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Free Arcade Games On Xbox Live Coming Soon

In a landmark announcement during the keynote address at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC), Microsoft Corp. promised to soon allow Xbox LIVE members to play, rate and share community-created games. As the first in the industry to pioneer high-speed online gaming and high-definition games, Xbox 360 once again broke new ground by introducing a new, open distribution service for games created by the community and soon playable by its 10 million Xbox LIVE members. Community-created games on Xbox LIVE will quickly double the size of the Xbox 360 game library. By the end of 2008, Xbox 360 owners will have access to more than 1,000 games, making it the largest, most creatively diverse library across all next-generation platforms.

Microsoft Details Undertow as Free XBLA Title

Microsoft has announced the details of the free Xbox Live Arcade game that was promised by Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten in response to the service's recent online troubles. Coming as a compensation to all the frustration caused, Microsoft will offer Chair Entertainment's arcade shooter Undertow for free to all Xbox Live members from 2AM PST on Wedenesday, January 23 until 11:59PM PST on Sunday, January 27. Otherwise, Undertow is normally available worldwide for 800 Microsoft Points. "If you have already purchased the game, you can contact support and they will take care of you," wrote Xbox Live programming director Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb.

GoldenEye Almost Came to Xbox Live

N64 fans will remember GoldEye as being an instant classic, and many gamers have been calling for Nintendo or Microsoft to release it on the Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade respectively, which had always seemed unlikely. However, Rare has recently revealed that the game was within two months of being released on Xbox Live. According to the game's original developer, the port had been in development for several months, and would be identical to the original other than that it would feature an online multiplayer mode and several characters would have to be removed due to licensing issues. Unfortunately, just as it was nearing completion, Microsoft and Nintendo couldn't agree on the financial side of things - apparently whether Nintendo would receive a one-off payment or a cut of the revenues.

Microsoft to Deliver BT Vision Content via Xbox 360

Microsoft Corp. and telecommunications leader BT announced they are bringing together the next-generation TV service BT Vision with Microsoft's Xbox 360 games and entertainment system. All BT broadband customers will have the unique opportunity to receive the best in high-definition gaming, television and movies through an Xbox 360 console, in a powerful, all-in-one entertainment experience. BT Vision, which is powered by the Microsoft Mediaroom Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) platform, plans to make this first-of-its-kind device and service offering available to customers in the middle of 2008. The announcement was made during the keynote address by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Microsoft President Robbie Bach of the Entertainment & Devices Division at 2008 International CES on Jan. 6.

Xbox LIVE Marketplace Adds HD Content from ABC, MGM and Disney Channel

As part of Bill Gates' CES keynote speech, Robbie Bach, Microsoft's president, Entertainment & Devices Division, announced that TV programs from ABC Television and Disney Channel will be added to Xbox LIVE programming available to Xbox 360s in the States. In addition to the American television additions, MGM will bring its library of movies to the mix. Later this month, all US Xbox LIVE members will begin to have access to certain TV shows and movies from the ABC Television Network, ABC Family, ABC News, Disney Channel and Toon Disney as part of an agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group. More than 500 hours of content, in both standard definition and high definition when available, will be offered including "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy." On the MGM side of things, such titles available as part of the deal will include "Rocky," "Terminator," and "Silence of the Lambs". United Artists, an MGM sister company, will also make select films available on demand.

Microsoft Sued Over Xbox Outage

It was a matter of time since someone decide to take his chance in court over the last Xbox LIVE service issues. Microsoft now faces a lawsuit over recent problems with its Xbox Live online gaming service. Three Texas residents filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of themselves and others who have had trouble connecting to Xbox Live in recent weeks. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Houston, claims Microsoft's outages represent a breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation for which the software maker is liable. The suit doesn't claim specific damages, but notes the amount is in excess of $5 million. In the suit, the plaintiffs allege that Microsoft should have known strong holiday sales would tax its servers. "Microsoft knew the increase in subscriptions would increase game-play on its servers, yet failed to provide adequate access and service to Xbox Live and its subscribers."

Xbox Live Users to Receive Free Arcade Game

Following a number of connectivity issues with the Xbox Live service over the Christmas period, Microsoft is to offer all its subscribers globally a free Xbox Live Arcade game as a "token of appreciation." The announcement was made by Xbox Live's general manager Marc Whitten on the Major Nelson blog, who explained that while the service was never completely offline, the team was "disappointed in our performance." The statement went on to explain that the issues were caused by the "largest sign-up of new members to Xbox Live" in the service's five year history, and while the game is not offered as compensation for the problems, it's instead being billed as a "thank you for your loyalty during this holiday period." Details on the offer will be made available in the coming weeks, and at this point it's not clear if users will be offered a free choice of game, or whether a specific title or selection of titles will be pinpointed by Microsoft.

Microsoft to Compensate Xbox LIVE Members for the Network Issues

Members who paid for Gold accounts may receive compensations for the holidays Xbox LIVE downtime. While nothing has been officially announced, a Microsoft rep said "...we will definitely be doing something for our Gold members that weren't able to get online over the last week." Microsoft still hasn't completely resolved the issue, but company's Larry Hryb reassured that "As people have noticed, we have made good progress. We have a bit more work to do, but we're doing much better now. I know some of you still may be having issues, and we're working on those."

