Microsoft’s ‘Live Your Moment’ Marketing Campaign Rolls Out

With more details of the New Xbox Experience (NXE) trickling out as well as the first sightings of the ‘Live Your Moment’ advertising campaign on TV and online, it seems the marketing juggernaught at Microsoft is on the move and trying and steal some of the lucrative casual market from Nintendo.

Firstly we have a trio of adverts, which I do kind of like as they get my attention, aren’t completely off the wall (This Is Not Living) and aren’t sensationalist like the old ‘cradle to the grave’ Xbox ad.  When I first saw the Rock Band one I thought at first it was going to be an advert for Orange, it just kind of had that ‘vibe’.  The simple statements like ‘Music Games on Xbox 360’ feels a bit like the Apple iPod adverts that state ‘iPod + iTunes’.

Rock Band/Rock Band 2

HD Movie Downloads

Lego Batman

Next up with have the Xbox.com UK site (http://www.xbox.com/en-gb/default.htm). The whole front page at the moment is a massive Flash advert (hey Microsoft, I thought we were all supposed to be using Silverlight now?)

Like the massive Christmas campaigns for the 360 over the last couple of years, I hope this campaign gets people who would otherwise dismiss games as toys for kids to join in the fun. The questions are, will they go too far and end up alienating the core fans – the hardcore – like Nintendo seem hell bent on doing and what will Sony and Nintendo come up with in response?

Rock Band 2 in the UK – November

EA is known for reaching new levels of diabolicalness with their extortionate prices for Rock Band 1 in the UK and releasing Rock Band 1 in other parts of Europe and Australia only now even though Rock Band 2 is out in the USA and was going for a a third by keeping silent about when Rock Band 2 would be reaching UK shores.  Now an Xbox 360 TV ad has answered the question we were all asking: when is Rock Band 2 being released in the UK?

Answer: November!

Videogamer.com has the advert online: http://www.videogamer.com/news/25-09-2008-9474.html

Promotional Microsoft Points may expire after 30 days

A quick heads up: some promotional Microsoft Points have expiration dates.  This is probably not new, but it is news to me!  From the billing FAQ:

When do my Microsoft Points expire?
Purchased points don’t expire. Any points you get through promotions can have expiration dates. Typically, points expire within thirty days of the date you get them. To view any points in your account that have expiration dates, go to the Billing and Account Management page, sign in with your Windows Live ID, and then click Microsoft Points under Stored Credits. If you have points that are expiring in the next thirty days, you can click View expiring points to view the points and their expiration dates.

The good news at least, is that promotional points are used up first if they are about to expire:

How do I use my expiring Microsoft Points first?
Promotional points with expiration dates are automatically redeemed first before purchased points.

Microsoft’s billing site can be found at https://billing.microsoft.com if you want to check out if and when your points expire.

Thanks goes out to Zico on the OcUK forums for making me aware of this.

Neca Gears of War Action Figure Photos

Or: A Post On My Decent Further Into Geekdom

A catalogue from Forbidden Planet dropped through the door the other day and amongst the myriad of Star Wars memorabilia, Doctor Who tchochkes and slightly disturbing animé statuettes were the new Gears of War action figures designed by Neca. They stood out from the rest of the catalogue through sheer detail alone and ignoring the part of my brain that asks why I need such things I bought two.

One thing that concerns me when buying figures like these is that the product shots you see are often of high detail reference models and what you end up with is of a much reduced quality. For this reason what follows is a series of photos and my opinions on these models.

Continue reading Neca Gears of War Action Figure Photos

Videogame Concept Art

I am a sucker for gaming art books so I thought it’d be an idea to summarise some useful information I have gathered on the subject into one post. This is coming from the perspective of a fan here, apologies to any art/gaming students/professionals who disagree with my ramblings. Also note that while there shouldn’t be any spoilers in this post, I would advise against getting any of these books or visiting any links without finishing the respective game first.

Continue reading Videogame Concept Art

Holidays are coming…

Christmas is coming, marked by the end of the summer games drought and the release of countless Xbox 360 games all vying to be under Timmy’s Christmas tree on Christmas Day.

I mark the opening salvo in this Christmas war with the release of Halo 3, arguably the earliest game to be released which has the chance of being number one come Christmas Day. From this here is a list pulled from a Gameplay’s website that shows everything from the date of the release of Halo 3 to Christmas minus any games I know have been pushed back to 2008. I don’t claim it is definitive or correct but it gives us a pretty good idea of what is coming.

Personally I think this is insane: there are simply too many games I want coming out and unfortunately this means some are doomed to only appear on those editorial stories that lament those truly fantastic games that really shine out amongst the others- but sell disappointingly. I think for example the publishers of Army of Two saw the coming flood and wisely delayed until next year.

