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Ask X3F: puzzling hits edition

Another edition of Ask X3F is upon us, boys and girls. In this weeks installment, we discuss many puzzling issues including what happened to Microsoft Point gifting, why X3F giveaways are only open in North America and just what the deal is with Rock Band 1 DLC compatibility. We also ask a very important question: what exactly makes a hit? The Arcade Hits program has been discounting Xbox Live Arcade games for a while now, but we really don't know what makes a 'hit.' Why are some games discounted while others are not. We explore the possibilities after the break.

The mailbag is getting a bit thin this week, so be sure to send in your questions and comments for next week.

Got a question for Ask X3F? Maybe you have a story or some information you'd like to share? Send it all to ask [att] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

Hey Guys, what's up? Just one question I hope you can give me an answer, why all your giveaways contest are for U.S and Canada (except for Quebec) Residences?. Why not Latin America (I'm from there) or Europe?. I'm a big fan of xbox360fanboy and I get sad to see I can't win any of those prizes, very sweet prizes. If I win something I could pay the delivery to my country, so there's must be some legal problem with that, if not well, you guys are just mean!.

Thanks for your answer


We get this question every once in a while and it's probably about time we answer again for our newer readers. The long and short of it is this: the legal ramifications of opening a giveaway to more countries are simply too great, mainly because every country has different rules and regulations regarding such things. Or there's the shorter version: our legal department says we can't.

We'd love to be able to extend our giveaways to everyone (even though international shipping is a pain, ugh), but unfortunately it isn't in the cards.

I thought I read a while back that you could "gift" MSFT points to a someone else via xbox live. I have searched all over the dashboard and can't seem to find a way to do this. Is this possible? Is it part of the fall update?



You're absolutely right. Back in December of 2007, you could gift Microsoft Points. We even ran a story about it. Strangely enough, when we tried to visit the appropriate web page, it wasn't there. We contacted our man Major Nelson for an answer, and he told us that gifting functionality is currently "on hold." We'll keep digging and share any details that we find in the future. In the meantime, the only way to gift MS Points is by giving someone a prepaid card.


I was wondering if you guys knew of any preorder deals for The Force Unleashed. In particular, I'm looking for a gift card or MS points. Have you seen anything? Also, I'm a bit confused about multiplayer. I heard the Wii gets 'Duel Mode' does the 360 version not get any kind of splitscreen at all?

Thanks a lot. I love the site!


As a matter of fact, Circuit City is currently running a Force Unleashed promotion. Pick up a copy from Circuit City and you'll get a free T-shirt and a $10 gift card. Not bad. As for multiplayer, the 360 version has none whatsoever. Sorry.

I've had this question in my head for quite some time now, and just need to find an answer or a hint of one. When the fall dashboard update comes out, we've been told we can expect to copy our games to the hard drive. I wanted to know if this would fix loading and graphics issues and speed overall?

An example would be the delay in graphics after a load or when your character runs in Mass Effect. I know loading from the hard drive would be faster, I assumed then graphics would flow better?

Thanks guys!


As far as we know, the sole purpose of installing a game to the Xbox 360 hard drive is to speed up load times. That's pretty much the takeaway we had at E3 anyway. We're no programming geniuses (please feel free to chime in if you are), but we imagine anything that required direct access to the disc should be speedier. So, unless an issue is directly related to accessing the disc, we imagine it would stay the same. Thus, the question would be whether a problem is related to a game's engine or simply a matter of pausing to access the disc.

With Rock Band 2 coming out, i know that we can (mostly) transfer all the Rock Band 1 songs to use with Rock Band 2. My question concerns Rock Band 1 DLC. Will that automatically work with Rockband 2 or will we have to pay to "transfer" it to Rock Band 2?

Rock Band 1 DLC should work with Rock Band 2 right out of the box. Just pop the Rock Band 2 disc into your Xbox and watch your Rock Band 1 DLC pop up. Easy!

Hey Guys,

I've been pondering this for a while, and the temporary price cut on DLC, mixed with the impending removal of some XBLA titles made it impossible for me to hold this question back any longer.

Would microsoft ever discount arcade titles? Sony's PSN (I'm 90% 360 fanboy, not a traitor.) recently did this, and I picked up 3 very good games for fairly cheap, and 'm not talking games like frogger or joust either. . Recently it made several blogs that lower selling titles would get removed. Would microsoft rather not sell a game at all than offer it for half price? There are several arcade games that had too short to judge demo's I would pick up if they were to go on sale. (Elements of Destruction, Exit, etc).

I'm not trying to sound cheap, It's like all the Tomb Raider's, yes I want it, but chances are I will get bored after halfway through with it, however when it hit's half price it's an awsome deal. I've purchase 35+ arcade games. My point is theres about 15 more that I would purchase if they were on sale.


Actually, Microsoft already discounts Xbox Live Arcade titles. Discounted titles are called Arcade Hits so, ostensibly, these are games that sell really well. That said, we're hard-pressed to say that all the games on the list qualify as 'hits':
  • Lumines Live
  • Bankshot Billiards
  • Zuma Deluxe
  • Assault Heroes
  • Puzzle Quest
  • Doom
  • Marble Blast Ultra
  • Small Arms
Now, there is no denying that there are some great games on this list, but it's also worth noting that many of them were (or could have been) considered overpriced when they launched. The price of Lumines Live -- and the manner in which its various content packs were sold -- was a particularly nasty issue. The 1200 MS Point price of Puzzle Quest was also somewhat contentious when it was revealed.

One could argue that such high quality games sold well regardless of price, hence the 'hit' status and the price reduction, but we're not sure we buy it. You know why? Street Fighter II. Back in August of 2007, Microsoft made it known that Street Fighter II was the best selling Xbox Live Arcade game. Period. And yet, more than two years after its release, Street Fighter II -- an 800MS Point retro title -- retains its original price. So, while high sales volume might be part of the Arcade Hits equation, it's certainly not all of it.

That doesn't exactly answer your question, we suppose, but there you go. Your only hope is that the games you want meet the mysterious criteria to achieve Arcade Hit status. Of course, all of the games on the list were also fairly old when they achieved hit status, so it will likely be some time before the games you want become hits (if they ever do).

That's it for this week, folks. Keep sending your questions to: ask [att] xbox360fanboy [dawt] c

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