Tag Archives: xbox-live

Xbox Live Gold Subscription Pricing Changes

Beginning November 1st, the cost of an Xbox Live Gold subscription will be increasing in the US, UK, Canada and Mexico. Not all packages are going to have their prices raised, but many of them will see a noticeable difference. Microsoft states that “we have continually added more content and entertainment experiences for our members, while keeping the price the same. We’re confident that when the new pricing takes effect, an Xbox LIVE Gold membership will continue to offer the best value in the industry.”

If you want to lock in your current price prior to the change, you can sign in to your account and do so at any time. Additionally, find out when your subscription expires before making any decisions.

I’m hearing a lot of grumbling around our community about this change. People are upset at having to pay a couple of extra dollars per month. Why is that? Do you feel that the service is not worth paying more for?

Why not start a discussion over on the Questions and Answers site or on Geeks. I know that there are some people who don’t mind the changes, and there are those who are seriously angry. I’m interested in hearing both sides of the debate.

Broken Xbox 360

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Every weekday, I ride my Gazelle for 45 minutes. This helps me get my muscles moving and helps to keep me healthy. While I’m “working out” on the machine, I usually either watch a movie or play a game on my Xbox 360.

However, when I signed on today, I noticed my avatar was freaking out. I guess this may be a bug report? It used to look like me. I’m not sure what’s going on. Perhaps Microsoft feels that my mug is too ugly to have on their system.

Whatever is happening, I will continue to burn calories. It will just be more tedious and boring to do so without my beloved console.

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Do Xbox Live Marketplace Games have Problems?

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I came across an article the other day on Wired, titled “Microsoft: Don’t Cut Off the Long Tail”. In the article, Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten said that Microsoft will soon begin to delete some Xbox Live Arcade games from the service. Says the article:

The rationale is, to put it nicely, paper-thin: To “focus on quality over quantity” and “make it easier to find the games you are looking for. Unless, of course, the game you’re looking for is the one that’s been deleted.

I’d argue they need to make it easier to find the games that you’re looking for. They also need to make it easier to find the games you’ve already purchased should you change machines you are using. The author is also noting that Microsoft has no plans to continue to support games that are being shut out from the Xbox Live marketplace. I think this is a really bad move. Even if they refunded my money… it still kinda sucks.

One of the games they are considering dropping is Asteroids Deluxe. Just because it’s not as popular as a game on the Marketplace like Zuma, doesn’t mean they should get rid of it. There are some die-hard Asteroids fans. If I want to play Asteroids, I just go to it. What are they going to do when they pull it? Will they let me download it to play indefinitely? Are they just going to cut it off and make all of us fans of the game suffer without it? Microsoft hasn’t made it clear yet what is actually going to happen.

It’s a good idea for them to focus on quality. They need to focus on more high-quality content, yes. But, that said, it’s all about creating choice as well as quality. Even if only 500 people pay for a particular game… why would you get rid of it? It’s still something that there is a demand for, and money is being made for, no matter how small. I just don’t understand not allowing us access to games we may love. I like having the games I’ve bought, or I wouldn’t have bought them. To take that away casts a shroud of doubt about downloading games as a whole.

It’s a big black eye, in my opinion. If anything, leave us our old games that we love… and focus more on quality of games for future releases. What are your thoughts, everyone? What will you do if one of the games you’ve paid for and love is one that may be yanked?

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Wits and Wagers Trivia Game for the Xbox 360

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My neighbor just happens to be Jeff, who is the CEO of Hidden Path Entertainment game company in Seattle. They just recently launched a new game into the Xbox Live community called Wits and Wagers. This is a trivia-based game, based on a board game that was created around 2001.

Wits & Wagers is the fun trivia party game where you don’t need the right answers to win! For each question, bet on the answer you think is closest to the truth, whether or not that answer is your own.

With up to 25 hours of unique questions, local and online play, plus the ability to link one group of local users to another group via “couch-to-couch” multi player, Wits & Wagers is a party waiting to happen.

Get 700 questions, great character costumes and dance moves, catchy music, achievements, leader boards, support for the Xbox LIVE Vision camera, the Xbox Big Button Pad, and more.

Features of Wits and Wagers include:

  • Engaging social play: Wits & Wagers is easy to play and yet strategically deep for advanced players. Some win with their knowledge of trivia, others with what they know about their friends.
  • Fun questions: The first question pack of 700 questions is included, providing hours of game play. Games consist of seven questions for a quick and casual round of fun.
  • Connecting couches: The game supports one to four players at one console, or two to six players online. Invite your friends over to your house, or invite your friends online.
  • Peripheral support: Wits & Wagers supports both the Xbox LIVE Vision Camera and the Big Button Pad controller.


