Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Xbox Live-New Price raise.

Ever since Microsoft made the announcement that they would start charging an extra $10 for a year subscription to Xbox Live, all I’ve been hearing people say is, “Well, I guess I’m done with my Xbox now,” and “I’m going to get a Playstation 3 and use the Playstation Network instead.” It annoys the crap out of me whenever I hear it. Is something that drastic really necessary just because it’s $60 for a year instead of $50? I’m not happy with it either, but I’m definitely not planning on just cutting off my Live account because of it—let alone switch over to the incredibly mediocre Playstation Network. I guess the question is, “Can paying for Xbox Live even be justified?”

I’m not sure. I’m in a position where I don’t like the change, but I’m not going to fight it; fighting meaning protesting it and not paying for any membership at all (it’s freaking Microsoft! Who do you think is going to win?). I will continue to pay for it, but I will do the same thing I’ve always done and wait for the oodles of online sales for 1-year subscriptions and pay half the price. I just don’t understand why others won’t do the same. Apparently, it’s absolutely abhorrent that Microsoft would charge the same price of a game (which I also never buy at full price) for their online service.
In some sense, I suppose it is. I mean, I still think that charging $60 for a video game is ridiculous (I think charging $40 for a handheld game is too), but I just don’t care that much about paying $30 or $40 for a year of Xbox Live (once again, thanks to online sales). People I’ve talked with have said that despite me paying less, I’m still paying and telling Microsoft that I’m okay with their “price hike.” I suppose that’s true, but when I’m not spending more on it, I don’t really give a crap.

Although, I suppose this could just become a vicious cycle where the price continues to raise and the sales prices follow, killing the deal for me, but maybe that’s just the risk I’ll have to take. It didn’t matter last-gen when companies started making special-edition sets of their games for $60 to test the waters for a next-gen price hike (and it was optional then).
Just think about you’re getting with Xbox Live. While you may be paying to play online, you’re also getting the easiest online console interface of all the consoles to use. It’s just so incredibly easy to set up a chat with a group of friends, hop in a game with them, or play something else entirely and still talk to them. Sure, you can do this with the PC too, and for free, even; but not all these console games are also on the PC, and the simplicity of everything just doesn’t feel as fluid as Xbox Live’s interface.

Granted, the price increase is being made because Microsoft is adding useless things I don’t care about like Hulu Plus and ESPN bullcrap–which could have easily been part of some kind of “Xbox Live Super Platinum” membership instead of becoming a part of “Gold.” But I think that if you use Xbox Live, then just suck it up and continue to pay like I do. It’s nice to have compared to the Wii or Playstation 3’s free online setups. It’s sort of a “you get what you pay for” scenario—though, once again, PC online gameplay is free.
There will always be places selling the subscriptions cheaper, though, so there’s no reason to fight the concept. If, on the other hand, you actually don’t use Live that much (which is hard to believe, but true) then sure, I suppose you shouldn’t be paying for the service at all anyway. This is Microsoft we’re talking about, folks. They love their money, so the chance of never having to pay for Xbox Live is pretty much nonexistent.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Black Ops will sell 3x as much as MOH.

25% of U.S. consumers have spoken; this holiday will be all about Call of Duty: Black Ops. That’s according to Lazard Capital Markets’ latest survey in which 17% indicated interest in picking up EA’s Medal of Honor, a small number compared to the one aforementioned, but still not that far behind. “Importantly, given the broader interest and timing with gift purchases, we expect Call of Duty will still sell at least 3x the number of units as Medal of Honor, although game reviews remain a key variable in determining core gamer interest,” said analyst Colin Sebastian, who believes the words of Activision when the publisher says Treyarch’s latest will break the current record, even though he’s not blind to Medal of Honor “gaining traction.” Whether Black Ops sales break those of Modern Warfare 2‘s and abolishes Medal of Honor sales, dedicated gamers know better; quality always trumps quantity.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Microsoft's new upcoming Dashboard Update.

A few of the upcoming Xbox 360 Dashboard update's biggest changes have been heavily touted by Microsoft over the past few months: Things like a redesigned Zune Marketplace, ESPN streaming video and the power to control things with your mind! gestures. However, a few of the update's lesser known functions were recently explained by Microsoft -- for instance, did you know that the update will improve voice chat quality, a more streamlined approach to connecting to wireless hotspots, and also, sometimes, your 360's disc tray will produce sizzling strips of hickory-smoked bacon? To find out which one of those things we said was a bold-faced lie, check out the full list of changes coming in the next Dashboard update after the jump.

