Saturday, August 26, 2006

Top Ten Games on Live (August 26)

From Major Nelson, here are the top ten most played games on Xbox Live, based on world wide unique users:

Xbox 360 Top Live Games
1 Call of Duty 2
2 Madden NFL 07
3 Texas Hold 'em
4 Ghost Recon 3
6 Chromehounds
7 Oblivion
9 Final Fantasy XI
10 NCAA 07

Original Xbox Top Live Games
1 Halo 2
2 Battlefield 2: MC
3 Madden NFL 07
4 Splinter Cell Chaos
5 Counter-Strike
6 Pro Evolution Soccer 5
7 Rainbow Six 3 BA
8 Star Wars: Battlfrnt 2
9 Forza Motorsport
10 Madden NFL 2006

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

Top Xbox Live Arcade Titles (Full Versions)

1 Texas Hold 'em
2 Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting
4 Hexic HD
5 Geometry Wars Evolved
7 Cloning Clyde
9 Frogger
10 Marble Blast Ultra


Details on the XNA Framework

The XNA Team Blog has a post about what the XNA Framework is and does. It's interesting, and if you have any interest in XNA you should check it out.
Read the post
[Via Let's Kill Dave!]


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Xbox Live Vision, Wireless Racing Wheel, Wireless Headset, and Faceplates - details and prices

At the German Games Convention, Microsoft confirmed the bundles the Xbox Live Vision Camera will be sold in, along with the prices for the Wireless Racing Wheel, Wireless Headset, Wireless Gaming Reciever for Windows, and new faceplates. Here are the details:
The Xbox Live Vision Camera will be sold in two bundles, as follows:
Xbox Live Vision, which includes 1 month of Xbox Live Gold Membership, a headset, free downloads of UNO and TotemBall, will retail for around $39.99. The Xbox Live Video Chat Gold Gold Kit is the same as the first, except for it comes with a year of Xbox Live Gold Membership, a free download of Robotron (along with UNO and TotemBall), and 200 Microsoft Points. It will sell for about $79.99. The U.S. release date stays the same (September 19th), but in Europe it has been changed to October 6th.
The Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel will be released in November for around $149.99, and (while supplies last) people who purchase it will also get a limited edition force feedback version of Project Gotham Racing 3.
Also in November, the Wireless Headset will be available for around $59.99.
Then, in December, the Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows will be released for about $19.99.New faceplates will be available in early November, including ones for Halo, Viva Pinata, and Forza Motorsport 2.


Texas Hold 'em is Live

Texas Hold 'em is now on Xbox Live Arcade. Get it in the next 48 hours and it will be free, but after that it's 800 Microsoft Points.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Xbox 360 eventually $149-$199

GamePro has an interview with Microsoft's Albert Penello about HD-DVD, PS3, and the Xbox 360 in general. While most of it is stuff that we already knew, here are some of the things he said. The HD-DVD drive will be the cheapest player on the market, and although he didn't confirm a price or release, he said it will "be out in plenty of time for the holidays" and a price will probably be revealed by the Tokyo Game Show or X06. He then said that there were no plans for HDMI or DVI on the HD-DVD add-on, saying that "the reality is, for any normal HD owner, the difference [between the formats] is nonexistent". He said that they may add it eventually though, but nothing is planned so far. Penello then said that an Xbox 360 with built in HD-DVD was possible, but once again there were not yet any plans to do so.
Then he said that "We built the Xbox 360 Core system so that we could get to $199 or $149 sometime", also saying he didn't think the PS3 could achieve such a low price. Although Microsoft is very clear that there won't be a price drop this fall, it looks like eventually the 360 could cost as low as the origianl Xbox.


New features coming for Marketplace, and statistics about downloads

At the Games Convention Developers Conference, Microsoft third-party account manager Steven Blackburn had some stuff to say about Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. Gamespot has the rundown of his presentation, and here are some of the things he said:
First, the numbers (There are a few statistics in the article I have not included, because I've already wrote about them. Also, Elle from stated earlier that there have been "more than 8 million Xbox Live Arcade downloads since launch", while the Gamespot article says "5 million total downloads so far" of Xbox Live Arcade games. I geuss Blackburn's information must have been a little older). 60% of the people with Xbox 360 consoles are connected to Live, sending an average of 900,000 voice and text messages a day. Over 2 billion hours have been logged on Live, which is around 228,000 years. 30% of users have bought Microsoft Points, spending over 1 billion points (almost $12.5 million), with about 45 million total downloads. On average, there have been around 25 downloads per user.
Next Blackburn spoke about Xbox Live Marketplace, and what new features are coming. In some games you will be able to browse and download content from in the game, instead of having to quit and work from the dashboard. An example he gave was for a combat flight simulator, where you would be able to look through planes and weapons in a hangar, and without ever leaving the game download the content you wanted. Another thing to be added to Xbox Live Marketplace will be the ability to preview Premium content before purchasing it. Pictures will be added, so you will know more about what you're buying before spending your money.

Those are some impressive numbers, and it looks like what Microsoft has in store for Marketplace just keeps getting better.


A video preview of upcoming accessories

On, there is a preview for the Wireless Racing Wheel, Wireless Headset, Vision Camera, and HD-DVD drive. It's cool to see them being used, and they look like they will work great when they are released.

[Via Gamerscore Blog]


Molyneux on next-gen combat and motion controllers

Peter Molyneux, the creator of Fable, had some things to say about how combat can evolve in this generation. Along with showing a demo of how combat could be done (and although it was done in Fable's style he says it's not Fable 2), he said he thinks motion controllers are not the next step and just leave the player tired. Read more of what he said at


Monday, August 21, 2006

Vibrating the controller in video chat (and more Vision tidbits)

The Xbox 360 FAQ on has been updated, and has a little on the Xbox Live Vision Camera. Most of it is stuff I've already covered, but here are a few new pieces of information:

  • The cable is 9ft long
  • To use it on the PC, the following drivers must be downloaded: "Xbox Security Method 3, Version 1.00" and "Microsoft Xbox 360 Live Vision Camera"
  • When the camera is plugged in, you get a "watery background effect" in the dashboard
  • When using the music visualizer, you can play with it with your movement. What you do will have a "ghosting effect"
  • The ring on the front of the camera can be used to focus it
  • In UNO, you can zoom in with the camera
  • You can video chat with someone even if they don't have a camera, and only they can see you (if they want they can talk with the headset though)
  • You cannot send video with your messages, only pictures (which can't be saved on your hard drive, but can be kept in your messages for as long as you want)
  • And here is the most interesting (and funniest) part: While in video chat, you can vibrate the other person's controller with the triggers. I wonder how this could be used? ;)