21st Sep – 27th Sep

  • Elder Scrolls Oblivion – GOTY Edition
  • NHL 08
  • Warriors Orochi
  • Halo 3

28th Sep – 4th Oct

  • FIFA 08
  • Skate
  • SEGA Rally
  • Conan
  • Juiced 2 – Hot Import Nights
  • Ratatouille

5th Oct – 11 Oct

  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Hard Evidence
  • NBA Live 08

12th Oct – 18th Oct

  • Project Gotham Racing 4
  • Crash of the Titans
  • Spiderman – Friend or Foe

19th Oct – 25th Oct

  • Half-Life 2: The Orange Box
  • Eternal Sonata
  • Thrillville: Off the Rails

26th Oct – 1st Nov

  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2008
  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary
  • Virtua Fighter 5

2nd Nov – 8th Nov

  • Naruto
  • TimeShift
  • The Simpsons
  • NBA 2K8
  • BLADESTORM – The Hundred Years War
  • NHL 2K8
  • Tony Hawks Proving Ground
  • Avatar The Legend of Aang – The Burning Earth

9th Nov – 15th Nov

  • Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare
  • WWE Smackdown VS RAW 2008
  • Lego Star Wars – The Complete Saga
  • Dynasty Warriors – Gundam
  • Nascar 2008 – Chase for the Cup
  • Beowulf

16th Nov – 22nd Nov

  • Assassins Creed
  • BlackSite
  • World Championship Poker All In

23rd Nov – 29th Nov

  • Mass Effect
  • Guitar Hero 3 – Legends of Rock
  • Kane and Lynch – Dead Men
  • Ace Combat 6 – Fires of Liberation
  • Need For Speed – Prostreet
  • Dancing Stage Universe
  • Final Fantasy XI – Wings of the Goddess Expansion

30th Nov – 6th Dec

  • Scene It? Lights. Camera. Action
  • Bully – Scholarship Edition
  • Viva Pinata Party Animals
  • Hellboy
  • The Golden Compass
  • Kengo Zero

7th Dec – 13th Dec

  • Tom Clancys Splinter Cell – Conviction
  • Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

So I packed away my 360 at the weekend…

Every so often I get mad at the amount of dust that collects around my desk and the complete lack of space on it thanks to having fairly large screen, a 360, speaker equipment and whatnot and so I end up completely disconnecting everything and rearranging things – usually into exactly the positions they were in before. This time however I boxed the 360, as I haven’t played on it for quite a while now. Despite a good start there just aren’t the games out that I would justify spending £40 on. If it gets good reviews I might get Mass Effect, but that is about all I can see on the horizon that looks to me to be a ‘must-buy’.

Busy busy

I’ve been so busy of late, I don’t think I’ve turned on the 360 for at least a week.

I don’t like talking about work on here, but its been causing me stress. I recently quit my current job for a new one that’s closer to home and has more career opportunities. Problem was I have a 12 week notice period (I kid you not) and I was pleading to be let go sooner or I might have ended up with no job at all. Despite some pointless dragging of heels they’re letting me go in a couple of weeks. On the upside this means I can finally get (as I need it) a car, the downside is I’ve spent every evening either fretting about my notice (now solved) or car hunting. So I’m knackered. Very knackered. Another weekend of car hunting to go and hopefully I’ll have everything in place by the middle of the month so I can actually play Crackdown and possibly Supreme Commander if it will run on my PC.

That reminds me, the fan on my PC’s northbridge started emitting a whine. Its happened before and giving it a jiggle has done the trick, but not this time. I went to unscrew it but one of the screws was threaded. As I was tired and irritable I literally tore the thing out of the heatsink, bending half of the blades and ripping the screw out. After bending the blades back again, replacing the duff screw and putting a bit of oil on the bearings I put it back in and now its silent. How I get away with being so abusive to my PC I’ll never know, but the beast has served me well for quite a while now.

Catchup

So what have I been doing while I was moving host?

I completed Lost Planet on the standard difficulty. Let me say one thing first: you can never have too many giant robots, especially ones with power blades, rocket packs and the ability to fly. But yet I don’t feel the urge to play the game through again for the other achievements. Oh and I don’t get why everyone is complaining about the story. Yeah its not great, but it makes sense and the ending was pretty cool.

After that I’ve been playing the Crackdown demo. Its great fun jumping over small buildings, throwing cars at people and then jumping away. I have a feeling it might get quickly repetitive, but then I remember that the demo features accelerated development, meaning you can level quite a way up in half an hour. I do wonder if they’ve shown too much in the demo. I’ll probably buy it anyway but not for the reason everyone else seems to be buying it- the Halo 3 beta. I could never really understand the fascination with Halo, probably because it was shaping up to be a killer PC game back when it was abducted by Microsoft for the fledgling XBox, er 1, and I wasn’t really a part of that console wave.

Oh and apparently the PS3 is actually going to release in March. Its official I will eat my hat as I have always claimed that it won’t come out in the EU until September. However things change and it seems that its not as hot a property as everyone thought, so there will be more to go around. It will sell out of course however I can’t see the key demographic- the families, wanting to by a £425 beast of a machine in March. It would seem that everyone I know is playing on their Wiis, or camping outside the shops waiting for more stock to turn up. Of course if there is still a Wii shortage in March the PS3 might be a (expensive) rebound purchase. Not for me though. Once the Wii has some more diverse titles and is actually in stock I’ll pick one up, but I refuse to give Sony any more of my money.