Will you buy the Kinect?

yes, at launch or during the holiday season
maybe later


Crave Online

Week of January 27, 2008
Microsoft: Don't Mail Bill Gates about RRoD Issues
>> From fragland.net:
On Wednesday we reported about a guy who got a brand new X360 after mailing Bill Gates about the problems he was having with his console. Tons of news sites reported on this and the result seems to have been a massive increase in angry mails towards the man.

Microsoft now has sent out a note that people shouldn't be contacting Mr. Gates:
"Bill Gates or Microsoft executives are not an appropriate escalation point for customer service issues. Customers experiencing issues with their Xbox 360 console should contact Xbox Customer Service. Our customer service team is well equipped to ensure that the repair process goes smoothly."

Full Story: fragland.net
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(Saturday 02 February 2008 13:51 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Microsoft makes 44.6 billion USD bid for Yahoo!
>> From gamesindustry.biz:
Microsoft Corporation has announced that it has made a proposal to acquire Yahoo! for approximately USD 44.6 billion.
The offer of USD 31 per share represents a 62 per cent premium over the stocks's January 31 closing price.

"We have great respect for Yahoo!, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

If the deal was accepted by Yahoo! and approved by regulatory agencies, it would be completed in the second half of calendar year 2008.

Full Story: gamesindustry.biz
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(Saturday 02 February 2008 13:25 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Xboxfounder (Xbox Insider) Answers Questions
>> Xboxfounder (8bitjoystick's source who revealed details about the RRoD issue and Project Helium before) posted answers to some readers questions:
* Q: After reading the article, my Xbox got the RROD, but that's not what this post is about. Instead of sending off refurbished systems, why not send consumers a brand new xbox when they experience the RROD? Isn't sending them one that got the RROD, just delaying the inevitable?
* A: Sorry to hear about your 360 dying. I hope you get swift satisfaction from MS and get back into the action soon.
The reason MS uses used materials to fulfill repair and refurb needs is purely economic. It is rational for any electronic company to try to do what MS is trying to do. Especially when the failure rate is so high. If MS had to eat the cost for all those failed units, it would put pressure on the biz unit up and down the food chain. Who can write off 4 million units at 400 bucks each? Well MS can. But they won't. Another bad decision.
What's irrational about the way they are doing this is that they don't have a good idea, a high confidence, that the actions they take in repair lead to a unit that is as good as new. Or as good as it needs to be. They don't even clean them off. So you can baby your console, play it 100 hours, have it fail, and get one back that has been abused at a frat house and has a couple of thousand hours of use on it. Not a very fair deal. Regardless of the warranty. I could write for hours about this subject alone. But I hope you get what I'm saying.

Q: You mentioned in the past that the 360 can scratch you discs. How does this happen, and is there a way to fix that problem?
There was only a span of about 4 years between the launch of the XBox and the XBox 360. Should we expect to see the newest XBox within the next 2 years, or is it more likely for Microsoft to perfect (Or get as close to that standard as possible) the 360 before even thinking of launching a new console?
* A: Disc Scratches?
The 360 scratches discs when gamers jump around. The shock gets coupled into the console through the floor. The disc wobbles and hits the laser assembly. The part of the laser assembly that causes the scratch is about 1/2 inch to the outside of the laser, so the console doesn't show a problem at the time the disc is scratched because it isn't reading where the disc is scratched. It's only later when the laser hits the scratch that read errors occur. Then the user doesn't associate their activity with the damage because they didn't happen at the same time as far as they can see. An ODD has to be susceptible to this. It must be missing the pads on the inside of the top cover that are put there to stop the disc from traveling into the laser. A lot of this info is on the web, but I figured out how it happens and why it's controversial when it happened to my son on a new game. I sent this info to a friend at MS. Let's see if they do anything about it.
3rd gen when?
The reasons the span between XB1 and 360 was so short were that XB1 was losing so much money, and MS wanted to get a head start on Sony in this gen. But the plan for 360 was for a 7 year life cycle before the next console. I don't know if that has changed since I left, but I don't see anything to cause it to. Just because they are already working on it doesn't mean it's anywhere near shipping. It's normal product development practice to always be working on new technology. And what should they be doing, given the problems on 360? I'm sure they don't want to repeat that.

