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HD-DVD bundles, pricing rumored

Big buzz from "retail sources" concerning the Xbox 360 External HD-DVD Drive in Europe. From GamesIndustry.biz:

Retail sources have indicated to GamesIndustry.biz that Microsoft is currently planning to price the standalone HD-DVD drive at GBP 199 (293 Euro) [$370] and to package it with two HD-DVD movies. The sources also suggested that Microsoft will bundle the Premium console and next-generation movie player together for under GBP 400 (589 Euro) [$746] – and that the price could even be as low as GBP 375 (552 Euros) [$700].

For some reason these unofficial numbers have desperate Sony fanboys in a bold mood. I'm not sure why. The bundle prices mentioned both undercut the premium PS3 in Europe (Subtracting the usual 25% price hike paid by our cousins across the pond, this would indicate the stand-alone drive will sell for less than $300 in the US, including two movies. Personally I predict $200-$250). And of course, the millions of people who either don't have a TV capable of taking advantage of HD-DVD or don't feel like shelling out for an "unproven" format still have a choice with MS. So even if these "high" prices hold, the 360 is still in good position to do battle with the PS3 in Europe this Christmas. Oh yeah, I forgot -- the PS3 is skipping Christmas in Europe. Guess it won't be much of a battle after all.

If you need a refresher course on why HD-DVD is better than Blu-Ray anyway (cough...VC1 codec...cough), see here.

Frank West: Drab or Fab?

Ken managed to ruffle more than a few feathers when he noticed that not one 360 character made the Top 20 Gayest Video Game Characters (not Cybil!) over at GayGamer.net. Well, it looks like the 360 could finally get it's due, as everyone's favorite zombie killing photojournalist, Frank West, has been nominated for the Top Ten Hottest Video Game Guys. We're sure he's flattered, fellas.

Poll results: (Insert game) killed my 360!


The results from last week's vote are in. In case you were indisposed, the topic of said vote was whether or not you've had any problems with your 360. Everyone has read the widespread reports that the 360 is a bug riddled, heat generating fire hazard, and we thought 360 Fanboy should weigh in on the topic, too -- especially considering the recent reports of Dead Rising zombifying our favorite console. The overall result? The majority of our readers -- 62% -- have a working 360 with no problems whatsoever. Add the votes with minor problems and the total goes up to 74%.

The rest of the numbers is where things get tricky. Looking purely at the numbers, our sample of defective 360s is much higher than the single digit defect rates published by Microsoft -- 723 readers have had to replace a 360 at least once, totaling about 20% of our overall poll. Keep in mind that this is absolutely not a representative poll. It's a non-scientific poll that's relatively easy to skew. Still, even if these numbers are bogus, they have the power to create a negative perception. Whether or not Microsoft decides to recall any 360s -- as some of our readers have suggested -- one wonders if they should at least make some sort of statement to assuage the fears of their users.

The comments generated varied from sob stories to utter disbelief that so many 360s fail. Unfortunately, people with hardware problems are much more likely to comment on them than people without, which in turn raises the overall perception. One constant in the thread was that once problems start, it's a sign that your 360 may be on the downslope. Also, should you find yourself on the phone with Microsoft, make your opinion known, it may (or may not) get you a break on repairing your box -- this guy even managed to get three free wireless controls.

And finally, I'd just like to add that I have now clocked many hours in Dead Rising without a hitch. Our hearts go out to those of you with dead 360s, and we hope for a speedy repair.

X360F Poll: (Insert game) killed my 360! [update 1]


We ran a story earlier this week about Dead Rising killing off 360 consoles. That post seems to have struck a chord with lots of our readers, as it has drawn more comments than any other blog post the internet has ever seen. Okay, so that last sentence is completely false, but we did receive a lot of comments. More comments than we've seen in a while. Is one game really destroying 360s? Probably not, but it is evidence of a wider problem for our beloved console. So, here's the big question: have you had any problems with your 360?

Tell us about your experience with your 360. Has it been fine? Has it been hell? Are you just a Sony fanboy who's trying to scare people away from the 360? Place your votes and tell us your story. We'll discuss the results and highlight some of the more enlightening comments next week.

Oh, and, for the record, I finally got a chance to fire up Dead Rising on my 360. Played it for five or six hours on Saturday. I had one incident of a load screen that just hung there, but otherwise the game ran flawlessly.

Update
: This poll is now closed. Click here to see the results and commentary.

Sunday at X360F Poll: Arcade Madness [update 1]


No matter where you look, the big news this week was definitely Xbox Live Arcade. Every Wednesday for the next month we'll have a new Xbox Live Arcade game to download. So, of course, the big question now is which company will make the most money which game will be the most popular? Below is a list of some of the upcoming games. Which one are you anticipating the most? If you choose other, please, let us know your choice in the comments -- even if it hasn't been announced, tell us what games you want to see on Live Arcade.

Will SFII hadoken the competition? Will Pac-Man wakka wakka his way to the top? Vote for your favorite and tell us why. We'll discuss the results next week.

