Category Archives: Xbox Live

Price change for Xbox LIVE Gold subscription

 

As of November 1, 2010 there will be a price increase for Xbox LIVE Gold subscription in the following countries: Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom or the United States.

Amazon.com have a promotion now which let you get 1 year Live Subscription Gold Card for US$39.94 instead of the new price $59.99 from November 1.

Under is a table with the prices that are effected.

 Source: MajorNelson.com

E3 2010: Microsoft Press Conference

Microsoft held their press conference on Monday June 14, the day before E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) started.

It was not what I hoped for. They startet with showing trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gears of War 3, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Halo: Reach and Fable III. And the rest of the show was for their Project Natal, no renamed Kinect.

Kinect is a new pherepial for Xbox 360 which will let you use your body as a controller. It have multiple sensors registrating your movements. It can be described as a cross between Wii and the EyeToy. What they showed, Nintendo did years ago. To me it’s almost the samething, but in a new wrapping. You don’t use a controller, but your body. Under you can se some of the demoes showed at the press conference.

Kinect Sports gives you bowling, ping-pong, track & field, boxing, volleyball and soccer. Very much like Wii Sport.

Kinectimals is a pet simulator ala Nintendogs. 40 types of wild cats are available among lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, black panther and bobcat cubs.

 With Your Shape Kinetc you can exercise.

They also introduced the new Xbox 360 “Slim”. A smaller Xbox with 250GB harddrive and built-in WiFi. The price is $299 and it’s available now.

Testing Facebook, Twitter and Zune Video store on Xbox 360

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I assigned to the Xbox Live preview update for Xbox 360 and got into the first wave on October 22. Updated the Xbox with this falls big updates, which gives you Facebook, Twitter, Zune Video store and Last.FM (but only in US & UK) right on your Xbox 360. The update will go live for everyone sometimes in November. This is a preview release, so functions can changed or added I guess.

In the YouTube-video bellow, you can watch my recordings done with my Hauppauge HD-PVR. It was recorded at 1080i and downconverted to 720p before uploading it to YouTube.

Zune Video Store

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Zune Video store is the greatest news for me. Up until now only US and 5-6 selected countries in Europe had the option to rent movies on Xbox 360. With this update, 18 countries (including Norway) have the advantage to rent online. And best of all, you can stream movies in 1080p (not every movie, but some).

As of now, 89 movies are available for streaming/downloading in Norway. Not a lot, but we had zero, so it’s a start. When this is update goes public, I guess we will have more movies. Of the 89 movies, 19 are in HD. SD movies are priced at 350 Microsoft points, and HD are 470. But this price will probably vary at bit if the movies are new or old. The 19 HD movies are: Absolute Power, Constantine, Eyes Wide Shut, The Fugitive, Full Metal Jacket, Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Prisnoer of Azkaban, The Last Samurai, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Ocean’s Twelve, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Three Kings, Training Day, Troy – Director’s Cut, V for Vandetta.

I have a 12Mbit connection had watched Three Kings in HD. The quality was very good. When started, it buffered for a few seconds and played fine without any hickups for the whole movie. It was a great experience. I will definitivly rent more movies. Very easy, and the price is OK too.

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Facebook

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You can do almost everything with Facebook on the 360 as on the PC, almost. You can read news feeds, update your status, watch your pictures and your friends pictures. You can check whick of your Facebook friends who are on Xbox Live and vica versa. But there is no inbox. So you can read messages sendt to you.

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Twitter

With Twitter you can see the 50 last tweets from the people you’re following. You can write your own tweets, do search and see trending topics. I works well, but it will take ages to type in those tweets with your controller, even if it’s only 140 letters. Now is the time to get that Messanger kit/chatpad (check Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or Play-Asia.com), it makes it much easier to type.

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Last.FM

I haven’t tested Last.FM since that service is only available in US and UK. But it lets you stream music on the Xbox 360. I used my US account the get the picture.

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Conclusion

I’ve only been testing it for a couple of days, and it looks promising. It’s cool to have Facebook and Twitter on Xbox 360, but I can’t see that I will use it on a regualar basis. Both Facebook, Twitter and Last.FM can be used when you’re in the Dashboard. It cannot be used ingame. And for now, Last.FM is for the US and UK only.

The feature I will be using most is the Zune video store. For the first time, people in Norway and 11 other countries (18 in total) can enjoy movie rental on Xbox 360. Streaming movies at 1080p work very well. I have a 12Mbit connection and would like to hear from you with lower bandwidth and how it worked for you.

All in all, a good upgrade to the Dashboard.


If you use the screenshots, please link back to this post. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.

Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm and Zune soon on Xbox 360

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It’s getting closer to the next Xbox 360 Dashboard update. The new firmware will bring you four new services to the Xbox. It will let you use Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm and Zune from the Xbox 360 Dashboard. According to Xbox UK the update will come on November 17. Also there will be a public beta end of this month. If you live in UK, you will also get the Sky Player sometime this fall, which will let you watch TV on the Xbox.

If you are a heavy user of Facebook and/or Twitter, now is the time to invest in Xbox 360 Messenger Kit for text typing. I’ve been using it close to a couple of years now and it’s way better to type text than useing the controller.

