Award-winning Xbox 360 games

I’ve been so busy in the past with providing support and reporting about problems with the (Hong Kong) Xbox 360 that I totally neglected the awards it constantly wins (the good ones). For example, 7 titles in the Top10 of 2007 by the Time magazine are games available on Xbox 360:

  1. Halo 3Microsoft (Xbox 360)
  2. The Orange BoxEA (Xbox 360, PC, PS3)
  3. Rock BandMTV Games (Xbox 360, PS2, PS3)
  4. Super Mario GalaxyNintendo (Nintendo Wii)
  5. Bioshock2K Games (Xbox 360, PC)
  6. Call of Duty 4: Modern WarfareActivision (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Nintendo DS)
  7. Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass – Nintendo (Nintendo DS)
  8. Mass Effect – Microsoft (Xbox 360)
  9. Ace Combat 6: Fires of LiberationNamco Bandai (Xbox 360)
  10. God of War 2Sony (PS2)

The list of awards grows weekly, some recent recognitions are


2007 Fall Dashboard Update

Xbox 360‘s 2007 Fall Dashboard Update will be available free for download via Live on December 4.

Top features (listed alphabetically):

  • Easy-to-use navigation features
    Improved navigation within the dashboard; discover by yourself.
  • Enhanced online profile
    A step closer to social networking sites.
  • Enhanced Parental Controls
    Family Timer will pop up during game play to remind you about your expiring time slot allocated by your parents.
  • Expanded Friends List access
    Friends see lists of other friends (beware)
  • New video features
    Full-screen movie previews and enhanced video codec support.
  • Inside Xbox
    Read news in your dashboard.
  • Xbox Live Arcade Hits
    Think of the "Platinum Hits" (aka "Premium Hits") labels for shelve games but applied to Arcade titles.
  • Xbox Originals
    At 1200 Microsoft Points per game, original Xbox 1 games can be downloaded and kept (not a timed service). Assuming you have a hard drive.

Complete features list:

Account Management

  • Added error text to direct under 13 year old user to the Web when attempting to change contact information
  • Added Messenger Signup into Xbox LIVE signup
  • Added PEGI logo icons to Game ratings scenes
  • Added support for switching between Windows Live ID accounts
  • Added Support for User Graduation
  • Added support to allow users to change the Windows Live ID they use with their Xbox LIVE gamertag
  • Added support to Migrate Zune Accounts to Xbox LIVE accounts with purchase rights
  • Added text for "in-game voice" complaint option
  • Display MS Points Web Address correctly for Korea
  • Improved blocking support for Friends Only sessions
  • Improved enforcement of Windows Live ID and Gamertag Regions
  • Improved Informational Text for cases where Gamertag already in use
  • Improved parental control support for 48 hour trial codes
  • Improved robustness when viewing friends profiles and quickly backing out
  • Improved support for account recovery when no storage devices attached to console
  • Improved support for invalid characters in phone field
  • Improved support to cancel out of Credit Card scenes during account sign-up
  • Improved support to load Dashboard after exiting from Account Recovery
  • Improved text for accounts that have been banned
  • Improved text for Direct Debit in Germany
  • Improved text for explaining Gamertag, Gamercard, etc to users signing up
  • Improved text for recovering Gamertag dialogs
  • Improved text for Zune Accounts in Sign Up app
  • Improved text spacing for Recover Gamertag dialogs in Russian
  • Improved text support for handling expired credit cards during purchase transactions
  • Improved text to inform users that only 1 profile can have auto signin enabled
  • Improved text translations for Account Management in German


  • Added support for Audio Mute/Unmute for video ads


  • Added double-high friends list to show more details for each friend
  • Added new feature "Inside Xbox" on the Xbox LIVE blade
  • Added support for richer profile viewing including Real name, Bio, Locations, etc
  • Added support to control privacy settings for Friends of Friends viewing
  • Added support to show friends a real name
  • Added support to view Friends of Friends
  • Display actual friends count and not list item count in Add Friend page
  • Improved German localized text for recent players blade
  • Improved robustness in Friends area when rapidly pressing A and B buttons
  • Improved support of viewing Friends profiles when friend has existing pending friends requests
  • Improved text messages for Privacy Settings in Blocked Communication scenarios
  • No longer report Invitations as ‘sent’ when communication set to ‘blocked’