Full Story: 8bitjoystick.com
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(Thursday 31 January 2008 23:49 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Game Critics: Game of the Year Winners Announced
>> From majornelson.com:
BioShock Takes Top Honors as Game of the Year

The full list of the 2007 Game Critics Awards: Game of the Year winners is now posted on the Game Critics Awards website. You can see the full list of winners at http://www.gamecriticsawards.com/goty.html.

Top 10 Games of 2007:
1.) BioShock
2.) The Orange Box
3.) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
4.) Rock Band
5.) Super Mario Galaxy
6.) Halo 3
7.) Mass Effect
8.) God of War II
9.) Assassin's Creed
10.) Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Full Story: majornelson.com
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(Thursday 31 January 2008 18:28 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Which controller has the best battery life?
>> From gamepro.com:
GamePro tests the wireless stamina of Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3 controllers in comparison.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 controllers are the most weighted when compared to either Wii or PS3 -- by far. They also pack the most rumble punch, shaking profusely during intense gaming moments. So it would make sense to think the added density and tactile feedback would drain batteries with haste, but our lab results proved quite the contrary. The Xbox 360 controller endured an impressive 56 hours and 56 minutes, the most of any wireless controller we tested.
The dashboard battery meter isn't as accurate as PS3 or Wii, but for maximum gaming on a single battery charge, the Xbox 360 can't be beat.

So which battery setup works best? That, like the consoles themselves, is entirely subjective. The PS3 controller is rechargeable, the Wii Remote customizable, and the Xbox 360 long-lasting. Now that's playing with power.

Full Story: gamepro.com
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(Thursday 31 January 2008 12:36 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

BenHeck Testing 65nm Xbox 360 in a Laptop Configuration
>> From benheck.com:
For the last year or so talk of the new, fabled 65nm Xbox 360's have circulated the interwebs. Now - in this brave year 2008 - I have installed one of these newer 360's in a laptop-type environment, to replace a Zephyr Elite I had been using.

The hottest visible spot on these heatsinks is an area I like to call the "crotch" - where the [GPU] heatpipe emerges from the base of the 'sink'. Anyway, word on the street is that the GPU remains 90nm, and this seems to be the case. At peak it was reading about 140 degrees, which is in line with the Elite Zephyr MB. So in this laptop I think I'd like to shore up the cooling for the GPU more than the CPU because ... the CPU runs a lot cooler than it used to. Even after 30 minutes the crotch of my "super copper heatsink" only got to about 110 degrees. This is in contrast to the Zephyr which easily got up to the 150's at this same spot, with the same heatsink.
BenHeck Xbox 360 laptop 3

Here's also hoping I can finish up this laptop and show it on the site. Everything is done but the heat issue, and it's quite the looker.

Full Story: benheck.com
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(Thursday 31 January 2008 00:47 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Obama 1st In Gates Household, Donation-Wise
>> From gizmodo.com:
Bill Gates has only made one presidential-candidate campaign donation this season [$2300], and it was to Barack Obama. Meanwhile, although Steve Jobs' wife Laurene has given nice sums to each of the three leading Democratic candidates, Barack appears to be the apple of her eye, if you calculate that in terms of dollars. Steve himself is not in the registry. What's more, neither billionaire tech household donated a (traceable) penny to any of the Republicans currently running for office.

Full Story: gizmodo.com
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(Thursday 31 January 2008 00:35 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

ZDNet's Robin Harris: Steve Ballmer is Worst CEO
>> From zdnet.com:
Steve Ballmer may be the worst CEO among large tech companies - now that Kevin Rollins got booted from Dell and Sanjay Kumar of CA is in jail. Put him in a room with Steve Jobs of Apple, John Chambers of Cisco and Mark Hurd of HP and he'd look like the bouncer, not a peer. He just isn't in their league and Microsoft is suffering for it.

What hath Steve wrought?
If he wasn't Bill's freshman roommate at Harvard - and Bill wasn't majority owner of Microsoft - any other board would have booted Ballmer years ago. He's cost Microsoft billions in profits while the stock price stagnated.

