Microsoft Responds To Damning Xbox 360 Failure Rate Report

From TGDaily:

“Microsoft stands behind the Xbox 360 as a superior entertainment console with one of the best warranties in the industry,” TG Daily was told by a Microsoft spokesperson.

“We are constantly improving the design, manufacture and performance of the console through extensive testing of potential sources of any problems. Xbox 360 is pleased to maintain the title of ‘most played console’ and the vast majority of Xbox 360 customers have enjoyed a terrific gaming and entertainment experience since their first day, and continue to, day in and day out.”

Notice how they actually don’t discuss or even dispute the failure rate claims, instead highlighting the extensive warranty provided each console.  Is this really a smart move?

“I’m on my fifth 360 now. Like others have said, I can’t believe that there is not a higher failure rate for the 360. Everyone that I play with online have had at least 1 if not 2 RRODS,” noted PMB. “The other 45.8 percent must be consoles that are used about an hour a week to have not have failed yet. The original Xbox wasn’t much better IMAO. I had like 4 of those. Lets just face facts that Microsoft makes some crappy hardware. As far as being a loyal customer, I would buy a different console if they offered the same online experience and games that are available on the 360.”

If only Sony would pack in a headset and feature a competent online network, the hardcore console marketplace would be ripe for the taking.

Sony Avoiding Apple’s Pitfalls In Minis Approval?

Unlike Apple’s App Store approval process, Sony is explicitly stating they do not want to go Apple’s route of approving content, instead just looking for software stability and making sure games work.

From Pocket Gamer:

Interesting, Sony details the process by which Minis are submitted and approved. There is “no requirement for content approval” apparently.

Games will however go through a shortened quality assurance process to make sure they work properly on the various PSP hardware.

Significantly, this process is labelled as being “transparent, trackable and predictible”, with developers setting their own release dates.

This suggests Sony has learnt from Apple’s approval process for the App Store, which is regarded as being neither transparent, trackable or predictible.

As inconsistent as Apple’s policy is, does this mean the Minis store will feature theft of IP or objectionable material   Our bet is to wait until a game like Super Larrio Brothers makes it to Sony s approval desk to see what happens.

Nintendo DSiWare To Respond To PSP Minis?

Pocket Gamer reports:

All the news this week has been about Sony’s Minis program, which lowers the barriers of entry for small developers to make bite-sized download-only games for the PSP and new PSPgo console.

Now we hear Nintendo is about to launch something similar for its DSiWare download service.

Like Minis, the new initiative will make it easier for small developers to publish their own content via the existing DSiWare channel.

One can t help but wonder if this is a response to Apple’s very successful iTunes App Store, whose low-cost games and free demos have created a competitor to Sony and Nintendo where there wasn’t one just two years ago.

Hate Mail Changed Fable II DLC

From GameSetWatch:

[Lionhead head Peter] Molyneux had one other interesting thing to say that might potentially spoil the ending of Fable II — please stop reading now if you don’t want to know about it.

His comments were on the last choice you make in Fable II, where the player essentially has to choose between sacrificing all his/her companions — include his/her canine buddy — or a large amount of people. Molyneux said that he “did have hate mail from people” who couldn’t bring themselves to sacrifice the multitudes, and chose the other path.

Apparently these complaints “got to such a furor” that the first Fable II DLC pack was changed to enable the return of the dog, a particularly faithful companion. But, quipped Molyneux: “Don’t expect us to be as merciful as that in the future.”

We re surprised that a longtime developer like Molyneux would cave to the requests of his audience, but this should prove one thing: the customer is always right.

Why Blizzcon Is An Annual Success

This year s Blizzcon was again a sold out show, with tickets for the event going mere minutes after they were posted for sale.

Blizzcon went off without a hitch, with record attendance, a new World of Warcraft expansion announced, even an Ozzy Ozbourne concert, with the annual event once again showing how a brand can have a life of its own if given some prompting.

For an example of how deep some of these fans go in their love of World of Warcraft, and how the community develops with a subculture all their own, we ve embedded a video from their soundalike contest, hosted by Jay Mohr.

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Bioshock Movie Gets Director, Will Happen

Variety reports:

“28 Weeks Later” helmer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is in talks to direct “Bioshock,” the Universal Pictures adaptation of the Take-Two Interactive videogame.

Gore Verbinski has stepped out of the directing slot, but remains the film’s producer through his U-based Blind Wink shingle. John Logan wrote the script.

Fresnadillo directed the 2001 Spanish thriller “Intacto,” and made his Hollywood breakthrough with “28 Weeks Later.”

Universal Studios seems committed to making sure Bioshock’s silver screen debut actually happens, unlike the much-hyped, much-delayed Halo big screen adaptation.  The Halo movie has had several scripts and big names attached to it, with some of those names going off to other, successful projects, most notably Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp in the late-summer hit District 9.

Activision About To Screw Up Guitar Hero DLC

From Destructoid:

“Guitar Hero 5 downlodable content will be compatible with future Guitar Hero and Band Hero games,” a rep told us, “however the advancements and innovations made to the franchise do not allow for downloadable content to be backwards compatible with Guitar Hero World Tour.”

Those advancements and innovations include a harder drumming mode and a tweak to how vocals get powered up, but by not allowing new DLC to be played on older games, Activision risks lower DLC sales and, more importantly, the ire of the gaming community that in large part has made Guitar Hero a success.

From the same page in the comments section:

Well f**k you too Activision.

Xbox 360 Phasing Out Pro Model

From Engadget:

Can’t say we’re all that surprised given other sightings, but one anonymous tipster has sent us pics from a local Walmart of the 120GB Xbox 360 Elite in a shiny white package with a back-of-box chart that neglects to mention the Pro models, essentially striking it from the records.

Alongside rumors of a price drop on the Elite to $299, Engadget has a photo of what looks like a new retail box that lists only the Elite and Arcade models of Xbox.

The Xbox 360 Pro model, now missing from the box, was the $299 just right version of Microsoft’s home console.  It wasn’t as sparse on features as the Arcade, which ships sans hard drive, but it didn’t have the needless frills of the Elite, with its black finish and HDMI port.

We re awaiting an official response from Microsoft to Sony’s recent PlayStation 3 redesign and price drop, but it should be any day now.