Another Microsoft Xbox 360 Falls Prey To Red Rings of Death

Red Rings of Death
Red Rings of Death

Yet another story of an Xbox 360 owner who feels betrayed by Microsoft after having their console die on them. My Xbox 360 was over two years old, a launch title system, that has now succumbed to the Red Rings of Death. A shame, really.

For a while now, my Xbox 360 has been having problems, particularly a system tray malfunction. When this happened, I lost the ability to play all of my Xbox 360 video games. Now, what use is a video game console that is not able to actually play video games? Here’s an answer, pretty useless. So I make an attempt to stay a fan of Microsoft and decide to make use of the Xbox Live On Demand service. Although the game library on that service is down right pathetic, only allowing for some of the old hits such as Lost Planet and Call of Duty 2 (wow, ground breaking).  So I purchased Lost Planet: Colonies and downloaded the Just cause 2 demo, I was able to make due with just those games alone even though I was a bit disappointed that I lost access to half of my gaming library. You may say, why not just hand it in? Probably because I do not feel that I Should pay in order to fix a problem that is not my fault.

So anyway, it turns out that apparently, my Xbox 360 was on its last stand. It turns out that while my brother was playing Lost Planet: Colonies, the Xbox 360 froze in the middle of the gaming session. So my bro literally lets it sit and see’s if it would resume where it left off for more than 10 minutes, and it would not. So apparently, when he tried to turn it off and on, the only response was the Red Rings of Death. Really disappointing while being of great use to me as well.

With just the disk tray failure, I would have to pay in order to send it in, because I am well passed my warranty. However, with the addition of the Red Rings of Death, it saves me money because my console is not 3 years old yet. But regardless, I will have to wait over a month in order to get my Xbox 360 sent back to me which is pretty annoying when its right around the release of Final Fantasy 13.  I feel that this is all Microsoft’s fault due to the fact that they wanted to rush out a console in order to avoid competition with the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. So, Microsoft, was rushing out a console at the cost of quality.

Well, thats my rant for the day, I am officially suspicious of all Microsoft video game related products to come in the future and will most likely be going with the PlayStation 3, its sequels, and the PC from now on. RIP to my Xbox 360 that died of the Red Rings of Death disease.

Will Project Natal Ultimately Fail?

Project Natal
Project Natal

Project Natal is Microsoft’s attempt to enter the realm of motion control technology, but will it fare well on the Xbox 360 against the mounting competition?

Take a look at why the Wii Motion Controller is working so well. It is fairly simple actually. The Wii Motion Controller was released as the first of its kind, so to speak, in the current generation of video game consoles. It had no competition at the start and took the video game industry by storm, selling more consoles than any other currently has. Project Natal, however, is entering at a later time alongside the PlayStation 3 motion controller that is coming out, which will certainly give it a run for its money. But besides the problem of competition there is a flaw within the premise of Project Natal itself.

Think about why the Wii Motion Controller has been so successful. Yes, because it is one of the first successful displays of motion control technology on a video game home console, but also because it has two physical peripherals required to control yourself. The feeling of something physical, something that gives you the ability to perform your on-screen actions is more important than what you might think.

Project Natal is a much more complex, arguably, motion control premise. It is a hands-free control scheme that just requires you to make movements in front of a sensor in order for it to be replicated on-screen. Does that sound familiar? Yes, the PlayStation 3 has had its eye toy out for some time now, that performed the exact same thing for months. To be honest, it did not gain much exposure either. Although Project Natal may be more complex than the Ps3 Eye Toy, it does not warrant more exposure to be gained or even more support.

Having a physical controller that allows you to make use of the motion control technology is deemed necessary for the fact that it is more convenient when playing a hardcore or intense game. You can use the controller to mimic a gun, a sword or any object that you may interact with in the game. It is a device that allows you to let your, and the developers, imagination run wild as you enter the digital world and act as if you are really there. Take a look at some of the Wii peripherals or even some of the PlayStation 3 motion controller demos that simulate archery or sword fighting; it can be really amazing. But with Project Natal, you have a hands free interface that seems geared solely to family and party games. Intense games can not be mimicked by such an interface, successfully at all, which takes out many of the video gamers who own an Xbox 360.

