Something very weird happened to me two weeks ago. The Microsoft PR team reached out to me to ask if I’d like to take their Windows Phone 8 “switching challenge.” This is part of their new program to convince people to dump their iPhones and Android phones in favor of a Windows 8 model. They asked me which phone I wanted to try and my response was: Send me the best phone you have. They sent over a beautiful blue ATT Nokia Lumia 920.
During yesterday’s E3 Press Conference, Microsoft unveiled their brand new XBox 360. It’s black, smaller, has touch controls, 250 GB Hard Drive, built in WiFi and is supposed to be whisper quiet all for the low price of $299. If you already have an Xbox 360 you’ll need to get the transfer cable for $20 to transfer all your data. The new 360 is replacing all current models and is available now – although, it hasn’t shown up on Amazon.com yet. It’s an odd looking machine and still lacks Blu-ray playback, but this is a really nice design upgrade. Especially considering it addresses two common complaints – the noise and the $100 fee people had to pay for the WiFi accessory. Also announced at the Microsoft Press Conference – Project Natal is now officially called Kinect. Kinect’s unique sensor and specially designed games transform full body movement into game play. I’m sorry but the entire concept of this device is just dumb. ESPN is coming to Xbox Live in the form of a brand new subscription channel. New games include Gears of War 3, Halo Reach and Fables III. The press conference ended with MS giving everyone in the room a brand new Xbox 360! Why is it stuff like this never happens when I attend press conferences? I really want this machine, but I finally replaced my launch Xbox last November (no red ring) and just got a 250 GB HD last month, so I can’t justify a purchase.
Here’s something interesting, ESPN Streaming is coming to the Xbox 360. With the Xbox 360’s large male audience this a great fit. According to the New York Times Disney and Microsoft are having closed door meetings and live streams of sporting events à la the now aptly-titled ESPN360 could come to the console on a per-subscriber fee, along with related interactive games. Now this is something I certainly pay for, but it’s an interesting example of where television is going. I’ll admit I have soured on Microsoft due to their restrictive licensing policies and if MS really wants the Xbox 360 to become a multi-media powerhouse they have to start releasing larger capacity HDs. I only have 40 gigs left and there’s no larger drive I can buy, even if I could, I couldn’t because I already did a license transfer and have to wait another year before I can do it again. WTF is that? I guess MS doesn’t want people to purchase multiple Xbox 360s! The PS3 let’s you redownload stuff up to 5 times.
Last month I wrote one of my classic vitriolic fueled rants about how much I despise iTunes. I never got around to posting the rant because I thought it was too over the top – even for me. So I really want to like the Zune, I’ve given it a go on several different occasions, I love the hardware but the Zune software has always left a lot to be desired. When the ZuneHD came out a few months ago I had renewed hopes of finally getting out from under the tyranny of Apple and iTunes. I mean the ZuneHD has been getting universal raves. So I couldn’t wait for the fine folks at Microsoft to send me a review unit. I finally gave up and purchased a 32-Gig ZuneHD from Amazon last week and I have to say – color me disappointed.
SEGA will feature numerous titles across six different platforms, including legendary icons and dazzling new stars, as the company continues to develop both original and high-profile licensed properties on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the Wii™ system from Nintendo, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, Windows PC, and the Nintendo DS™. SEGA will showcase their games at booth #2001 in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Aliens vs. Predator™ (Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3 system, Windows PC) – Releases early 2010
The next-gen version of this benchmark multiplayer First-Person-Shooter franchise is coming with SEGA’s new Aliens vs. Predator game. From the developer of the series’ first title comes this next big event, with three unique species fighting for supremacy on the battlefield. Play as Predator, Marine and Alien in three radically different single-player experiences that intertwine to create a thrilling story. Jump into cinematic non-stop multiplayer action with a rollercoaster-ride of explosive firepower, horror, stealth and gory fang and claw combat.
