Saturday, August 19, 2006

HD DVD outsells Blu-ray

TG Daily says that HD DVD players outsold Blu-ray ones by 33% in the first six weeks after launch (sales began in April and June, respectively). So far there is only one Blu-ray player available, Samsung's BD-P1000, and it sells for around $1000, while there are many HD DVD players for sale for as low as $450. Although HD DVD players sold better, Blu-ray's higher price allowed it to make more money. Samsung took in more revenue from it's player than all the HD DVD ones combined, reaching 42% more revenue in the first six weeks.
These "next generation" DVDs are still not widely used though, as only 0.4% of all disc player sales were from HD DVD and Blu-ray, while 86.2% were from DVD players, and 13.4% from DVD recorders.


Top Ten Games on Live (August 19)

From Major Nelson, here are the top ten games on Xbox Live, based on worldwide users playing:

Xbox 360 Top Live Games
1 Call of Duty 2
3 Ghost Recon 3
4 Chromehounds
5 Oblivion
6 NCAA 07
8 Final Fantasy XI
9 Dead Rising Demo
10 Lord of the Rings: BFME2

Original Xbox Top Live Games
1 Halo 2
2 Battlefield 2: MC
3 Splinter Cell Chaos
4 Counter-Strike
5 Pro Evolution Soccer 5
6 Rainbow Six 3 BA
7 Madden NFL 2006
8 Star Wars: Battlfrnt 2
9 Forza Motorsport
10 Rainbow Six 3

Top Xbox Live Arcade Titles (Full Versions)
2 Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting
4 Geometry Wars Evolved
6 Frogger
7 Cloning Clyde
8 Marble Blast Ultra
9 Bankshot Billiards 2
10 Zuma

If the lists were combined, Halo 2 would be first followed by all the 360 games.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Lots on the Xbox Live Vision Camera, what it can do, and how it will be used in games

There was just news about how the Xbox Live Vision Camera will be sold, and now Gamasutra has more information on how it will work and what kind of things it can do.
At Gamefest, Microsoft's Jeff Stone demonstrated some of the things the camera is capable of (using the software already installed on Xbox 360s from the Spring update). With the Vision Camera, you can have one on one video chat with other users of Xbox Live (this feature is already setup - in the Guide, go to Private Chat and then Video Chat. Obviously you can't do anything without a camera, but if you want to see it in action send a friend invite to someone who has the Camera). You can filter the video in a bunch of ways, for identity protection or just because it looks cool. Gamasutra says there was no lag, and it worked fine. You can also send pictures with your messages (Create a new message, and after typing it you'll see the option to "Add Picture"), and if you receive a message from someone not on your Friend's list, you'll have the option to accept or decline the photo. You can also create a custom gamer picture, which can be filtered to your liking. Only people on your Friends list can see your custom pic, while everyone else sees the default one (Oh good... I hate to imagine some of the things other people will take pictures of for their gamertag).
The first gesture-based game, TotemBall (which will be included with the camera), was also shown, and a video of it being played is on Gamasutra. Many games will make use of the Vision Camera technology, such as UNO (support is already included - the gamertag is replaced with a video feed from the person's camera when used), and face mapping technology will be available in games like World Series of Poker and Rainbow Six Vegas.
Face mapping will be done by Digimask's technology, which has been used in everything from cell phone greetings to television to video games (It has previously been used with the Playstation 2's EyeToy). Gamasutra tested the technology at Gamefest, and with a few pictures and a film clip where users can pick the perfect frames, a model was made. The demo had options to choose a hairstyle and eye wear, and after created could look around, blink, and even show emotions.
Another technology the Vision Camera will utilize is GestureTek's Video Gesture Control. A demonstrative program allows simple interactivity, where the the user is not displayed but can control and interact with objects on screen. GestureTek also showed face tracking technology, where a box on screen could track a users head. Other people going into the area do not disrupt it, and the user can move fast while the box stays with him.
Another program GestureTek has developed can track objects besides a users head, like hand held accessories that could be bought for this purpose. It is done quite simply: the tracker remembers an object's color and shape, and can then follow it in many ways. From quick movement to rotation, it will pick it up. It can even sense depth using the size of an object, so it can theoretically tell how far an object is from the screen.
Launching on September 19th, the Xbox Live Vision Camera will add a whole new level to the Xbox 360, especially Xbox Live.
[Via Gamerscore Blog]


Xbox Live Vision Camera price and bundles

OXM UK has some new information about the Xbox Live Vision Camera. The release date had already been announced (Septembere 19th) but we were left to wonder at the price and how it would be bundled. Some new information has been found by OXM UK, answering both those questions. Here are the two (rumored) bundles, including their price:

The standard kit, for 39.99 includes:

  • Xbox Live Vision Camera
  • Xbox Live headset
  • One free month of Xbox Live Gold
  • TotemBall Live Arcade game.
  • Uno Live Arcade game.
The Gold bundle, for 79.99 includes:
  • Xbox Live Vision Camera
  • Xbox Live headset
  • Free Xbox Live Gold subscription for a year.
  • TotemBall Live Arcade game.
  • Uno Live Arcade game.
  • A third Xbox Live Arcade game (title so far unknown)
  • 200 Microsoft Points
These are not yet confirmed, but would make sense and work well.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Marketplace and Live Arcade Stats, Downloadable Content news