  • Improved voice quality -- the audio codec is being updated to improve Xbox LIVE Party chat audio quality. So grab your friends and jump into a multiplayer game, catch a big sports event, watch a movie or do all three.

  • Improved experience for changing your Gamertag -- choosing a new Gamertag? If the Gamertag you're looking for is already taken, your Avatar will spin a wheel and we will provide five other Gamertag suggestions at a time for you to choose from.

  • Streamlined in-dashboard virtual keyboard -- we've taken the existing QWERTY keyboard in-dash and made it easier to use for scenarios that involve repeated text entry, for example when signing up for LIVE within the dashboard.

  • Improved Xbox LIVE Marketplace UI and browse experience -- the Games Marketplace has been re-organized to provide streamlined access to the games and content you want, reducing the number of steps it takes to get to a download.

  • Avatar changes -- we've made your Avatars slightly more proportional so you can better play Kinect games

  • Easier to get on a wireless network -- trying to connect to a wireless network? With the next update, you'll see a list of all the wireless networks within range when you go into network settings. From there, you'll be able to select a new network or further configure the network you're connected to.

  • Ability to sign-out other controllers in the sign-in UI -- we're adding the ability to sign-out profiles on other controllers in the sign-in UI within the Guide. This is especially useful when playing games like Rock Band.

  • New browse experience for 100% completed games -- you spent a lot of time and effort earning those Achievements, so instead of only being able to view your first dozen completed games, we're giving you a new and better way to browse all of them.

  • Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Halo Reach-Legendary is hard!

    Bungie’s Halo installments are notoriously difficult on high difficulty levels. And the same is proving true for Halo: Reach. Its Legendary difficulty, the highest difficulty setting players can choose, is a downright beast. Difficult to beat cooperatively, and nearly impossible to tackle flying solo. So it makes sense that in this week’s Bungie Weekly Update, the developer revealed a startling statistic. According to Bungie, barely more than 5% of the Halo: Reach userbase have earned the “A Monument to All Your Sins” achievement. That chieve is unlocked when players, as you would guess, beat the campaign on Legendary, all alone. I beat the campaign on Heroic by myself and at times I felt like throwing my controller at the wall (goddamn Hunters!). Currently I’m slogging through on Legendary with my brother across Xbox Live and, yeah, it’s a b*tch. What about you? Have you beaten Halo: Reach‘s campaign on Legendary (alone, or not?).

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Sony looking towards to bring down "hack" websites.

    I'm not the one to post about PS3 gaming news, but I found this pretty interesting. People are bringing their Trade Mark down by having their logo on their site, therefore making them lose money. To the court!

    New and allegedly leaked court documents reveal that SCEA is showing courts that they own a whole host of trademarks including Playstation, PSP, PS and PS3. The purpose of this is to add weight to their case to bring down any websites that go over the top when talking about things like backup managers for the PS3 and serving ISOs. A few 'PS3' hack websites are mentioned in the document unsurprisingly. Here is what is being reported by PSX-SCENE, "In this round of court documents filed by SCEA, they are showing the courts they own the rights to the names "Playstation, PSP, PS, PS3" so they are pushing the courts for speedy discovery for any website that uses this trademarked "letters / names" in their domain names.One website that is mentioned a few times is "PS3HAX" for their in-depth reviews and tutorials on using the "backup manager" and of course "PS3ISO" for their daily updates for grabbing various games directly from the 'net!"

    Black Ops preorders outreach Modern Warfare's.

    GameStop has announced pre-order sales for Call of Duty: Black Ops are outperforming those of Modern Warfare 2.According to the chain’s SVP of merchandising, Bob McKenzie, the title has seen “all-time, record reservations” and are ahead of where Modern Warfare 2 was this time last year, a title which “previously set the industry standard”.Back in July, Pacific Crest analyst Evan Wilson said his retail contacts claimed Black Ops pre-orders were accumulating faster than Modern Warfare 2, and he predicated the game could sell 12 million units during the holiday season alone.Wilson also said CoD titles always set a sales record upon release, with each respective game doing better than the previous one in the series.Black Ops is due for release on November 9 for PC, PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360.

    If you have heard-Halo Reach has announced that they are the #1 most played game online to this date, for the past few weeks. This may be true, but don't worry Bungie-Treyarch is going to take everybody by the hand and run!

