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Major Nelson awarding a select few the NXE prior to its official release [update]


Update: Just to be clear, Major Nelson says to visit his website NEXT WEEK for the NXE giveaway surprise. So, don't be disappointed if there is no NXE handout this week.

Thanks to the handy transcription of GamePlay Unlimited, we now know that Major Nelson will be giving a few lucky 360 fanboys the chance to download the New Xbox Experience prior to its official release on November 19th.

Word comes from his latest podcast, where Major and E have a brief discussion regarding a listener receiving the NXE before anyone else. E inquires about the possibility of a MajorNelson.com visitor winning the chance to download the NXE early, to which Major answers, "that's pretty much what I'm saying." We don't know how or when, but we guess a few lucky MajorNelson.com visitors will be getting the NXE before it releases to the masses, allowing them to get a head start on their Avatar customization.

[Via Evil Avatar]

Castle Crashers remains top played XBLA title


For the third consecutive week The Behemoth's latest release, Castle Crashers, has remained the most played Xbox Live Arcade release. Still reeling from its online play hiccups, Castle Crashers has been singled out as one of the most successful releases to ever hit the service. Released nearly two years since it was announced, Castle Crashers was at the forefront of a price listing controversy that pegged the beat-em-up as the first 1800MS point Arcade release but was then confirmed at a slightly lower price of 1400MS 1200MS points.

After stealing the top slot for the third time we wonder, are any upcoming releases tempting enough to take over? If you said Feeding Frenzy 2 congratulations. You're so wrong.

Update: We need coffee, price of Castle Crashers is and always has been 1200MS points.

Gallery: E308: Castle Crashers (XBLA)

New Xbox Experience gets clarified by the Major


Last week we tried to answer your questions regarding the New Xbox Experience, but you still have concerns. Valid ones at that. What's the deal with these Avatar things? They are so not 1337. Will we be forced to install games to the harddrive? But we don't want to lose one of our PS3 laughing points! Thanks to Major Nelson's latest podcast some of those concerns are cleared up.

Addressing the two concerns above, Major assures Xbox 360 owners that they won't have to create an Avatar and that installing Xbox 360 titles will never be a requirement. Color us relieved so far. For more details and answers to your questions make sure to check out Major's latest episode.

[via Joystiq]

Gallery: New Xbox Experience

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

E308: Major Nelson updates with tons of new dashboard details: install games to HDD & more


Things are moving really, really, fast in the world of the 360 right now. After the news that the Dashboard would be receiving a makeover, many of you thought that it was the end of the known world. Luckily, Major Nelson has updated his blog with some of the many new details of the new interface. The first of which is that the blades interface isn't going away, it's now just a smaller part of the larger Xbox Guide.

Even bigger though is the option to install games entirely to the HDD for faster load times and no disc drive noise. However, to get the installed game to boot, the disc has to still be in the drive for an initial check to make sure you still own it.

The new party system that's built into the interface supports up to eight people and allows for chat, sharing of media, and simultaneous launch of games, all for the entire group. As for the so-called Xbox Live Primetime, it's basically a system that allows users to participate in what amounts to virtual game shows, many complete with prizes and a live host.

The last few bits include a few notes on Avatars, including their integration into Arcade games, future retail releases and of course the newly christened "Live Party". Also, for those techies out there, the update will add 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440x900 or 1680x1050. Oh, and you'll be able to buy anything from the Marketplace via Xbox.com too.

Plus the ol' Major promises that there is still more details to be revealed as the update draws ever closer.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

No XBLA release this Wednesday

In a not-too-surprising move this week, Microsoft announced via Major Nelson that the Live Arcade wouldn't be seeing any releases this week. The last month or so of XBLA titles have had their release dates leaked or rumored beforehand, and as we'd heard nothing this week, the news of zero releases isn't all that surprising. Besides, the most likely release would have been Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm. And in the words of Major Nelson, "My guess is most people will be busy with another game this week."

Xbox Live down for 8 hours on April 21


In a move reminiscent of what happened on April 1 (twice in one month MS, for shame!), Microsoft has announced that Xbox Live will be down for maintenance. Only this time instead of going down for only three hours, the service is scheduled to be going down for eight hours. According to Major Nelson, everything will be down from 2am to 10am Pacific Time on April 21. That is a Monday, so traffic would likely have been a bit light, but this does mean that those with downloaded content from a previous console will not be able to access their games. Just so long as it's maintenance of the type that prevents any kind of the hitches the service has seen in its recent history, then it should be worth it. Well, at least we're forewarned.

Video proof: Major Nelson is not Paris Hilton

If you've been paying attention to Inside Xbox, you may recall former Microsoft bigwig Peter Moore (now cozy with EA) calling out one Major Nelson during an interview with Microsoft's TriXie. Specifically, Moore (jokingly) described Major as "self-absorbed," adding, "now he's pretty much, you know, the Paris Hilton of video games. That, you know, he is, you know, above us all." Major Nelson is apparently not one to take things lying down, and he quickly prepared a response video for this week's edition of Major's Minute. We won't spoil it, but rest assured that Major Nelson consulted the highest authority on this matter.

The best use for Inside Xbox so far: bloopers [update]

So far, we've had mixed feelings about the Inside Xbox feature that was introduced in the latest Fall Update. After all, we already spend our entire day scouring the net for the latest and greatest Xbox news, and Inside Xbox hasn't exactly dropped any exclusive bombshells so far (although we did find out that National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is on Video Marketplace, score!). Undoubtedly, the most interesting feature is the ability for Inside Xbox to stream video. The potential use for this is pretty intriguing (think exclusive trailers, the next E3 press conference, etc.). However, we're pretty sure we've landed on the best use thus far: bloopers. The next time you get a chance, fire up the old 360 and check out the "Inside Xbox Bloopers" to see what goes into the little community video nuggets produced by TriXie and Major Nelson. You'll even get to hear Major drop some (censored) F-bombs! Now that's entertainment.

[Update: The video is now embedded above]

Major Nelson is community's Person of the Year

With an award to prove it, our good friend Larry Hryb (a.k.a. Major Nelson) is officially enjoyed by the major-ity (haha!) of the gaming community.

GameDaily's 2007 Persons of the Year awards just wrapped and for the first year ever they handed out a Reader's Choice award. GameDaily asked readers to tell them who in the gaming industry was worthy of the Reader's Choice honor and after tallying the votes Mr. Face of Xbox himself and Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry Hryb came out on top beating notables like Ken Levine and Jade Raymond. You can read Major's thank you post over on his blog, so be sure to stop on by and tell him how uber awesome he is. Now our chances of getting him to accept our friend request will be zilch to none ...

[Thanks, EdogLost]

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