Microsoft Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. As of March 31, 2011, there are over 53.6 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide. Several major features of the Xbox 360 are its integrated Xbox Live service that allows players to compete online, download arcade games, game demos, trailers, TV shows, music and movies and its Windows Media Center multimedia capabilities. The Xbox 360 also offers region specific access to third-party media streaming services such as Netflix and ESPN in the US or Sky Go in the UK.

Europe Release: 2005-12-02
America Release: 2005-11-22
Japan Release: 2005-12-10

Harry Potter for Kinect

Microsoft have landed an exclusive Harry Potter game simply called "Harry Potter for Kinect"

The new video game exclusively for Xbox 360 will be based on all eight Harry Potter films.

Not only will you be able to wave your hands around to control your wand, but you can also scan your face in to the game.

Now I've always been a fan of face scanning since I first played Rainbow Six, and this looks like it does a good job, apart from giving you a hairlip.
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Staff training to stop Xbox Live form being Jacked

At first there were rumours that Xbox Live accounts was being Hacked. It now turns out they are not being Hacked, but instead Jacked.

The difference is a hack would involve them breaking in to Xbox Live to steal information to gain access to your account, where as a jacking simply is calling Microsoft and pretending to be the victim and asking for them to give you the details.

Its been pointed out that Jackers are sending emails to Microsoft asking for security question to be reset but pretending to also be a Microsoft Agent. They then Call and ask them to reset the security question and back it up with "you should have an email request from an agent".

Once they have reset your security password they call a second time and say they forgot their email address and the call handler will simply ask "What is your security question and answer" (the one they gave you 30 seconds ago)

So with all that information they then become you and take your account away.

Microsoft have now replied with:

[quote]There are several different methods malicious users employ to gain unauthorised access to accounts; social engineering is one of them. We are aware of the vulnerabilities that social engineering poses, and continue to address these through tools and training to help keep our members safe and secure.
The security of Xbox LIVE member accounts is a top priority and we continue to take aggressive steps to protect our members against ever-changing threats. This includes continually evolving our security practices and staff training to help prevent these scenarios from occurring.[/quote]

So fingers crossed over the next few months we should start to see less Jackings.
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Union Jack Xbox 360

With the Queen’s diamond jubilee and Olympic games on the way you might be feeling a little patriotic, if so Microsoft are happy to take £249.99 from you and replace it with a 4GB Xbox 360 gaming console, one wireless controller, a Kinect, two games (Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports) along with a three month Xbox LIVE Gold subscription.

Personally I think this looks more like one of those cheap stickers you buy to put over your console and controller, but after reading comments on the web a lot of users like the look of it.

If you are unwilling to fork out £249 on the console, you can always pop to B&Q and buy a tin of white, red and blue paint, leave it beside your console and abandon a small child or animal in the same room and wait 2 hours. You should find your console looks very similar (warning, your TV, floor and walls might also get the same effect)

The unit was available on Amazons website but was quickly taken down, Microsoft have now confirmed this will be on sale from Friday 25th May.

So what do you think of the new console?
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TV Adverts Coming To Xbox Live

If you enjoy using any of the TV or video applications on your Xbox 360 then here's a heads up, adverts are coming your way.

Here's a quote from Ross Honey, the General Manager of Xbox Live Entertainment and Advertising:

[quote]As more and more industry leaders like ESPN work with us to help monetize their content on Xbox Live, TV media buyers win with the ability to extend their standard TV spots to this highly engaged consumer audience.[/quote]

So what does this mean to us, the consumers?

Microsoft are set to introduce 15-30 second adverts to Xbox Live TV and Video applications, meaning you'll have to watch an advert prior to watching the program or film you've rented or intend to stream.

While I understand the economics behind such a move, it's already upsetting a lot of Xbox gamers. Recently YouTube has seen an increase in advertisement due to channels wanting to earn royalties from the videos that they are publishing (although you do get the option to skip them after a few seconds).

While I don't mind so much the advertisement on YouTube, the increase in advertisement appearing on the Xbox Marketplace is getting frustrating. Xbox Live Gold membership currently costs £39.99 (RRP) for 12 months, so surely those who choose to pay for the full service shouldn't have to then be forced to watch adverts too.

The entertainment applications on Xbox Live are becoming increasingly popular, so of course advertisement firms are going to want a piece of that action.