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Black Ops-Treyarch adds Interactive Maps.

    Something that has really gone under the radar is the interactivity that Treyarch has implemented into Black Ops’ Multiplayer Maps. On the map Launch, there is a colossal rocket that lifts off during gameplay. This was first seen in the Teaser Trailer but, as time went on, we learned that players beneath the rocket would be incinerated. The catch? There is a bomb site on Search and Destroy directly beneath the rocket. Players will have to play a little more strategically than they may have played in previous Call of Duty games. On the map Radiation, there is a set of blast doors that can be opened/closed via a control panel which may prove to be a tactical advantage in many game modes. It may be in your best interest to have the doors opened, or you may be struggling to get them closed again: it all depends on your tactics for the game mode in play. These are only two examples of the interaction in Black Ops’ MP maps, and it makes us wonder: what other surprises have Treyarch included?

    I did not make this, it was posted on

    200 free Microsoft Points! -Bing Toolbar.

    Bing, many know is a Search Engine in which is powered by Microsoft. They are trying to get the word out of their toolbar by giving out free Microsoft points! They will send it to you in the mail, but then can't beat free! The link to download the new Bing Toolbar is here:

    You actually get 250 points for the initial Toolbar Download, which 100 Microsoft points cost 100 Bing Points. So, that will give you a good 200 points. You also get points for doing searches using their Search Feature, and can add up quickly if you think about it. Google is the old, Bing is the new!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Price of text messages!

    Text messages cost you around, 30 cents to text one person, under 160 words. This is absolutely crazy, considering you are paying 6,000% more than what a company such as ATT pays. That's right, you heard it here. It costs them .0005\cent for them to store your message inside their database. MS (short message service) texts are limited to 160 characters because they, in effect, piggyback on a secondary data channel necessary to coordinate voice communications. Even if you're paying 10 cents per text, that's nothing to LOL about.

    "Six hundred text messages contain less data than one minute of a phone call," testified Consumers Union policy analyst Joel Kelsey at a hearing before Congress. If text data rates applied, he said, a brief cell conversation would cost customers $120.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Las Vegas Real Estate!

    Many home owners in Las Vegas are having trouble keeping their house, due to the lack of economy in Las Vegas. The unemployment rate for this location, is an incredible high 14.7% as compared to the National unemployment rate of 9.6%, more than 5%! This being said, you can find houses here for VERY cheap, it is remarkable. If you paid for a house in a place such as Montana for $400,000-you can get it for $150-175,000 dollars here. It is amazing on the deals you can get, especially around the Winter seasons! If you are looking to invest on a house in which you can live in, I highly suggest moving to Las Vegas. What is the house rates around your area worth? 

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    The real Death Star!

    When the original Death Star was destroyed, Emperor Palpatine apocryphally asked of Darth Vader, “Do you have any idea what this is going to do to my credit?” (I saw it on Robot Chicken, so it must be true.) Now, even though the entire treasury of the Galactic Republic was at his disposal, Darth Sidious was right to be perturbed, as — by at least one estimate — the Death Star cost about 15,000,000,000,000 times as much as the current (and controversial) U.S. economic stimulus bill.

    And that’s a conservative estimate…sort of. Setting aside that you can’t really put a price tag on the power to blow up planets — which requires about a billion-trillion times as much energy as can be generated by the United States — there is a very general way to estimate what it would cost us, right now, in current U.S. dollars, to build our own Death Star.

    “(The Death Star has) a volume of 17.16 quadrillion cubic meters. At 1/10 volume, we’ll need 1.71 Quadrillion cubic meters of steel, weighing in at 134 quadrillion tonnes. In 2008 steel products, from wire to ingots were selling for an average of $962 per tonne, so our cost of steel alone is $12.95 quintillion. Now, how about getting that into space? According to the numbers I could find on the internet, it costs around $95 million to ship 1 tonne of materials into space, so that means we’ll be cutting NASA a cheque for $12.79 septillion.”

    A septillion is a 1 with 24 zeroes, or a trillion trillions. Call it the stimulus bill squared.

    Now, this Death Star estimate makes some pretty glaringly wrong assumptions. First, we have no idea what the Death Star was made out of, and the Empire very clearly had technology (antigravity, hyperdrives, astromech droids, VGA targeting computer graphics) that we can’t use, and that almost certainly made the job of building a Death Star easier (read: possible).

