Microsoft Steps on Xbox Live Silver Members

The disadvantages of being a Xbox 360 Xbox Live silver member have outrageously grown today! Microsoft has revealed that silver members will now have to wait an extra week after a demo has been released an Xbox Live before they can download it!

This is ludicrous. As an Xbox Live silver member, I want me demos on time. I do not want to pay extra to receive content that should be free!

Demos give me evaluations as to whether or not I want to purchase a game. Microsoft is hurting the industry by making gamers wait an extra week to download the demo.

The video game industry was going on such an amazing streak of success with stealer games being released this year, but these past couple of weeks have just outrightly sucked.

It’s time for gamers to take back their industry!!!

360 Family Timer and Downloadable Games


This December, Microsoft is set to release a new update for the Xbox 360 over Xbox Live.

One of the things included in this update will be a timer for the Xbox. With this timer, the person in charge of the Xbox will be able to set a certain number of hours that the Xbox can be used on a daily or weekly basis. Personally, I think this is a great idea as we may have finally found a way to limit all of those bad-mouthed kids that find their way on to Xbox Live while I’m playing Halo 3. Also, I may end up with some better grades.

Additionally, Xbox 360 owners will be able to fully download original Xbox games over Live in a similar fashion to the Virtual Console on both the Wii and the Playstation 3 for $15 each. Hopefully with this, they will release some of the previously Japanese-only games as they are doing with some of the other consoles. Some of the first games that will be available are Halo, Fable, Crimson Skies, and Burnout 3.

Internet TV is FINALLY Here

Internet TV

For Windows Vista users that have Media Center, Microsoft has released a new addition called Internet TV. This new section includes tons of TV shows, news, trailers and so much more. It’s great because it’s relatively high quality and it’s all free! Watching entertaining ads for 5-10 seconds and having the video load almost instantaneously is amazing.

Now another cool feature with this is the ability to sync with a Media Extender such as your Xbox 360. You can now watch TV shows on your Xbox 360 without paying for them.

I’ve talked about IPTV previously and as I said it totally rocks.

Xbox 360 IPTV

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) is the wave of the future. On January 7, 2007 Bill Gates announced how Microsoft will bring Television to Xbox 360 users, not through downloads but through live feeds. The Microsoft TV IPTV Edition is set to be available this holiday season and will give users an alternative route to watching TV.

Imagine being able to throw away your DVR/cable box, not paying for your Cable TV service, and seeing every channel in digital format as well as high-definition. That’s the promise that IPTV brings. While Microsoft isn’t the only company working on IPTV technology, Microsoft is well ahead of the pack because it’s install base for Xbox 360 users is already over 10 million worldwide!

While it isn’t clear how Microsoft will distribute this service, if it’s a free download on the Xbox 360 – why wouldn’t you use it? As a suggestion for Xbox 360 owners who want IPTV, you might want to purchase Xbox 360 Messenger Kit. Isn’t it easier to search for a show by literally typing it in rather than selecting the on screen text?

IPTV is only one part of Microsoft’s overall vision of creating the “Mediaroom.” Microsoft’s Mediaroom will bridge the gap between home computers and the living room Television, expanding upon the current Windows Media Center software.

The only company that’s close to bringing IPTV to the home is Apple. Similar to the Xbox 360, the Apple TV can grab photos and videos. So far though the Apple TV hasn’t been that great of a success. Right now there’s no major advantage to owning the Apple TV simply because it doesn’t do anything outrageously unique.

Rumors have surfaced saying that Apple will release its IPTV product/software sometime in 2008. As with any product, Apple tries to be as innovative as possible. But how can you innovate in a sector that has yet to be widely tested?

Every electronic manufacturer realizes that the future of the technology industry is convergence. Hopefully these software giants know that consumers want their content no matter the platform it was purchased or added onto. The service that’s going to succeed is the service that provides it all, in an easy to use system.

Videos about this beautiful world, where machines serve man without frustration can all be found below:

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Star Trek Legacy (+)

A space simulation Star Trek game that is the first to feature all 5 Captain voices.

There’s a lot to be said about controversial games. Not all game controversy has to lie in its content, rather with Star Trek Legacy its controversy lies in whether or not it’s a good game. Hyped to be one of the best Star Trek video games of all-time, Star Trek Legacy does stand out from the rest of the game series. With its emphasis on strategic space-combat and a story that spans all 5 generations of Star Trek, this game is not for the weak.

