The Inquirer-Home

Xbox 360 hits further production problems

Gaming round-up Consoles get Civilized
Mon Jul 02 2007, 10:16
ONE OF OUR favourite PC games of all time is going to finally civilise gaming on consoles.

Sid Meier, creator of Civilization, announced that the game is set to debut on modern gaming consoles and handhelds.

"Civilization Revolution is the game I've always wanted to make!" said Meier, director of Creative Development at Firaxis. "We are excited to take advantage of the power of next generation consoles and the ingenuity of handhelds, to create a great and unique strategy game for newcomers to the series, as well as the millions of fans around the world who enjoy Civilization on the PC."

Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 HD DVD drive has become more popular than standalone HD drives in the US.

A Microsoft representative told Cnet that 155,000 Xbox 360 HD DVD add-ons have been sold in the U.S., making it the “biggest-selling accessory” ever sold for the console.

Microsoft has reportedly informed Spanish website La Trifuerza that the Xbox 360 Elite will be launched in Europe on August 24, which is a day after my birthday Microsoft. Hint hint.

It seems that non-Elite owners may soon be able to use their Xbox 360s via their HDMI enable sets, courtesy of manufacturer XCM. Kotaku has what appears to be a rendering of the XCM cable here.

Meanwhile more horror stories of Xbox 360 failures have seen the light of day in the press this week.

Microsoft's UK repair centre in Havant is now redistributing faulty consoles to foreign repair centres in order to clear an overwhelming backlog and keep up with the 1,500 to 2,500 Xbox 360s arriving at its doors on a daily basis, according to customer reports.

"A shocking statistic we found out though is that between 1,500 to 2,500 consoles get sent to Havant by three UPS lorries per day, to then be shipped to Prague for repair" reported a reader discussing his repair story with 360-gamer.com.

Whilst UK-based repairs specialist Micromart has told GamesIndustry.biz that it has had to refuse to service Xbox 360 consoles that display three red lights, dubbed the Red Ring of Death.

"We were seeing about 30 a week before we pulled the plug on the service," said Jeff Croft of Micromart.

"We saw it over a period of several months and it was just getting worse. It began towards the end of last year. Once the twelve month warranty finished then we started to see more and more machines being sent in to be looked at."

PS3/PSP
Whilst the 360 is still suffering from poor production, Sony has announced that the Playstation is finally in full production, now that the blue laser diode shortage is out of the way.

“Production problems have now ceased, we're in full production as far as PlayStation 3 is concerned and there's a steady chain of supply in North America, Japan and Europe,” a Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. spokesperson said, as reported by Compound Semiconductor.

A new promotion launched by the Blu-ray Disc Association promises to offer five free Blu-ray movie titles to buyers of Blu-ray players Ars Technica repots.

All Blu-ray players are eligible, including Sony's Playstation 3. There's a catch, though: customers can only pick between one of 21 movies.Ars has the full list.

It's doubtful this promotion will need to go down under. It seems the Playstation 3 is outperforming both the 360 and the Wii. But only in Australia.

If you're more interested in the games on the console, Eurogamer has the low-down on all things PSN.

The PS3 received yet another firmware upgrade this week - up to version 1.82.

The update brings with it only a pair of publicized additions. New for 1.82 is support for playback of AVC High Profile (H.264/MPEG-4) format video, a high image quality encoding method used by Blu-ray Discs and other media, has been added.

Also improved is the system backwards compatibility with original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 titles, though Sony makes no mention of which titles specifically were addressed.

Similarly the PSP also had an incremental firmware upgrade this week - to version 3.51. This was allegedly produced to stop an important vulnerability found inLuminies earlier in the week.

Sales of Luminies sky rocketed by 5000% on Amazon when the vulnerability was found and the hack,a 3.50 firmware downgrade, was released.

SCEE game director Tony Buckley said in a recent interview that the potential of the PSP still remains untapped. He urged PSP developers to get creative and exploit “other areas of the machine.”

This hasn't stopped God of War looking damn hot on the PSP, and it seems the game will be running at the recently (officially) enabled 333MHz mode.

Cory Barlog, creative director of God of War: Chains of Olympus (and game director of God of War II), posted a message on the Playstation blog last week confirming that Chains of Olympus will make full use of thePSP hardware, which may come as little surprise to those who have seen the game in motion.

Wii/DS
After months of outselling Sony hardware in both North America and Japan, Nintendo has edged past the electronics giant in market capitalization.

Reuters reports that Nintendo's Japanese shares have quadrupled in the past four years to a total value of 6.54 trillion yen ($52.76 billion), just ahead of Sony's 6.5 trillion yen ($52.44 billion) market cap. That's a huge 0.6 percent lead.

This lead will only be increased by the announcement of a light-sabre game for the Wii by Lucasarts.

Maybe more importantly, as previously reported by the INQ, Nintendo has released details of a game-creation kit allowing independent developers to develop games for its Wii console for the first time. The firm said it will allow anyone to create and sell downloadable Wii games through its WiiWare scheme, via the WiiShop. WiiThink it's a good idea.

It seems it's been a week of Wii add-on announcements, with the first coming for Cooking Mama.

This "Cooking Mother" kit, is custom made for all the Cooking Mamas out there. Lovely, but pretty useless.

Maybe you're more into pool than cooking. Fear not, as a pool/billiards add-on has appeared for the Wiimote too. A snap at $13.

More retro is this old school NES zapper, which has been custom modded to contain the Wiimote IR sensor.

Back to some kind of usefulness, comes Hori's Fighting Stick for the Wii, which resembles a decent stab at arcade cabinetcontols for the Wii.

If you're running out of space on your Wii, it seems the rumoured hard-drive won't be coming.

CVG asked Nintendo if they are making a hard drive and were given a very clear, " No."

If you've still go plenty of space free, check out Eurogamer's weekly Virtual Console review round-up.

If you're more into playing with your DS than your Wii, Kotaku has some pictures of the new colours available in Japan. µ

See also
Xbox 360 CPU efused bypassed
Nintendo dominates the world
Slim PSP rumours surface
PSP gaming phone spotted

 

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