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access_time February 20, 2012 at 7:00 AM in Features by John De Large

Xbox Fever (Feb. 20)

Hey folks, it’s JDL and it’s a Monday, which means Christopher Walken and I are going to give you your weekly dose of Microsoft news.

Xbox 360 Successor Given Codename

Says: The HD Room
We say: The Xbox console that will follow the Xbox 360 has already been given the fan nickname Xbox 720 and Xbox Trinity, but now it seems that Kotaku has uncovered Microsoft’s codename for the upcoming 2013 console: The Durango. For those of you that shudder at the sound of the outback-inspired name, don’t worry, game consoles and peripherals have had lackluster names in the past, such as Nintendo’s GameCube (which was known as the Dolphin) and the Kinect (known as Project Natal a few years ago). It could be worse, the console’s final name could be something really derpy like the Xbox 1080, the PS Pita or the Wii-U.

Xbox 360 Dashboard Color Problems Solved

Says: Us!
We say: If you’ve been experiencing problems with your Xbox dashboard or your dashboard’s color, there’s a patch for that. According to Major Nelson, your 360 can download a patch that will fix some color issues that some had complained about previously. The next time you log into your Xbox LIVE account, you’ll be able to download a patch that’ll fix the aforementioned issues that had some upset. Users should notice an immediate difference immediately. However, Major Nelson has also said that the patch won’t fix absolutely everything, that some fixes would have to be performed by app developers. With all the dashboard changes, there were bound to be some problems, luckily the problems were just color related and didn’t cause any crashes or loss of data. Still, it’s good to see Major Nelson on top of things.

Xbox Indie Games In Trouble?

Says: Game Zone
We say: Indie game developers are ticked with the new dashboard layout. “”It now takes 12 clicks to find an indie game. This is my full-time job so I need to make sure I’m making enough money to live off,” says Dan Marshall, founder of Size Five Games. “I can’t see XBLIG surviving to the next Xbox, can you?”

What’s perplexing is that Indie games aren’t easy to find even if you’re using a search engine. If you know the name of the game you’re looking for it will appear in Bing’s search results, provided the user knows the name of the game they are looking for, but Indie games are not listed in the New Arrivals section of the Marketplace, nor does it have it’s own dedicated genre category.

I think the solution to the problem is a customizable dashboard. Let gamers pick whether they want to use an old layout or the current one, which ever was easiest for them to navigate based on what they like. That way anyone who knows how fun the indie games are can find them more easily.

Microsoft holds the developers responsible though. “Indie developers have told us they are looking for an easy route to market, which is the biggest hurdle to overcome, and we’ve provided that for them with Xbox Live Indie Games,” Microsoft said to Eurogamer. “But they’ve got to take that next step and do marketing after the launch. We encourage indie developers to work together and support each other in marketing efforts, like the Indie Games Winter and Summer Uprising promotions.”

Windows Phone App To The Rescue
Says: The Verge
We say: Thankfully, someone heard all the Dan Marshalls and came up with the XBLIG Companion, a Windows Phone app that allows users to browse through the latest independent games for the Xbox 360. The “someone,” in question? Well, it’s actually some guys (plural), known as Dave Voyles and Casey Young. The companion works by “pulling the RSS feed from XboxIndies.com, culling the XML and CSV data for each game to create an instantly-updated library.” The library features a “best-of” section voted on by the game devs and links on each game page that directs users to the Xbox Live Marketplace, where they can purchase Indie Games.

New Music Service For Microsoft?

Says: Web Pro News
We say: Zune on Xbox 360 didn’t really set the world on fire and neither did last.fm on the 360. Enter: an alternative music service. According to CNET, Microsoft is talking to multiple record companies to create a new music service that will offer music downloads on Windows phones and the Xbox 360. It remains to be seen if the rumored service will replace the company’s preexisting Zune service or if it will complement the service.

The sources said that the service is still being being planned out with negotiations under way. Microsoft is apparently wanting to launch the service later this year and would allow users to stream and download music. There have even been rumors that Microsoft is in talks with HTC and Nokia to implement the new service in their Windows phones. With the service allowing users to download and stream music, Microsoft would be able to better compete with rivals Apple’s iTunes and Google’s Google Music.

That’s it for me and Chris. We’re off to play some Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Four Swords. It should be pretty fun. Later!


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