  • Added ability to twist UI left and right to filter/sort in Media lists
  • Added ‘Downloads’ button to game launch page on Games Blade
  • Added fade out transitions for transitions from dash to video playback
  • Added Friends Playing Now feature to Games Blade for Xbox LIVE Arcade, Xbox Originals, Xbox 360 disc based games, and Xbox 360 Demos.
  • Added grouping support for TV & Game content in Media Blade
  • Added localization support for AM / PM in 12-hour clock format for Traditional and Simplified Chinese
  • Added sort by Title/Date for acquired Video library content
  • Added support for Featured Downloads in Arcade area of Games Blade
  • Added support for twist controls in offline Dashboard and Xbox Guide
  • Added support for updating Marketplace, Xbox LIVE and Games blade without full system update download
  • Added support for Video album art on attached hard drives in separate .jpg files
  • Added support to not write trial-version Arcade games to user’s played games history (this is only for newly downloaded games after the Dec’07 update is released)
  • Allow all signed in users to access Banners in Dashboard or Marketplace, not just first signed in user
  • Arcade area shows ‘–‘ instead of ‘0’ for gamerscore when signed out
  • Changed UI Flow for Media connectivity: default to console, and allow users to change device via X button. Also remember last chosen device
  • Disconnected MU or Controller Message persisted when launching back to Dashboard from Game Title
  • Improve accelerated scrolling speed for long lists
  • Improve transition speed of blades
  • Improved consistency in confirmation text when deleting items
  • Improved enumeration speed of lists in games blade
  • Improved error handling when signing out while viewing a marketplace ad
  • Improved handling of moving game profiles from MU to HDD
  • Improved localization text for Polish in System Update dialogs
  • Improved performance of Guide Transitions
  • Improved progress bar accuracy when moving large files from MU to HDD
  • Improved responsiveness of Dashboard overall
  • Improved robustness after attempting to resume an expired purchased video
  • Improved robustness when comparing achievements after connection to LIVE is lost
  • Improved support for Daylight Savings Time in Alaska time zone
  • Improved support for handling disc full when downloading movies from Marketplace
  • Improved text layout for blade names in CHT (Traditional Chinese)
  • Improved text on Startup page in System Blade area
  • Improved text translations for Arcade area in Japan
  • Removed PC Affiliation from the System Blade
  • Starting DVD playback with 2 or more wireless controllers shows all game pads on the console ring of light
  • Starting DVD playback with a mix of wired and wireless controllers now shows all game pads on the console ring of light
  • System Update Message in Russian properly formatted


  • Added CHT language support to video players
  • Improved accuracy of tray state when ejecting multiple times
  • Improved robustness when ejecting discs from external HD-DVD drive

Family Settings

  • Added Family Play Timer Feature
  • Improved handling for resetting parental controls to default

Font Support

  • Added support for Virtual Keyboard and IME for Simplified Chinese
  • Improved CHT (Traditional Chinese) font support for game achievements
  • Gamer Profile
  • Dates and Times support region specific attributes


  • Improved handling of AVMUTE for HDMI
  • Improved handling of CEA861 mode for HDMI
  • Improved handling of flashing during on/off mode changes
  • Improved handling of Standby-3 mode for HDMI


  • Added IME indicator for Messenger Conversations
  • Added support for F9 and F10 in Virtual Keyboards
  • Added support for Polish and Russian USB Keyboards
  • Improved Chatpad support for Korean Language
  • Improved handling of Caps Lock for JPN USB keyboards
  • Improved IME Japan Keyboards in Xbox Guide
  • Improved overall IME Self Learning support
  • Improved support for USB Keyboard with System UI Message displays
  • No longer show keyboard results when entering password via Chatpad or USB Keyboard
  • Removed extra ‘@’ from CHT Virtual Keyboard


