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Posts with tag hardware

Xbox Japan sees 157% growth in the last year

The numbers aren't Earth shattering -- or cause for a sweater in the pits of Hell -- but Xbox 360 has found a small niche in Japan. Famitsu Marketing data (via GameDaily) outlines that the Xbox 360 has seen a year-to-year growth of an impressive 157% during the first seven months of the year.

Before we start to prep our Sony eulogy for Japanese newspapers we should keep in mind that a growth of 157% on an already small group isn't much to brag about but Microsoft is hopeful for their future in the region. According to data from Famitsu the console has sold 748,992 units since its release in Japan and Microsoft hopes to crack the million units sold milestone, "as soon as possible." The spike in sales is in large part to the exclusive debut releases of the role-playing titles Tales of Vesperia and Infinite Undiscovery. The lifetime hardware sales numbers for each platform (and handheld) can be found after the jump.

[via Joystiq]

Continue reading Xbox Japan sees 157% growth in the last year

Heck dissects 60GB Xbox 360 model in search of changes

Technology ninja Ben Heck has peered into the realm that is the 60GB Xbox 360 in an attempt to see what changes have been made. What he found was ... the same as we've seen in recent hardware iterations -- including the newly developed 65nm chip. The only major difference Heck was able to spot is the size of the harddrive, go figure on the 60GB model, and the placement of some chips within the system.

While the current models look quite different in comparison to launch units (inside that is), the extra heatsink among other things means the 60GB model essentially the same as the units currently on the shelf. As long as they aren't on par with the RROD'ed units filling up crater sized holes in the Mojave Desert we'll be happy.

[via Joystiq]

Arcade 360 not receiving any price cut?

Since it's been pretty much confirmed that the 20GB 360 is going to be getting a price cut down to $299.95, we hoped that the Arcade SKU would be getting a similar price cut. In light of the rumors of a 60GB HDD SKU though, we did speculate the price drop was simply to clear shelves of the older 20GB units and that the future 60GB unit wouldn't debut at $299.99.

While that could all still be proven wrong, as more info comes in it seems to be the most likely scenario. Thanks to a tip from our good buddies over at ps3fanboy we've got an advertisement from Circut City that seems to confirm that by the weekend of July 27 the Arcade unit will not have gotten a price cut. Makes you think about why someone would buy that over an HDD equipped unit at $299.99; unless of course they'll all be off the shelves by then ....

Only time will tell, but look for E3 to clear up a lot of these uncertainties.

*Sigh* More Newton motion control rumors ...

Sure Microsoft may have gone back on their "we do not comment on rumors and speculation" policy to debunk the Banjo -> Newton connection, but they didn't go so far as to declare that there isn't a motion controller at all. Over at xbox360oz, they claim that the latest copy of Xbox360World magazine has an inside source that then claims that not only is the project real, but that it also uses tech from a company that already makes motion controllers.

This is all quite tenuous and feels like grasping at straws, but it's some interesting food for thought. The Motus "Darwin" controller does make sense as a starting point for a company looking to match the Wii. In fact, the company website mentions the Wii in comparison to its product quite often, and has several news stories running along its bottom that deal with the ol' 360 Newton rumors. Evidence? Of course not. Curious? Definitely.

Get here already E3! We need all these speculations and rumors to end, interesting as they all may be.

[Via N4G, xbox360oz]

Rumor: Leaked MS email confirms 60GB SKU, more

Well as E3 approaches, it looks Microsoft just can't keep a lid on their announcements. The lowered price on the 20GB unit has been rumored for a while now, and the idea has even been bandied about that its purpose was to clear the shelves to make room for a 60GB unit. While this of course is still waiting on some sort of official word (likely coming around or at MS's E3 press conference), a leaked email supposedly sent out to GameStop and Blockbuster company buyers seems to confirm both the new 60GB SKU as well as a "Live Starter Pack" for Arcade owners, which consists of a 60GB HDD, 3 Months of Live, a Headset, and an ethernet cable, all for $99.99.

Additionally, the email states the 20GB HDD is being phased out altogether and that the 120GB stand alone drive will receive a price cut to $149.99 (HA!). Word is that the 60GB Pro Unit will hit before the month is out and the Live Starter Pack will hit late October or early November. Whether or not the new 60GB SKU will be subject to the new price drop is unknown, but doubtful. Likely the 20GBs at $299.99 are a fire sale, and the 60GBs will still be $349.99.

