Saturday, September 16, 2006

Top Games on Live (Week of September 11th)

From Major Nelson, here are the top ten most played games while connected to Xbox Live, based on World Wide Unique Users:

Xbox 360 Top Live Games
1 Saints Row
2 Madden NFL 07
3 Call of Duty 2
4 Test Drive Unlimited
5 Ghost Recon 3
7 Oblivion
8 Texas Hold 'em
9 Chromehounds

Top Arcade Titles (Full Versions)
1 Texas Hold 'em
2 Hexic HD
3 Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting
5 Geometry Wars Evolved
6 Time Pilot
7 Scramble
9 Marble Blast Ultra
10 Bankshot Billiards 2

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

Overall, Halo 2 is the most played game.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Microsoft sued because of Xbox Live

Paltalk has filed a case against Microsoft claiming that Xbox Live infringes on their patent. Some things from the case (Downloaded from the Inquirer):

Game play on the Xbox or Xbox 360 through the Xbox Live online gaming service infringes the PalTalk patents. As a result of Microsoft's unauthorized and infringing use of Paltalk's patented technology, Paltalk has suffered damages in at least the tens of millions of dollars.

Microsoft has, without authority, consent, right or license, and in direct infringement of the PalTalk Patents used the methods claimed in the PalTalk Patents in this country.

It continues on about how Microsoft has "actively induced" others to use it, and provided software and hardware for use in "practicing the methods" PalTalk has claimed in it's patents.

The patent Paltalk says Microsoft infringed on states:

PalTalk's technology provides for efficient handling of communications between players necessary to maintain a consistent game environment for all players. PalTalk's technology covers a number of aspects of online gaming, including communications through a group message server as well as establishing groups for online play.

There is more, adding details of what it does and how it works.

Whether Microsoft wins this case or not, they have plenty of money to spare if PalTalk decides to ask for it. It probably won't really change anything besides possibly taking a small sum from Microsoft's vast pool of money.

[Via Xboxic]


XB Stream - RSS feeds and podcasts on your 360

PG4 just released XB Stream, which allows you to view RSS content and listen to podcasts on your Xbox 360. From the website:

XB Stream in a nut shell is an RSS/XML feed reader/aggregator that works with the XBox 360 video game console. XB Stream allows you to view xml based content feeds (xml, rss, rdf) on your Xbox 360 video game console; you can also listen to podcasts and blogcasts as well. XB Stream automatically downloads and converts text based content feeds into images that can be viewed from the media>pictures>computer blade and hear audio podcasts/blogcasts from the media>music>computer blade

Details on Version 1.0 here, and the download here.

[Via Xbox-Scene]

Here are some screenshots:


Weekly Arcade Rundown: Scramble released, HoopWorld in 2007, Roboblitz soon, and Small Arms gameplay

After a one week delay, Scramble was released on Wednesday and is now available for download. It will cost 400 Microsoft Points, or $5.

HoopWorld was originally going to be released this year, but now it will be available sometime in 2007. Developer Streamline describes the game as an "over-the-top, three-on-three multiplayer trick-game that fuses elements of arcade-style street basketball and the ancient Mesoamerican game of tlachtli to create a unique hoops experience. Through the combination of stylized multi-ethnic characters, multiple hoops, richly imaginative interactive locations, and an innovative points system based on collaborative 'tricking', HoopWorld is a new experience in what a downloadable arcade game can become". More at Gamasutra.
Although that game is still a long way off, another is almost complete: Roboblitz, developed by Naked Sky. From a post on the official website, here's what one of the developers said:

The game is super close to complete. Design and art wise, we're pertty much locked, now we're just making sure the game is bug free and fully optimized. An exact release date...still don't have one. But considering the state of the game, it can't be much longer. Believe me, we want the game out asap! The only thing we know for sure is that it'll be 1200 MS points, and the PC version will include (TBA) bonus content. SOOOON!!

[Via K1lla's Xbox Domain]

Lastly, I know many of you have probably seen this, but for those of you who haven't here is a video of Small Arms gameplay:


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Peter Jackson on the Halo movie

Peter Jackson, Executive Producer of the Halo movie, has been interviewed by Ain't It Cool News. It's a good interview, and definitely worth checking out if you're interested in what's going on with the Halo movie.
[Via Kotaku]


Xbox 360 bundled with GRAW for $400?