  • Added "Featured Items" as a top level section of Marketplace
  • Added "Featured Trailers" and "Shorts" options within the Movies area of Video Marketplace
  • Added Accelerated List Scrolling to Marketplace
  • Added List wrapping to Top Download lists in Marketplace
  • Added prefetching support for off-screen thumbnail images in Marketplace list views
  • Added support for "New Arrivals" area within Marketplace for all catalog content types
  • Added support for "Spotlight" area within Marketplace
  • Added support for displaying audio support in top level UI for videos on Marketplace
  • Added support for displaying Marketplace video previews in Full Screen mode (newly added files are encoded at higher bitrate, existing previews remain encoded at low bitrate)
  • Added support for multiple previews (varying languages) for International Video Marketplace (this is content provider dependent)
  • Added support for renting Movies in several international countries
  • Added support to Browse, Purchase, Download and play Xbox Original Games
  • Added support to cache metadata information for off-line usage in Media Blade library scenes
  • Added support to Play Now from Marketplace storefront for items already downloaded
  • Added support to prefetch off-screen thumbnails in Video Store
  • Added support to send actionable Marketplace recommendations to Friends for Arcade games
  • Added support to show audio language and subtitles for International Video Marketplace
  • Added Twist Control support for navigation and sorting
  • Allow Banner Messages to link to Arcade Titles
  • Changed "Media and Entertainment" to "Video Store"
  • Improved error handling for corrupt video content
  • Improved localization text for Belgium Profiles with Netherlands Marketplace
  • Improved robustness when service returns incorrect number of items when viewing Download History
  • Improved support of Parental Ratings with Arcade recommendations
  • Improved text for cases where License is not available for purchased video content
  • Improved text messaging for playing rental movies on consoles other than the console purchased with
  • Improved User Experience for Credit Card scenes in Russian
  • List wrapping functionality identical now between Media blade and Marketplace blade lists
  • More robust error handling for Add Points dialog page
  • TV Series on Marketplace now navigate directly to episode list instead of Season1
  • Unrated Titles now display ratings as "Rating: Pending or Unrated"

Media – All

  • Added more user friendly text for various error related messages
  • Added Shortcut keys from Remote Control: Pressing Play on a Video/Song/Picture will immediately start playback of that item from the list (pressing Start from gamepad does the same thing)
  • Added support for Album/Video artwork larger than 500kb
  • Added support to enumerate metadata in the background and not just when selected by the user
  • Added support to make sort options sticky across console reboots
  • Added support to show all available Media Sharing Servers on the local network and allow automatic re-affiliation
  • Automatically delete older versions of Optional Media Update package when new ones are downloaded
  • Improved consistency in storage naming across all areas
  • Improved performance for displaying Album Art when connected to remote sources
  • Improved text messaging when connection to PC is lost when streaming Music/Photo or videos

Media – Music

  • Added support for CD Playback from music area in Xbox 360 Guide area
  • Added support for listing multiple computer sources in Xbox Guide music sources
  • Added support for Y button to toggle full screen on and off for music visualizer
  • Disable ‘play all’ button when folders only contains playlists (with no audio files)
  • Disable Y button when no list items selected in Music player
  • Improved device support for new iPods (classic and 3rd gen Nano) – iPhone and iPod touch are not supported
  • Improved error handling for mixed encoded playlists (aac,mp3,wma)
  • Improved handling for MTP Music devices with >200k entries
  • Improved handling of game background music after playing videos in Dashboard
  • Improved handling of music playback over games (if music source terminates or has errors, background music returns to game background)
  • Improved performance for "Play All" with attached MTP devices
  • Improved performance of music enumeration via Guide
  • Improved robustness when playing back HFS+ formatted iPods
  • Improved support for returning to game background audio when user’s music player session terminates
  • Improved support for scrolling song lists while listening to music during game playback
  • Improved support when ejecting game disc while selecting music source through Guide

Media – Pics

  • Added support to display PNG files when streamed from Windows Media Player 11 on Vista
  • Improved enumeration for PTP cameras including Cannon Powershot SD 630 and Apple Iphone
  • Improved playback performance of "Play All" when PC source has 1000s of photos and subdirectories
  • Support Folder view of Photos from MTP Portable Devices

