Tag Archives: microsoft

Microsoft Discontinues the Xbox Live Gold Family Pack

Apparently Microsoft decided to do away with their Gold Family Pack.

As for why the pack was discontinued, the rep said, “We continually evaluate our business focus and work to offer services that make the most sense for our customers and Xbox.”

This suggests to me that either A) Microsoft was losing too much money on the package, or B) they simply weren’t selling enough ‘units’ to make it an economically viable product.

[via Joystiq]

Xbox 360 Elite

Xbox 360 EliteWell, my 360 died this past Sunday. No red ring, just a disc drive that stopped working. Basically, it would play a video or game for about 15-20 minutes, then the whole console would reboot, and the disc drive would no longer open or read discs, unless you turned it off for a couple of hours and then fired it back up. At least then, you could retrieve the disc trapped inside before the drive decided to die again.

This is a story of how much I love shopping with Best Buy. Rather than wait to have a box shipped to me from Microsoft, just so I could then wait another handful of weeks for them to ship me a repaired or new one back, I just took out my 2-year service warranty and took my console back to Best Buy. After chatting with a member of their Geek Squad for a moment and verifying that, yes, I could upgrade from a 360 to an Elite, I walked back and grabbed myself one of the black boxes. And then, after paying the difference between the 360 and the Elite, I walked out of the store the proud owner of a brand spanking new Xbox 360 Elite!

My wife even liked the color. Me, I’m just thrilled to have the 120GB HDD.

Download Again

I am well pleased. I’ve heard horror stories about people who have had to exchange their Xbox 360 consoles, and then had to spend several hours on the phone with Xbox customer service trying to convince them that they should be allowed to keep the Xbox Live Arcade games they’d purchased and download them to their new console. So, either theirs were unusual technical problems or Microsoft has changed their policies because I went to download Aegis Wing again last night, since I knew it was a free download, only to discover that it already had the checkmark next to it that says I’d already downloaded it. Sure enough, when I selected it, I was asked if I wanted to download it _again_. Checking the other three arcade games I’d purchased previously revealed that they _also_ simply asked to be downloaded again – I didn’t have to purchase any of them a second time. Sure, I have to play through them again to regain my saved progress from before, but that’s a small price to pay when getting all my games back costs me not one penny out-of-pocket.

Matchmaking, New Halo 2 Maps, and You

This just seems remarkably unfair:

FyreWulff pointed out a thread on Bungie.net discussing the new Halo 2 maps coming out soon – Jeremiah mentioned that these maps would likely be incorporated in a significant number of playlists – and (at least at this point in the developments) those playlists would no longer be available to people playing on the original Xbox.

This is, of course, a Microsoft decision. If Bungie had their way, everyone who had already purchased Halo 2 and had an Xbox Live account would also have access to these new maps – and they’re going to work to see if there is any way to make such a thing happen. But I’m annoyed and a little angry that Microsoft continually tries to shaft their customers this way. I can understand and appreciate their desire to get as many Xbox owners to upgrade to an Xbox 360 as possible – they understandably want to make as much money as possible. ((And it’s not like we don’t _want_ to upgrade; it’s just that for some of us, the cost of a 360 is still prohibitively expensive.)) And I can appreciate that we, as consumers, don’t actually deserve to get new maps for free; heck, I’m willing to _pay_ for the new maps. But I do believe it’s terribly unfair to single out Xbox owners from being able to get these maps just because they’re Xbox owners who haven’t been able to upgrade yet.

I’m really hoping that Bungie is able to talk some sense into the powers-that-be at Microsoft to actually make these maps available for everyone. We who love Halo 2 so much want to experience every aspect of the game. This is especially true for those of us in “specific communities”:http://tiedtheleader.com who will end up being left behind on some of these matchmaking lists if it turns out that we won’t be able to acquire these maps.

It’s just another way that Microshaft is trying to take it to their customers by punishing them for not purchasing certain of their products. It’s bad market sense, it’s bad public relations, and it’s a terrible way to keep your customers happy. Here’s hoping they repent of this decision, but I’m not holding my breath waiting on it.

Halo: Expanded

Oh. Oh, my. “Bungie”:http://www.bungie.net has just “announced”:http://www.bungie.net/News/TopStory.aspx?link=bungieatx06 two more reasons why I need an Xbox 360. First, is the announcement of “Halo Wars”:http://www.halowars.com, which is a Halo RTS(Real-time strategy) game that takes place before the events of Halo: CE. The “trailer”:http://halowars.com/trailer.html for the game looks absolutely stunning, and I can’t wait to see how the storyline for this one unfolds.

The second is an as-yet un-named and still-secret project. Bungie has teamed up with film-maker and director Peter Jackson of the Lord of the Rings fame. In addition to working on the upcoming Halo film, Jackson has teamed up with Fran Walsh to create Wingnut Interactive, a new video game studio.

Wingnut Interactive will be working closely with us to create “another chapter in the Halo universe,” which is a phrase you’ll be hearing a lot and of course, we’re sworn to secrecy.

This raises as many questions as it answers — will it be a sequel? A prequel? A side-story? We won’t squeal, but we can tell you it will be a blend of gameplay and storytelling quite unlike anything the games industry has ever seen before. And Wingnut Interactive isn’t stopping at Halo — the newly formed gaming behemoth will also be working closely with Microsoft to introduce a brand-new gaming IP created by Wingnut themselves. (Source: “Bungie”:http://www.bungie.net/News/TopStory.aspx?link=bungieatx06)

I’m super-excited about these announcements and positively drooling over the prospect of seeing the Halo universe expanded like this. Now, I just need to figure out how to afford the pricetag for an Xbox 360.