Gadling's resident pilot explains what life in the cockpit is like

CoD4 takes back Xbox Live top spot

Just because we LOVE to stir up fanboy feelings and create all kinds of drama, we say: Call of Duty 4 manhandles Halo 3, taking the Xbox Live crown with unforgiving force! Because it's a better game! Yeah! ;)

Evil fanboy feud creation feelings aside, Major Nelson's most played games on Xbox Live list does list CoD4 as the most played Live game, dethroning Bungie's Halo 3. What's the reason? We aren't exactly sure, maybe it has something to do with an abnormally cool Guatemalan offshore breeze or the abnormally high bread prices. Speculate away and be sure to express you deepest, truest and most unforgiving fanboy feelings about the news. Not like we had to tell you to.

Play with the CGS pros Friday night on Xbox Live

Heads up competitive gamers. Every other Friday on Xbox Live, the Championship Gaming Series (and their $40,000 Pro-Am Division) are sponsoring a special Play with Pros event where gamers across the globe will be able to challenge the best CGS has to offer. And kicking off the competitive funnery are Phoenix and Master from the Dallas Venom who will be taking on challengers in the Dead or Alive 4 ring this Friday, August 15th from 9:00PM to midnight eastern. If you're up for the challenge, circle every other Friday night on your calendar for some CGS Play with Pros competition. Presser after the break.

Continue reading Play with the CGS pros Friday night on Xbox Live

360 system update released, not the Fall update

A few hours ago, a new Xbox 360 system update was released meaning that anyone signing into Xbox Live will be prompted to give it a download. But don't get too excited, because Major Nelson has informed us that this is NOT the feature rich Fall update we've all been waiting for. Instead, today's system update has code in it to "prepare for future growth of the service" with no new visible changes or features added. Which also means there are no Avatars ... yet.

[Thanks, to everyone who sent this in]

Europe accounts for less than a quarter of Live, language barriers to blame

Talking to Edge magazine, Vice President of Xbox Europe Chris Lewis discussed European Xbox Live memberships admitting that Europe accounts for "less than a quarter" of all Xbox Live subscribers worldwide. "We don't normally break out the European element of our Live membership," Lewis continued, "I will say to you as a percentage of that overall total, it's just less than a quarter. And I'll tell you also that a large part of that is in the UK."

So, where are all the Xbox Live Europeans at and why aren't they gaming on Live? The answer: stupid language barriers. The French, Spanish, German and other non-English speaking gamers of the world for the most part don't feel Xbox Live is a rich enough service to warrant a subscription. And it's sad too. Knowing that, one could also guesstimate that non-English speaking Europeans don't read X3F either. How sad and lonely their Xbox 360 gaming existence must be ...

Halo 3 holds onto its newly found Xbox Live crown

For the second week in a row, Halo 3 has successfully defended its golden "most played Xbox Live game" crown from the angry, desperate hands of Call of Duty 4. Major Nelson just posted the Xbox Live activity for the week of July 21st, where GHIII makes the list at 5th most played game, Gears of War at 4th, GTAIV at 3rd, CoD4 at a respectable 2nd and Halo 3 sitting atop everyone in 1st. Looks to us like we have a heated Xbox Live popularity contest a brewing. Quick, pop some popcorn!

Silver Live members get free cross platform title playtime through Fall

With Microsoft's Games for Windows reveal last week, where they announced all Games for Windows titles would be allowed to access a fully functioning Xbox Live without the need for a Gold account, comes word that ALL cross-platform titles on the Xbox 360 will be allowed access multiplayer functionality as well. Though, only for a limited time.

Shacknews confirmed the news with Microsoft which ultimately means that anyone who owns Universe at War, Shadowrun or Lost Planet: Colonies Edition on the Xbox 360 can play multiplayer online against 360 and PC Live members with a free Silver Xbox Live account. The catch being that this free Xbox 360 cross-platform gaming is more of a promotion and will only last until the rollout of the Fall update later this year. So, if you're part of the Silver crowd, own 360 versions of any of the games listed above and have the urge to play online, you better enjoy it while it lasts. Your freeloading time is limited.

[Thanks, to everyone who sent this in]

It's an NCAA Football 09 Live Weekend

Kicking off this Friday, July 25th and going into overtime on Sunday, July 27th, EA and are sponsoring an NCAA Football 09 Live Weekend full of prizes, playtime with the developers and a sprinkle of over the top end zone dances. You can read up on all the weekend's NCAA 09 festivities over on, pre-register for the fun and even find out how you can get a chance to game it up with hall of fame running back Eric Dickerson. Down, 3, 2, set, set, hut, HUT!

