Xbox Originals expanded: Burnout 3 Takedown

Burnout 3 Takedown is scheduled to hit the American marketplace Monday, January 14th. Another exciting addition to the catalog, and at least a sign of life that Microsoft wil continue to add to the Xbox Originals.

Stay tuned, I will be providing a larger list of upcoming Xbox Originals in the near future.

Coming Soon: "Better Know a Gamer…"

You don’t know when it’s going to happen, or who it’s going to happen to. Better yet, you don’t have any clue what my criteria for selection will be – or if there even is any! Trixie has her Gamer Spotlights, Unscripted 360 has the Showcase – and I’m bringing you yet another gamer off the street segment: WinBreak.com’s Better Know a Gamer.

The BKAG (bee-cag) segments will be extremely brief interviews conducted to highlight members of online communities who may not otherwise be interviewed. These are not meant to be the gigantic interviews I hope to conduct throughout the year with recognizable faces, but really just a way to pick somone who may be pretty much unknown via our “Super Secret Selection System” and learn about one more of the ten million users on Xbox Live.

There will only be a very short and fairly standard set of questions for each candidate, but I hope to really do a lot of them! If you want to nominate yourself or someone you know as a potential candidate for Better Know a Gamer, please use the contact page. There is no shame in nominating yourself, and we don’t need long drawn out nomniation letters – we’re very accepting and friendly around here! Just give us a gamertag, and maybe an email address (and if you really want, a reason “why!”) and we’ll take care of the rest!

Keep your eyes peeled and watch your inboxes (on Xbox Live, Xbox.com forums, your email accounts, your various other web forums – you never know HOW I’m going to contact you!!), because VERY SOON, your name may pop up in our Super Secret Selection System for: Better Know a Gamer!

2008: better or worse year? Clearing contradictions from MS


(picture of MS staff setting up for CES keynote, from MajorNelson’s flickr)

During the CES Keynote speech delivered by Bill Gates, Mr. Gates had mentioned that video games were “on track” to be the “best year ever in the United States” (not just Xbox 360 contrary to other articles). “Video games” are poised to have a great year – that’s exactly what Bill Gates said to us literally 5 hours ago.

Well, MSNBC (a joint Microsoft – NBC Universal venture) reported, on the same day, that the industry may actually slow in 2008. The article is actually from Reuters, using data from CEA, but it’s an interesting contradiction. So which is it?

Well, Gates’ statement, when in context, suggest that the video game industry as a whole will do well. Not necessarily the console and hardware end of things. While the title of the MSNBC article suggests that “Game industry growth may slow in 2008” they are not contradicting what gates said. The MSNBC article, once broken down, essentially states that console/hardware sales are all expected to drop, while games/software is expected to pick up a great deal.

The article states that industry hardware sales were “$6.6 billion in 2007, but are anticipated to shrink to $6.4 billion in 2008.” Where, software on the other, is expected to see “…’a 26 percent increase in sales over 2007,’ said CEA spokeswoman Jennifer Bemisderfer. Software sales are expected to rise to $11.5 billion in 2008, up from $9.1 billion in 2007.” According to the article, software sales rose 7.6 percent between 2006 and 2007 – so a 26 percent increase is going to be absolutely gigantic.

Expect to see this data referenced throughout the year, and don’t let anyone blur those details and spin this article their way to try and trick you! Keep your guard up!

No Ultimate Xbox, hardly any Xbox @ CES

With another Keynote down, there was hardly anything in the way of Xbox news announced at CES. The most exciting things dealt with ABC and Disney bringing more content to the Xbox Live Marketplace, and British Telecom being the first company (no, not yet, but hopefully later this year) to offer the IP TV service – and the ability to use the Xbox 360 as your “set top box.”

If you want the audio, I have to say I’m sorry, I don’t have it. I had recording software running, redundancy in place, multiple ways of recording – and unfortunately, the stream I was listening to was underpowered and often too quiet. If you want to take a listen, head on over to MajorNelson.com – he will be uploading it in the next few minutes.

I want to thank TXPaladin, who was the only one who sat around with me tonight and listened to the show and chatted about it with me. It was a fun experience, and with my mid-show investment into ShoutMix.com, I hope I get to use the new shoutbox even more in the future! Yeah, the free version had way too many limitations that I didn’t know about until we got into the swing of things… but it all worked out in the end, so thanks for standing by even in the moments of technical difficulties.

With so little in the way of Xbox, I don’t intend to do any major write up for this, but below are my notes that I took and some of the things that I typed into my ShoutMix while listening to the show. Enjoy.