Just to pick some of the most obvious fiascos on his watch:
* The Netscape anti-trust fiasco.
* The Google fiasco.
* All the other product and market fiascos. Virtualization: late to the game. The Xbox - losing market share to the Wii - will never pay back its investment despite a recent Halo-fueled lurch into profitability. Vista's 5 year development cycle. The continuing security mess. The smart phone failure - a market they should have owned. Major resellers, like Dell, offering Linux. The steadily shrinking cash horde. Continuing anti-trust troubles. The current OOXML debacle.

Full Story: zdnet.com
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(Wednesday 30 January 2008 23:23 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

AcidMods Xbox 360 Voice Recognition Controllers
>> From acidmods.com:
Creating Voice Recognition Controllers. Here is Part 1 of this video tutorial the SR07 board this is the brain of the kit and does require loads of soldering. This kit is super easy to put together. This controller board is what analyzes spoken words and determines matches. I plan on adding this kit to a Xbox 360 controller for things like (Reload, Scope, Plasma...) this kit can be found here

Here is the 360 Voice recognition Controller I only used 3 commands in the video but I have 10 buttons connected to the device

Full Story/Tutorial: acidmods.com
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(Wednesday 30 January 2008 22:35 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Epic's Mark Rein about UT3 User Mods on Xbox360
>> From guardian.co.uk:
* Are you any closer to resolving the problem of getting user-gen content into the Xbox 360 version?
* Not yet but we're hopeful. Microsoft hasn't said "no" yet, but then they haven't said "yes" either. We need them to say "yes," and we need them to do it soon.

* So it's technically possible?
* Sure. I mean, you can go onto the console and copy your songs on to it and play movies off a memory card - the machine's capable of allowing you to transfer your content around, and even letting you play your music while playing many games.

* So why wouldn't Microsoft say yes? Is there a fear of losing control of Xbox Live?
* Well, yeah and we don't fault them for that. They've got a closed system where everything's checked, users know the quality of everything they download, and you know it won't crash your machine. User generated content - well, it can be dangerous, you could theoretically download a mod that uses too much memory and crashes your machine.

I think Sony are real pioneers in this - I think they deserve a lot of credit for letting us do this. They're really doing something different, and it hints at what they want to do with the PlayStation Network in the future. They're definitely on the right track!

If it doesn't work out with Xbox 360, depending on sales of the game on that platform, I imagine we'll find a few of the best mods and get them on Xbox Live Marketplace. I don't think 360 users are going to suffer drastically - they're just going to miss out on a lot of crazy, cool fun stuff and the ability to exchange it among themselves. They may also end up paying for content that is free on other systems because Microsoft now has to host it and certify it. But I'm confident Microsoft will look at what's happened with UT3 on the PS3 so far and think, 'Well, we'll take that baby step with you,' because what we've done so far really is just a baby step if you think about it. You've got to go online, you gotta download the mod, and you're responsible for putting it on your machine yourself. There are some exceptions - there are mutators, which modify how gameplay works, that are pretty small - and we let those auto download, but most of the other stuff you've got to go and say 'I'm going to install this on my machine.' We hope to change that in the future.

So it really is the user knowing what he's doing. He's not accidentally going to a server which has this really horrific mod on it... and if you do find a horrific mod we have a way to make sure that people can't serve that mod for other users. I think we're going to do much more with the PS3 version - maybe have an easier way to download mods, a way to auto download some that have been approved, ideas like that. We're looking at ways of taking the mod scene and making it better and broader.

The game is up and running on Xbox 360 - it has been for a long time, and its running wonderfully - it just doesn't have any Xbox Live written into it yet so that's the work that remains.

Full Story: guardian.co.uk
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(Wednesday 30 January 2008 20:52 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

EB Games Australia: No 10M AUD Defective 360s
>> From theage.com.au:
Retailer EB Games has hosed down reports suggesting that a spate of hardware defects with Xbox 360 video game consoles were straining its relationship with Microsoft.

A chat transcript published on the popular gaming blog Kotaku purportedly showed a high-ranking EB Games employee saying the retailer had $10 million worth of defective Xbox 360 consoles for which Microsoft refused to reimburse it.
"There have been threats of EB dropping the Xbox range all together," the transcript read.