Microsoft Point Gifting Revealed

Just in time for Christmas, Microsoft has unveiled the option for Xbox Live users to gift Microsoft Points, the currency used to purchase downloadable games and in-game content from the Xbox Live Marketplace as well as music from the Zune Marketplace. Currently in a beta state, the program, which also allows users to buy points for themselves, is accessible from this website. At present, the initiative is limited to people in the United States and gift-givers must know the Windows Live ID of the intended recipient, though Xbox Live director of programming Larry Hryb noted that the team is looking to add the option to gift by Gamertag in the future.

Halo 3 Downloadable Content Arrives

Available for 800 Microsoft Points exclusively on Xbox LIVE 360 Marketplace, the Halo 3 Heroic Map Pack launches today. It consists of three new multiplayer maps, all customizable in Bungie's in-game editor Forge. This will be the first in a series of downloadable multiplayer maps from Bungie. Initial costs are $10 per pack, with Bungie and Microsoft announcing that they will become free when the next Halo 3 map pack is released this spring.

2007 Fall Dashboard Update Available

As promised, Microsoft is bringing some early gifts to your Xbox 360 just prior to the holiday season. Beginning at 0200 A.M. PST on December 4, 2007, the Xbox 360 Fall Dashboard Update will be available for all connected Xbox 360 consoles free of charge, bringing an array of new features and enhancements to the leading gaming and entertainment system.

Microsoft Xbox 360 December Update Official Details Revealed

As promised, Microsoft is bringing some early gifts to your Xbox 360 just prior to the holiday season. Beginning at 02:00 a.m. PST on December 4th, the Xbox 360 Fall Dashboard Update will be available for all connected Xbox 360 consoles free of charge, bringing an array of new features and enhancements to the leading gaming and entertainment system. Among the key new enhancements are the previously announced Xbox Originals game download service, Family Timer parental control feature, DivX support and expanded social networking experiences. Xbox 360 owners can also look forward to enhanced navigation, profile and video features and Xbox LIVE Arcade Hits.

Social Networking to Arrive on Xbox360

Social Networking to Arrive on Xbox 360

As most of you know, Microsoft is planning on upgrading the Xbox 360 dashboard to include things like parental controls. One of the more popular things that will be arriving to the new Xbox 360 dashboard will be an Xbox Live exclusive social networking site. Dubbed "Friends of Friends (FoF)", the social networking tool will allow gamers to find old friends or meet new ones. If, when the new tool comes out, you do not want to be part of FoF, please visit this link for instructions on avoiding FoF. The entire Xbox 360 Dashboard update is scheduled to arrive on December 4th.

Buy an Xbox 360 and Receive Halo 3 for Free

All original Xbox owners who upgrade to Xbox 360 between November 21 and December 21, 2007, move their existing paid Xbox LIVE account to an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and then register on this site (currently offline for some reason), will receive a copy of Halo 3. Sounds like a piece of cake, but in real life a special clause says your game will be fulfilled through mail by January 18, 2008.

Microsoft Sued Over Xbox Live Subscription

A man who claims Microsoft improperly allowed his underage son to use his debit card to subscribe to the company's Xbox Live gaming service and automatically renewed the subscription without authorization is suing the software maker for consumer fraud. In a class action suit, Georgia resident Francisco Garcia claims that in October 2005 his son, Silvario, used his debit card to buy a $49.99, one-year subscription to Xbox Live. The service lets Xbox owners play games like Halo 3 against each other over the Internet. A year later, Garcia claims, Microsoft automatically billed him for an additional year of Xbox Live without his knowledge or consent. He contends that the charge sent his checking account into overdraft, and that his bank slapped him with a $35.00 penalty. By accepting a subscription from a minor and automatically renewing it without consent, Microsoft "fraudulently induced a contractual relationship for Xbox Live services," Garcia claims in his suit. Microsoft has asked the federal court to dismiss the case, claiming it has paperwork that proves Silvario Garcia misrepresented his age when he subscribed to Xbox Live by falsely stating that he was at least 18 years old.

Microsoft to Release Xbox Games on LIVE

Microsoft already lets users to download retro games via Xbox LIVE Arcade, but the company is now planning to expand on its game downloads by offering users the ability to download full games from the original Xbox. With the release if the Xbox 360's next software update, which is planned for 2nd December, Microsoft will allow gamers to download from an initial selection of half a dozen Xbox games, with the first wave of titles being Burnout 3, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Fable, Indigo Prophecy and, of course, Halo: Combat Evolved. The pricing is expected to be 1200 Microsoft Points per game, which works out at about $15, and although no details about content protection were released, Microsoft is likely to prevent users sharing games between more than one account. Microsoft intends to gradually make more games available for download, although any Xbox 360 owners who are interested in this and only have a 20GB hard drive may want to invest in bigger storage.