Media – Video

  • Added 2 line support for entries in the Video Area of the Media Blade
  • Added ability to recognize Colorspace attribute for Video Marketplace Content
  • Added fade in transition for start of video playback
  • Added full screen buffering animation for streaming videos from Xbox LIVE
  • Added Suggestions scene for Video Library area in Media blade of the Dashboard
  • Added support for 16x Fast-forward/Rewind
  • Added support for AC3 embedded audio (see video faq for full information)
  • Added support for enumeration of video files from Zune 2.0 devices
  • Added support for Left Shoulder button on controller to chapter skip backward
  • Added support for Left Trigger button on controller to rewind
  • Added support for moving past the point user has viewed when doing progressive downloads of Video Marketplace videos
  • Added support for MP3 embedded audio (see video faq for full information)
  • Added support for Mpeg-4 part 2 video files in AVI containers
  • Added support for Right Shoulder button on controller to chapter skip forward
  • Added support for Right Trigger button on controller to fast forward
  • Added support for Zune Podcast video playback from Zune device
  • Added support to display metadata and thumbnails embedded in video files
  • Added support to enumerate .divx video files
  • Added support to group TV shows by Series in Video Library of Media Blade
  • Added support to group Video and Game Trailers into same area of Video Library of Media Blade
  • Added support to sort Movies or TV Shows by Title or Download date in Video Library of Media Blade
  • Added top level support to show expired or soon to expire information for purchased movies from Video Marketplace in Media Blade
  • Improve support for "Play Now" calculations with ISP that boost download for the first 20MB of a file
  • Improved accuracy of bookmark positions when video player abnormally ends
  • Improved accuracy of download progress bar after chapter skipping operations
  • Improved auto resizing experience for small (under 100×100) video files
  • Improved Bookmark / Resume experience with 60fps Interlaced WMV videos
  • Improved bookmark support while progressively downloading videos from Marketplace
  • Improved calculations for "Play Now" for Video Marketplace downloads
  • Improved deinterlacer support for video playback
  • Improved enumeration speed for user-generated video content in Media Blade
  • Improved error message support when playing back video files without valid licenses
  • Improved error message support when pulling USB drive while playing back video files
  • Improved handling for USB memory stick removal while on Video device selection list in Media blade
  • Improved handling of video playback when transitioning from 4x FF to Play with MP4 video files
  • Improved handling of WMV bookmarks when rewinding and shutting down video player
  • Improved info pane timer when playing back DRM’s WMV content from Windows Media Player 11 from Windows PC
  • Improved message support for progressive video playback
  • Improved overall UI, content descriptions and navigation of Video Library of Media Blade
  • Improved performance during Fast Forward to Playback transition when playing back MP4 content
  • Improved performance for buffering and playback of streaming videos from Xbox LIVE
  • Improved performance for low bandwidth streaming of MP4 videos from Zune PC software v1.0
  • Improved performance of skip forward/backward with WMV video files
  • Improved performance of trick modes when streaming videos from Zune PC client
  • Improved performance of WMV playback for WMV7 & WMV8 encoded video files
  • Improved playback experience after extended pauses of video files from Marketplace
  • Improved playback experience when resuming from a stopped/paused state
  • Improved playback performance for h264 720p .MOV files
  • Improved playback performance with 1920×1080 MP4 files
  • Improved playback performance with 5Mb h264 encoded video files
  • Improved playback performance with 60fps 720×480 MP4 content
  • Improved playback performance with h264 files in .m4v containers
  • Improved quality for upscaled user videos when played back full screen
  • Improved quality of MP4 decoder: Global Motion Compensation and VMX optimizations
  • Improved quality of MP4 decoder: improved Interlaced Support
  • Improved quality of MP4 decoder: Out of order frame output, bidirectional motion vector handling, etc.
  • Improved quality with non-square pixel video files
  • Improved responsiveness of trick mode controls for video playback
  • Improved robustness during chapter skipping of h264 video files
  • Improved robustness for streaming problematic video files from Zune PC Software 1.0 or Windows Media Player 11
  • Improved robustness of video player when playback catches up to downloads in progressive playback scenarios
  • Improved robustness of video streaming when network congestion / stalls occur
  • Improved robustness when closing video player after attempting to play a video file that would not open
  • Improved robustness when entering and exiting video playback on a portable device repeatedly
  • Improved robustness when exiting video files encoded in h264 and playing back from attached USB HDD
  • Improved robustness when playing back Mp4 video with consecutive bad aac samples encoded into it
  • Improved robustness when shutting down console during h264 video playback
  • Improved robustness when trying to play a video recently moved from MU to HDD or vice versa
  • Improved robustness with video player when exiting player via Xbox Guide button -> Y
  • Improved support for AAC-LC 2 channel encoded audio in MP4 video files
  • Improved support for chapter skipping during progressive downloads of Marketplace Video content
  • Improved support for MP4 video files with discontinuous time stamps encoded in
  • Improved support for MP4 video playback from burned optical dvd-r’s
  • Improved support for resuming downloaded videos after reaching end of an uncompleted download
  • Improved support for resuming partially downloaded videos from Marketplace
  • Improved support for using Big Button controller during video playback
  • Improved support for Video bookmarks when playing MP4 videos from USB portable hard drives
  • Improved sync of video display and info pane display when rewinding
  • Improved text for Windows Media Center setup instructions
  • Improved Trick mode support when streaming videos with AAC embedded audio
  • Improved video performance for 60fps interlaced WMV videos
  • Improved Video performance with 15Mbs 1080i 24fps WMV video files
  • Improved video playback for Fast-forward and immediate exit usage with h264 video files
  • Improved video playback of MP4 content from Zune PC Software v1.0
  • Improved video playback when source content has incorrect sync samples encoded
  • Improved video quality for SD Composite AV pack displays of the on-screen display for video controls
  • Improved video support for chapter skipping of MP4 videos
  • Improved Videotrick mode support with 24fps 1080i WMV video files
  • Improved visual display of WMV video files while rewinding
  • Improved WMV Playback performance for 60fps and 1080i 30fps videos
  • Improved WMV7 performance with VLC encoded content
  • Removed occasional purple flickers in video playback when transitioning between FF and RW
  • Removed potential 9 second delay when rewinding WMV video files