For an indepth preview of the new services, you can check out Joystiq.com or watch the video from Engadget.com below.

Design a unique t-shirt – Avatar competition in Europe

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You now have a chance to “Design a unique t-shirt and win the chance to show it off exclusively on your Avatar“. The competition is open to the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

The submited file to avatar@wearegt.com have to be in JPG or PDF format and not greater than 4MB, closing date is 17:00 CET on 21 September 2009. For more info, go to xbox.com/en-GB/live/myxboxmyway, Terms & Conditions.

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Xbox Live Dashboard update – August 11 & Preview Program

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The next update for Xbox Live Dashboard arrives on August 11. There is also a Xbox LIVE Update Preview Program which you can sign up for to get the update early.

Here is all the new features, copied from Joystiq.com:

Netflix Updates (US only)
Now you can watch movies with your friends no matter where they are and manage your queue from the comfort of your couch.

  • Movie Parties – Xbox LIVE Gold members can sit together in a virtual theater with up to seven friends no matter where they are while your Avatars watch a movie, flirt or even throw popcorn at each other.
  • Manage Your Queue – Browse the Netflix Instant Watch video catalogue, choose from the most popular movies and genres and add to your queue all from the comfort of your couch – no computer required.
  • Enhanced Playback Experience – Enjoy a smooth viewing experience when your internet bandwidth fluctuates.
  • Friends Info – Richer information is now displayed in the Friends channel and in the Guide showing what you and your friends are doing.

Avatar Marketplace

  • Express yourself! Deck your Avatar out with the latest clothing and props from the top brands and game franchises. Please note that only limited content is currently available in the preview.
  • Clothing – Download premium items, including branded apparel from your favorite fashion labels and Xbox 360 games such as “Halo.”
  • Props – You can now equip your avatar with animated items they can carry around and interact with.
  • Awardables – The ability to earn Avatar clothing and props as rewards within games has been added. Please stay tuned for an update on supporting titles.

Games on Demand
Please note that Games on Demand will be available in the preview beginning early August.

  • Enjoy 24 x 7 access to a growing online library of popular full game titles on Xbox LIVE whenever you want them, in the comfort of your living room.
  • Purchase Options – Browse and download a great selection of full Xbox 360 games using Microsoft Points, direct debit, or credit card.
  • Game Manuals – Game manuals for Games on Demand titles can be viewed, downloaded or printed on Xbox.com.
  • It’s Yours Forever! – As with other Xbox LIVE content, Games on Demand titles are linked to your Xbox LIVE account, so you can delete and re-download anything you have already purchased to the same console or another console.

User Ratings
User ratings help you find games that other people think are awesome!

  • Rate it – You can now rate every game on the Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace using a 5-star system.
  • Sort and Find it – Now you can easily find the games that everyone’s been raving about by visiting the Top Rated games in the Browse All category of Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace.

Xbox LIVE Parties
Everyone loves to Party! Check out the new and improved Xbox LIVE Party features.

  • Party Reconnections – If you are accidently disconnected from your party, Xbox LIVE will automatically reconnect you.
  • Streamlined Party Invites – Invites are now just one click away! No need to click through multiple screens to get all your friends together.

Video Display Options

  • We’ve made it easier for you to see your entertainment in the highest resolution possible on your TV using an HDMI connection.
  • Display Discovery – Make sure you can see and hear your entertainment in the highest resolution and sound quality possible with the option to override and select audio and video formats independent of the information your television sends to your Xbox 360 console.

Other Improvements
We’re always listening to you for feedback, and this Xbox LIVE update will include numerous dashboard updates.

  • Gold Member Veterans – Xbox LIVE Gold members get to show it off with a stamp on your Gamer Card that tells people how long you’ve been a Gold member.
  • Indie Games – Xbox LIVE Community Games has been renamed Xbox LIVE Indie Games. We feel this new name better represents the independent spirit of these titles.
  • Achievement Browser – We’ve revamped the Achievements browser so it’s now easier to read through all the achievements while playing a game. You can now also launch a game directly from the browser.
  • Achievements Tracking – A new view inside the profile panel which includes a summary of Achievements earned across all the games played, and shows of all your completed games.
  • Streamlined Navigation – Streamlined navigation, including new entry points in the dashboard for Active Downloads, redeeming codes, recovering Gamertags and more.
  • Voice Messages – No more blank voice messages! When recording a voice message, a warning will pop up if no audio is detected.
  • Friends List Sorting – It’s now easier to find your friends! Find and sort your friends by activity, Gamertag or online status by pressing the Y button while viewing the friends list in the Guide.
  • Memory – Time stamps now appear in the memory area, which particular handy when managing saved games.

Account Management
We’ve made some changes to make your life easier.

  • Subscription Notification – If your Xbox LIVE subscription is about to run out, you will now be notified when you sign into Xbox LIVE.
  • Updates for Invalid Windows Live IDs – If the Windows Live ID you provided has expired, you will now be prompted to update it the next time you sign into Xbox LIVE.
  • Account recovery – We’ve enhanced the account recovery process to make it faster and more reliable.

What does this Xbox LIVE Update not include?
The following features will be coming in future Xbox LIVE updates, which we’ll be sure to let you know about.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Zune video and 1080p Instant On
  • Last.fm