    Second, I rather doubt there are 134 quadrillion tonnes of steel to be bought on the open market (or possibly even on the planet). World steel production is in the neighborhood of 1.3 billion tons annually. That means it would take over a million years just to produce that much steel at current global production levels, and we’d probably run out of raw materials before then. Also, the union labor costs would be killer, especially compared to the costs of mining droids or Imperial wookiee slave wages. And even if you could buy that much steel, doing so would almost certainly destabilize the market for steel so severely that the price would spike well beyond the 2008 average.

    The same destabilizing factors would apply to the spaceflight costs. The Saturn V is about the only human space vehicle that could deliver large payloads beyond low Earth orbit. The Saturn V could get about 50 tons of payload to the moon, which means we’d need 2.7 quadrillion Saturn Vs to launch that much steel into space. Considering that we’ve only ever launched 13 Saturn Vs, that seems unlikely. The proposed Ares V launch vehicle for Project Constellation will supposedly triple the Saturn V’s payload capacity, so we’d only need 900 trillion of those. If we launched one Ares V every second, it would only take about 28.5 million years to get them all into space.

    And all of that is just putting raw materials into space, with no heed paid to design, assembly, systems integration, or operational expenses. In most construction cases, materials represent about one third of total project costs, so at the very least, a Death Star would actually run you about 50 septillion dollars. Conservatively. But since it’s going to take around 30 million years to complete the whole project, we’ve got time to save up.

    *I did not create this, I found it and thought it was pretty damn interesting.*

    Medal of Honor Taliban=Opposing Force.

    Most of you have heard of the EA game, Medal of Honor. It is quite similar to Battlefield: Bad Company 2. It is based on the Afghan states with terrorists swarming each other. There has been dispute against EA for naming the "Bad people" the Taliban, a terrorist group in which was over thrown by the Afghan government for 2001. They have been receiving letters from Widows, sorrowers, and other people on the situation of how they should re-name the title of Taliban to "Opposing Force". The Taliban are people who should not ever, ever be remembered and they don't want it to be implemented in a game. A good choice on Medal of Honor's part. Pre-order it now and play online!

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Halo Reach is #1 most played!

    We all have heard of the famous Bungie, but are they really that good? Bungie Employees have verified that they are the #1 most online played game for the Xbox 360! Halo Reach has brought together many things other players have wanted, as it's the last of the series, sadly. [For Bungie that is] Halo will live on! Now, next month on November 9th, 2010, do you think Call of Duty: Black Ops will rack in far more? I personally think Black Ops will blow Reach out of the water, as many people bought Reach for the shear fact that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 simply got too old for them. Stay tuned for updates on Halo Reach and further console games. Thanks!

    Obama: Like or Dislike?

    I personally don't like him, but I do have to give him props for being the President. He is doing good things, you have to take into consideration that the economy is quite TERRIBLE as we are speaking. He has 16 years of inherited debt from the past years, and people are expecting him to fix it in his time in Office, I think not. Don't get me wrong-I'm not going for him at all, but I believe people should still show him respect because he could change things drastically while you aren't looking.


    Not many people like it, I personally absolutely adore it. It lets you go outside and just ride, without anybody telling you what you should be doing, or how you should be doing it. Being so high in the air, knowing that you caused it is a great feeling.

    New Xbox 360.

    You all know about it-the white, old Xbox was SUPER annoying-with it's "Twin turbine jet engine fan" [Just kidding] running through your house. It was just simply too old, thanks to Microsoft, there is now a new Xbox 360! It's slimmer, quieter, quite more appealing, and all around faster! Check it out here.

    Google Chrome

    Has anyone ever used this Browser? It's absolutely the best one possible! It has Anti-Crash, and is super light to use, the exact OPPOSITE of Internet Explorer. It's amazing. You guys should check it out. (:

    Apple iPad.

    Who's seen it? This thing is pretty impressive compared to other Apple products. Join in on the fun!

    Halo Reach MatchMaking changes.

    Halo: Reach‘s Matchmaking playlists have undergone a few changes, Bungie alerts. Not only that, quite the few map and gamemode adjustments have been introduced in the latest update as well. All are too numerous to go through here though; check below for the full list in all its glory. And there’s more to come: “Our team continues to work on improving the Reach online experience and we’re always listening to your feedback and reviewing the voting and game data we get from our servers. Reach will just keep getting better!” The studio also assures that the promised Campaign matchmaking is still on for October. They’ve nailed it down to either the 12th or the 19th, ” pending final test pass.