Which XBLA game do you want most?
Frogger
Cloning Clyde
Galaga
Street Fighter II
Pac-Man
Texas Hold 'em
Small Arms
Lumines Live
Other
More micropayments? No, thanks.
Free polls from Pollhost.com
Basic poll stuff: You could spam the poll, thus destroying its democratic brilliance, but that would make you a total jerkball. Don't be a jerkball. It's bad for democracy.

Update 1: Oops, Lumines Live has now been added to the poll. The votes have also been reset. My apologies for any emotional distress this may have caused. You should be able to vote again no problem.

Sunday at X360F: GRAW aftermath


The results of last Sunday's GRAW poll are in. A full 26% percent of those polled have already downloaded the new GRAW content. While a majority of those players seem to be happy with the purchase, just over a quarter feel that the content wasn't worth the money. Comparing those who've already purchased it with those who'd only get it for free, it's pretty close with 575 votes and 509 votes respectively.

Looking at the overall results, it seems that the sweetspot for content downloads is somewhere between free and $5 US. Still, a quarter of GRAW players are willing to shell out 15 bucks, and another third are willing to pay 5 or 10. That means 60% of those polled are willing to pay something. That's a pretty clear message for would be content providers.

Remember folks, you vote with your dollars...er...points. Judging by these results, Ubisoft didn't quite hit the nail on the head, but they made out pretty well.

What do you think?

Contest winner: Wireless sound on a wired setup


Voting is over and the people have chosen! It was a tough race, with Sjohn showing a tiny lead Saturday night, and Cody reclaiming it come Monday morning. From Cody's plea: "This is my really-really-need-to-be wireless setup; I don't have enough money for the wireless network adapter nor do I have enough money for a proper headset."

Despite having one of the more terse captions, Cody's video treatment really sold his fanboyish desparation. A dangerous web of wires, our crack-team of genetically-enhanced lawyers says we can, in no way, condone playing your 360 this way. For his efforts--or lack thereof--Cody will win the review copy of Turtle Beach's Ear Force X2 wireless headphones. It's befitting, in a way, that one part of his rig will be wireless, even if it's the more unlikely of the options. Somone get this guy a WiFi adapter, stat!

Congratulations Cody, and thanks to everyone who entered the contest. I now count myself amongst your ranks as, with the mailing off of Cody's much-deserved prize, I'll have relinquished my 360's sole form of audio output. Next-gen gaming on an HD monitor without sound? I know...pathetic.

Continue reading Contest winner: Wireless sound on a wired setup

Contest: You decide the most pathetic 360 setup!

Once the entries in our "Most Pathetic 360 Setup" contest started coming in, it was clear there would be no way we could decide who was more deserving of the Turtle Beach Ear Force X2 headphones I reviewed.

Who's more deserving of some nice looking wireless headphones? The guy with his Xbox 360 shoved in the laundry room? Or maybe the guy playing Tomb Raider on a black-and-white Sony Watchman? Either way, if seeing the Xbox 360 connected through RF makes you sick in the mouth, then proceed with caution! However, if you're curious how hardcore some of your fellow fanboys are, continue reading and cast your vote for the most pathetic Xbox 360 setup!

Continue reading Contest: You decide the most pathetic 360 setup!

Fanboy Poll: Microsoft and Xbox brand relationship

In a recent Forrester Research report (covered on Joystiq) examining "the trust that American households place in PC and consumer electronics (CE) brands" Microsoft came in nearly dead last: 20 out of 22. Nintendo's position at 17 out of 22 was hampered by "low brand potential and low brand adoption" while Sony's strong showing at 3 out of 20 was due to "higher trust and higher potential." So what accounts for Microsoft's low showing? From Joystiq:

Microsoft tends to be afforded very little leeway or margin for error. The company hasn't got a ton of trust, at least amongst Internet communities that have for years now vilified the company for real or perceived exploitation of dominant marketshare in the PC software market. Additionally, Microsoft is also the newest of the big three console makers, so it's had less time than the other two to build trust within the gaming segment. We're all still trying to figure out the company's sophomore effort.


As an Apple convert, I have little affection for Microsoft's Windows products and the countless hours I've wasted fixing them. However, as a gamer, I have no problem distinguishing between the Xbox and Microsoft brands. Indeed, I think the scarcity of Microsoft branding on the console is a notable omission. Has the effort been successful ...

Do you equate Microsoft with Xbox?
Yes, favorably
Yes, unfavorably
Nope
  

Xbox 360 Fanboy bloggers (30 days)

# Blogger Posts Cmts
1 Richard Mitchell 199 42
2 Ken Weeks 87 0
3 Dustin Burg 40 0

Xbox 360 Fanboy Contributors

# Contributor Stars Cmts
1 Tucker 10 46
2 epobirs 10 56
3 jc 8 143
4 refinedsugar 7 115
5 Tom Crymes 7 61
6 H880 6 81
7 Alex Keen 5 27
8 Sense 5 86
9 Morgon 4 25
10 Pixelantes Anonymous 4 54
11 EatingPie 4 31
12 SuicideNinja 3 15
13 Dirk Dorkelson 3 62
14 pennywise969 2 111
15 Oozer 2 30
16 bv 2 9
17 aZTEKv2 2 10
18 Don Wilson 2 124
19 Spartacus 2 16
20 Nick Spacek 2 17

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