Star Trek Legacy is not an easy game to get into. At first you will question why there are so many button configurations, why the ships are moving so slowly, and why it takes so long to charge your lasers. After you get used to the controls and the speed of both the ship movement and laser recharge, you’ll begin to ask more questions such as why does the difficulty in the game change per level, why can’t your ship move straight up or down, and why some of the voice overs by the famous Star Trek Captains sound just as poorly spoken as the secondary characters. These are a lot of questions that you’ll have to get past before you can begin to enjoy this game.

Star Trek Legacy offers die-hard Trek fans an experience like none other. For the first time ever all 5 captains – Archer, Kirk, Sisco, Picard, and Janeway – are available in one continuous well-thought story line. The game allows you to control each generation’s ships. You can buy new ships with the experience points that you gain by completing each mission. As you progress through time, the ship’s technology improves which ultimately helps with the strategic factor in the game. Each mission forces the player to think about their objective before they set out to complete it. While this may sound like a good idea, it really becomes a trial and error process.

The first couple of missions are rather dull and and the controls take a long time to get used too. As each mission may take over 30 minutes to complete, Star Trek Legacy is a game that you have to invest a good amount of time into before it actually gets good.

The graphics in Star Trek Legacy look very nice. From the particle effects to the ship models everything screams high quality production. It’s amazing to see your damaged ship spewing out flames and missing parts of the hull! Regretfully the frame rate does drop in a couple of missions. The final mission has the worst frame rate speed. At points it is so choppy that the screen repeatedly freezes for split seconds.

Now Star Trek Legacy is not for the average gamer. Either the player has to be a major Star Trek fan and/or into strategic space-combat games in order to enjoy this title. This game will make you frustrated, but the story is engrossing enough to make you want to complete the game.

Viva Pinata (+)

Grow and harvest your very own garden to attract all different species of Piñata’s. Work hard and you will be rewarded with ways to make your job easier. Viva Piñata is a must have for kids of all ages.

Written by: Andrew Cefalo

I would consider it rare that we stumble across a game rated E that really is for EVERYONE. Games for kids are usually too simple for teen and/or adult audiences.

The concept behind Viva Pinata is ridiculous; the developers agree that it sounds silly. Growing a garden to attract pinatas that are supposed to be reproduced, not broken open. Sounds like a kid’s game. The game is completely addicting and is really hard to put down. It has frequently been compared to Animal Crossing as it revolves around similar principals.

Game play is intriguing; I have never been left with a ‘now what’ feeling and there are even times when I feel like I have way too much to take care of. Pinatas that I do not want are entering my garden and are fighting with my residents. Usually a quick whack of my shovel gets them to leave but sometimes I need to clean up the mess they leave me with. There is a background storyline that occurs in your game storybook, yet as the developers pointed out it is not really necessary to follow. I got bored with it and rarely pay attention as it progresses. This is a very open ended Sims-like game yet it maintains structure that keeps gamers focused on a goal. There are several restrictions (such as land space) that keep you working to remove; things like money (chocolate coins in the game) motivate you to start harvesting. Of course, even growing these plants can be a challenge and you must first ask Seedos for some seeds. The game moves at your own speed as you only advance when you have completed enough tasks. Attracting new pinata works almost as a timeline for your progress through the game (we found out at the game release that there are a total of 68 different pinatas).

Not all pinata’s get along (the bees and the ants hate each other), and they will fight to the death. Obviously, when a pinata kills another pinata it explodes, and candy comes out. The interesting part is that when this happens a faint cheer comes from little kids, which we found to be a little disturbing. Once we were able to move past that sick and twisted element of game play we loved the concept.

We tried to play multiplayer as it says there is online play as well as up to 4 local players. Multiplayer is weird though as you both control the same game. It works well for taking turns but do not be mislead, there is no verses mode.

Viva Pinata has now become my motivator to complete homework. That is correct, I set boundaries to keep myself from playing. I am very much looking forward to winter break when I can play this all day without worrying about how much time it is consuming. And no, I am not embarrassed to admit that I own both Gears of War and Viva Pinata but elect (from time to time) to play the latter over the former.