Call it a coincidence or call it Kinect-gate, but as far as ten-year-old Adam Winnifrith is concerned, Microsoft's Kinect motion controller caused his Xbox 360 to give up the ghost, the UK's BBC reports.
"We plugged [the Kinect] in the day we got it but only played it a few times before we got the red lights. The next day when we tried it again we still had the red rings of death and haven't been able to use it since," Winnifrith said.
Microsoft says there isn't any link between the Kinect and the infamous RRoD syndrome, saying the Kinect has been "designed to work with every Xbox 360 sold to date." That comes as little consolation to gamers complaining on message boards of similar problems to Winnifrith's.
"I have never had a single issue with my Xbox. I got the Kinect for Christmas and the screen starting freezing randomly. Then on New Year's eve...BAM I got the red ring. Very sad," one user claims.
Despite a handful of complaints, Microsoft contends "there is no correlation between the three flashing red lights error and Kinect. Any new instances of the three flashing red lights error are merely coincidental."
According to several online reports, the much anticipated Nintendo 3DS handheld console is now available for preorder through Gamestop.
"Okay well I got the OK to tell about this from my work, but we officially got word in that all U.S. based Gamestop stores will be taking reserves on the 3DS starting on the 26th," a Gamestop employee posted on NeoGAF's forums. "Depending on the place holder price you will be required to drop a minimum of $25 on a reserve."
It appears preorders can only be placed in-store and not online. If you try to place one and the Gamestop employee looks at you funny, politely ask them to punch SKU number 020132 into their computer and you should be golden.
Still no word on how much the 3DS will cost or when exactly it will ship (look for a March release date), but be prepared to drop up to $50 for a preorder.
Leave it to a site called GeekSugar.com to post a bunch of pics of delicious looking game controller cookies, a combo that appeals both to our sweet tooth and our unabashed enthusiasm for all things geek. If you want to make any of them at home, you'll find the recipe over at NotSoHumblePie.
Want to go all out this holiday with a geek theme? GeekSugar.com provides plenty of baked inspiration, from Star Wars to Super Mario, and even an edible periodic table of cookies.
And on that note, happy holidays to those of you who celebrate them. For everyone else, enjoy the weekend!
The International Trade Commission in Washington is investigating a complaint by Motorola against Microsoft and will decide whether or not to ban imports of the Xbox 360 game console, Bloomberg reports.
We'd be shocked if the two sides didn't come to some sort of agreement to prevent that from happening, and this looks like a whole lot of legal posturing to us, but the fact that the dispute between these two companies has gone this far is troubling.
It all started when Microsoft filed a lawsuit in early November accusing Motorola of shenanigans with its patents used in the Xbox 360. According to Microsoft, Motorola breached contractual obligations made to standards organizations for "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions" for patents dealing with wireless and video-encoding technologies. Microsoft described the patent royalties as "wholly disproportionate to the royalty rate that its patents should command under any reasonable calculus."
Motorola quickly fired back with a lawsuit of its own, claiming its demand was a "fair offer" and Microsoft should quit bellyaching.
It's nowt the ITC's job to investigate the dispute, and it has the power to ban imports of products found to infringe on US patents.
Fancy yourself a tree-hugger? That doesn't mean you have to give up gaming on the console, you just have to choose your system wisely. So which one gets the nod? According to findings by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Nintendo Wii consumes about a sixth of the power of Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles.
"We included only a small sample of the many gaming systems available, but it reveals the differences in energy use can be significant," said Mark McGranaghan, vice president of Power Deliver & Utilization for EPRI. "With the holiday shopping season in full swing, now is a good time to consider this factor."
EPRI conducted its tests by playing EA's Madden 2011 football game for one hour on each system. In doing so, EPRI found that the Wii used an average of 13.7 watts, while the PS3 and Xbox 360 pulled 84.8 watts and 87.9 watts, respectively.
"Obviously there are many considerations when looking at a gaming system and we're only about energy use," said McGranaghan. "There are also trade-offs associated with graphics and speed that drive higher energy use and consumers will need to factor those elements in as well. The more graphically intensive systems will, by design, require more energy."
Or you could say the hell with it and build a dual- or tri-videocard gaming PC, power consumption be damned.
Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing add-on for the Xbox 360 hasn't even been on the market for two months, yet we're already impressed with what the modding community has been able to do with the device. This is just the beginning, folks.
According to Eurogamer, an upcoming firmware release will improve the device's compression technology and depth sensor. As it currently stands, the Kinect detects movement at 30 frames per second at a 320x240 resolution, which is dictated by an artificial limit placed on the USB controller to use around 15MB/s even though it's capable of 35MB/s.
What Microsoft is trying to do is double the spec of the depth camera to 640x480 via a dashboard update. In theory, this could make the Kinect capable of detecting finger movements and hand rotations, which would open a whole new world for the modding community to play around with.
It's a shame there were only 250 "Collector's Edition Tron Wireless Controller" devices ever made, because the thing looks f'in awesome. On the bright side, it's not grossly overpriced (it runs $50), despite the limited edition run.
According to the product description, "this controller represents Clu, the current dictator of the Tron world, and the The Black Guard, his elite fighting force." Orange accents light up and run across the top and bottom portions, while the Tron logo sits on the bottom middle.
It also comes with rubber grips sporting a soft-touch finish, and none of it looks gaudy, at least from the pictures we've seen.
Are you as infatuated with the design as we are? If so, keep your eyes peeled. PDP.com will offer up the limited edition controller as a Web exclusive in "late December."
Maybe this will turn out to be much ado about nothing, but according to Fudzilla, Microsoft is all finished supplying retailers with Xbox 360 250GB consoles for the year. That means Walmart, Best Buy, Gamestop, and every other retailer will have to make do with whatever stock is remaining.
This normally wouldn't be cause for concern, but with the recent release of Microsoft's Kinect motion control camera, the Redmond outfit is noting increased sales of its high capacity console.
"The situation isn't ideal, but we still have significant inventory of the Xbox 360 4GB model, and in fact, we have a good number of the 250GB slim upgrade hard drives if buyers want them. It isn't idea and it costs a little more, but if you had to have a 250GB model for Christmas, we could sell you one; it just would cost a little more and come in two parts," an un-named retailer told Fudzilla.
The looming shortage purportedly only affects U.S. retailers, Fudzilla says.
The OnLive Game System is now shipping for $99, which includes the MicroConsole bundle and a controller. From now until January 15, 2011, OnLive console owners get access to the PlayPack games library, in beta, free of charge. Titles included in the PlayPack library are as follows:
Prince of Persia
Tomb Raider: underworld
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
Unreal Tournament 3
Vin Diesel Wheelman
Defense Grid Gold
World of Goo
Once January 15th rolls around, access to the PlayPack will run $9.99/month as a flat-rate plan. In addition, OnLive will continue to offer its current free trials, 3- and 5-day rentals, and Full PlayPass options for a la carte new releases, the company said.
The OnLive system is unique in that it operates entirely on the cloud. It works surprisingly well with better-than-expected responsiveness and some noteworthy features, like built-in 'Brag Clip' controls on the controller that let you capture snippets of gameplay up to 10 seconds at a time.
Read our full review of the OnLive system (including an 8 minute video) right here.
U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez gave out a verbal lashing to prosecutors who want to send a 28-year-old college student to jail on two counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). So what did defendant Matthew Crippen do, exactly? He modded Xbox 360 consoles, Wired reports.
"I really don't understand what we're doing here," Gutierrez said.
If convicted, Crippen faces five years for each count. Crippen, who is a hotel car-parking manager by day, is being accused of running a business out of his home hacking Xbox 360 optical drives so that they could play pirated games. Crippen maintains that his mods can be used for other purposes, and the judge so far seems to agree.
"The only way to be able to play copied games is to circumvent the technology," Gutierrez said. "How about backup games and the homebrewed?"
The judge also didn't take kindly to the prosecution telling the jury that it needn't prove Crippen willfully broke the law, also known as "mens rea" in legal speak.
"The first prosecution 12 years later, and you're suggesting a mens rea that is akin to exactly contrary to the IP manual: that ignorance of the law is now excuse?," the judge said. "You didn't even propose a middle ground. What's getting me more riled, it seems to me I cannot communicate the severity to you of what's going on here."
Are we the only ones that wish there were more judges like Gutierrez?