  • Removal of stale Xbox 1 Team Recruit Messages from Xbox 360 Message Center


  • Added "Invite Friends" scene after Messenger/Windows Live ID switching dialog
  • Added localization support for "<user> has joined conversation" in Messenger
  • Added messenger notification to Private Chat
  • Added support for adding contacts via Windows Live ID from Xbox 360 console
  • Added support for child accounts (ages 13 through 17)
  • Added support for dual platform invites / text messages to PC client
  • Added support for IME in Chatpad overlay
  • Added support to send game invite to Messenger Contact from Xbox 360
  • Display Signin option instead of Join Xbox LIVE when accessing messenger from a signed out profile
  • Improved handling of transitions between messenger conversations and personal profiles
  • Improved localization text for Spanish, Portuguese and Russian in Chat and IM dialogs
  • Improved online status reporting with accounts that have passcodes set
  • Improved performance of buddy list enumeration
  • Improved performance with greater than 250 contacts
  • Improved performance with Messenger and large lists
  • Improved support for sending multiple friends requests from messenger contact dialog
  • Improved support for signing up for Messenger on 2nd signed in profiles
  • Improved sync performance between buddies and gamertag friends during login
  • Improved text message for blocking Windows Live ID Child accounts
  • Improved visual display of Up/Down arrows on Select Contacts scene
  • No longer displaying ‘??’ when Kanji characters are used in Messenger Display Names
  • Nudges from messenger now translated into rumble notifications on controller during game/movie playback
  • Remove flash of LED on controller when Chatpad keyboard is invoked
  • Removed 2nd notification when connection to LIVE and signed into Messenger
  • Updated icons for Messenger in Private Chat area


  • Added fade out transition when powering down console
  • Added support for browsing XNA games within the Games blade
  • Added support for video playback from UDFS formatted USB devices
  • Added support for XNA Game Studio Express V.2
  • Added support to connect to Apple Extreme routers in 802.11a/n mode
  • Added support to pause background downloads when streaming full screen videos or ads
  • Added support to retrieve game thumbnail directly from XNA game package
  • Added system wide support for Simplified Chinese language
  • Added text to explain flashing LED in the Ring of Light during background download low power mode
  • Addressed rare case where game disc would spin in the DVD drive while playing HD-DVD Movie in external HD-DVD drive
  • Disable Optical audio output when in low power background download mode
  • DVD player no longer converts to YCbCr709 when output is over HDMI
  • Improved auto sign-in to Xbox LIVE with Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter
  • Improved clock accuracy for S/PDIF optical streams
  • Improved compatibility with NEC WR8400N WiFi routers
  • Improved download speeds when in low power background download mode
  • Improved DVD Tray State notifications immediately after application of System Update
  • Improved Forced Aspect Ratio Changes via HDMI output (including DVI)
  • Improved handling when ejecting game disc during game start
  • Improved handling when removing MU after sending Arcade game recommendation to friend
  • Improved localization text for Wifi setup in German
  • Improved performance for Game Titles to reboot in backcompat scenarios
  • Improved performance of Xbox Guide during Messenger signin
  • Improved robustness when ejecting game disc when prompted for game title update
  • Improved robustness when inserting two MU’s at the same time on the device selector scene
  • Improved support for 3rd Party Controllers
  • Improved support for Buffalo WiFi routers
  • Improved support for Creston AV receivers with HDMI
  • Improved support for JPN Corega CG-BARFX network router
  • Improved support for signing into Xbox LIVE with Big Button Controller
  • Improved support for starting console with Big Button Controller when console is charging attached Wireless Controllers
  • Improved Xbox guide performance ~2x
  • Removed "Windows-based PC" from Computers area in Systems blade
  • Removed option to "Turn off Controller" when using Big Button Controller
  • Resync the Ring of Light pattern to the boot audio/animation
  • Updated copyright dates for 2007

