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MS confirms Xbox Originals, free Carcassonne Thursday


Well that didn't take long. Microsoft has issued a press release confirming reports from earlier today that original Xbox games will soon be available for download from Xbox Live Marketplace. The games -- referred to as "Xbox Originals" -- mentioned explicitly by Microsoft were Halo, Crimson Skies, Fable, and Psychonauts, though it's unclear if all of these titles will be available on the day the service launches. That day, incidentally, is not December 2 as previously reported, but rather December 4. As noted by the press release, "This new service will launch with an array of blockbuster titles spanning the most popular genres from action-adventure to classic role-playing games." Classic role-playing games on the original Xbox? Really? All three of them? Anyway, the games will be available for the previously reported price of 1200 MS Points ($15). Whether or not the launch lineup that was reported earlier is accurate remains to be seen.

Microsoft also added some announcements about the fifth anniversary of the launch of Xbox Live on November 15. In celebration, Microsoft will be offering a free download of the Xbox Live Arcade game Carcassonne (Hexic 2 in Korea) starting at 12:01am EST November 15. The game will be free to all subscribers for 48 hours. Also, all subscribers who have been a member of Xbox Live since 2002 will receive 500 MS Points for free.

Fall Update brings downloadable Xbox games December 2


And here we were hoping our favorite console was going to learn how to make julienne fries. Alas, no. Instead, the Fall Dashboard Update for the Xbox 360 brings with it the ability to download original Xbox games. The news comes from Official Xbox Magazine (by way of CVG, whose article has since been pulled), which reports that the update will be available December 2nd. The first round of Xbox titles up for grabs are Halo: Combat Evolved (duh), Fable, Indigo Prophecy, Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath Of Cortex, and Burnout 3.

Microsoft apparently plans to make as much of the original Xbox catalogue available as possible (can we get to work on Panzer Dragoon Orta, please?). Games are expected to cost 1200 MS Points ($15 U.S.).

Of course, there are still some unanswered questions. How much space will the games take up? Will they be upscaled to HD (we're betting yes)? Will Halo: Combat Evolved fans finally get Live enabled multiplayer? All the games on the list have 360 sequels already out or in the works except Crimson Skies and Indigo Prophecy. Is this a hint that the rumored Crimson Skies sequel is real? Is Indigo Prophecy getting a much deserved sequel? Only time will tell, but at least you shouldn't have to wait too long.

[Via Joystiq]

How much juice is left in your headset?

So you've decided to cut the cord and purchase the new Xbox 360 wireless headset this weekend, good for you! But did you know about the snazzy new battery indicator that was enabled through the fall update?

Well, our friend Major Nelson informs us that you'll be able to check not only your wireless controller's battery life, but the battery life of your new wireless headset too. And all of this battery information is easily accessible through the Xbox guide and is displayed in convenient icon form. So I ask, are you planning on picking up the new wireless headset and freeing yourself of the wires?

Fall update curbs GamerScore cheating

GamerScore whore awfullygood, from the appropriately named blog, "Confessions of a GamerScore Whore," describes how the Fall update made life more difficult for achievement cheaters:

With the Fall Update, Microsoft has introduced a hybrid locking mechanism that effectively harms the first method [ for swapping game saves] and squelches the second method. Method 1 has been smacked silly because the vast majority of existing game save files created on the previous update do not work on the Fall update software version. This renders those files useless until unscrupulous members decide to re-upload hundreds of saves based from the new dashboard version. This will most likely take months upon months or possibly never happen for very unpopular games.

Method 2 has been rendered useless as new console specific security is in place. Gamerscore thirsty gamers are taunted with a Corrupt Save message when the bypass method attempts to be used. Obviously, the new security may eventually be cracked by code junkies, but those game saves may also have to be re-uploaded. I'm unsure of any repercussions to method 3. I've always found trading accounts to be supremely idiotic as anyone could keep your account for themselves. Anyway, if anyone has heard if method 3 has been affected, let me know.

Former champ ST TheKing quit the GamerScore race after the upper reaches of the leaderboard became became clogged with fakes, including awfullygood himself (who admits he was cheating just to keep up with the Joneses). Sure Xbox 360 achievements are intangible and useless, but they are fun to earn and these a-hole cheats make a mockery of every pallid kid who spent a three day weekend in the basement going after that final Lumines Live time attack get. For God's sake, if putting endless hours into a crap game like Bomberman gives you a limited sense of accomplishment, stealing a game save must give you even less. Of course, these changes won't stop cheating, just slow it down for a bit. But it does serve as a reminder that you're not entitled to an elite score, unless you're playing that other console.

Fall update fix released

Major Nelson reports -- from a rest stop in Massachusetts -- that a fix has been created for those having trouble with the Fall Update. Those of you that have had no problems with the update will not be prompted to get the fix and may continue on as if nothing happened. Those of you who have had trouble should call Xbox Support. We're not really sure how you apply an update to a bricked console, but that's probably why you have to call customer support. If anyone out there manages to get this patch, leave a comment here and tell us what the process was like.

[Thanks, Glenn]

Fall update won't play nice with Sony 1080p TVs


Angry owners in the AVS forum report that the Fall Update's vaunted 1080p support works as advertised with Samsung HDTVs -- but not with two of Sony's most popular (and expensive) 1080p LCD models XBR2/3:

I just had the time to quickly start poking around with the 360 dashboard update, and I'm sorry to report that 1080p is broken on the XBR2 via both component and VGA. When I select 1080p in VGA, I get a windowboxed picture with tons of info cut off on both sides and a warning from the TV saying "Invalid Signal--Check Your PC Output". Over component, when I select 1080p I get a screen full of static for 10 seconds before the console reverts to 1080i.

Feh. Since the XBR2 is one of the most high-profile, wildely available 1080p displays on the market, you'd think MS' engineers would find a way to get the two to work together, but noooooo...

While it's outrageous to suggest that MS would intentionally blacklist their rival's most popular HDTVs, it is amusingly ironic -- unless you're staring at a $4000 distorted screen right now. Another patch could be imminent. It's worth pointing out that most people on that thread say they're going to return their Sony set, not their Xbox 360. And, as usual, someone comments that an upscaled 1080i signal is indiscernible anyway.

Sidenote: The general public doesn't have a prayer of grasping this stuff.

Xbox 360 pre-TGS briefing set for Sept. 20


IGN reports that Microsoft has scheduled an Xbox 360 press briefing two days ahead of the Tokyo Game Show September 22:

Officially, the company plans on showing off its Japanese Xbox 360 titles for the rest of the year and sharing its strategy for the Japanese market. We presume there will be plenty of long-awaited details on Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon, but there should be some big surprises as well.

How about some news on the Fall dashboard update. Speaking of updates, what's on your wish list?

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