Living LIVE News Report 01.23.11
Posted by Trace Aber on 01.23.2012
News and thoughts on Max Payne 3 getting delayed, NBA Jam getting roster updates, Doom returning to XLBA, the reason behind the recent Xbox phishing scheme, the Xbox rocking the sales charts and more!
Welcome everyone to another issue of the Living LIVE News Report, and as always, I'm your host for the evening, Trace Aber. Had a video game tragedy occur to me over the last week, though our story begins with my own personal tragedy. Despite playing video games for most of my life, I have never sat down and actually played through a Legend of Zelda game. I've played the original NES title the most, but even then I can't say it lasted more than a couple of hours, total. I realized the error of my ways (and the constant reminders from my girlfriend, who absolutely adores the series, didn't hurt) and picked up A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask. Here's where the second tragedy begins. I'm playing through, absolutely enjoying everything there is about A Link to the Past, and then once I get to the dark world the music cuts out. A temporary glitch, I assume. I try entering a room and the game crashes. I start to get a little worried, and my fears are confirmed when I reboot the game – the same thing happens over and over again. Interestingly enough, the title screen plays sound, and the sound is present if I start a new game as well. I had to take it back and get a refund, since they didn't have a copy I could just exchange.
On the bright side, I began playing the original Tony Hawk Pro Skater and it's helped ease the pain a little. I'm surprised by how well the game has aged, though the graphical improvements in the Dreamcast version are helping it out quite a bit. I'm running through career mode a second time – this game is a lot easier than I remember it being. I'll probably be picking up THPS2/3 later this week, because those games dominated a large part of my time.
Hope everybody is enjoying their extended use of internet freedom as both SOPA and PIPA have been put on hold for the time being. Clearly the fight isn't over and more work needs to be done, but it was nice to see logic prevail for once. Anyways, on with the news!
Possible Explanation for Xbox Hacks
Because this is the story that keeps on giving, more and more people are having their Xbox LIVE accounts hacked and used as a funneling system for money. We've gone at length in discussion of how people are being affected by the scam, but not nearly as much has been said about the process behind stealing the accounts. Microsoft has been quick to claim that there has been absolutely no security breaches, but at this point something has to be going on…right?
Well, it turns out that Microsoft may be correct in saying that Xbox LIVE isn't suffering from a security breach, since it's Microsoft's Xbox.com website and its Games for Windows LIVE service that's being breached. Reports from AnalogHype and EuroGamer claimed the following;
...point the finger at Xbox.com - the website. This allows eight password attempts at a Windows Live ID before CAPTCHA is triggered - the system that presents those squiggly words. A simple password-generating script can apparently be used to exploit this system before CAPTCHA kicks in.
The Windows Live IDs come from playing Xbox 360 games online. Gather Gamertags and Google search them in the hope you'll find related email addresses. Try these as Windows Live IDs and the Xbox.com website will let you know if they're valid - "the email address or password is incorrect" - or not - "That Windows Live ID doesn't exist."
Using these methods you can apparently brute force your way into a near-limitless supply of Xbox Live accounts and use their saved banking details to buy Microsoft Points.
Well that's certainly…discouraging? It bears repeating that this is just a theory and far from confirmed, but it seems plausible. Plus the guy who discovered the exploit recently announced that Microsoft has changes their login screen to block users out after 20 attempts, which at least means they're going to see if things change.
If that is indeed the problem then hopefully the newly imposed block can help, but only time will tell. As always, we'll keep you updated.
Xbox Leading in Console Sales
Even though 2011's holiday season may have been a bit disappointing overall (if you ignore November's unusually strong sales), Microsoft has quite a bit to be happy about if the numbers from NPD Group are to be believed. In short, they had such a good year that Gamasutra predicted "when the history books are written, I strongly suspect that 2011 will be the peak year for that platform."
How strong did the box perform? For starters, they sold nearly three million more consoles in 2011 than their closest competitors, the Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation 3. Not bad considering the console is now over six years old.
No doubt the Kinect, as much crap I have given it in the past, is a big part in the console's renewed success. While we can all lament how the peripheral has been disappointing, many casuals are purchasing the damn things. And with that video of Kinect with Mass Effect…I might defect. I don't know just yet, but I just might make the plunge. One has to wonder how many new consoles came from last year's Playstation Network Hacks, which reportedly led to a surge of console sales in some locations.
It's likely that within the next year we'll see additional price cuts for the major systems, which should drive up sales for a short while leading to the new generation. And then things will get interesting again.
Metro Video Playback Issue Being Worked On
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned in a story that after the new metro dashboard release third party apps were being given lower video quality streams than Microsoft's own videos. It's been an ongoing issue for months, even during Metro's beta testing, and it seems that finally Microsoft is going something about it.
Xbox LIVE spokesman Larry Hyrb mentioned on Twitter that Microsoft is "aware of the colorspace issue" present on "some Xbox video apps." I know what you're thinking – why is he only focusing on the colorspace issue and not the claim stated above about third party apps getting screwed? Because they're Microsoft, damnit.
Hopefully they'll just silently fix the problem and blame the colorspace issue, since that's a lot better than them not doing anything at all. It might actually give people a valid reason for complaining about one dashboard redesign being better than the other, since it's a functional thing. Yay complaints!
Rockstar Delays Max Payne 3
Many people felt it was inevitable, but others still held onto hope. Sadly, the day has come when Rockstar has announced that the upcoming Max Payne 3 will now be delayed until May 15, as opposed to its original March 2012 window. Of course, Rockstar rarely disappoints, so I'm sure it will be worth the wait.
NBA Jam: On Fire to Receive Roster Updates
One of the more disappointing aspects of the retail release of NBA Jam was the game's lack of roster updates, doubled by the fact that the game launched with outdated rosters to begin with. This was promised to be addressed in the On Fire Edition, a downloadable title, and it now appears EA Sports will be keeping their word.
An EA Sports spokeswoman told Kotaku that they "will be providing roster updates for NBA Jam: On Fire Edition this season." She then added that there will be "more information to come." The roster update should include the results from the June draft, as well as the major shakeups on the teams' rosters.
Doom Back on Xbox LIVE
Some of you may have been browsing the latest Xbox LIVE arcade releases and noticed that one of the original kings of the FPS, Doom, was the newest game release (like I did). I found this strange, considering I had purchased the game a while ago, and then I was reminded of something.
Back in October Bethesda Softworks, who own the rights to the game, removed the title from the marketplace without warning. Regardless of the reasons why the game was taken down, it's now back after its three month vacation. Now we can let the arguing begin about how the 360 version isn't nearly as good as the PC version. Progress.
UFC Demo Coming Soon
Just a quick reminded that THQ has announced the release date for the demo of their upcoming MMA title UFC Undisputed 3. While they left out any details about the modes or fighters found in the demo, we can all find out for ourselves come January 24, better known as Tuesday of this week! The full game will be available for purchase on Valentine's day of this year.
The Digital Downloads Arcade Games
Haunt (800MP) Games on Demand
Naval Assault: The Killer Tide ($19.99)
LEGO Star Wars Episode III ($19.99) Demos
The Darkness II
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
That does it for me this week. Be sure to check back next week as we discuss all of the latest Xbox 360 news, including releases, rumors and reviews! Also, don't forget to bookmark 411Mania! And a note to all of the Indie Game developers out there – if you have an upcoming title that's going to be released soon drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I'll write a full review of your game to be posted on 411Mania.com, which is a great way to get your game promoted!