Gamasutra has an article about Xbox Live Marketplace and Xbox Live Arcade, summarizing things said by Microsoft's Marketplace Business Manager Rohan Oommen.
According to Oommen, there have been over 40 million downloads from the Marketplace since launch, and on average a user has downloaded 20 or more items from the ever expanding selection of more than 2000 downloads. Game demos are the most popular, having an average of 250,000 downloads when released (Prey had 300,000 in the first week alone). Timing is important for demos, and can help increase sales - 40% of the people who downloaded the Fight Night Round 3 demo bought the game.
Between 10% and 50% of the people who downloaded a trial version of an Xbox Live Arcade game ended up purchasing the full version, making the average conversion rate 22%. It was also revealed that the less expensive titles do not make more money, since $10 or $15 games have made more money in the their lifetimes than the $5 ones.
Downloadable content (like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter's "Chapter 2") is also very profitable, and three games have already made $1 million on added downloadable content. Microsoft said they would like to get content out faster though, adding that companies should assemble a small team that can create additional content so it can be released early on, within the first 60 to 90 days after a game's release.
One new feature Microsoft is planning for Marketplace is "consumables". These would be items you would purchase, but would get used and you could then purchase them again. This seems to me like like a bad idea, just a way for Microsoft to get more money from our gaming addictions.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Xbox Live Arcade in the coming weeks: Texas Hold 'em (free for 48 hours), Time Pilot, and Scramble

On Wednesday, August 23rd, Texas Hold 'em will finally be released on Xbox Live Arcade at 0800 GMT. For the first 48 hours, it can be downloaded free of charge. After you get it, you have the full game for as long as you want, as if you had purchased it. At 0801 GMT on Friday, August 25th, after the 48 hours have passed, it will no longer be free, and can be purchased for 800 Microsoft Points.

The next game released for Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays will be Time Pilot on August 30th. It will sell for 400 Microsoft Points.

Then, on Wednesday, September 6th, Scramble will be released. The full game can be purchased for 400 Microsoft Points.

So far, each release is exactly one week after the dates I previously posted about. Does that mean Lumines Live will be coming on September 13th? It's a good geuss, and I hope it proves to be true.

Read the full article on
Via Major Nelson


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Marketplace information

There is an article about Xbox Live Marketplace on, and it has some intersting facts:

  • Over 80% of Xbox Live members have downloaded something from Xbox Live Marketplace
  • Music videos, movie trailers, and game trailers are downloaded by almost 70% of Xbox Live members
  • Of connected consoles, over 65% have downloaded an Xbox Live Arcade game
  • Over 8 million Xbox Live Arcade downloads have happened since launch
Read the article
More Marketplace numbers

Speaking of Marketplace, you may have noticed I've stopped posting when there is new content on Marketplace. Instead, on the right of my website the last six items available for download are listed. Also, check out for a full listing with sizes, price, and descriptions of all Marketplace content.


Statistics about the US gaming market

Ozymandias has a post listing some datapoints from the NPD Group about gaming, online, sales, the different consoles, and more. It's interesting, and definitely worth checking out.


Xbox 360 projected sales and more

Team Xbox has some interesting info on the Xbox 360. By this holiday, Microsoft expects over 10 million 360s to have been shipped, and more games, making a total of 160. 13-15 million are expected to ship worldwide by June 2007. The Xbox 360 is setting a record for the most accessories sold per console in the US, and for the past four months has held a steady attach rate of 2.9 accessories per console. The attach rate for games rose this month to 4.6 per console.


HD-DVD drive for $200 (Update: Gamerscore Blog comments)

DigiTimes has an article stating that the HD DVD add on for the Xbox 360 will sell for $200. This makes sense, because together with the Premium 360 it would be $600, the same price as the PS3.
Via Engadget

There is a post on the Gamerscore Blog stating that "we haven't announced a price or availability date for the HD DVD Player--anything you're seeing online is speculation". They probably just want to make sure people know that - so if it ends up being more expensive, people won't get angry about Microsoft "lying" about the price.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Why 1080p does not matter

Ozymandias has a good post on why 1080p does not matter, and is in most cases no different from 1080i.
Read the post


Create your own games for Xbox 360

Microsoft announced that they are making XNA Game Studio Express, a program that helps you create games for Windows and the Xbox 360. A free beta will be available August 30th for Windows. The full version will be released around the holidays, and while free for Windows there will be a $99 annual fee to share and play games on the Xbox 360.
Here's where you can go for more info:
Let's Kill Dave - a list of links to different articles about it
Gamerscore Blog - a good overview
Joystiq - a good write up on what it is
Joystiq - how Sony tried (and failed) at this before, and how Microsoft can do better
Xbox-Scene - The most interesting FAQs, and a description of how it will work with the 360
XNA Team Blog