• General

    by Published on Dec 6, 2011 03:09 PM
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    The fall update for Xbox 360 launches today. Here are some of the new features:

    • Dashboard Redesign - The dashboard has been changed to use Microsoft's current Metro interface. This includes updates to most/all current apps. Additionally, Kinect users have many more capabilities for gesture and voice control.
    • Bing Search - Users can search for content wherever it may be available. For example, searching for a show or movie will bring up any current location (whether it be in Zune/Netflix/etc.).
    • Roaming Profiles - This feature replaces the necessity of recovering a profile to a console. One can simply log in on another system.
    • Cloud Storage - Essentially, this functions like a digital memory card that you can access from anywhere. However, it is a Gold exclusive feature. Users who let their memberships expire will still be able to access those saves, but can't upload new ones.
    • Beacons - These are similar to game invites, but are persistent. It is possible to flag interest in a game or application and have it come up where relevant. For example, a user will be notified when someone on their friends list starts a game that they have set.
    • Xbox Companion - Windows Phone now features an app that can be used to integrate with the Xbox. It can be used to search for content, make purchases, view friends list data, and even control the system to a degree.

    In addition to the update, a large number of entertainment applications are starting to roll out. Check the link for all the various apps for different countries and their estimated release. It would appear that many of them do require a Gold account to use, although this doesn't appear to be detailed.

    Update: While not as capable as the Windows Phone one, an official app has been introduced for iOS.

    by Published on May 19, 2011 06:49 PM
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    Currently in the process of rolling out worldwide, the spring update for Xbox 360 brings a few new things to the console:

    • PayPal - Previously introduced in a limited capacity on Xbox.com, users will now be able to access PayPal on their consoles as a billing option. Several excluded regions are listed in the link above.
    • Auto-standby - A new option to reduce power consumption, this feature will put the console on standby if it is idle for over an hour. It will be active by default after obtaining the update, but it can be turned off in System Settings.
    • New disc format - This new format is not only said to improve copy protection, but it will also clear up disc space for developers. Reports say that it will result in an extra gigabyte available to use.

    This update is said to be launching in waves over the next few days, so it may take some time to show up for most console owners.

    by Published on Apr 26, 2011 04:15 PM
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    An update regarding the recent PSN downtime has been posted today on the official Playstation blog, indicating that the reason for the downtime is due to an unauthorized intrusion into Sony's network. Patrick Seybold, Sr. Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media, has released an official statement to notify PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers that the intrusion occurred sometime between April 17th and April 19th and it is believed that user account information was compromised. Here is an excerpt from the statement that details what information they believe has been stolen:

    "Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained."

    The full statement can be found here. Oh, and for those who don't care about their personal information being stolen and just want back online, Sony also indicated that they intend to have PlayStation Network and Qriocity services restored within a week. Unfortunately, this also seems to be the first opportunity users will have to update their PSN passwords. In the meantime, it might be a good idea for PSN customers to update passwords on any sites that share the same email and/or username as their PSN accounts.

    by Published on Oct 28, 2010 05:55 PM
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    Rie Tanaka, the voice actress for Karen Erra in the Japanese version of Phantasy Star Universe, announced on her Twitter feed that a body pillow cover of her will be made available in the near future. Here is a preview image of the pillow cover:

    Rie Tanaka Pillow Cover
    Don't worry about the age factor, she is 31 years old.

    No price has been announced yet. If you do buy the pillow cover, be sure to pick up the Rie Tanaka Trading Card set.

    by Published on Oct 15, 2010 02:58 PM
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    Japanese news site Shougai PSO has just posted information regarding two brand new Phantasy Star-related trademarks! These two trademarks, Phantasy Star: Eternal Hunters and Phantasy Star: Eternal Planets, were filed by SEGA of Japan on August 17, 2010. Both are listed as class 9 trademarks (electrical and scientific apparatuses), so they could be potential names for new games, audio CDs or other media. No other information is known about these titles at the moment, but stay tuned, as we'll post the latest news about them as it surfaces! In the meantime, join in the ongoing discussion of this topic at the forum.
    by Published on Jun 14, 2010 06:24 PM
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    One of the first big announcements to come out of E3 2010 is a new model for the Xbox 360. It retails for $299.99 and is available starting this week. Changes and additions include:

    • Smaller (by 17%), sleeker, and much quieter console with a new finish
    • Smaller, smoother power brick (135W)
    • Touch-activated buttons for powering on the system and opening/closing the tray
    • Five USB ports (two in the front, three in the back)
    • Kinect port (provides a one cable connection to the yet-to-be-released device)
    • Built-in S/PDIF optical audio port
    • Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi
    • New internal (but still easily accessed) 250GB HDD
    • New black controller and headset (similar to current, but these are almost entirely black outside of the guide and face buttons)
    • Memory Unit slots have been removed
    • Kensington lock support

    These are currently in the process of being shipped out to retailers. Amazon will start processing orders for customers tomorrow.

