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.

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 Troubleshooting Guidance

I can see flashing red lights on my console

Seeing flashing red lights on your console’s Ring of Light is not always a bad thing. A lot of people see flashing red lights and think the dreaded Red Ring of Death (RRoD) has struck and often its just a case of a loose video cable. Here is a quick guide as to what you see courtesy of ZeroDesolation:

/ \
\ / One red light flashes on the Ring of Light and you receive an error message: Hardware failure. Restart the console. Contact Xbox Customer Service if the problem is not resolved. If the agent cannot help you resolve this issue, you will have to return the console to Microsoft for repair.

/ \
\ / Two red lights flash on the Ring of Light: This behaviour occurs when the console is too hot. Power down for a while. Check sufficient ventilation. Verify the cooling fan is working. If the two lights continue to flash red after you tried the solutions, contact Xbox Customer Service. If the agent cannot help you resolve this issue, you will have to return the console to Microsoft for repair.

/ \
\ / Three red lights flash on the Ring of Light: Hardware failure. Restart the console. Contact Xbox Customer Service if the problem is not resolved. If the agent cannot help you resolve this issue, you will have to return the console to Microsoft for repair.

/ \
\ / Four lights flash red on the Ring of Light: The A/V cable is not correctly connected to the Xbox 360 console. The cable is not being detected by the console. Verify proper installation of the A/V Cable. This error will not occur if the cable is improperly plugged into a TV or VCR. Try another cable. If the four red lights continue to flash after you follow these troubleshooting steps, the Xbox 360 console may have to be repaired.
Contact Xbox Customer Service.

What is covered by warranty?

Your console comes with a one (1) year warranty for manufacturing defects and faulty parts. Microsoft has stated that each console will be covered by a three (3) year warranty only for the 3 flashing red lights (RRoD) issue. Both warranties run from the day of purchase.

What isn’t covered by warranty?

The following items are not covered by warranty:

  • If the console has been opened, tampered with in anyway or any of the seals on your Xbox360 are broken.
  • Lightening strikes and power surges.
  • Power Supplies.

International consoles and out-of-warranty claims are chargeable.

Warranty Repair & Swapout

South African Xbox 360 owners that have encountered a problem with their Xbox 360 consoles can either download a copy of the Warranty Procedure Claim Form (522 KB), complete it and fax the form including proof of purchase to MiDigital or complete the online Xbox 360 Claim Form. The relevant telephone numbers are contained in the document.

After changing consoles you can use the License Transfer Tool to transfer licenses from your old Xbox 360 console to your new console. Note that this can only be done once per year, so make sure you are happy with your new console hardware before doing the transfer.

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.

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.

Xbox 360 price-cut for South Africa

Awesome news for the local gaming industry. The Xbox 360 was by far the prominent console platform at rAge Expo 2008 once again and it just goes to show how committed Microsoft South Africa are in succeeding in this market.

JOHANNESBURG – 6th October 2008 – Microsoft today announced the new lower ERP for its entire Xbox 360 family of consoles in South Africa. Enjoying evenings of entertainment at home with friends and families has never been more affordable and fun. Everyone has the ability to play high definition games, watch movies and share pictures, live out their musical fantasies and star in their own Hollywood classics — all from one console, starting at an estimated retail price (ERP) of only R 1799.99.

From today, Xbox 360, which includes a 60GB hard drive and one wireless controller, will have an ERP of R 2699.99. The Xbox 360 Elite, which comes with a massive 120GB hard drive enabling consumers to store huge quantities of content, will have an ERP of R 3499.99. The Xbox 360 Arcade console, perfect for those wishing to make their first foray into the gaming and entertainment world of Xbox, will have an ERP of R 1799.99.

The new ERPs are part of Microsoft’s ongoing strategy to open up the ultimate in high-definition gaming and entertainment to an even wider audience, with something for everyone.  To date and testament to this broadening approach, Xbox 360 has broken through the six million mark in Europe since the lower ERP’s were recently announced abroad. Along with the new Xbox experience, the Xbox 360 platform is offering a stunning games portfolio for all ages and interests this Christmas, with new titles for music lovers, family-friendly games, and exciting blockbuster titles for the committed gamer.

“We’re proud to be expanding the reach of Xbox as the first next-generation console to break the R2000 barrier, making the platform significantly more affordable than competitors” said Marc Batten, Head of, Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business South Africa.  “History shows that the majority of console sales happen after this price point has been breached, and we’re well positioned to take advantage of this mass market pricing.  We’re passing on the benefits of being the first console to sell over 20 million units worldwide, and of the ever-expanding ecosystem of Xbox, to consumers. 

