Improvements to the Xbox 360 have apparently cut down on the number of "red ring of death" reports, but the console still requires more repairs than its competitors, according to data from PCMag's Readers' Choice Awards.
Approximately 10 percent of those polled for the survey reported having to take their Xbox 360 in for repairs over the last year, which was twice the rate of its competitors. However, that was a significant improvement over last year, when that number was 23 percent.
Many Xbox users are familiar with the console's "red ring of death," which replaced the glowing green center on the device's power button when the Xbox was on its last legs. Last year, former PCMag Editor Lance Ulanoff experienced the phenomenon after his son completed a Red Dead Redemption marathon on his Xbox 360. Though some Twitter users helpfully suggested that placing it in the freezer for a few minutes would solve the problem (really), he opted to send it in for repairs.
Last year, Microsoft unveiled a "slim" version of its Xbox 360 console at E3, which featured a redesigned case with a bit more ventilation than the original console. It included built-in 802.11n networking and a 250GB hard drive for $299.
Electronic Arts said Monday that its Battlefield 3 game has sold five million units on a worldwide basis within its first week, the fastest-selling game in EA's history.
The company admitted to some server instability, however, but claimed it was minor: the average service uptime remained at 98.9 percent throughout the weekend, with only some "intermittent disruption of online services due to high volume," according to the developer.
Battlefield 3, the latest wartime first-person shooter title from DICE and Electronic Arts, arrived in stores on October 25th, launching the opening salvo in this fall's FPS conflict. Available for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, Battlefield 3 arrives days before Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which is slated for release on November 8th.
If you've got one of the newer Xbox 360 S consoles and are starting to feel the squeeze of having a lack of hard drive space, perk up! Microsoft is getting ready to release a 320 GB hard drive for the console, a 70 GB improvement over the 250 GB drive that ships with the console. You can pre-order the new drive from Amazon now for $126.
What's not new: The Xbox 360 is likely getting a Fall update that contains significant graphical updates and a few new features, like enchanted Kinect motion and voice navigation, Bing integration, and, ultimately, live television streaming.
What is new: A freshly leaked video that shows just how some of the different components of the new Xbox interface are shaping up.
An unknown source has leaked a full video that shows off a lot of the simple menu navigation and new user interface elements allegedly arriving on November 15 as a part of Microsft's fall Xbox 360 dashboard update. What's missing, however, are all the juicy bits: A preview of the voice-activated search, for example, or any kind of mention of an integrated live TV service or promised social connectivity, like the ability to fire off news of one's achievements to a connected Facebook account.
Details are leaking out for the contents of the ultra-deluxe Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 "Hardened Edition," the fancy name for what amounts to the collector's version of the game, which you can pre-order now on Amazon. And the news doesn't come a moment too soon for rabid Call of Duty fans: According to new predictions from publisher Activision-Blizzard, the latest title in the series is expected to sell even more pre-sale copies than its previous versions.
It's not as if Activision-Blizzard has remained blind to the popularity of its first-person-shooter franchise, however. A brand-new subscription service is expected to be released alongside the November launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Dubbed, "Call of Duty: Elite," the service will give gamers the option for signing up for a free account or "premium" access to the service for the cost of $50 a year, or nearly the cash equivalent of one brand-new Call of Duty title.
So what's the point? According to Activision-Blizzard's official announcement for Elite, the online network will contain, "a wide range of state-of-the-art services, exclusive entertainment programming and all-inclusive game content for less than the cost of any comparable online entertainment service currently in the market."
Avatar Kinect, the Xbox 360 app that captures your facial expressions and maps them right onto your avatar, is now available as the newest gadget in Kinect Fun Labs. You can invite friends into a session, and communicate using your avatars in one of 24 different virtual stages. Things like a performance stage, talk show, and even a tailgate party. The sessions are recorded so that you can upload them to KinectShare.com, where you can download them and send them to the Twitters, Facebooks, and YouTubes of the world. You need an Xbox LIVE Gold membership to use Avatar Kinect, but Microsoft is opening it up to all members from now through September 8th.
On July 28th, Kinect Sparkler will appear in Kinect Fun Labs as well, showcasing the Kinect's new ability to do finger tracking. You use your body as a stencil and paintbrush, creating works of art in 3D, and uploading them to KinectShare.com. This one will cost 240 Microsoft Points.
What you see here is an R2-D2 inspired Xbox 360, along with a C-3PO Xbox 360 controller, and you'll find these as part of the Star Wars Kinect bundle that was revealed by Microsoft at Comic-Con. Also included in the bundle is a white Kinect sensor, Star Wars Kinect, and Kinect Adventures. The console also includes a 320 GB hard drive, which is a first for the Xbox 360 line. The console itself has custom R2-D2 sounds rather than the standard Xbox 360 chimes. You can pre-order these now, and they'll be shipping in the fall for $449.
Read More | Star Wars Kinect Bundle
One of the biggest complaints with the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 is its space requirement. For the depth-sensing cameras to function properly, Microsoft recommends a good eight feet between the Kinect sensor and your body. That's a lot of space, especially for all the apartment and dorm room dwellers out there.
Nyko might have fixed that problem with the Zoom, a surprisingly simple and affordable Kinect attachment that seriously cuts down on its need for room.
The Zoom is a wide-angle lens attachment that fits over the Kinect, changing how it sees the room. With a wider angle, it can see more laterally, but doesn't have as much depth. According to Nyko, this means the Kinect needs up to 40 percent less space than without the Zoom. Because it's just a set of lenses that fit over those on the Kinect, it doesn't need any power or complex installation; it just slides on.
The Nyko Zoom will retail for $29.99 when it ships later this year.
Microsoft didn't have enough time to cover everything that's coming down the pike for Xbox Live with the fall dashboard update, but they sent us an email detailing some of the new hotness that they didn't talk about on stage, and we're super excited to hear that profiles will be able to be saved to the cloud. What does that mean for the average Joe? Well, this means that instead of saving your games to your hard drive or USB stick, you can instead save them to the web. Same goes for your Xbox Live profile, along with achievements, friend list, etc. One thing I've always hated about having two Xbox 360 units in the home is that I need to remember to grab my USB stick and bring it upstairs and down if I want to log into Live. Now, I just enter a username and password on any Xbox 360, from any location, and I am logged in. The days of recovering a Gamertag will be history come this fall!
This morning at its E3 2011 Xbox Media Briefing, Microsoft announced that YouTube will be coming to Xbox Live this fall. They didn't go into too much detail about it, but you'll obviously be able to search and view videos from the YouTube service, and we're gonna go out on a limb and guess that you'll also be able to upload gameplay videos taken with Kinect directly to the service as well. Even without that last part though, adding YouTube is just another step Microsoft is taking in their hopes of making the Xbox 360 the ultimate living room hub.
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