The full text of the email can be found after the break.

Continue reading Rumor: Leaked MS email confirms 60GB SKU, more

Analysts: Third party 360 integration would be too expensive to manufacture

Refuting rumor claims that Microsoft will be opening up Xbox 360 hardware development to third party manufacturers, analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities says such a move would make the devices too expensive to manufacture.

"To add 360 functionality to another consumer electronics device, such as a Blu-ray player, the manufacturer would incur relatively significant additional cost" Pachter told, adding that the additional cost would put the "hybrid device at a disadvantage." Though, Pachter did say there would be an advantage to adding 360 hardware to devices in under-performing markets (cough, Japan, cough) allowing the 360 hardware to penetrate those markets more easily. But that'd only a benefit to Microsoft. Interesting points Pachter brings up, points that we'll keep in mind come E3.

Opus-model 360s begining to flow?

Thanks to a tipster in our last post, we've now heard our first real world tale of the previously rumored "Zombie Repaired" 360, code named Opus. The Opus "model" is for those who have had their 360's red ring and have sent them off to Microsoft for repair. In an effort to use (instead of toss) the older Xenon motherboards, Microsoft is basically upgrading repaired 360's with the Falcon model chips (65nm CPU, 90nm GPU) and one of the older motherboards that doesn't have have HDMI, effectively creating a zombie 360 that cannot be purchased in stores.

According to a specific poster over at GameTrailers, when a repaired RROD is now returned to its owner it includes a slip of paper marked "OPUS" as well as a new power supply. So if you've recently had a 360 red ring, keep an eye out for that little slip of paper when it returns, as it basically says that your 360 is now of the undead, and thus is quite unlikely to ever die again.

Gamestop stops selling the Zune

While it was never a big success and never really lived up to its full potential, the Zune was a good little device that no doubt sold more than it might've otherwise had it not been available at dedicated game stores. Now after almost two years, the media player is being dropped from the one of the US's largest games retailers.

Citing a lack of customer appeal and their own misplaced anticipation, (perhaps they thought MS would bring some games to the device) Gamestop will no longer be selling the Zune in-store and will only be selling them online as long as it takes them to run through their existing inventory. Hmm ... hopefully this'll mean that the online store will have some good discounts as its stock gets low ....

Rumor: Xbox 540 (360 slim) in 2009?

In a follow up to the news that the 360's internal hardware will be changed to the "Jasper" setup, there is now the news that the "Valhalla" update mentioned in that story is more than just a CPU and GPU on the same chip. TG Daily thinks that the Valhalla chip will be the heart of a complete hardware revision in Fall 2009, ala the slimline PS2. While that would seem the logical course of action, all that we know for sure is that the Valhalla chip will indeed be used in the "mid-cycle refresh" of the hardware, and that it is in fact an "all-in-one" chip. Whether or not Microsoft will actually change the outer shell or not is unknown, and the Valhalla hardware update could come and go without changing the outer look of the console at all.

Gamestop has contest for Ninja Gaiden 2 Elite 360s

Well for those who got their hopes up about purchasing a Ninja Gaiden themed Elite 360, those hopes have now been officially crushed. The previously non-existent website from the standee is now live and ready for folks to enter the contest. The "Are You a Ninja?" sweepstakes runs for a month, ending May 29th, and is only open to US residents. The grand prize is of course the Elite 360, but the runners-up get some cool swag too: a copy of the game, some rubber ninja stars, two rubber swords, and a fake ninja outfit. Wait did we say cool swag? We meant stupid swag (the game itself notwithstanding).

Anyway it's worth entering just for the chance at one of those custom 360's, even if we've gotta give Gamestop traffic for it. The sweepstakes entry form is located here, and official rules here.

Microsoft claims European sales have doubled

According to Microsoft, the recent European price drop has done what it was intended to do, doubling hardware sales since its inception. Chris Lewis, Vice President of Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business Europe had some PR speak for the press: "Xbox 360 is truly the next-generation console of choice among consumers, and today's numbers are proof that we are delivering on our commitment to achieve critical mass in Europe." Microsoft also claims that they own 42% of next-gen revenue, a fact they've flaunted before. With Europe being a bit more traditionally Sony and Nintendo's territory let's hope this is more than just PR exaggeration.

