’d be. Reportedly, some 360s freeze when the game’s booted up. We didn’t have a problem with freezing though, and we doubt most people will. However, while the gameplay is a lot more polished than what was shown at E3 last year, it’s still not great. The frame-rate isn’t perfect and the controls seem off. Additionally, the game simply doesn’t have the sense of speed that other great races have. Still, the demo’s free and you might as well check it out. Full Auto hits February 14th.

Marble Blast Ultra

If you’ve been waiting for a new Xbox Live Arcade game, you may want to boot up your 360 now. Earlier today, GarageGames’ Marble Blast Ultra was released on the Live Arcade. We downloaded the game earlier, and we are impressed. The goal is to move a shiny marble around, navigating through platforms, collecting goodies, jumping, and reaching goals. This one will cost you 800 Microsoft Points ($10). Overall, there are 60 single player stages as well as a multiplayer mode.

Xbox 360 backwards CompatibilityAccording to Active Xbox, the backwards compatibility team over at Microsoft is taking a break and won’t be releasing any new BC updates until March. While this news is unfortunate, we recognize that the guys over in Seattle need a break since they worked their butts off to get over 200 games on the BC list for the 360’s launch. We have a feeling we’ll get along just fine without being able to play some old Xbox games since the 360 has a good number of solid games already - and EA’s Fight Night Round 3 will be out in less than a month.

Read More | Active Xbox