“In addition, with shoppers tightening their belts and feeling the pinch of prices on the rise, staying in is becoming a more viable form of sociable entertainment. In the line up for Christmas, you can expect over 90 new games launching including some really innovative entertainment experiences. Together with these groundbreaking new price points we hope to continue to enjoy fantastic momentum in South Africa.”. Adds Batten

Bringing Music Games to Life

Whether you’re an aspiring groupie, songbird or big-haired rocker, this Christmas Xbox 360 transforms your living room into a thrilling soundstage for you and your friends. No other system connects you with all the music you love:

· “Lips” (iNiS/Microsoft Game Studios). “Lips,” an all-new music franchise exclusively from Xbox 360, is the only singing party game that offers wireless motion-sensitive microphones and a robust and diverse list of songs representing multiple musical genres, ranging from pop, rock and dance to hip-hop, country and R&B.

· “Guitar Hero World Tour (RedOctane/Activision). The latest instalment from the No. 1 best-selling video game franchise of 2007, “Guitar Hero World Tour” will transform music gaming by marrying the exhilarating guitar gameplay of “Guitar Hero” with a cooperative band experience that combines the most advanced wireless instruments with revolutionary new online and offline gameplay modes.

Xbox 360 Is the Life of the Party

Xbox 360 truly gets the party started with a wide-ranging portfolio of exclusive games for the whole family, including:

· “You’re in the Movies” (Codemasters/Microsoft Game Studios). Get ready for your close-up. “You’re in the Movies” brings the cool factor to kitsch as you live out your dreams of becoming a scream queen, zombie or kung fu fighter. Premiering exclusively on Xbox 360 this holiday season, “You’re in the Movies” is the first and only game of its kind to literally transport players into a magical world of cinema mixed with the hilarious world of improvisation.

· “Scene It? Box Office Smash” (Krome Studios and Screenlife/Microsoft Game Studios). “Scene It? Box Office Smash,” the revolutionary movie trivia game on Xbox 360, will ignite your game night this Christmas with totally new questions, movie puzzles and more high-definition (HD) content from real movies including some of Hollywood’s latest blockbusters. With the New Xbox Experience, players can literally put themselves into the game through custom avatars that respond to play and react to one another throughout the course of the game. 

· “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” (Rare Ltd./ Microsoft Game Studios). Available exclusively on Xbox 360 in November, from the creative masterminds at Rare, “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” is an action-adventure game that breathes new life into a franchise that has entertained people of all ages for a decade. In a platform genre first, players create their own abilities by building vehicles for Banjo to pilot over land, sea and air in a variety of Challenges where their choice of vehicle and tactics determines the course of the adventure.

· “Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise” (Rare Ltd. /Microsoft Game Studios). In this sequel to the colourful sleeper hit “Viva Piñata”, players can venture outside the boundaries of the immersive and ever-changing garden to retrieve exotic piñata species from two new lands, the Dessert Desert and the Piñarctic.

The Biggest Blockbusters of 2008 and Beyond

With the most popular blockbuster games to date and some highly- anticipated titles in 2008 and beyond, Xbox 360 is the pre-eminent place to play all the big titles that gamers thirst for, including the following:

· Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks).  Included in “Fallout 3” is an expansive world, unique combat, shockingly realistic visuals, tons of player choice, and an incredible cast of dynamic characters. Every minute is a fight for survival against the terrors of the outside world—radiation, super mutants, and hostile mutated creatures.

· “Fable II” (Lionhead Studios/Microsoft Game Studios). This Xbox 360 exclusive action role-playing game offers players an epic storyline and an unprecedented level of freedom and choice. Every decision defines who the player becomes and influences the evolving world around them.

· “Gears of War 2” (Epic Games/Microsoft Game Studios). “Gears of War 2” is the most anticipated Xbox 360 exclusive title this holiday season and will be released worldwide Nov. 7.

· “Tomb Raider: Underworld” (EIDOS).  “Tomb Raider: Underworld” represents a new advancement in exploration-based gameplay. As fearless adventurer Lara Croft explore exotic locations around the world, each designed with an incredible attention to detail resulting in breathtaking high-definition visual fidelity that creates a truly believable world and delivers a new level of challenge and choice.

· James Bond: Quantum of Solace (Treyarch/Activision Inc.)  James Bond is back to settle the score in Activision Inc.’s Quantum of Solace video game.  Introducing a more lethal and cunningly efficient Bond, the game blends intense first-person action with a unique third-person cover combat system allowing players to truly experience what it is like to be the ultimate secret agent as they use their stealth, precision shooting and lethal combat skills to progress through missions.

· Prince of Persia (Ubisoft).  “Prince of Persia” is set in a land rooted in ancient Persian mythology, with the Prince finding himself caught in an epic battle between the primal forces of light and darkness.  Master the acrobatics, strategy and fighting tactics of the most agile warrior of all time. Grip fall down the face of a building, perform perfectly timed acrobatic combinations, swing over canyons, buildings, and anything that is reachable.