What are your thoughts on this? Should Gold members see the adverts? Perhaps it should have just been limited to Silver members? Do you not care as long as you get to enjoy what Xbox Live offers?

Bring out your comments below...
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Xbox is paying you to play?

It might sound too good to be true. Well it is true but not as much as your imagination has already told you its going to be.

This month Microsoft are offering you 300 Microsoft points just for Playing games, watching TV and being social.

There are a few ways you can earn your free points, but some options involve you spending money. So here is the list of how to earn those points for FREE

1) Play any Kinect game for 2 hours or Xbox LIVE for 10 hours
2) Use a entertainment apps for 10 hours (BBC iPlayer Netflix etc)
3) Use a Social app for 1 hour (Facebook or twitter)

And bingo the points are yours.

So people might say "well its only 300 points" and yes that's true, but if you do these things anyway why not cash in on it?

All this must be done before the end of April

For more information read the Triple Play Offer
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Are Microsoft points being phased out?

Its been reported form Inside Mobile Apps that Microsoft are to phase out Microsoft points and replace it with your local currency. Its said this is to be rolled out over the next year and they plan to have killed the point system by the end of 2012.

A lot of people will be happy to know this so when they buy DLC and games they actually known the price they are paying.

The only issue I have is I hope we can still buy top up cards instead of just entering out credit card details, after the PS3 hacking and possible Xbox hackings I don't like the idea of entering my card details on to the network.
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Xbox Live Hacked?

A few months ago there was an article about Xbox live being hacked, the only problem being that it was written by the British tabloid “The Sun”, for anyone who doesn’t know about this newspaper, it’s the equivalent of a homeless man giving you gaming news in exchange for a can of cheap of cider.. They can’t be trusted, and you could spend 25p better!

So the story was that Xbox Live was being hacked and they went on to say people playing Fifa 12 online were being targeted. No one could back this up, but instead gaming sites simply wrote “The Sun said Xbox Live has been hacked”, understandably no one took it seriously, and Microsoft explained that it was merely users falling for a phishing scam.

But it does look like there might be a bit of truth in the cider chugging news reporter’s article.

Susan Taylor is an Xbox Live user and noticed some money had left her pay pal account. After looking in to it she found someone had purchased a Family gold account (this allows users to buy MS points and give them to people). She also noticed her account had been sending points to a user by the name of “RipplyCorgi16”

Susan then contacted Microsoft and after being passed around different departments she was told her account has been locked out while they investigate. Unfortunately Microsoft did not lock the account down and Susan lost even more money, after they specifically claimed that they had. Not being satisfied with Microsoft she put on her Professor Layton hat and did a little investigating of her own. After sending a message to RipplyCorgi16 she found he had purchased the account on a Polish version of eBay pre loaded with Microsoft points.

So this looks like a legit problem that has been done on a small scale, possibly trying not to bring much attention to hackers. Now that Gaming blogs are reporting it and demanding a response this should force Microsoft into actually looking in to this issue and not just write it off as a phishing scam.
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Dashboard update on 6th December

With Windows 8 on its way and the recently launched windows phones they both have a similar look, so to match this your Xbox dashboard will sporting a new windows 8 style theme as of December 6th.

This new update will not only makes it easy to find items, but has a much better Kinect voice recognition.

The last time they did a dashboard update I didn’t like it, but after a week I loved the new theme, at the moment I feel the same way but I know once I give it some time I will enjoy it. So what do you think of the new dashboard?
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Points Glitch

Microsoft have been giving the odd $5 away in error to users in Microsoft points, not many people have noticed as Microsoft was quick to take the points back again, but one lucky user noticed the jump in points so he spent them.

Then when Microsoft came to claim the points back its caused the account to go in to negative points. Now so far that makes sense but for some reason xbox live wanted to complicate things and instead of showing -$5 it gave the user $53,687,089.20 in points.

So Keep your eye on your points and if you get an extra $5 in your account then SPEND IT and you might be rewarded with 53 million dollars
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Xbox Live in Windows 8

We all know like any good drip feeding company, as soon as your customers start to get used to your product you need to quickly reinvent it.

We have seen Microsoft start to tie in "Windows LIVE games" and now bringing xbox live to the windows phone, but the next installment of Windows will be supporting Xbox Live. Click here to see this in action

Video from GeekWire.
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