Games for Windows Live goes free

This topic sure to be a hotbed of commenting action. Yesterday Microsoft announced that Games for Windows Live, the PC-based equivalent of the Xbox Live service, has changed to a completely free business model. After a lukewarm launch against PC service powerhouse Steam the Games for Live service has ended the Gold/Silver distinction for PC gamers that Xbox Live subscribers are subjected to. Changing to a free model means gamers can compete in cross-platform gaming (where applicable) at no additional charge. The question now remains, does this move signify a a change that must be made to the Xbox Live structure or are the services two completely different beasts. Consider, only a handful of games and features exist on the PC side of Live and with strong competition from other free services it's a move Microsoft had no choice but to make to survive. So, what are your thoughts on Games for Windows Live going free?

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in. Via Engadget]

E308: Dashboard with themes, downloads and launch area

Major Nelson just added a trio of images to his flickr account outlining examples of how the new dashboard redesign will retrofit existing Xbox 360 themes, a more detailed download page for content on the Xbox Live Marketplace and an example of a game specific launch page. Microsoft has promised the new dashboard will still allow themes -- as seen in the image above -- and we anticipate the photo will change based on the area of the dashboard you visit.

For images, and an analysis of the images for downloads and specific titles jump in.

Continue reading E308: Dashboard with themes, downloads and launch area

Airplanes in Burnout Paradise?

As Criterion Games wraps up development on the soon-to-be-released Cagney update for Burnout Paradise, the team is already experimenting with what future updates could bring to the title. Previously announced bikes, night-time driving and a new island have been revealed as key additions coming to the game but now Criterion has revealed the team is experimenting with airplanes. Continuing the developer's admiration for high speed, planes could be an interesting addition to the series but it doesn't appear that anything is set in stone just yet.

Until then we'll make do with the 3 new online modes, 70 online timed challenges, ranked racing improvements and live updates page all releasing for free with the Cagney update, which has been pushed to July 14.

[via Big Download]

Say hello to July's Artist of the Month, Circo

Going back to their traditional roots of only awarding one Artist of the Month (darn you May and your four award honors!), has given July's prestigious monthly artist honors to the latin rockers Circo. Solely based on the band picture above and not hearing a lyric or note from their album, we think they're pretty okay fine. Anyone who has a cranium tattoo is semi-cool in our book. So, as with all AotM announcements, you can grab a few Circo music video downloads off the Xbox Live Marketplace at your convenience. Circo, kinda like circle, but not really.

Feel Kane's Wrath all weekend long

Next weekend will officially be a Command and Conquer: Kane's Wrath Live weekend, only because the folks say so. (What can we say, they do they want.) Celebrating the release of Kane's Wrath, next weekend you can expect to participate in a Play and Win giveaway where hourly prizes will be awarded, a Game with Fame session with the voice of Kane Mr. Joseph D. Kucan on Saturday, July 12th and even a Game With Developers event on Friday, June 11th with nine members of the Kane's Wrath dev team. Yup, it'll be a busy weekend full of commanding, conquering, Kane and wrath. Good times will be had.

Kill dinos in Turok with rock band Distrubed

Heads up to those looking to Game with rock band Fame today, because later this evening the band Disturbed will be connected to Xbox Live playing some Turok.

From 6-8:00PM eastern (3-5:00PM pacific) Disturbed will be participating in's Game With Fame, playing a few games of Turok multiplayer under the Gamertag Disturbed GWF. Sounds fun and all, it's just ... well, why play Turok? Couldn't Disturbed pick up a game like ... say, Halo 3? If they did, then we'd be super excited to play.

[Thanks, NUCK1N FUTS]

Rumor busted: My GamerPad is a big fat phony

Hey, remember that rumor that Microsoft was developing a service called My GamerPad that was an awful lot like Sony's (still unfinished) Home service on the PS3? You can stick a fork in that rumor. It's done. DCEmu reports that the supposed image from My GamerPad (top left) is nothing more than a Photoshopped version of an image taken from deviantART user saffiq. So there you go kids. Remember, if it looks Photoshopped, smells Photoshopped, and tastes Photoshopped, it's a duck Photoshopped. You might also want to remember to make sure no one is around when it comes time to sniff and lick your computer screen though.

Bad Company connection troubles? Just restart!

Having a difficult time connecting to EA's Battlefield: Bad Company servers? Well kids, you aren't alone. EA has acknowledged the fact that some Xbox 360 Bad Company gamers are having troubles connecting to the game servers. Though, take comfort in the fact that they are "monitoring stats non-stop and are working with several partners to locate any possible flashpoints and eradicate any hostiles we encounter." Ha! And until they release a fix, EA recommends simply shutting off your Xbox for 20 minutes, then giving it an old fashioned restart. Good luck!

[Via Eurogamer]

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