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Undertow for Free on Xbox 360 Marketplace

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Are you an Xbox 360 fan? Do you enjoy playing at the Marketplace? Now you can play Undertow… completely for free. This title is only available to Xbox 360 owners with an Xbox LIVE Silver or Gold membership, through download from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Undertow is a fast-paced action-shooter that sends you underwater as you battle up to 16 players for control of the oceans! Non-stop conquest-style battles push the envelope of onscreen effects and combat action and boast some of the most stunning graphics ever seen in an Xbox LIVE Arcade title.

Game features include:

  • Combat control: Undertow features relentless high-speed combat with simple and intuitive controls.
  • Visual style: The incredible next-gen graphics resonate with a vibrant underwater visual style.
  • Multiplayer matches: Undertow features 16-player multiplayer battles and two-player co-op modes.
  • Races and upgrades: The game includes three different playable races, each with four unique upgradeable units.
  • Single-player campaign: The 15-level single player campaign has a compelling story told through cutscenes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This will only be offered for free for the next few days. This video was recorded on January 23rd, 2008. If you’re watching this video within a few days of that date… what are you waiting for? Hurry up and go download this game for free!


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Get a Free Xbox Live Game

Just got this email a few minutes ago…

Dear Xbox LIVE Members:

During this past holiday season you helped us break a number of Xbox LIVE records. This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox LIVE in our 5 year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service.

As a result of this massive increase in usage we know that some of you experienced intermittent Xbox LIVE issues over the holiday break. While the service was not completely offline at any given time, we are disappointed in our performance. I would like to take this moment to thank you each and every one of you for your patience and understanding as our team has worked around the clock to return the service to a stable state.

At the same time we would like to offer a token of our appreciation to all of you in celebration of record success for the service. And as a thank you for your loyalty during this holiday period, we will be offering all of our Xbox LIVE members around the world access to a full Xbox LIVE Arcade game that will be available to download free of charge. In the coming weeks we will be sharing the specific details of this offer with you.

Thank you again for helping make Xbox LIVE everything that it is today!


Marc Whitten
General Manager, Xbox LIVE

Don’t have an Xbox or Xbox Live? Then check out these deals:


Playing Halo 2 for Windows Vista – Live!

A few hours ago (yes, in the middle of the night), I set up and played Halo 2 on Windows Vista. Yes, I received permission from one of the PR folks. Ask everybody in the live community – installation was quite troublesome. No matter, I’ll play Halo 2 again (live on camera) at some point today.

The entertainment phenomenon that conquered the digital universe is once again out to save the planet as the award-winning, best-selling “Halo 2″ is coming to the Windows Vista platform on May 8th. Optimized for the advanced gaming features in Windows Vista, “Halo 2″ promises to revolutionize the first-person shooter experience for Windows gamers, as it did for consoles. With its classic story, enhanced visual presentation, multiplayer excitement and all-new Map Editor, “Halo 2″ for Windows Vista offers more new content and game customization than ever before.

My initial verdict? Disappointed with a few setup quirks (UAC needs to be enabled, having to enter and re-enter my Xbox Live account, rebooting a couple of times, etc.) – but blown away with the quality of graphics and gameplay. These textures look amazing on a Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP monitor (2560×1600, though I couldn’t get Halo 2 to go quite that high). I set the webcam on my head and the chat room on the secondary monitor – they were giving me hints instead of trash-talking.

Yeah, well… I didn’t play online. Maybe later today? If we set up a time, do you think we could get a few anxious Halo 2 fanatics to tune in? Fine. 2pm PST. Be there or be square. Might wanna spread the word to all your favorite gaming communities, too. Maybe we can survive another deluge? See for yourself. Live.

Frogger is Coming!

I think I’m staying up late tonight. I want to be the first geek on my block to get achievements for Frogger. I wasn’t much of a Frogger fan in the arcade, but I think it’s good enough to spend a few more dollars on. I’m looking forward to Pac Man, too – although I wish it was Ms. Pac Man, instead. Here’s the scoop:

Today, Xbox Live unveils Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays, a new program that will provide a regular launch schedule of new Xbox Live Arcade titles on the Xbox 360. Starting today, Xbox Live Arcade games will now go live worldwide on Wednesdays at 0800 GMT (Midnight Pacific) – hitting gamers around the world all on the same day. July 12 – Frogger; July 19 – Cloning Clyde; July 26 – Galaga; August 2 – Street Fighter II; August 9 – Pac-Man.

“What’s that? The outlet? Mm-hmmm. That’s where the electricity comes out.” Oh, you mean the holes.