Ninja Blade will ship to South Africa in April

Ninja Blade I can’t say I’m a fan of the Armored Core series of games, maybe because I’ve never played them, but FromSoftware have produced an awesome game called Chromehounds. Unfortunately it wasn’t well received by the market, but it remains an awesome game to play as team. Those who know the game most probably can thank Incredible Connection for the bargain price of R99 that one fateful weekend.

Here is the press release for their latest title, Ninja Blade:

JOHANNESBURG, 27 February 2009 – Microsoft and FromSoftware announced that Xbox 360 exclusive “Ninja Blade” has gone gold and will ship to retailers in South Africa on 4th April 2009.

FromSoftware, well-known for their work on “Armoured Core” and the “Tenchu” franchise, created a modern ninja epic where Ken Ogawa and his team of skilled fighters battle a terrifying disease that transforms the citizens of Tokyo into an infected monster horde. Armed with an extensive arsenal of ninja weapons and abilities, including Ninja Vision and Todomé Attack, players confront grueling challenges in their mission to save humanity.

“Ninja Blade” will have an estimated retail price of R699.00 and is rated PEGI 16+.  For more information, visit www.xbox.com/ninjablade.

Microsoft SA says no increase for Xbox 360 game prices

Late in 2008 the word on the street indicated that first and third party Xbox 360 game titles distributed by Microsoft locally would increase from the typical R699 recommended retail price to R899 and R999 per copy. Microsoft South Africa has issued the following press release regarding the Xbox 360 game prices that it distributes.

JOHANNESBURG – 23rd January 2009 – Microsoft today announced that there are no immediate plans to increase the prices of Xbox 360 games in South Africa.  Top of the range, new titles will remain fixed at R699.99 and Limited Collectors Editions at R799.99, despite speculation of game price increases in the volatile market. The pricing for Xbox 360 titles ranges from R 299 for classic games, to a maximum of R799.99 for first rate collectors titles, which means that there is always something affordable available for every gamer. This pricing is in line with the standard price of software in the gaming industry.

This is great news for gamers who were getting worried about the prices hitting about R999 per title.

A comment on the Gears of War 2 map codes

Last week some South African gamers were a little disappointed to open up their copies of Gears of War 2 only to find that the expected download codes for the Gears of War Flashback multi-player map pack and the golden Lancer in Limited Collectors Edition were missing.

Our local Product Marketing Manager for Xbox 360 in South Africa, John Press, has issued the following comment:

The Gears of War 2 limited collector’s edition for the South African market does not contain any of the downloadable elements found in the version advertised on international websites & where the Live service is available. Live has not launched in South Africa at this point and as a result downloadable content which relies on users having legitimate access to the service is excluded from the content of the collector’s edition.

Legislation and a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority prevents us from utilizing Live branding on local versions of the game until such time as the service is available in country. The inclusion of Live branding and Live related content would imply that the service is available locally and could be construed as being misleading .

We are in the process of seeking alternative methods of delivering this content as we recognise the value this content to our local customers. In addition we remain committed to bringing Live to SA but unfortunately there is no update with regards to a launch date at this point. We appreciate your understanding at this time as we seek an alternative solution to this issue.

Not the answer we all wanted to hear, however at least we have an official response on the matter. Technically I don’t believe any local retailers advertised the inclusion of the downloadable content codes in the products they sold, it was all an assumption based on what was offered for other regions.

I’ll post as soon as I hear any more with regards to an alternative content delivery method.

Live your very own movie premiere every night

You're In The Movies boxartThere is some awesome value coming to the Xbox 360 platform this festive season with family oriented titles like Lips, Scene It? Box Office Smash and finally the awesome new title You’re in the Movies.

It works with the Xbox LIVE Vision camera accessory that has up until now been unavailable in South Africa due to it being an Xbox LIVE accessory. However its being bundled with You’re in the Movies and dubbed the Xbox LIVE Vision camera. 🙂

Judging by how popular the preview code was we had running at rAge 2008, I think this is going to be a really popular title for the entire family and it comes with an ESRB E (Everyone) rating. You’ll be surprised how much fun the game is and how much exercise you end up doing acting out scenes in front of the camera.

JOHANNESBURG – 04 November 2008 Be the star you’re destined to be with “You’re in the Movies,” hitting South African store shelves on the 28th November.  Premiering exclusively on Xbox 360 in time for Christmas, “You’re in the Movies” is truly the first and only game of its kind.

With a recommended retail price of R699.00 bundled with an Xbox Vision camera, “You’re in the Movies” combines cool with kitsch as you live out your dreams of becoming a scream queen, zombie or kung fu master.  The game transports players into a magical world of cinema and hilarious improvisations.  Using the Xbox Vision camera, players’ minigame actions can be captured and placed into short, riotous films that put the spotlight on the unique and often dubious acting talents of friends and family. With “You’re in the Movies,” you’re about to be a star — if only straight to DVD.

Up to four friends can bask in the spotlight and play starring roles.  But rest assured, even watching from the sidelines is fun!  A top-notch director guides actors through their roles with simple instructions and immediate feedback; in fact, the director even rates actors on their physical performance in mini games. This exciting scoring system will stop you A-listers from getting too lazy.

Or jump into Director Mode and produce your very own blockbuster. Lock yourself in the edit room and get to work filming the next big hit. Choose your music, add your own voice-over and re-edit to your heart’s content.

“You’re in the Movies” is another great part of the Xbox 360 story as it continues to build on the universally captivating entertainment on offer, including the widely anticipated “LIPS” and “Scene It? Box Office Smash”.

For more information please visit http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/games/y/yitm.