Club Skill says that on September 30th, an Xbox 360 bundle will be available for $399.99. According to the article, it will be the Premium package along with Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged, which is a collection of six arcade games: Geometry Wars, Wik: Fable of Souls, Bejeweled 2, Outpost Kaloki X, Hardwood Backgammon, and Texas Hold 'Em. This hasn't been confirmed, but if it is true it is a great deal: You're pretty much getting a full game and six XBLA titles for free.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Halogen: The Halo RTS that could have been

Slip Stream Productions has been working on a mod that would make a Halo RTS. But just a few days ago, Microsoft asked them to shut it down. In the forums on their website, they posted this letter:

Dear Friends,

For the last three years, we've worked incessantly to bring you the best Halo mod that we could. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but somehow Halogen has always managed to come out kicking. The problem with using copyrighted intellectual property as a base for a fan project is that you're very susceptible to legal action. We always figured that since Halogen was such a different take on the Halo franchise, we might manage to make it without incident. That changed today.

Hours ago, we finally recieved the words we've been dreading since the mod started to get noticed. Microsoft has decided that we are infringing on the intellectual property of Bungie Studios and has asked us to stop development on Halogen.

I was going to write a big sappy letter here, but what's the point. So..that's it then, I guess. The forums, site, and Moddb profile will all be shut down within the week. I can't say it hasn't been fun. It's a shame it has to end like this, but I suppose that's how it goes. Thanks, guys, for all the time you've spent supporting us. It's been a pleasure. We hate this as much as you do.

- The Halogen Team

The Halogen site has been closed, and the mod is officially over. It really is too bad, as it looked like it would have been awesome if it had ever been released. Why did Microsoft wait three years, after so much hard work had been put into it, to tell them to stop? Luke Smith at 1UP speculates that maybe Microsoft is planning on making their own Halo RTS. But no matter what Microsoft's plans are, something that could have turned out to be one of the coolest mods ever will now never be finished.

I've put together a collections of videos showing Halogen. Here they are:

[Via Kotaku, Joystiq]


Xbox 360 with an internal HD-DVD drive? (Update: Microsoft says nope)

DigiTimes says that Microsoft is planning on releasing an Xbox 360 with a built in HD-DVD drive, as early as the first half of 2007. According to their site, sources in Taiwan's optical disc drive industry say Microsoft is selecting manufacturers in Taiwan to build the drive for a second generation Xbox 360. Microsoft has previously stated that they have no plans for an internal HD-DVD drive, and I don't think there will be one any time soon.
[Via OXM UK]

Tony Hynes, or Bastelyon, the Online Community Manager in Microsoft's Global Games PR department, has posted on the Gamerscore Blog to say once again that there are no plans for an internal HD-DVD player:

Rumors of a built-in HD DVD sku are greatly exaggerated. We’re proudly launching the HD DVD Player as an accessory this holiday. Turns out you want a say in how you spend your entertainment dollars. So who are we to burden every customer with the cost of expensive movie technology?


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Xbox 360 Laptop (Update: Added pictures)

Ben Heckendorm has modded many consoles, but his latest creation is one of the best ever made.
He has taken an Xbox 360, and after three months of work completely transformed it into a laptop. Costing about $1200 in parts, material, and machining, it "became the most monstrously difficult [project] since I've been into this "portablization" thing" he says on his website. So what did he end up with? The screen is a 17" 1280x720 progressive-scan LCD VGA monitor. The Xbox 360 is water-cooled, and has a custom built radiator. Wi-Fi is built in, along with a keyboard, and if you want to connect anything else it has 3 USB ports. The screen and the system use a single customized power brick supply. On the back there are ports for a component TV, VGA monitor, analog or TOSlink sound system, and composite video. It is encased in all alluminum, with the exception of the plastic keyboard, ring of light, and screen control area. All of this, with water loaded, weighs in at 14 pounds, with these dimensions: 16.75" x 10.75" x 2.8".
Here is a step by step description of how he accomplished it, and here are pictures and videos of the final product.
Here are some pictures, just click on them for the full size:

[Via Evil Avatar]


Sunday, September 10, 2006

This Week's Releases: September 10th, 2006

Here are the games releasing this week:
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
NHL 07

Those are all releasing on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday the delayed XBLA game, Scramble.