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Halo 2 celebrates half a billion games played!

Bungie is partying it up, and with good reason: Halo 2 is proud to have had half a billion games played on Xbox Live (we know a lot of you contributed!). From the words of Bungie, these are actual games and not player-sessions. The number was logged as of noon yesterday, and we suspect it won't be long 'till their next milestone is reached. Congrats!

Bling bling! Chrome shell now available

Coming to you from Team Xtender is the full chrome controller shell, complete with LEDs for seizure-inducing fun. How's that for a pimpin' accessory? They say more pictures of the wireless controller shell will be put up soon, but the current ones are just as impressive. These kind of awesome additions could go great with some creative faceplates too.

Media roundup: Chromehounds, Dead Rising

Here's a media update for those of you looking forward to big mechs and messy zombies. The guys at Xboxyde have some good media worth checking out, including a 720p video of gameplay from Chromehounds. But if the screenshots of Dead Rising seem a little over-the-top to you, then just think about possibilities that the image above conjures up.

[Chromehounds, screens + vid]
[Dead Rising, screens]

And now a word from Peter Moore

Kikizo sat down with Peter Moore for a big video interview where he spoke candidly about all things Microsoft, Xbox 360, handhelds (kind of), their competition and more. It's packed full of information, so go ahead and watch it to get the full effect.

Here's a little comment from him on the topic of widening the scope of games industry as a whole and what he believes the competition is doing for everyone: "I think Nintendo's doing their job, in broadening the look and feel of what games are about for the consumer. And, you know, Sony wants sell high definition movies."

Touché Mr. Moore.

Dyack responds to Too Human feedback

If you followed the 360 coverage from E3 at all, then you probably have some concerns over what we and other members of the press thought about Silicon Knights' Too Human. What we were shown was an early build that chugged along with framerate afflictions which gave off the vibe that it was way too soon to be playing the title.

However, you've got to keep in mind that Too Human is still in development, and as such, it still has some tweaking to go through. We knew this when we played it. Nailing down the framerate seems to be one of the last legs of the development cycle, so the showing at E3 didn't necessarily leave a bad taste in the mouth. Even so, 1UP decided to ask Denis Dyack what they thought about the show and the feedback that they received.

During the interview, Dyack guaranteed that gamers will not have an issue with the framerate and that no such problems will arise like they did at E3. He even went as far to say that there won't be any concerns in co-op or multiplayer either. Check out the rest of the interview for his other responses.

Gates on PS3 controller: "not mainstream for most games"

The big man himself piped up about Sony's new controller, and he shares a mentality not uncommon to the rest of the gaming community (judging from the reaction of Tekken 6 using such features).

In an interview with MTV, he believes it isn't mainstream enough for most games saying, "It's tough because sometimes you move the controller, and you don't [mean] to fly into the ground. You just want to put the controller down... People aren't that good at totally standing still. Even pilots actually sit in a chair when they do their flying. So there's a lot to be learned about these controllers."

Apparently there is. Microsoft would know, considering that they tried it already with the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro which was flagrantly mediocre. Sony's got their work cut out for them with this one. It'll be interesting to see how it's integrated with all of the "mainstream" titles, if at all.

[As seen on PS3 Fanboy]

The Xbox 360 and glitching, six months later

While the occasional glitching is just a part of owning new technology, there's something about that little red power ring that has the potential to send chills down any 360 gamer's spine. IGN set out to investigate the "glitch in the system" that plagued certain consoles last November from a six-month-later perspective.

Some cases are just extreme though. Take Chris Szarek, for example, who had to go through so many replacement consoles that he eventually got a personal call from Peter Moore who apologized for the matter. While he and other gamers with such issues could possibly be storing their consoles in an oven or something, there are other people who are clearly taking the right steps to avoid any sort of problems.

One of the IGN staffers had this to say once his own system bit the dust: "... while I was on the customer support line, I heard two guys in the background giving the exact same 'detach cables and hard drive' speech to other poor souls with dead 360s, so I think the problem of dying 360s is still pretty common." Read on for some interesting information regarding this "common" issue. It makes us wonder though: Are any of our readers out there still experiencing such problems?