So why will Project Natal fail? Project Natal has done the costly job of alienating part of their fan base by coming out with an interface, a technology, that can not effectively perform well in the intense or hardcore gaming niches. As of now, the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 motion controllers will most likely see more support from developers as it can get the job done much better than Project Natal will be able to. So for those of you with high hopes for Project Natal, keep hoping, because it seems that Microsoft has done a great hit and miss here.

Xbox Live’s Impact in the Video Game Industry

 

facebook_xbox_360
Facebook Xbox 360

Xbox Live has always been hailed as the best online video game service to be made to the available video game consoles. It started off as a fairly stable and efficient online service, but now has evolved to being two steps ahead of its competition, and you may be wondering why and how far it has come.

 

The original Xbox started off late into the console war, not getting much hype and facing some strong adversities. It was a fairly new console with little support going for it. It was going up against the heavy weight PlayStation 2, which had many games and heavy support going on for it already. So the Xbox had a small graphical superiority over the competition, but that would not be enough to attract a strong crowd towards it. So what else could make it become a highly competitive opponent? A strong online service.

So apparently, with the release of the Xbox 360, a completely new Xbox Live service was created which was ages ahead of the competition. Though is requires a monthly fee for the Xbox Live gold membership, which allows you to play your multiplayer Xbox 360 games, it has more players and higher activity than that of the PlayStation Network. Often finding ways to innovate the video game industry by offering some of the best features including Facebook, Netflix, Contests, Games on Demand services and more.

So as of today, it has reached a pretty impressive mark considering the origins. So what more can Microsoft do to innovate the online service even further? People are considering that they will finally bridge the gap between the PC online gaming community and the console gaming community. Uniting the two gaming crowds would be a momentous achievement that would surely keep them ahead of the game for years to come. But that would require a large effort on their part most likely, such as finding dedicated servers that could support such a large count of people.

Xbox Live has managed to raise the importance of gaming together, opposed to the days of playing exclusively single player games. It changed the direction of the video game industry, making the developers have to focus on providing the best multiplayer services and connectivity available, ultimately causing a small revolution within the gaming community. It is actually annoying some of the gamers who choose to hold true to their roots, and still demand a robust single player game. Which is generally a problem because the big companies tend to focus on providing an innovative and engaging multiplayer experience, while sometimes even rushing the single player campaign.

It is pretty clear that Microsoft caused a change of wind in the video game industry with the release of the Xbox Live service, and it will hopefully continue to innovate.

Microsoft Starting Xbox Live Rewards Program Testing

Xbox 360
Xbox 360

Microsoft has started conducting Xbox Live Rewards Program testing for those of you who have Xbox Live accounts. You may have been receiving an email from Xbox Live saying how out of the millions of active members, only a few will be chosen to win.

Surprisingly, when Microsoft was contacted for confirmation, they did indeed confirm that they are looking into ways to incorporate a rewards program for Xbox Live users. They say that they are constantly looking for ways to entertain and provide new and interesting things for their customers. They are currently looking into testing a pilot rewards program with a “select” amount of users in the Xbox Live community of the US. Though they have nothing more to say than that.

So far, the email that is sent has a sign up time period before the program ends, which is the 21st of October. The email simply requires you to do a survey, that gathers your thoughts on the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live service as a whole. Though unclear what the program will require you to do, it may reward you with things such as Microsoft Points, Free Xbox Live membership or even retail games. But what I am guessing this will require you to do is either take surveys for entry into these contests, or something else that benefits Microsoft without you knowing. Not saying that it is a bad thing though, since it does return back to the community.

Modern Warfare 2 250GB Xbox 360 Bundle by Microsoft

Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360
Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360

Infinity Ward has recently released at a press event that Microsoft will be releasing a new Xbox 360 console based off of Modern Warfare 2.

This newly branded console will have Modern Warfare 2 graphics on it, will be black, and will come with a 250GB HDD. Along with a copy of Modern Warfare 2, and two wireless controllers. It will go for $399 and will be released on November 10th. It’s currently available for preorder already.

This sounds like a great deal, and if I didn’t already own an Xbox 360, I’d be extremely tempted to get one. It has everything you would need. The headset, Modern Warfare 2, and two wireless controllers. Modern Warfare 2 alone is enough for me to want to get the bundle, but the custom graphics to be on the Xbox 360 is an even further reason to get it. It’s one of the games I’m looking forward to the most. So for those of you who aren’t Xbox 360 owners as of now, you should consider getting this 250 GB Xbox 360 Modern Warfare 2 bundle.