Rumor: Australian retailers consider the 360 dead [Update 2]

Update 2: According to iTWire, Microsoft has denied the Smarthouse article, which claimed that the Xbox 360 was "dead" in Australia. Mariana Cidade, PR Manager of the entertainment and devices division for Microsoft Australia, noted that over 2 million pieces of Xbox 360 software have been sold in Australia and New Zealand, which is "nearly double [the Xbox 360's] next-gen competitors combined." Also noted was the Xbox 360's attach rate of 7 games per console in Australia, hardly the kind of sales garnered by a dead console. The data comes from GFK, a market research firm, and puts something of a damper on Smarthouse's already dubious (and anonymous) claims. Find our original post after the break.

Continue reading Rumor: Australian retailers consider the 360 dead [Update 2]

Microsoft sends care package to erased 360 owner

You may recall the coverage we had on the site regarding Nathaniel, a guy who had to send his autographed, artwork covered, Halo themed Xbox 360 into Microsoft, and who had it returned to him with only smudges remaining of the original ink. First Nathaniel got some love from Bungie, but now it seems that word has reached other parts of the tubes and Microsoft (finally) got wind of it. In their attempts to make it up to him, they sent a who box of goodies including a 360 console (signed by original Rooster Teeth signers, new artwork by Luke McKay, signatures from the Xbox 360 team, and additional signatures from Bungie Staff), a faceplate with Bill Gates' signature (among others), all bunch of games, some smaller swag, and, wait for it ... a signed picture of Bill Gates.

Disregarding that last thing, that is a great package of loot to get from a major company. The original article lists some more of the details and history of the incident, and carries Nathaniel's response, which we've reprinted here.

"While my story has come to what I am sure the average reader will conclude is a satisfactory close, I do not personally view this as its ultimate end. Don't get me wrong: My overall mood about the packages I have received from Bungie and Microsoft is nothing short of ecstatic, but compensation was never my focus. The only thing I have specifically asked of Microsoft and the Xbox 360 team for is this particular case to be examined so that some change(s), whether small or broad, can be made to the service process to prevent the occurrence of any similar scenario. This remains my only request. I'm not asking for details, but if my story is leading to changes that should benefit current and future Xbox 360 owners, I would really like to know."

The rest of Nathaniel's statement can be found after the break.

Continue reading Microsoft sends care package to erased 360 owner

More European price drop news

We reported previously on a European retailer advertising the 360 price drop and here we are reporting on another article about the very same thing, and this time it appears to carry a bit more weight. The Financial Times Deutschland has an exclusive on this, claiming that the official prices of the units will drop from 280 and 349 Euro, to 199 and 299 Euro. Now assuming that a fairly well known financial reporting body such as the Financial Times Deutschland isn't lying, this could be a huge for the European 360 market. It would allow the Arcade unit to undercut the cost of the Wii by a good 50 Euro, which is a bullet point that was almost undoubtedly taken into account, and it would leave the 360 well ahead of the PS3's current European MSRP. It seems the only thing we're waiting on with this one is the final confirmation from Microsoft.

Report cites 10% of all 360 failures due to RROD

Earlier this month, we mentioned that the total Xbox 360 failure rate was found to be somewhere around 16% and now new details from warranty testing firm SquareTrade is telling us just how many were the result of the dreaded RROD.

SquareTrade released a report today detailing their warranty tests and out of the 16% failed 360 total, roughly 10% of them were due to RROD general hardware failures. The other 6% were attributed to things like disc read errors, hard drive freezes and disc tray malfunctions all of which would not be covered under Micrsoft's extended warranty. SquareTrade also mentioned that due to the Elite and Core test subjects not having enough warranty claims, they removed them from their statistical analysis and based their numbers on the more problematic Pro SKUs.

We're not certain if this is good or bad news seeing that SquareTrade still found 16% of all Xbox 360s to be problematic, it's just only 10% of them red ring. Nothing to get excited over, it's still way too high of a failure rate and way too many headaches to deal with. Fly Falcon fly and send us our RROD relief!

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