"It's 99 per cent bullshit really," EB Games chief executive Steve Wilson said in a phone interview.
Wilson said EB Games had to recall and replace its stock of Xbox 360 units in the middle of last year, but that was an isolated "hard drive batch problem" and all defective units had been returned to Microsoft.

Wilson said EB Games had experienced high returns due to the red ring of death issue earlier in the Xbox 360's life, but the number of defective consoles had declined since Microsoft announced the extended warranty.

"Even when we had the batch problem six months ago, we were talking about a couple of thousand units," Wilson said. "$10 million is 25,000 units - that's a ridiculous number."

Full Story: theage.com.au
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(Wednesday 30 January 2008 12:43 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Benq 0800 and XBC 2.8 Build 275
>> A new firmware enhancement for the VAD6038 Xbox360 DVD-ROM drive and a new Xbox Backup Creator(info) to support it..

XBC 2.8 Build 275:
-Added support for BenQ VAD6038 0800 firmware
(Note: This has had limited testing, be cautious)

The 0800 Release is a firmware replacment for the BenQ VAD6038 drive to allow you to backup your own games. It is, as always, not for use on xbox live.

Official Site: n/a (XBC by Redline99, Benq 0800 by commodore4eva)
Download: XBC 2.8 Build 275
Download: Benq 0800 n/a (May be illegal under EULA/DMCA)
News-Source: xbins.org
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(Tuesday 29 January 2008 20:26 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

InFeCtuS Samples High-Res Pictures: InFeCtuS2, TA PCB, Argon, Injectus
>> We received samples of the full range of InFeCtuS chips from Team InFeCtuS. Here are some pictures ... click the image for full resolution :-)
The main InFeCtuS chip is a 'versatile modchip' that can be used for all kinda things on all main consoles: end-user featues | dev features. While it can also be used as Xbox360 DVD chip the most interesting feature for us is that with Infectus' capability to read/write the Xbox 360 NAND in combination with the 'Time Attack PCB' addon you'll be able to downgrade your Xbox360 kernel to an hypervisor exploitable kernel and thus run Linux on your 360, change keyvault details (game region, dvd key, ...) and more to come we hope.
InFeCtuS range
The full range of InFeCtuS chips. On the top you can see the Argon Wii D2C chip and its programmer (Injectus) and the cable to connect 'em. As we're no Wii site we refer to our friends at nintendo-scene and tehskeen for more pictures and info about these chips.
On the bottom row you'll see the external adapter and the Infectus2, the Time Attack PCB and the cable to connect Infectus2 and its external adapter.

Infectus 2
The main Infectus 2 chip with its external adapter and cable (included). You'll need both this chip and the Time Attack addon shown below to perform the Timing Attack.
More Pictures of the device: Front Infectus2 (full res.) | Back Infectus2 (full res.) | Front External addon (full res.) | Back External addon (full res.)

Infectus Time Attack PCB Infectus Time Attack PCB
The Front/Back of the Time Attack PCB addon for Infectus (will work with both Infectus 1 and 2). This will allow you to perform the Timing Attack which will boot your up-to-date Xbox360 with the base kernel (1888). From there you can 'update' (via disc update) to a kernel with the Hypervisor Exploit. When you run the Hypervisor Exploit (which uses the Shader Exploit in King Kong, so you'll need a modified DVD FW too) and boot into linux you can get the 'CPU Key' ... once you got that you can do pretty much whatever you want with the kernel.

Official Site: http://infectus.biz
Order Now (Official WorldWide Reseller): Infectus2 | Time Attack PCB | Argon | Injectus
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(Monday 28 January 2008 22:58 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Rumour: MS Refusing to Take 10M Worth of Defective 360s from EB Oz?
>> From kotaku.com.au:
Over the weekend, a Kotaku AU reader sent through a chat log containing an enlightening conversation with "an associate of mine who holds a high position within the EB organisation". According to the log, Microsoft is refusing to take responsibility for its defective consoles, leaving it up to the games retailer to make the best of a crappy situation.

Obviously we're trying to verify the facts, but for now, there's no reason not to let you guys know of the potentially nasty relationship that may exist between EB Australia and Microsoft.

