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Vision Cam video review

SquadXP.com has an in-depth video review of the Vision Camera's dashboard interface. They note two missing features: 4-way chat and the ability to save pictures to the hard drive. I would add making the video chat window full screen, but that's what dash updates are for, right? These guys don't demonstrate the "vibrate the other dude's controller" capability, which is probably a good thing. Personally, I'd buy it just for the trippy water effect.

Check out Gamasutra for some detail on the really interesting stuff like the DigiMask facial mapping soon to be displayed in
World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions.

Anybody else who managed to get their hands on a Vision, please give us your first impressions.

Xbox 360 releases for the week of September 4th

screen shot

Two new Xbox 360 games this week, fanboys. The release of Xbox Live games at retail is interesting. I can't imagine that this will be terribly successful, but maybe Microsoft will convince a few people who buy the disk to pony up for broadband so that they can download these as they come out rather than waiting a year to enjoy them on disk. For those of you not caught in the stone-ages off online connectivity, we have Test Drive Unlimited. I must say this one looks nice, but we've now officially reached our next-gen quota on racing games.

Xbox 360 Releases

  • Test Drive Unlimited
  • Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged

As always, availability is subject to manufacturer delivery.

Madden 07 tops 360 XBL list

EA's monopolistic NFL juggernaut grabs the number one spot on Major Nelson's weekly list of Top10 Xbox 360 Live titles:

1. Madden NFL 07
2. Call of Duty 2
3. Texas Hold 'em
4. Ghost Recon 3
5. Saints Row
7. Oblivion
8. Chromehounds
9. Test Drive Unlimited Demo
10. BFMC

Madden haters will be happy to know that Halo 2 still rules overall. Texas Hold'em is the top XBLA game.

XBL stats unleashed

Xbox Live statistics courtesy of Major Nelson:

  • The Xbox Live Marketplace just passed 50 million downloads. That is double the 25 million mark from just three months ago.
  • In the first week of Madden '07 releasing, Xbox Live members unlocked over 600,000 achivements and hosted more than 2-million hours of Madden gameplay.
  • 'Texas Hold 'em' set a one day record as the fastest download item ever on the Marketplace. There were over 100 downloads a minute in the first 24-hours of release.

Other Xbox Live statistics:

  • More than 50 million downloads of gaming and entertainment content from Xbox Live Marketplace to date
  • Over 2 billion hours spent on Xbox Live by gamers across the globe since the launch of the Xbox Live online gaming network in November 2002
  • More than 60 percent of Xbox 360 owners are connected to Xbox Live
  • 1,300,000 text and voice messages are sent via Xbox Live every day. Currently totaling half a billion sent messages between the Xbox Live community per year, this figure is set to explode with the launch of the Xbox Live Vision camera on September 19, 2006 in the U.S.
  • 65 per cent of all connected consoles already downloading and playing Xbox Live Arcade titles
  • Over 8 million downloads of Xbox Live Arcade games following the launch of Xbox 360
  • Over 2 billion Microsoft Points sold to date
Shouldn't the 50 millionth downloader win a prize or something?

Disc Read Error Rising

Dead Rising
is DOA on my 360. I loaded the menu ok, but when I tried to start the game, it smacked me with a disc read error, despite being a pristine new copy. The usual "clear the cache' tricks didn't help. But, as suspected, when I removed the hard drive, things worked fine. It turns out plenty of other deadly pissed off customers have a reason to stumble back to the mall with receipt in hand:


Some of these poor folks have already paid $130 to repair their 360 over what is almost certainly an issue with the game itself. When I called Microsoft Support, they told me that there are "multiple known issues" with Dead Rising and that MS is working with Capcom on a fix. Various rumors blame the fact that DR is supposedly the first game to utilize all three cores, but who knows? A couple days ago we were celebrating Capcom's success, and now I'm forced to conclude that Dead Rising is broken for a significant number of gamers.

Needless to say, my enthusiasm for this title is temporarly zombified. Hey Capcom, where's our patch?

Free Vision Cam from GamerTag Radio

Godfree from GamerTag radio is giving away Xbox 360 Vision cameras to the three people who promote his podcast in the most effective and creative way over the next week. If you ever thought about getting a GTRADIO tattoo on your forehead, now would be the time.

Mainstream press talks up XNA

BBC technology commentator Bill Thompson is excited about developing games for the 360 using XNA Game Studio Express, despite not being able to play Halo without looking at the buttons.

[Thanks laserboyjc]

Assassin's Creed finally confirmed for 360

Ending months of rumor and pointless photoshopping, Ubisoft has officially confirmed that Assassin's Creed will be released on the 360 in Q1 2007, the same time the formerly "exclusive" title hits the PS3, with a PC version to follow. Glad that's settled.