Family gaming contract

I’m not so sure if Microsoft‘s PACT initiative is such a good thing. PACT is a contract (Parental involvement, Access, Content, Time) between family members on who gets to play/see/communicate with whom/when/how. It’s a good idea to get the family together and discuss how to use the console, but with a contract? Aren’t there enough contracts to be broken already? And what value for and influence on a child does a contract with the own family have?

PACT is part of the Xbox campaign "Safety is no game. Is your family set?" which also releases the Xbox 360 Family Timer on Live, designed to restrict children’s activity time and can be set on a per-day or per-week basis. A similar timer exists for Windows Vista.

Read more: Official Press Release

Xbox 360 Arcade

A new family version of Microsoft‘s Xbox 360 has been launched. The new Xbox 360 Arcade console will replace the core edition and feature a wireless controller, a 256MB memory card, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connection, and 5 free arcade games (PAC-MAN Championship Edition, Uno, Luxor 2, Boom Boom Rocket and Feeding Frenzy).
US estimated retail price: $279.99.

Official press release:

Microsoft Launches New Xbox 360 Console for Families
New console includes five games, wireless controller and storage to save games — all for the incredible value of $279.99

Just in time for holiday, Microsoft Corp. today released a new Xbox 360® console that delivers games and content to everyone in the family for an incredible value of $279.99 (U.S. estimated retail price)*. Available in stores beginning today, Xbox 360 Arcade console is the first Xbox 360 console to include five family-friendly games, a wireless controller, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connection to enable high-definition output if desired and 256 MB of memory useful for storing games and entertainment content. At $279.99, the Xbox 360 Arcade console will include five best-selling games: “PAC-MAN Championship Edition” (NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.), “Uno” (Carbonated Games), “Luxor 2” (MumboJumbo), “Boom Boom Rocket” (Electronic Arts Inc.) and “Feeding Frenzy” (Sprout Games).

“As families gather together this holiday, it’s the perfect time to launch a new low-priced, high-value Xbox 360 that plays games, TV shows and music for everyone to enjoy,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing, Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “In addition to offering an incredible all-in-one package for families to get right into the fun, the Xbox 360 Arcade system features the industry-leading Family Settings, which allow parents to control what their kids are watching and playing — and we know how important that control is to families around the world.”

Karen Dodge, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer at Toys “R” Us, added, “We are excited to offer this new gaming experience to our customers — children and families — who can now enjoy the fun of Xbox 360 together. Many of this holiday season’s hottest items provide Internet connectivity, and with the online entertainment options available through Xbox LIVE®, Xbox 360 Arcade offers families a great mix of online content and traditional gaming in one console.”

The news of Xbox 360 Arcade comes as part of a broader initiative by Microsoft to bring the Xbox 360 experience to families everywhere. Microsoft also announced today that it is significantly expanding its catalog of high- and standard-definition family fun content that is available on demand direct to the consumer’s living room. This includes the addition of everyone’s favorite characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck from Warner Bros., which will be delivering the first ever “Looney Tunes” cartoons for download on Xbox 360, starting today. In addition, Nickelodeon is adding three new shows to its already large library of more than 300 episodes of TV shows on Xbox LIVE, Microsoft’s premier online gaming and entertainment service, with the inclusion of “Blue’s Clues,” “The Backyardigans” and “iCarly.” “SpongeBob SquarePants Underpants Slam™” (THQ Inc.) and “SHREK-N-ROLL™” (Activision) games will also be available exclusively on Xbox LIVE Arcade, the place to download games for Xbox 360 over Xbox LIVE, adding more fun for everyone in the family.

