The Xbox 36o slim was announced today at the Microsoft press conference on the first day of E3. The new version of the popular console sports a 250 gigabyte hard drive and a built in wifi adapter, as well as being "whisper quiet." The new console has now fully replaced the "outdated" one in all new sales of Xbox 360's. In addition, a special auxiliary port on the back of the console will let you connect (pun intended) Microsoft's Kinect motion add on, allowing simultaneous power and data transfer.
The slim goes on sale later this week at a price of $299.
Set your countdown clocks. The “Halo: Reach” multiplayer beta, which is poised to be one of the biggest test events in entertainment history, kicks off in just four days. Among the millions of “Halo” fans eagerly anticipating the beta is actress Aisha Tyler. Available starting today is a video introduction to the beta starring the actress, viewable exclusively through the “Halo 3: ODST” game disc. Tyler walks through all the new game modes and offers her own tips and insider hints for each of the maps while showing off some life-size “Halo” weaponry.
As this is a beta, Bungie will be turning on different modes at different times to optimize testing. The beta kicks off May 3rd with three playlists featuring the all-new, highly competitive Arena mode (4v4 ranked Team Slayer games) as well as “Free-for-All” and “Grab Bag” playlists, which include a mix of classic and brand new game types. Beginning May 7, the new large-scale Spartan vs. Elite “Invasion” playlist will be added to the beta. Finally, beginning May 14 the “Generator Defense” game type will become available.
Everyone who logs in and plays at least one full game of any type in the “Halo: Reach” beta will receive a free “Halo: Reach” Avatar hoodie via the Halo Waypoint portal on Xbox LIVE. To redeem the hoodie, players must access Halo Waypoint and browse their “Halo” Career statistics after completing a match.
Despite some grievances with a linear design and a plodding first twenty hours Final Fantasy XIII is quite a success. According to an NPD report Final Fantasy XIII has sold roughly 1,321,000 copies state side with the PS3 version of the game outselling the Xbox 360 counter part nearly two to one. Since there are some differences between the platforms, mainly the use of multiple DVD's and a lower resolution overall on the Xbox 360 version, its not really all that surprising.
Generally, the likely purchasers of the Xbox 360 version of FFXIII are either those who only own an Xbox 360 or multiplatform owners prefering to throw their support behind Microsoft's console for personal reasons/incentives, such as raising one's gamer score. Aside from these suppositions there is thorough and undisputable evidence that the Xbox 360 version of the game is not of the same quality as the Playstation 3. Sure the differences are minor, but gamers who own both platforms tend to be sensitive to these differences, preferring to go with the platform the game seems most optimized for.
An update is now available that will allow Xbox 360 owners to use any generic USB stick (over 1 GB in size) as a memory card to save profile data, save games, and even disc based games. Considering the price difference between a typical flash drive and the previously proprietary Xbox Memory Unit, this update is nothing but good news.
If you plan on using a USB flash drive keep in mind the drive must be at least one and no more than sixteen gigabytes in size. The USB sticks will need to be setup through your 360 first before you can use them. You can plug two sixteen gigabyte sticks in at once for a total of thirty-two gigabytes.
Square Enix's long awaited Final Fantasy XIII will be released next week but if you are planning to choose the 360 version over the PS3 you may want to reconsider. According to an in-depth analysis at eurogamer.com, between the two versions the quality of the Xbox 360 port doesn't quite reach the visual fidelity of it's PS3 counter part.
"Adequate but a touch disappointing" best sums up the Xbox 360 version. Fine edges lose precision, and while the effect is mitigated thanks to the MSAA along with the multitude of post processing effects the engine has at its disposal, the fact is that the lack of resolution can make the 360 build look sub-par. The clean CG look of the PS3 game in motion is unduly compromised, and while it's still a handsome enough title on Xbox 360, it lacks the pristine presentation of its sibling.
If you're an owner of both the 360 and PS3, and need some help making a choice between the two, this article is a good read. Along with a detailed break down of the visual differences between the two SKU's, the reasons why the downgrade of quality may not have even been necessary is discussed.
Click the link below to see the whole four page report.
It seems as though Microsoft disagrees with a certain point made by Sony earlier today. Aaron Greenberg told OXM that no other console on the market has as much exclusive content as the Xbox 360.
"There's no other platform that offers more exclusives," he said. "Obviously there are going to be great games on the PlayStation 3, and we respect that, but our goal is to have the most blockbuster titles and the most exclusives and I think we clearly have that this year.
Greenberg has said on numerous occasions that 2010 will be the biggest year in Xbox history. "It's going to be a big year for us," he continued. "And not just for core games, but what we're going to do with Xbox Live, we're going to bring Project Natal this holiday."
Although the PS3 had a bit of a rocky start, 2009 was a big year for the console with the release of the Slim model. SCEA senior VP of publisher relations Rob Dyer believes the PS3 is "better for publishers than 360," and the price cut had a "huge impact" on Sony's sales. With that, Dyer took some shots at Microsoft and its Xbox 360.
"They had a year's head start against us, so we've been playing catch-up ball," he explained. "Before the price cut, they had a two-to-one advantage; if you were a third-party publisher looking at the index, you should have been selling twice the number of units on the 360 as you would on the PS3."
Dyer also criticized Microsoft's first-party labels, saying they don't have enough strong labels or an internal development studio.
"They have very few first-party studios at Microsoft. Bungie's next Halo is the last one, Rare rarely puts out anything, you've got Peter Molyneux with his Fable stuff...but they don't have first-party development studios inside at Redmond or anywhere for that matter," he added.
"We do," he countered. "So rather than putting their money behind that, they've been going to Epic or Valve or BioWare to do what they did with Mass Effect, and that's where they throw their dollars.
He concluded by saying, "Candidly, we're not going to compete with Microsoft on that front, but what we have is a global business here. Our global business is bigger than 360's and will continue to get bigger than 360, and people are seeing that. We passed them in Europe and they don't even exist in Japan, and we're going to catch them and pass them here in the U.S. as well."
We've heard it before, and now we've heard it again. At X10 yesterday, Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg reiterated to Kotaku that 2010 will be "the biggest year in the history of Xbox," and indeed, the lineup of games shown off at the event was impressive. Crackdown 2, Halo: Reach, Alan Wake, Fable III, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Dead Rising 2 and Lost Planet 2 were all in attendance.
"To be this early in the year and able to have an E3-quality line-up with triple-A blockbuster titles, that really speaks to how big a year this will be for us," Greenberg said excitedly. "This is just a glimpse of the quality of products we're going to bring throughout the full year.
'If you're a core gamer we've never ever had a lineup like this all in one year, plus Natal, plus everything we're doing around Xbox Live innovation. Last year, we saved a lot of our big news for E3. This year, we absolutely have a lot of big news for E3, but we have so much that we are starting early.
"It's going to be a big year...it's going to be the biggest year in the history of Xbox," he concluded.