    Update: If the $300 price tag of the new 360 isn't in your budget, it looks like Amazon is clearing out the Xbox 360 Arcade Spring Bundle for $149 + a $50 gaming credit (essentially $99, if you buy your games at Amazon anyway). The bundle includes two games and a wireless controller.

    Update: Microsoft will be offering a $199.99 version of this new model starting in the fall. They will also be offering bundles with the Kinect. There are currently no additional details about these.

    by Published on May 12, 2010 11:17 PM
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    Gamestop is running another big sale and this time, they're showing Phantasy Star fans a little love. For a limited time, you can pick up a new copy of Phantasy Star Portable for $19.99 (limit one per customer). Used copies are available even cheaper at $14.99. In addition, they are offering 25% to 50% off on a number of other titles for the first 1,000 customers.

    The deal doesn't stop there, though, as there are some coupons floating around that can help you save even more. Some of these will stack, so see how good of a deal you can come up with. Here's a list of coupon codes (and if you have an edge card, don't forget to use that for an additional 10% off as well):

  • 25DEAL - 25% off orders of $100 or more
  • 25PRE - 25% off all in-stock pre-owned games
  • SAVER - Free shipping on orders over $25
  • The sale is available for a very limited time and ends on 5/13 at 11:00am CST. If you've been looking for an opportunity to pick up PSP for cheap (and perhaps some other games too), this might be your chance! Be sure to drop by the Off Topic forum's Video Game Deals thread to discuss this and other great game deals!

    Gamestop - 25% - 50% off Select Titles!

    by Published on Apr 29, 2010 11:16 PM
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    GameStop and Amazon are having themselves a little price war at the moment, and it's working out quite nicely for gamers!

    Gamestop started by having a sale that offered discounted titles with $10 credits on future purchases. Amazon matched their prices, $10 credits and all. Gamestop lowered prices further. Amazon started matching again. The end result? Some awesome deals (some of which are still getting better). Here are the featured titles:

    The above links direct to Amazon (as that will come out to a better deal for most people), but if you prefer to purchase from Gamestop, just follow this link to check out the sale on their website:

    We'll keep this updated with any major changes to the sale. If you spot something else or want to chime in on your recommended picks, join in on the current discussion in our forums!

    UPDATE: Many of the games in Gamestop's sale are no longer available, prompting Amazon to start raising their prices back up. However, some new games have been added to Gamestop's promotion (such as Mario Kart, Bayonetta, Wii Sports Resort w/ Motion Plus, and God of War collection). These new titles have not yet been matched on Amazon, so hit the Gamespot link above if you're interested!

    by Published on Mar 26, 2010 04:02 PM
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    A post at Major Nelson's blog has appeared with details regarding support for USB memory devices on the Xbox 360. A system update will be going out on April 6th which will expand on the memory storage and management options for the console. To use a flash drive or HDD, it must be at least 1GB in size. It will be possible to declare up to 16GB (depending on the size of the device) to be used for Xbox 360 related storage. It will also be possible to use two devices at once (for up to 32GB of external storage). Pictures of what these new options will look like are featured in Major Nelson's flicker account. As a side note, official Xbox 360 250GB HDDs are heading out to stores. They will be retailing for $130 in the United States. It appears that they are set to replace the 120GB HDDs that are currently for sale. Update: The system update is now going out to all Xbox 360 owners. A FAQ is available here.
    by Published on Dec 28, 2009 09:24 PM
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    If you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas, or maybe you received a little spending cash, there are some nice year-end deals going on that you might be interested in.

    For starters, Amazon has dropped prices on a number of titles throughout their site. Some of the highlights (and more recently released games) include the following:

    Also, they are running a separate promo where you can get a $20 video game credit when you spend $80 or more on eligible games (select titles from multiple systems). May be worth checking out if there are some older titles you have been wanting to pick up:

    If you're looking to score some really cheap games, then you may want to head over to Gamefly, where they have hundreds of used games on sale right now for every system (some as cheap as $5.99). The list of games on sale is too large to post here, but you can find it in our Video Game Deals Round-Up thread in the forums.

    Last, but not least, the Steam Holiday Sale is still running and will continue through January 3rd. A great chance to snag some PC games for up to 80% off! Enjoy, and be sure to let us know if you spot any other good deals out there!
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