New Battle for Middle Earth II trailer available

This is for all those LOTR fans out there. Check out the Battle for Middle Earth II trailer (in HD) and see what will be hitting the Xbox 360 in the coming weeks. Gamers will be able to throw down over Xbox Live and challenge each other to battles. Hope you have that Orc-killing attitude ready.

Mass Effect preview rubs it in

When you think epic, cinematic adventures you'll probably conjure up Final Fantasy and Square Enix. There have been countless other blockbuster titles over the years, but Mass Effect is shaping up to put it all on the line as one of the greatest we've seen.

Sci-fi RPG elements that only BioWare could pull off? Check. Crazy creatures and bizarre characters? Check. Engaging story? Double check. It seems like it could have it all. But the author warns that there's always the chance that BioWare could have bitten off more than they can chew with this. With the breadth of Mass Effect being so huge, it may crumble under its own weight.

However, we know BioWare and what they're capable of, so the chances of that happening are slim to null. Right now we just want to take in everything we can get from this game to tide us over until release day.

Peter Moore shares his thoughts on Sony

With the looming launch of the PS3, it's always fun to get a reaction from the front-liners on the other side. Peter Moore sat down with Eurogamer the other day and spilled his thoughts on Sony and their new controller.

"At Microsoft we did the same controller six years ago ... The gamers' response was muted at best," he said. He went on to speak about how the applications for such a controller were fairly narrow. And with the sacrifice of the force feedback, there's a strong argument that the PS3 controller will have lost much of its allure. Regardless, the gamers will be the ones who decide what works and what doesn't come November.

Mr. Moore's comment about the price point summed it up: "I can only imagine what's going on back home for 599 Euros for what looks to me like a platform that's on a par at best with some of the software we're showing."

New Ninety-Nine Nights trailer

N3 is only a few months away, but it's been a long time coming. It's hard not to get excited over such massive warfare and dizzying battles. If you're interested in checking out the new trailer for this 360 exclusive, head on over and pick your flavor (HD or SD).

[EDIT: Make that a June release date. Thanks Johny!]

India rejoice! The Xbox 360 is on its way

Gamers in India will have something to celebrate soon: Microsoft is finally bringing them the next-gen console. The estimated 1.6 million gaming fans will even have the opportunity to pre-order the system as early as next month.

This is Microsoft's way of spreading their market dominance even more. "We will be in India before our competition has launched in any other market," says Mitch Koch of Microsoft. They're on the move and Sony is too. It'll be a long time before we see other next-generation consoles reach this far into the videogame market. Keep your eyes peeled to see if and how they bridge the gap.

And the Xbox Live grand total is...

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Xbox Live has come a long way since the launch of the 360. Content was few and far between back then. But now, with downloads in the millions, it's evident that gamers are hard pressed not to find something worth downloading or buying on the network.

For an interesting perspective on how much content floods Xbox Live now, just take a look at the total cost it would run you to purchase it all! With some of the stuff duplicated the actual total is a bit lower, but even so, $957.38 is still pretty hefty. That's 76,590 points for everyone else.

New "Oblivion" content on Marketplace

The title says it all folks. Check out this new premium content available on Xbox Live for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Major Nelson gives us the word: Uncover a famous pirate's lost ship and claim it for your own. Designed for stealth-based characters. The "Thieves Den" content will run you for about 150 points, or less than two bucks. But with it, you won't ever have to pay for an inn again! More details are available at the website.

[Via Major Nelson]

No price change coming soon, says Microsoft

Not that the current prices are that bad, but seeing the cost of the 360 drop even more could potentially solidify the rest of the market for Microsoft come November.

That's what a lot of people have been saying, at least. But Chris Lewis from Microsoft has said that such a drop won't take place. "We have no plans to make any price adjustment. ... we have a great value proposition." No argument there. Cheap gamers may have been holding out for a price cut, but anyone who really wanted a 360 would have already invested by now. If you're one of those thrifty people though, you may as well go ahead and bite the bullet because it doesn't look like Microsoft will be offering the console for any cheaper than it already is any time soon.

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