According to the transcript, EB Australia has $10 million worth of defective Xbox 360s gathering dust, as Microsoft is unwilling to take them back. As a result, EB is no longer stocking the 360, except as second-hand or pre-owned units. A search of the EB Games website for "xbox 360" confirms this.

Full Story: kotaku.com.au
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(Monday 28 January 2008 20:59 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

MS has been talking to Blu-ray all along
>> From eurogamer.net:
Xbox marketing bigwig Jeff Bell says Microsoft has been talking to Blu-ray about the possibility of a partnership all along.

He was speaking about Warner Bros.'s recent decision to exclusively pick the Sony-championed disc format, and did not rule out the possibility MS will adopt it at some point in the future.

"We've been talking to Blu-ray all along because we have the best piece of software in the business, called HDi. It is the backbone that powers interactivity in HD-DVD and we have that available to potentially partner with others," Jeff Bell told 1UP.

"You never say never. I think we'd like to see how things evolve. Our commitment, however, to HD-DVD is profound and consistent, and we have done very, very well in term of our accessory sales."

Full Story: eurogamer.net | 1up.com
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(Monday 28 January 2008 12:24 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

XboxMediaCenter (XBMC) 2008-01-27 SVN rev11426 build - T3CH
>> T3CH released a new SVN compile (rev11426) of XboxMediaCenter(info) for Xbox1.
This T3CH-compile is a complete snapshot of what is in SVN at the time the build was compiled, with just a few small additions.

Special Notes and Added/Noteworthy/XML/Script changes:
* BBB's T3CH Upgrader updated to 1.3.1
* added : Better animation to Panels (icon views) and login screen much smoother looking now
* added: DialogVideoScan label now changes according to content type. e.g "Downloading Music Video Information"
* added: ListItem.RatingAndVotes and VideoPlayer.RatingAndVotes infolabels added: "Votes" to pythons ListItem_SetInfo(), if you set both "Rating" and "Votes" the *.RatingAndVotes infolabel will work.
* added: criticalsection for avcodec_open and av_register_all to avoid issues with multithreaded access to ffmpeg libs
* added: Python method xbmc.getRegion(). It returns your regions formmat specifiers. - you can pass the following: (dateshort, datelong, time, meridiem, tempunit, speedunit) - e.g. date_long_format = xbmc.getRegion('datelong') returns DDDD, MMMM D, YYYY for USA English
* added: setting for dvdorder "false" by default

For the full changelog (all added/fixed/changed/updated stuff) since the 2008-01-13 SVN Rev11320 build click here.

Keep in mind this is a SVN snapshot of the current development tree. It's not an official (stable) point release. Use only if you know what you are doing.

Official XBMC Site: www.xboxmediacenter.com (manual and FAQ)
Official T3CH Site: http://t3ch.yi.se (release RSS feed)
Download Binaries: n/a (built with XDK) | Download SourceCode: here
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(Sunday 27 January 2008 21:10 EST) - (Category: Xbox) - (Posted by:: )

EA vs Fox: G4's Adam Sessler Weighs in and Amazon Book Reviews
>> From kotaku.com:
G4 host Adama Sessler gives his opinion on the whole Fox News/Mass Effect imbroglio in this clip from a recent episode of X-Play. He presents the facts with much more aplomb and fairness than Fox did, but in the end turns the tables to give the network and author Cooper Lawrence a taste of their own medicine.

The Amazon.com reviews of Cooper's book are pretty funny too ;) Her new book she tried to promote with her 'stunt' on FOX news received 21 1-star reviews so far (there were more some time ago, but Amazon took down most of them).

News-Source: kotaku.com
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(Sunday 27 January 2008 12:32 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )

Last chance to download free Undertow
>> From xbox360fanboy.com:
For the fanboys of the world who tend to procrastinate and drag their downloading feet, they should know that their chance to download a free copy of XBLA game Undertow is about to expire.

Microsoft's apology download Undertow has been a free game download since Wednesday, January 23rd and will continue to be free until this evening.

Full Story: xbox360fanboy.com
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(Sunday 27 January 2008 12:14 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: )


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