My thoughts on Xbox LIVE Arcade titles being delisted

Xbox LIVE - Don't remove Arcade titles If you’ve been following the latest news out of Microsoft you may have noticed the article with Marc Whitten where he mentions that certain under performing Xbox LIVE Arcade titles are going to be delisted from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Chris Paladino was quick to clarify some of the community questions about it in his post over here. reassuring people that they will still be able to download the title from their Account Management->Download History section of their Xbox 360 Dashboard.

I can understand the need to do this. There are 130 Xbox LIVE Arcade titles currently available on Xbox LIVE UK and it can really make it difficult to see which titles are good and which aren’t. But why remove the under performing titles? There is already an Xbox LIVE Marketplace section titled Arcade Hits but it only has 7 titles in it. Why not just create more means by which the content can be categorised?

One great idea is to allow users to see more meta data about the title. Its mentioned that titles with less than 65 on Metacritic and a bunch of other sales criteria are likely to be de-listed. Why not expose that information about the title in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace? I can just see it now, it’d be a wicked mash-up of Xbox LIVE Marketplace content and external ratings. Heck, why not allow respected gaming sites to offer rating services and allow the gamers to choose which ratings providers they’d like to see? And yes, the ratings providers should not be allowed to add free text to the listing, just a range of scores about the graphics, sound, gameplay and overall as most of them currently do anyway.

And while we’re at it, allow me to rate the games I play for all to see and let only my friends and mature users see my comments about the title.

Its awesome to see the growth in Xbox LIVE Marketplace content but I honestly believe its time for simpler and more powerful ways of navigating and finding the content I want out of all the other content. Don’t take the old content away, I might still want to try that out!

[tags]Xbox LIVE Marketplace,XBLA,Xbox LIVE Arcade,rant[/tags]

Announcing Co-Optimus.com

I just got word about a new site, Co-Optimus.com, which seems to be the first site to focus solely on co-operative gaming on consoles and PCs alike. The official press release follows:

Easton, PA – January 28, 2008 – Nicholas Puleo, current Editor-in-Chief of EvilAvatar.com, has announced a new resource for Cooperative gaming aficionados, Co-Optimus.com.   Co-Optimus.com is your prime source in the co-op gaming world.  Co-op gaming allows 2 or more players to team up against the computer to achieve a goal.  There was almost 100 games released in 2007 with a co-op mode as well as a growing trend continuing into 2008 of developers putting cooperative modes into their games.  In fact, games like Electronic Arts’ Army of Two and Valve’s Left for Dead are being designed from the ground up as a co-op experience.  This has created a need for gamers to find out exactly what games have the co-op features they want, and gamers want to know how those games will play.

With virtually no other websites dedicated to co-op games, gamers are having a hard time finding the information they need for their co-op experience.  Co-Optimus.com fills this void by providing an extensive database of games that feature a co-op mode across nine platforms including the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii.  The site also features user reviews, ratings, and matchmaking as well as discussion forums to help find a buddy for all your co-op needs.

“Since Doom popularized cooperative play on the PC more almost 15 years ago, it’s been the absolute best way to enjoy a gaming experience,” says Puleo.  “Until now it was difficult to find information on cooperative games for any system, Co-optimus.com solves that problem.”
To celebrate the launch of Co-Optimus.com the site is giving away codes and discs for many popular Co-Op titles, including the recently released Burnout Paradise from Electronic Arts and Omega 5 for Xbox Live Arcade.

About Co-Optimus.com
Co-Optimus.com was founded by Nick Puleo, Editor-in-Chief of Evil Avatar.com.  He’s been in that role for four years and has covered the games industry for six.  Puleo also manages TheWeeklyRelease.com, a website dedicated to video game, DVD, HD DVD, Blu-Ray, and movie release dates. 

In theory it is very similar to our very our local site The Xbox Lounge. I encourage you all to go over and take a peek.

[tags]Xbox 360, co-op[/tags]

Free Xbox LIVE Arcade game announced

After the recent service issues that some users experienced with Xbox LIVE over the festive season a free Xbox LIVE Arcade game was announced and now we know what and when. The free game is Undertow worth 800 Microsoft Points and it will be available for FREE to all Xbox LIVE users (yes both silver and gold) from 12h00 on Wednesday the 23rd of January 2007 until 09h59 on Monday the 28th of January 2007.

[tags]Xbox LIVE Arcade,Undertow,Xbox LIVE[/tags]

Free Xbox LIVE Arcade game coming soon

Major Nelson has posted about a free Xbox LIVE Arcade game for all Xbox LIVE members which will be made available in the coming weeks. This freebie seems partly as a result of the recent Xbox LIVE service issues that users have experienced.