Watch out SingStar, here comes Lips

rAge 2008 Lips main stage demo photo courtesy of DenouncerAt the rAge Expo this earlier this month we had a chance to experience preview code of the new karaoke game for the platform Xbox 360. Its the first game I believe to include wireless microphones never mind motion sensitive ones.

Microsoft South Africa has just announced that the game will be available locally in time for the festive season and at the usual game price. The bonus here is that the game comes bundled with two wireless microphones which is an unbelievable value considering the current exchange fluctuations.

I really like the idea of the jukebox mode were you can literally pickup and play, or should I say sing.

This is surely going to be a hit title for families and company end of year parties, even though a bottle of tequila might be a good idea to lubricate the vocal cords.

The official press release follows:

LipsJOHANNESBURG – 30 October, 2008 – Calling all shower singers, wanna-be rappers, pop princesses and bedroom belters: “Lips”, the highly anticipated singing party game exclusively on Xbox 360, will be hitting stores on 21st November 2008.

Priced at a recommended retail price of R699, 00, “Lips” is the only music video game that comes with two wireless motion-sensitive microphones, allowing you the freedom to put your own spin on a song and not trip over any cumbersome wires as you dance around your living room. You can even get other people involved in your songs by having them playing percussion with your Xbox 360 controllers.

The “Lips” line-up features great songs from a wide range of musical genres that set the stage for evenings of fun. Whether you’re throwing a party for your friends or simply staying at home with your family, “Lips” will have everyone singing and dancing together to party favourites, backed by their ORIGINAL music videos, lyrics and scoring. Plus, you can even plug in your MP3 player and sing along to your OWN music collection while a virtual music video accompanies your performance.

It doesn’t stop there. “Lips” also has exciting features like the ability to compete against your friends or family and a co-operative element that allows you to try and crack the song together.

Accomplished singer/songwriter, Lira, has been playing games on her Xbox 360 ever since she received it at last year’s South African Music Awards. “My boyfriend and I love playing competitive sports games, and I’m very excited about Lips and all of the upcoming Xbox games – they’ll definitely help to entice my girlfriends to play with me – they’ve always seen gaming as a boring “boy thing”.

So if you feel like you want to “Bust A Move” or simply want to “Boogie 2 Nite” then “Lips” is simply “Irreplaceable” for a night of unbelievable entertainment in the comfort of your own home!

More information about “Lips”, the hottest party game this Christmas, can be found at http://www.xbox.com/lips.

Call of Duty: World at War beta key winners

Call of Duty World at War screenshot Congratulations to Ivan Daw and PARANOID365 for being randomly selected from the comments, you each should have received and email from me with a redeem code for the Call of Duty: World at War Xbox 360 multiplayer beta.

Sorry Frank, a moving comment, but unfortunately it was a random choice. Congratulations though on your newborn, hopefully he grows up to be a gamer. 🙂

Call of Duty World at War multiplayer beta keys

Call of Duty World at War screenshot I have two Call of Duty World at War multiplayer beta keys to giveaway. Note that these keys are for the Xbox 360 multiplayer beta and you need a hard drive, bandwidth to download the beta (890 MB) and an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription to play. In my experience I would recommend you have at least a 384 kbps ADSL line. For international play I’d recommend unshaped ADSL bandwidth to reduce the latency however shaped bandwidth is just fine for local play. I’m limiting this giveaway to South African Xbox 360 gamers only.

If you meet the requirements above, leave a comment on this post including your email address and I’ll announce the winners on the 23rd of October through random selection. Creative comments might stand out. 🙂

South African Xbox 360 search engine

Thanks to the new Google Custom Search functionality I’ve setup a search engine for South African Xbox 360 sites and blogs. Its currently in testing and will improve in time. If you run a South African Xbox 360 related site, get in touch with me and I’ll add your content into the search engine configuration.

To make it easier to access I’ve created a shortened URL for it http://tinyurl.com/za360search and if it proves popular I’ll register a cool domain name for it.

I welcome the community feedback on the idea.

South African NXE Storage Solution confirmed

The New Xbox Experience (NXE) update which has been confirmed for release worldwide on the 18th of November 2008 has gotten a few of the local South African users a bit concerned. This follows the news last week that the NXE will require about 128 MB of storage on either an Xbox 360 Memory Unit or an Xbox 360 Hard Drive.

Microsoft have since revealed their proposed storage solution whereby qualifying Core and Arcade owners can receive either a free Xbox 360 Memory Unit or Xbox 360 Hard Drive. Unfortunately this seems to only apply to Xbox 360 owners in the US and Europe. More details on the international Xbox 360 Memory Upgrade program can be found on that over here.

I’ve just gotten off the phone and I’d like to let the South African Xbox 360 users know, Microsoft Xbox South Africa is working on a similar program for South African users. So don’t stress you will still be able to get to experience the New Xbox Experience when it releases even though we don’t officially have Xbox LIVE yet. Remember that firmware updates for the Xbox 360 console ship on the retail game discs so even if you aren’t an Xbox LIVE user you will be able to get the update from new game releases as well as through download from the support site.

The New Xbox Experience due out in November

 New Xbox Experience screenshotYes its official, courtesy of Major Nelson’s blog:

John Schappert, Corporate Vice President of Xbox LIVE, Services and Software, announced today during his Tokyo Game Show keynote that the New Xbox Experience will ship to Xbox 360’s around the world (in 26 countries, localized in 11 languages) on November 19th 2008.

Unfortunately that means that it won’t be on the Gears of War 2 disc that ships about a week earlier.

Personally I can’t wait to get my hands on the new dashboard. It looks so slick and logically organised. Granted a lot of the features like Netflix movies and Video Marketplace will be null and void for South African users, but I believe the remaining features will make it more than worthwhile. And the best part is that you don’t have to buy anything to get it. Yes as always, Dashboard updates are FREE.