    Rumble Pit
    * Added Crazy King
    * Added Juggernaut
    * Removed Oddball on Asylum
    Team Slayer
    * Removed SWAT
    * Removed Classic
    * Weights adjusted based on voting data
    Team SWAT (New!)
    * Based on existing Team Slayer SWAT offering
    * Removed Hemorrhage
    * Replaced Zealot with Arena Zealot map variant
    Team Objective
    * Added Crazy King
    * Added several gametypes on Powerhouse (CTF, Assault, Stockpile, Crazy King, 3 Plots)
    * Removed heavy vehicles from all 4v4 Team Objective gametypes
    Multi Team
    * Added Rocket Race
    Big Team Battle
    * Added Crazy King
    * Removed SWAT
    * Removed Snipers from Boneyard
    * Weights adjusted based on voting data
    Doubles Arena
    * Removed Slayer Pro for Season 2
    * Removed Boardwalk
    * Replaced Zealot with Arena Zealot map variant
    Team Arena
    * Removed Slayer Pro for Season 2
    * Replaced Zealot with Arena Zealot map variant
    Arena Zealot (New!)
    * Added a softkill zone to the space area
    * Modified initial spawns so enemies cannot see each other
    * Objects can no longer be dropped into the boot_base
    * Removed multiple duplicate Headhunter score zones
    * Changed the base object for territories from a hill marker to a flag stand
    * Objects can no longer come to rest on the out of bounds cliff behind the scaffolding where the Invasion core is captured
    * Players can no longer sit in the out of bounds area under the ship scaffolding
    * Health Packs should not respawn after 15 seconds
    * Landmine removed from Red team’s west cliff
    * Respawn time for all Mongoose vehicles is now 45 seconds
    * Scorpions replaced with Wraiths (4 minute respawn)
    * Respawn timer for Concussion Rifle at Red base is now 30 seconds to match Concussion Rifle at Blue base
    * Changed the base object for territories from a hill marker to a flag stand
    * Changed the base object for territories from a hill marker to a flag stand
    * Respawn timer for all Needler weapons is now 45 seconds
    Global Changes
    * Slayer DMR now has motion tracker enabled
    * Evade has replaced Hologram for all gametypes in which players can hold objects (CTF, Assault, Stockpile, Oddball)
    * Evade has replaced Dropshield for gametypes which create concentrated gameplay in specific areas (Crazy King, Territories, Oddball)
    * All Classic gametypes should now include Sprint as default equipment
    King of the Hill
    * Teams are now always able to correctly score points
    * Players standing in the hill no longer receive extra points upon returning from a host migration
    Rocket Race
    * Players now attached to vehicles after being on foot for 10 seconds
    * Flipped vehicles will be detected to prevent players from attaching to a non-upright vehicle
    * Added functionality for tracking and reporting rotations
    * Fountain of Mongeese should no longer be possible (don’t ask)
    * Players are no longer able to jack another teams Mongoose
    * Players are no longer forced into a specific role of driver or gunner
    * All players start with a Rocket Launcher
    * Players move at 50% speed, do significantly reduced damage and are marked with a nav icon
    * Players on foot are now able to score points in Rocket Race
    * The Juggernaut no longer sees other players as allies upon returning from a host migration
    * New clients after a host migration will no longer lose their Juggernaut status
    * All teams now have separate capture timers for each territory
    * Locked territories will no longer prevent players from using equipment
    * The flag in the territory is now attached if the territory is a flag stand object
    * Added a HUD_Widget to display contested status to players inside a territory
    * The progress bar for a territory will now show as full when that territory is being contested (capture progress is saved and will appear again once the territory is no longer contested)
    * Random flag clothes will no longer disappear after a round transition
    * Bombs in Hot Potato now properly report carry time
    * Multiple hot potato bombs will no longer spawn in the same location
    * The carry time reported stat will now always be correct after a host migration has occurred
    * Players carrying the oddball during a host migration will no longer receive extra points
    * All stockpile flags are now attached to their spawn location if it is a flag stand
    * The game score is now set per frame tick based off of the current phase
    * A failsafe game end timer has been added to catch any possible bad cases of Invasion games not ending properly
    Invasion: Boneyard
    * The core will now reset whenever it is thrown through a shield door into a spawning location in Phase 3
    Invasion (Assault) and Assault
    * Added sudden death to Invasion (Assault) and Assault gametypes
    * Players who die before the first checkpoint will no longer spawn in a random location on the map