In one of the worst kept secrets on the web, the Zune HD is now official. Microsoft will roll it out next week during E3 and the official launch is coming in the fall. MS hopes to make the Zune HD a competitor to the iPod Touch. It’ll feature a 3.3 inch, OLED, HD Radio Tuner, and HD Output. But the real announcement isn’t the Hardware, it’s the fact that Microsoft is going to add the Zune Pass to the X-box 360. The theory is you can purchase content or use the subscription service on all your Windows stuff. Cool in theory, right now for some odd reason the Zune Content isn’t compatible with the X-Box 360. So I’m all for tighter integration.
Update – I now have the official Press Release. Read it after the break.
Our new buds over at Microsoft have given us something really cool to giveaway – An Exclusive Battlestar Galactica branded 16 Gig Zune! This Zune is a pretty sweet little device. I find that I’m liking the Zune software more and more. Originally it was just so different than iTunes – which I really don’t like, just tolerate it because it’s cohesive and easy to use. The audio quality on this Zune blows away my iPod Touch and iPhone, the base on it is pretty thumping. I would actually switch to a Zune in a heartbeat if I wasn’t already so locked into the iTunes/iPod/iPhone ecosystem.
This exclusive Zune comes with ½ of Season 3 and the full final season of Galactica that’s 30 Episodes of Galactica on one little device. You also get one free month of access to the Zune Music Subscription service that will let you download almost 2 million songs for “free,” the service is $15 a month after your free trial. Contrary to popular belief, as the picture shows below, you can run the Zune on a Mac using Parallels.
- Contest is simple the contest period will go from May 12, 2009 to June 12, 2009. Leave a comment about
- BSG, Music, or why you would want a Zune.
On June 12, 2009 I will select 1 winner at random to receive it.
I would really like to get a minimum of 50 comments (real comments, no spam. Only 1 of your comments will count) before giving it away otherwise I may put it back in the Prize vault. Many of you Non-DC area readers constantly complain about us only having DC Related contests, well here’s your chance to participate.
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Do you like Puzzle games? I like Puzzle games. Puzzle Quest: Galactrix hits the old XBox Live Today and hey guess what, we’re going to have a bunch of free download codes in a few days for you.
Puzzle Quest: Galactrix is a rich new addition to the beloved Puzzle Quest universe, incorporating a compelling blend of casual and hardcore game elements similar to those adored by fans of Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords into a futuristic, science-fiction setting. In Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, an all-new hexagonal puzzle board allows for deeper strategy as it heeds to gravity according to a player’s location in the universe. This, along with new gameplay elements like hacking jumpgates, negotiating with factions, trading commodities and collecting blueprints make Puzzle Quest: Galactrix a captivating new adventure to explore and conquer.
Activision and Microsoft announced today the highly anticipated Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved™ 2 for Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Developed by the industry veterans at Bizarre Creations, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, the sequel to the smash hit, takes players on an all new adrenaline ride through six different action-packed gameplay modes. With all the signature vibrant visuals and heart-pumping battles of the original, the game also features a new electrifying soundtrack and exhilarating local multiplayer modes in either versus or co-op for up to four players. The title is scheduled for release this summer via download on Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360 and has been rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB.
Here is the official press release from the Microsoft Press conference. It goes into more detail on the items already discussed. You can check it out after the break. Clearly the focus of MS is on improving Live and expanding the content download experience. I forgot to mention in an earlier post that they now have NBC Universal onboard as a content partner. That means you can download Battlestar Galactica and other Sci-fi channel and Comedy Central shows.
I have not tried Netflix’s new video streaming service because I don’t have the new $99 Netflix box and I’m not a fan of watching video on my laptop – even though I do have a 24 inch monitor to connect it too. My problems are solved, this fall you’ll be able to stream Netflix movies directly to your X-Box 360. While Netflix’s selection of available content is pretty slim pickens, they do have a nice selection of TV programming like the complete Incredible Hulk TV Series. The service will be available at no extra cost. The 360 will be rocking this fall – and that’s not a plug for the upcoming Rockband 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour. It looks like MS is not ready to let Sony come in and still their thunder. With price cuts, all of these Xbox Live changes, MS is ready to fight the PS3 on it’s own multi-media turf. The content will be streamed in SD, but Netflix is working towards HD Screaming. The service will be available to Gold Members only.