Dear Xbox LIVE Members:                                                                                                    

During this past holiday season you helped us break a number of Xbox LIVE records.  This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox LIVE in our 5 year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service. 

As a result of this massive increase in usage we know that some of you experienced intermittent Xbox LIVE issues over the holiday break.  While the service was not completely offline at any given time, we are disappointed in our performance.  I would like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you for your patience and understanding as our team has worked around the clock to return the service to a stable state. 

At the same time we would like to offer a token of our appreciation to all of you in celebration of record success for the service.  And as a thank you for your loyalty during this holiday period, we will be offering all of our Xbox LIVE members around the world access to a full Xbox LIVE Arcade game that will be available to download free of charge.  In the coming weeks we will be sharing the specific details of this offer with you. 

Thank you again for helping make Xbox LIVE everything that it is today! 

Sincerely,

Marc Whitten

General Manager, Xbox LIVE

Gamertag: Notwen

[tags]Xbox LIVE,XBLA[/tags]

rAge 2007 round-up

Master Chief visits rAge 2007 After three very busy days rAge 2007 is now over, if you missed it, then you missed out. Once again the Xbox 360 console dominated the consoles at the exhibition with almost every stand featuring at least one.

It was quite a shock to not see an official presence for Sony’s PlayStation 3 console. Yes there were a few consoles tucked away on various stands of which the most interesting was the one on the Megarom stand with a preview build of Haze on it. I must say I wasn’t too impressed with it, sure the graphics looked wicked but the game-play was jerky and not what from a next generation console title.

The Nintendo Wii console seemed attract a bit of attention as was to be expected. I can’t help wondering how long it will be until the novelty will wear off. At times during the show I found myself laughing at how funny kids and adults looked waving that Wiimote around. I even gave it a try with Pirates of the Caribbean and got quite annoyed with the seemingly delayed response to my actions; it was more irritating than cool. I suppose its great for bowling, boxing and other sports titles but it doesn’t really do it for me in general.

Halo 3 multi-player on the Xbox 360 stand On the Xbox 360 front, the highlight of the show was definitely Halo 3, which dominated the Microsoft stand with both co-op single-player watchtowers and an 8-player multi-player Slayer setup seeing a constant stream of players eager to discover the Halo franchise for the first time. Considering that Xbox LIVE is not officially available in South Africa, yet, it was an awesome demonstration of the Xbox 360 system link (LAN) functionality as I believe most people were not aware that Xbox 360 consoles could be networked together.

This year we got to see some very cool new games and pre-release games such as the highly anticipated sequel Project Gotham Racing 4 (PGR4), which garnered much interest from the crowds passing by. The game now features more cars, weather conditions and the addition of motorcycles. If you enjoyed PGR3 then you should definitely consider picking up a copy of PGR4 when it releases in October.

The MiDigital stand had numerous games on show including Virtua Fighter 5 and a preview of the awesome new game TimeShift.

Guitar Hero 2 on the NAG stand Megarom show-cased the Call of Duty 4 Multiplayer Beta running on Xbox LIVE as well as a preview copy of Assassin’s Creed which was demonstrated twice daily on the big screen for all to drool over. A preview of Guitar Hero 3 with a wireless Gibson electric guitar proved to be immensely popular but not as popular or loud as Guitar Hero 2 on the NAG stand.

Nu Metro had a preview of Kane and Lynch available to play. I must say that graphics didn’t seem that amazing however I won’t dismiss the possibility that the game might receive some spit and polish before being released and surprise us all.

MINI 37 - Arcade Racer On the PC front I was quite surprised to find local game developer, Luma, showcasing their new racing game, MINI 37 – Arcade Racer, developed for MINI South Africa. Tracks in the game are currently based on the South African A1 Grand Prix circuits and I understand that some episodic content is in the pipeline.

The game is currently nearing development completion and will be available as a 120mb free download from their web-site. If you prefer to conserve your bandwidth it will also be made available on the November 2007 NAG magazine cover disc.

Its really awesome to see a local game developer succeed and I can’t wait to see if Luma can take this PC based game to the next level as perhaps an XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) title in the near future.

Overall an awesome exhibition with plenty to see and do. I predict that the Xbox 360 console will do extremely well this festive season considering the awesome assortment of titles that will be on the market.

[tags]rAge,Xbox 360,PlayStation 3,Wii,Megarom,Nu Metro,Luma,Halo 3[/tags]