Microsoft’s commitment to family entertainment is complemented by the largest next-generation library of “E”- and “T”-rated games, more than 200 in all, available at retailers nationwide this holiday, including “BEE MOVIE™ GAME” (Activision), “Guitar Hero III®: Legends of Rock” (Activision), “Naruto: Rise of a Ninja” (UbiSoft Entertainment), “Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action” and “Viva Piñata®: Party Animals.”

Halo 3 : Biggest Day In U.S. Entertainment History

Nobody had any doubts whatsoever that Halo 3 would become an instant hit. Pre-orders were sky-high – 1.7 million in the United States – and a lot was put into building up the hype before the launch day. So it comes to no surprise that Halo 3 made an estimated US$170 million in sales in the US alone in the first 24 hours.

Official press release:

Microsoft today announced that Halo® 3 has officially become the biggest entertainment launch in history, garnering an estimated $170 million in sales in the United States alone in the first 24 hours. The Xbox 360™ title beat previous records set by blockbuster theatrical releases like Spider-Man 3 and novels such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Halo 3 is the conclusion to the epic trilogy and picks up where Halo 2 left off, answering questions around the fates of the beloved protagonist Master Chief and his artificial intelligence sidekick Cortana as they struggle to save humankind from destruction at the hands of the alien coalition known as the Covenant. In addition to the rich storyline, Halo 3 continues the franchise’s grand tradition of delivering innovative online multiplayer experiences via Xbox LIVE®, the world’s largest social network on TV.

Pop Culture Phenomenon
"Halo 3 has become a pop-culture phenomenon," said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. "Not only is Halo 3 setting sales records, it’s also redefining entertainment. Within the first 20 hours alone, we’ve seen more than a million Xbox LIVE members come online to play Halo 3—that makes September 25 the most active Xbox LIVE gaming day in history."

Retailers have also expressed their excitement about the launch of Halo 3

Bob McKenzie, Senior Vice President of Merchandising for GameStop Corp commented that, "With consumer demand for Halo 3 and related products, we expect it to be the biggest video game title generator in GameStop’s history."

"The initial demand we’ve seen for Halo 3 has been astounding, and the game is on track to become the number one gaming title of all time. Halo 3 is a genuine entertainment phenomenon and our customers have responded very enthusiastically to the release," said Jill Hamburger, vice president of movies and games at Best Buy.

Midnight Madness
More than 10,000 retailers hosted Midnight Madness events to celebrate the launch of this third installment in the billion-dollar franchise.

In New York, Seattle, Miami, and Los Angeles, Microsoft and retail partners hosted marquee launch events that featured contests and appearances by local celebrities and professional athletes who are fanatical about the Halo franchise, including Ludacris and Zac Efron, and the New York Giants. 

More than 1.7 million copies of Halo 3 were preordered in the United States before a single store opened its doors at midnight on September 25, making this the fasting pre-selling game in history, surpassing the previous record-setting pre-sales of Halo 2. Well beyond just a U.S. phenomenon, the launch of Halo 3 was a worldwide celebration that released in 37 countries and available in 17 languages.

Xbox 360 Elite coming to Japan

Xbox 360 Elite will go on sale in Japan on October 11th at a price of US$390; that’s US$90 cheaper than in the US.

{One of my posts at "香港 (Hong Kong) 地區 Xbox 討論區" dated "07-06-2007, 2:31PM"}

Xbox 360 Warranty Coverage Expanded

  • All current warranties remain unchanged.
  • Certain general hardware failures which are indicated by 3 red flashing lights will be covered for 3 years.
  • New extension applies to exisiting and new customers in addition to current warranties.
  • Existing customers will be retroactively paid back the out-of-warranty repair costs from 3 red flashing lights.
  • New warranty extension covers all countries officially selling the Xbox 360.
  • Microsoft will take a US$1.05 to 1.15 billion pre-tax charge to earnings for the quarter ended June 30, 2007 for anticipated costs.
  • All support centers are updated so please refer to your local hotline for further questions.

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{One of my posts at "香港 (Hong Kong) 地區 Xbox 討論區" dated "07-06-2007, 2:21PM"}