With developers seemingly desperate to minimize their risk, is the whole concept of "exclusivity" now just a matter of months and marketing? Oh yeah -- except for our awesome 360 exclusive Gears of War.

[Thanks Bonzai]

You got a fast car. Let's wreck it

People only watch car racing for the crashes. Lucky for us all, Forza 2 features vehicle damage, unlike some racers out there. This video also highlights the physics that go into Forza 2, from shocks to slipstreams. Now comes the inevitable pre-rendered/real time argument. Anyone care to take sides?

Microsoft brings TGS and X06 home

Remember back at E3 when the Halo 3 trailer was available on Marketplace before Microsoft officially unveiled it at the show? That was only part of the barrage of E3 content that was piped directly into our 360s. It made it a cool perk to have the latest and greatest hardware, allowing thousands of 360 owners to get a piece of E3. It looks like Microsoft plans to continue that tradition at this year's Tokyo Game Show and its own X06 (I had to decline a trip to cover the latter, stupid wedding!). TGS coverage will start on September 20th and run through the 24th. X06 will run September the 25th through the 29th. There is a chance that US and European gamers won't see all the TGS coverage, but Japan got most of the E3 coverage so, it's stands to reason this will be the same.

Now we can all look forward to previews of the latest and greatest. Expect more of Blue Dragon, Gears of War, Viva Piñata, Blue Dragon, Fable 2, and Blue Dragon. And, since it's TGS, you'll probably see some Blue Dragon. In all seriousness, we really dug Microsoft's coverage of the last E3 ever, and hopefully this will recapture the same excitement.

[Via Xboxic]

Reggie: Wii no sidekick to 360

Numerous fanboys (not to mention Peter Moore) have predicted that the Nintendo Wii find success as "second console," tucked safely on the shelf next to an Xbox 360. An agile Robin, if you will, to Microsoft's burly Batman. Afterall, you can buy both a 360 and a cute, cuddly Wii console for the cost of a PS3. Unfortunately, Mario master Reggie Fils-Aime told USA Today that his Wii refuses to don the green underwear.

"I'd much rather have the consumer buy a Wii, some accessories, and a ton of games, vs. buying any of my competitor's products."

So for Fils-Aime it's my Wii or the high-Wii. Hey, nobody expects Reggie to embrace the role of yellow-caped man-bitch...er...Boy Wonder. The economics just work out that way.

See Call of Duty 3 in motion

Of all the sites on all of the internets, Gamepro has somehow managed to snag the first real time footage of Call of Duty 3. Now, before you wet yourself with excitement -- it's okay, it happens to the best of us -- realize that this video is tiny. That, and you will likely have to sit through an advertisement in order to watch it. Still, there are some nice things going on for those who care to look. The depth of field effect when zooming in is very nice. Also noticeable is seeing the muzzle flash from your gun reflect on the gun itself. I've always found war games to be sort of "samey," but COD3 has definitely got the look. No Coke ads in there, though.

[Via Evil Avatar]

Watch some Enchanted Arms

So, Enchanted Arms came out a few days ago, but we thought we'd share this video anyway -- be thankful that the game allows you to opt for Japanese dialog. It's not exactly a secret that the 360 is no treasure trove of Japanese games (though Dead Rising might change that). As such, Enchanted Arms presents a rare opportunity for the monotonous random battle masochists out there (like me). If you need, need a JRPG fix, Enchanted Arms just might do it. Clearly, it's no Final Fantasy, but if you've got to have a hero with feathered hair (you just don't see it nowadays) Enchanted Arms is your only choice.

Anyone pick this up yet? Recommend it for die hard JRPG fans?

FCI: Predator demo on XBLM

A belated multiplayer demo for Far Cry Instincts: Predator is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace. The 344.48mb download features 1 map and 5 game types for a max of 16 players. People who played this game last Spring will recall that it just didn't seem like enough of an improvement over the well-executed Xbox version to be worth the money. Not that it matters with a free demo.

Assassin's Creed confirmed (or not) again [update 1]

And the Assassin's Creed rumors just keep comin'. Pictured at right is the latest cover for 360 Magazine, a British rag that covers, you guessed it, the Xbox 360. It says it all right there:

"World Exclusive: Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft goes in for the kill."

Could the longstanding mystery behind Ubisoft's staunch refusal to reveal AC's 360 status finally be solved? Any Brits out there seen this magazine yet? Does it even exist? Hit the read link and then click "Latest Issue" to see the cover.

[Thanks, Les Doodis.]

: We know that you all know this by now, but AC has been officially confirmed. You may now commence chiding us for our delinquency in posting this sooner.

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