xbox 360

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Christina Loguidice's picture

Que: Kinect’s Evolution: Then versus Now

My new article for Que, Kinect’s Evolution: Then versus Now, has now been posted. In it, I discuss a brief history of Microsoft's Kinect and some of its latest uses. Finally, our new book, My Xbox: Kinect, Xbox 360, and Xbox LIVE, is now targeted for a February 2012 release, in order to incorporate all the latest and greatest information on the platform.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Que: Xbox 360 Fall 2011 Dashboard Update Features and Expectations

My new article for Que, Xbox 360 Fall 2011 Dashboard Update Features and Expectations, has now been posted. If you still haven't read about all the new features coming to the Xbox 360 with the pending update, then be sure to check it out. If you're in the beta program, the update should hit within the next few days, with a wide release for all Xbox 360 owners expected within the next several months. Finally, our new book, My Xbox: Kinect, Xbox 360, and Xbox LIVE, is now targeted for a February 2012 release, in order to incorporate all the latest and greatest information on the platform.

Bill Loguidice's picture

New Book Deal and Updates on Other Projects

I'm happy to announce that there will be a third new book from the Armchair Arcade team in 2011, this one entitled, TouchPad For Dummies, which will begin production shortly after the HP TouchPad's official release July 1, for an anticipated November 2011 retail availability. This will be written by me and Christina Loguidice, and joins our other book, My Xbox: Kinect, Xbox 360, and Xbox LIVE, which is well underway, as well as Motorola ATRIX For Dummies, which I wrote with Dan Gookin and will see release in August. Of course, Matt Barton and I are still in production on Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution, from Lux Digital Pictures.

I can't announce any specifics as of yet, but Christina and I are also in negotiations for two Nintendo books, one of which might be written this year. If either of those deals happen, we'll of course let everyone know. Here are the Amazon links to all of the Armchair Arcade team's books to date:
      

Bill Loguidice's picture

E3 2011 Viewpoints: Microsoft Kinect, Xbox 360, and LIVE

I thought it would be better that instead of doing a giant E3 blog post, to have separate discussions for each company to maximize ease of debate and discussion. Since Microsoft went first, I'll talk about them first.

First, here's the stuff that's immediate from Microsoft's session:

  • Kinect Fun Labs is immediately available and includes new avatar creation features and augmented reality stuff. I downloaded it (slowly) last night, but have yet to try it. The basic concept is a good one in that it really is a "lab" and new gadgets and features will be added over time.
  • Microsoft claims that the Xbox 360 will continue to be the number one selling console month-to-month in North America, but will also achieve that worldwide in short order.
  • It looks like all the rest of this is coming in the big Fall update, which I suspect will hit some time in September:

    • Lots of upcoming games (even hardcore ones) will make use of Kinect voice and gesture recognition, which, in addition to further integration into the dashboard will no doubt ensure that Kinect sales will continue to be brisk and Microsoft will continue to build a blueprint for their next generation system.
    • YouTube is coming to Xbox LIVE, joining the already-in-place Facebook and Twitter, among others.
    • Voice-command driven (via Kinect) DVR and an Internet TV service (Xbox LIVE TV) that will be in direct competition with standard cable and satellite services.
    • Bing (universal) search is coming to the system; you can also use Bing voice commands via Kinect to access marketplace stuff directly.
    • You can access PC media libraries using Kinect.
    • Microsoft will offer cloud storage for game saves and profiles, potentially making both using a USB stick to transport your profile to other systems and the account recovery process unnecessary.
    • A bizarre Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel was announced. I have an awesome Logitech force feedback wheel system for my PS3 and PC, so I'm definitely up for good steering wheel controllers, but this one might be a bit too radical of a design. I wish Microsoft would just reissue their now discontinued force feedback wheel.
Bill Loguidice's picture

Microsoft's Xbox 360 bucking the sales trend of the typical console lifecycle...

Today, Microsoft announced that "by extending the capabilities of the Xbox platform with Kinect and Xbox LIVE, Microsoft has 'changed the tail' of the typical console lifecycle, showing dramatic gains in the fifth and sixth years of this generation." In addition, they’ve released the following data points:

  • Microsoft has now sold 55 million Xbox 360 consoles across 38 countries and sales are accelerating.
  • Xbox 360 maintains its lead in the U.S. as the top selling console in 2011, and ten of the past eleven months.
  • In the first four months of 2011, Xbox 360 has seen a 29 percent year over year increase in sales, which is more than triple the growth of PlayStation 3 and the largest growth of any console on the market.
  • There are now nearly 35 million active Xbox LIVE members worldwide spending an average of almost 60 hours a month on the service.
    Cumulatively Xbox LIVE members are now logging 2.1 billion entertainment hours a month.
Bill Loguidice's picture

Quick Behind the Scenes in the Creation of My Xbox

As you already know, after completion of Motorola ATRIX For Dummies, which comes out in July, I'm now knee-deep with Christina in writing and developing My Xbox: Kinect, Xbox 360, and Xbox LIVE, which comes out in October. The "My" series books are extremely colorful and visually oriented, with some of the chapters we've written thus far having more than 50 images (in fact, one has 73!). I thought I would briefly share how the development process works from the author side, with some accompanying visuals.

