No More Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility Updates
Seeing as how old the Xbox is, Microsoft has decided to wind down development of backwards compatibility updates for the Xbox 360, instead focusing more on newer games.
Speaking to Kotaku at CES, Albert Penello, group marketing manager for the Microsoft console, said that the company has “kind of hit the point of diminishing returns” and that he doesn’t know if there are any plans for further releases.
However, Microsoft is offering an olive branch to gamers, as they will be offering Xbox Originals, full games from the past console as downloadable titles, on Xbox Live Marketplace starting this week. Burnout 3 will be the first title available on January 14 for 1200 Microsoft points (US$15).
NCAA Football 08 Features Real-time Weather
EA and The Weather Channel Interactive jointly announced that the recently released NCAA Football 08 features the ability to experience real-time weather conditions and updates through a service provided by the latter. It will take weather data from the weather forecasting service to reflect accurate, real-time weather conditions at NCAA stadiums.
“This is a long-awaited feature for gamers – it is the first sports game we know of where actual current weather conditions will affect weather conditions in the game,” said Derek Van Nostran, director of marketing for The Weather Channel Interactive. “The Weather Channel Interactive welcomes this opportunity to work with EA Sports to bring an extra dose of realism to the game.”
The Weather Channel provides a custom weather data feed to EA Sports for each stadium location. Every time a player loads a game while logged into the Internet, they have the option to choose real-time weather from the service. The feature has been illustrated below through the screenshots.
NCAA Football 08 is now available in stores for the PS2, PS3, Xbox and Xbox 360.
NFL 08 Gets "Ring of Champions"
Hoping to cash in on gamers’ achievements, EA and Jostens have announced that they will let players of Madden NFL 08 purchase their own custom-designed “Ring of a Champion” based on their performance in the game. The ring will showcase the progress of the gamer, with each ring customized to recognize the player’s advancements through the game. These rings will be available for purchase starting August 14 after the game has been released.
The Ring of a Champion series will serve as a visual tracking system for a player’s success within the game. As Madden NFL 08 gamers accomplish various achievements, they will progress through five different levels. Once a player has reached level three, the ring can be purchased through Jostens’ website utilizing the code provided within game. In addition to the 32 NFL team logos players can incorporate into their ring, the tops and sides of the rings can also be customized. If a player is able to execute an extraordinary achievement they can obtain the Epic ring status, which allows for enhanced design and uniqueness.
Minneapolis- based Jostens, creators of 27 out of the 41 Super Bowl Championship rings, and EA have worked together to create the collection of Madden NFL 08 rings, incorporating a unique ring design feature embedded in the game. Jostens will offer three unique ring designs that are available in non-precious metals as well as 10K white and yellow gold. Gamers can also choose from a variety of colors to add to further customize. Rings will range in price from $149 for a non precious ring to $495 for a 10K Gold ring. Each ring incorporate simulated stones chosen by the gamer as well as cubic zirconium stones in the design and gamers will also be given the option to add genuine diamonds if they prefer the ultimate in their Ring of a Champion.
Madden NFL 08 will be available next month on Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, DS, Wii, Gamecube and PC. Below are some screenshots of the rings in action.
Zelda Game Tops 100 Best Games List
BBC reports that Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has topped a poll of readers of Edge magazine and industry experts to list the top 100 games of all time. Originally released for Nintendo 64 ten years ago, the game has garnered critical acclaim and has achieved perfect scores from many publications. Interestingly, five of the top 10 titles were made for Nintendo consoles.
Other platforms are present in the top 10: Xbox has one representative with Halo: Combat Evolved; PC with Half-Life 2 and PS2 with Final Fantasy XII. Next-generation consoles were present, too, with titles including Pro Evolution Soccer 6, Oblivion, Virtua Fighter 5 and Crackdown.
The full list of the top 100 games is now available in a collector’s volume called Edge Presents: The 100 Best Videogames, which has been on sale since July 3.
New Halo 2 Maps
Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie have announced the upcoming release of two new downloadable maps for Halo 2. To be available starting April 17, the maps will be paid content for Halo 2 players on both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360.
The two maps are called Tombstone and Desolation. The first map is the remake of Halo’s Hang ’em High that replaces the original’s blue look with stone and metal textures. The second map – Desolation – is the remake of Derelict and is set in a forest outpost; it a deathmatch-oriented map.
6 Million Users Flock Xbox Live
Microsoft has announced that Xbox Live has registered its 6 millionth user, six months before the targeted schedule. They also disclosed some statistics from the service: since its launch in November 2002, gamers have spent over 2.3 billion hours playing online games, with the top-played title being Halo 2 on which gamers have spent over 710 million hours online.
Xbox Live has also recently seen success with Xbox Live Arcade and the Video Marketplace, which is said to be doing better than other video download services.
WarPath Crossing Europe
The European publishing rights for WarPath, Groove Games‘ sci-fi FPS, was picked up by Lighthouse Interactive. Developed by Digital Extremes, the game is a combination of single and multiplayer modes “sure to please FPS fans.” It is set for release in the region during Q1 2007.
Further information can be gleaned after the jump.
2K Games to have Advertising
More and more publishers are jumping on the “in-game ads” bandwagon: Take-Two is the latest one to be bitten by the bug. It has signed a deal with Double Fusion to offer in-game advertising in a selection of 2K Games and 2K Sports titles.
As per the terms of the agreement, Double Fusion will be the exclusive North American and European representative for advertising opportunities in 2K’s games throughout 2007 and 2008. In addition, it will serve as the exclusive representative and technology provider for dynamic in-game advertising across all PC and console platforms except for Xbox and Xbox 360.
Left-of-the-dial Soundtrack for College Hoops 2K7
Ever heard of a “left-of-the-dial” soundtrack? Well, now you can tell your grandchildren that you have: 2K Sports has compiled such a soundtrack for College Hoops 2K7, according to a press release by the company. The soundtrack features a diverse roster of underground hip-hop artists ranging from 3rd Degree to Traxamillion, as well as rock acts like Cities in Dust and Tokyo Police Club; P.O.D. also makes an appearance. As an added bonus, the game features original songs from 3rd Degree, Deux Process and Traxamillion.
2K Sports also mentioned 2K Beats, its internet radio station for fans of the publisher’s games. The site streams the music from all of the company’s best games, with access to artist bios, photos, discographies and more.
College Hoops 2K7 is now available for the PS2, Xbox and Xbox 360; a PS3 version will be available this winter.
Scarface Sells a Million
Never underestimate the power of a classic movie: Sierra has announced that Scarface: The World is Yours, the game based on the 1983 Al Pacino classic, has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. In addition, Scarface: Money. Power. Respect. also claimed the top spot on the PSP chart in North America.
This announcement is undoubtedly a precursor to the revelation of the sequel…