Xbox Live to Offer ESPN Games

ESPN has signed a deal to bring full-length games and TV shows to Xbox Live, the online entertainment network for Microsoft's Xbox 360. Among the offerings available for purchase starting Monday on the Xbox Live Marketplace are days-old, full-length NCAA college football and basketball games, Summer X Games 13 and episodes of such ESPN shows as "World Series of Poker," "The Contender" and "Madden Nation." Pricing for the ESPN content will range from the equivalent of $2 for standard-definition episodes of "Contender" and "Poker" to $2.40 for HD versions. Two-hour football and basketball games will be available within days of their original airing and be priced at $3 for standard definition and $4.50 for HD.

Microsoft Offers Europeans Four Days of Free Xbox LIVE Gold

Microsoft has decided to be a little generous this month and is offering all Xbox LIVE Silver members the chance to trial four free days of Xbox LIVE Gold, from 23rd to 26th November, as part of an event being called Xtival. Silver members will have full access to complete Gold functionality, with Microsoft promising a number of bonuses including competitions and exclusive downloads. Current Xbox LIVE Gold members are also being promised a treat, although Microsoft is yet to announce any specific details. This should give all Xbox 360 owners in Europe the chance to trial Xbox LIVE Gold if they're undecided about whether it's worth paying for or not.

Microsoft Announcing Ban of Xbox Live Users who Share Their Accounts to Cheat

Larry Hryb is a well meaning man, and wants to make sure the Xbox Live community is full of people who do not cheat to get any of their achievements. Hryb is announcing a ban on any Xbox Live user who is caught sharing their account with someone who advances ranks, achievements and Gamerscores while the actual account owner sleeps. In a Halo 3 Blog Post, Hryb urged gamers not to fall to the temptation of cheating, and proposed that cheating is probably not worth the risk anyways (what if the guy supposedly helping you stabs you in the back and steals your account?)

Hryb also announced that cheating through modifying save files will result in your actual console being banned from Xbox Live.

Bungie Updates Halo 3 Matchmaking System in Xbox Live

With an estimated 4.4 million players, Bungie has an obligation to provide a quality multi-player environment for Halo 3 gamers. Fortunately, that's exactly what they are doing. Bungie recently announced a lot of changes to the way Halo 3 servers match up gamers. The most important change: There will be a lot less "shottie snipers" lying around, to the disappointment of whiny 10 year old brats around the world. The rest of the changes, which are already incorporated into Xbox Live...
  • Big Team Battle matches are now 16-player affairs.
  • In the Team Slayer playlist, the appearance of Shotty Snipers has been greatly reduced.
  • Now, when players veto Shotty Snipers, the game that results from the veto will not be Shotty Snipers.
  • In one-sided VIP matches, the attacking team will now see a waypoint for the VIP they are hunting.
  • In Lone Wolves, Slayer gametypes will appear more frequently.

Halo 3 Affecting Xbox Live Performance

Consumers report that Xbox Live is being pushed to the limits, presumably due to the high number of gamers playing Halo 3 online. Various Xbox Live users have experienced inaccurate game stats, performance slowdown, inability to access friend lists, and an inability to perform system updates. After experiencing trouble on Tuesday night, one gamer reputedly called Microsoft's help line in which a representative responded by saying that Xbox Live was experiencing network difficulties. The issue appears to be intermittent, however, as several gamers reported no problems outside of inaccurate stat data such as number of players online. Hundreds of thousands of Halo 3 owners have flocked to Xbox Live in an effort to play online since the game launched on Tuesday.

Call of Duty 4 Beta Ends September 30th

The lucky few who got to play the Call of Duty 4 beta, which promises to be the greatest thing to hit Xbox Live since Halo 2, will have to stop playing the game by September 30th. Fortunately for the true Call of Duty 4 aficionados, Infinity Ward is raising the level cap and unlocking additional content on September 28th. Thanks to the results of the Beta, Infinity Ward now has a full list of things they wish to add/remove from Call of Duty 4. The most serious changes include "adding a sensitivity slider, cracking down on map exploits, and improving matchmaking optimization to reduce lag". Infinity Ward gives a tantalizing hint as to when they will release the final version of the game: "Are We Gold Yet?"

More Than 11.6 Million Xbox 360 Consoles Sold

Ahead of the highly-anticipated launch of Halo 3, Microsoft has released updated statistics related to its Xbox 360 console. More than 11.6 million Xbox 360 consoles have been sold across the 37 countries where it is currently available. According to NPD data, US gamers have purchased more software for the Xbox 360 (24.3 million units) than for the PS3 and Wii combined (19.8 million units). There are more than 250 games available on the Xbox 360, and the console has the largest games attach rate of the current generation at 6.3 games sold per Xbox 360 owner. Xbox LIVE is currently available in 25 countries across the globe. The most popular games played over Xbox LIVE worldwide include Halo 2, Gears of War, Hexic HD, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas, Call of Duty 3, Call of Duty 2, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 - Advanced Warfighter, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Crackdown, and PGR3. The Xbox 360 console was launched worldwide in November 2005.
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