Chris Kennedy's picture

Custom Xbox 360 Arcade Controller

Custom 360 Arcade ControllerCustom 360 Arcade ControllerI posted this a couple of years ago on another site, but I recently found myself thinking about creating another controller. I thought I would post my work here just for kicks and encourage those of you that want to try "hardware homebrew." It is really a lot of fun.

Chris Kennedy's picture

Monkey Island 2 LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition to Feature Audio Commentary

The Secret of Monkey Island is my favorite game of all time for any platform. It is a bold statement, but it is true. We've seen a lot of news and product in the world of Monkey Island over this past year, and this latest bit of news concerning MI2:SI is exciting.

When SOMI was remade and released last year, the artwork and music were updated. In addition to this, the voice actors from the later games in the series were brought in to dub the original game. What put the word "special" in "Special Edition" was the fact that you could toggle between the old graphics and the new graphics to balance a need for updated art with that of nostalgia. That said, I believe that the original artwork to SOMI and MI2 still looks great.

The second entry in the franchise is getting a remake, and this time it has in-game audio commentary from the creators. Yes. That's right. In. Game. Commentary. Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer, and Dave Grossman have provided commentary for an update to a classic adventure game, and it will be included in this summer's MI2 release on PC, X-box 360, Playstation 3, Mac, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Commentary? For an adventure game? What took so long? Why hasn't this been done before?

Bill Loguidice's picture

CES 2010 Breaking News: Microsoft Announces "Microsoft Game Room" for Xbox 360 and PC with tons of Classic Gaming Goodness!

Microsoft Game Room ImageMicrosoft Game Room ImageAccording to a Microsoft Press Release and confirmed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft will be releasing something called the "Microsoft Game Room" some time this spring, and, within three years, will see the release of over 1000 classic videogame titles, including arcade, Atari and Mattel Intellivision games, the latter of which was confirmed by Facebook friend Keith Robinson of Blue Sky Rangers fame as one of the available launch systems (other systems TBC). Apparently this area will be avatar-based, where your Xbox avatar will roam an arcade-like setting to find and play games (a bit like Sony's Home on PS3). There's a two-tier price structure, with one being an outright purchase of the game in question, and the other being a low cost, single play option, just like putting a quarter in an arcade machine in the days of old. We'll keep you posted as more news develops, but this is great news for those of us - like the readers of Armchair Arcade - who are passionate about classic gaming. The more love the current three consoles give (and each already has given a lot) to gaming's past, the better it is for all us as gamers, particularly since it looks like this is going to be a long generation with the big three. It's unclear how this will work with the PC as of this writing, but the fact that PC gamers are being invited to the party just makes it all the better, as well as the fact that owning it on one gives you access to it on the other.

Bill Loguidice's picture

1 vs 100 on Xbox Live - Pure Genius and Possibly One Big Piece for the Future of Videogame Entertainment

Well, after playing a bit of Major League Baseball 2K9 and Fight Night Round 4 on my Xbox 360 today to unwind after a busy week, I noticed that once again the 1 vs 100 "live game show" was going on tonight and scheduled for many additional nights thereafter. After telling it to remind me when it was on (the start time for tonight was 10PM EST), I of course shut the console down (negating the reminder), had dinner with my family and watched some TV. Around 10:20ish I logged in to play some more Fight Night (it's a "make your hands tired and sore" type of game, so you need frequent breaks), when I figured what the heck, let me see if I can check out this 1 vs. 100. Never having seen the show, but being aware of it, I wasn't quite sure what I was in for, but after entering the game in progress from the lobby I quickly surmised it was a trivia game show, and for anyone who knows me, knows I love trivia, so this was right up my alley. For those who are unfamiliar with the format, essentially one person answers trivia questions against a Mob of 100 other players until the one person either decides to keep the money and quit, gets knocked out by answering a question wrong, or eliminates all of the other players and wins it all. The nifty thing about this Xbox Live version is that you're playing against tens of thousands of other players, though the one and the 100 for that round are picked from the pool, and you're also pitted against three other players locally. Tonight at its peak I believe there were some 70,000+ players in one game. So what's so special about this? Well for one, there's a live host. Two, there's all the thrill of playing against online opponents without the chance for griefing or drop outs or any of the other things that usually plague these types of games. Third, you play for real prizes, in this case Xbox Live Arcade points and Xbox Live Arcade games (tonight was Worms). Prizes are given out every game (and it's implied that in the future there will be more types of prizes). In fact, even though it's still in beta, apparently tonight was the first night that they got to give out real prizes. So really, the live host, the prizes and the shear volume of other places really gave a sense of "reality" to the game (not to mention commercial breaks!) that's often missing from even some of the best online experiences.

I remember very distinctly many years back playing online game shows like Jeopardy on the Web before they gave out under their own popularity (and a free model they couldn't sustain). Now that there's a network like Xbox Live to handle a lot of the messy details, games like 1 vs 100 as part of Xbox Live's long-in-the-works-and-finally-coming-to-fruition Primetime Channel point the way to even more possibilities and depth in our videogame experiences. Of course, that's nothing but a good thing and I'm glad to be part of it. Anyone else get to try 1 vs 100 yet? Share your experiences with us!

And a game in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0BXdgz8Ipg

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