CES 2008 keynote notes:
9:30 PM 1/6/2008

Sound quality is terrible… very quiet, will have to normalize audio before uploading these streams to my readers.

Microsoft’s chairman, Bill Gates.

11 appearances @ CES, 10th keynote, 8th in a row.

Video intro for Gates… to the tune of “do you believe in magic” … quickly switched to t echno-pop remix of the song.

On stage in traditional blue sweater.

First keynote right when Windows 95 was first coming together, 1994. The first digital decade. Bill will talk about the NEXT digital decade.

(WinBreak.com’s SHOUTMIX SHOUTBOX went down for 3 minutes – WinBreak CentCom staffers recovered quickly).

Conversation begins on second digital decade. User centric, and connecting people.

“High Definition experiences everywhere.” Media room tables, projectors on walls, the Surface, etc… more rich 3d environments.

Rich devices “service connected.” Getting software updates, data, etc… taking a photo on a phone and having it on the web made even easier. So simple you take it for granted.

“Power of ‘natural user interface.'” Keyboard and Mouse going by the wayside.

These are the primary 3 elements that will make up the next digital decade.

Still pluggin home automation… Jetson’s was supposed to be the year 1999… we’re behind schedule.

Vista is a year old, 100 million user milestone.

420+ million of people using Windows Live Services. Windows Mobile 10 million new years last year, expected to DOUBLE to 20 million this year.

Mika Krammer Windows Live team. Calls Windows her lifeline, and talks about the use of Windows Live ID.

Gates uses Surface to design his own snowboard.

Nothing really that new pertaining to surface so far. It allows you to interface your phone with it and use it to deliver pictures and datas to the web.

Plugging Silverlight. New partner: NBC has chosen Microsoft as its exclusive Olympic partner. Big surprise from “MS-NBC” joint venture!

NBC’s perspective: extra video. Most ambitious and comprehensive broadband video coverage ever.

The music is overpowering all dialogue.

Robbie Bach with “Entertainment” news, Xbox included…

Live tops 10 million members – months ahead of schedule!

ABC and Disney bringing TV shows to XBLM this month.

Xbox Live will have more on demand video than any current cable or satellite providers, later this year.

Talk about media center extender.

Interactive IPTV, select your fixed camera during a live event.

British telecom will provide the set top box, first.

Off to the ZUNE news. Finally will start selling Zune in Canada this spring.

Molly O’Donnel to talk about Zune Social (beta).

Major reminds us that Molly was shown in the December “inside Xbox” holiday video.

Many “last.fm” style benefits to Zune Social, “Active Discovery.”

An easier way to sync to the unit, much better than just using last.fm.

Benefits to Microsoft Sync in the Lincoln MKX.

911 assist coming to Sync. 911 called when airbag deployed. Very handy. Take that, On*Star.

Tellme, a Microsoft Subsidiary. 411 style. Is 1800-Goog-411 in trouble?

Press To Talk, how to use Tellme – to search for movie theaters in the area, show times, tickets, buy tickets, AND share them with someone in your contacts list.

1 hour down.

Looking ‘ahead’ with Bill Gates and Robbie Bach.

Screen image CLEARLY simulated of new “vision tool” which he can point to something or someone. As it gets recognized, it will show details or notes you’ve made.

Integrates captured scenes and images with live earth 3d.

Gates and Bach, in vegas, may bet $20 on GH3 round. TipperQueen takes the place of Bach – SLASH takes the place of gates (no GH3 guitar for him).

Slash plays Bach (and self) off stage.

Generic music and background video come back… end of keynote? Very lackluster, considering last year’s big announcements of IP TV for the Xbox, etc… .

As always, thanks for stopin’ by at WinBreak, and even for showing interest in my CES write up! 🙂 It gives me hope for my little startup, yet!

Live coverage of the CES Keynote, tonight!

For those of you geeky enough to care, but not geeky enough to be so dedicated to sit around and listen to Bill Gates and friends run around a stage to crappy rock music, I will be covering the event LIVE, with a post keynote summary.

My live coverage will be courtesy of that awesome shoutmix.com shoutbox you now see on the right side of the index page.

Now I’m sure you would all rather follow Major Nelson’s twitter, but mine at least offers a little bit of interactivity during the show, as you’ll be able to chat with me while I do it!

I know it’s late notice, but come back here tonight for live updates during the show, and my post show synopsis. Also, shortly after the show, I will be posting MP3’s of some of the show. So come around, hang out, and let’s make a night of it! 🙂

Can we be friends?

My friend and idol DeaconBlade 360, over at Unscripted 360, back on December 5th, had a great idea. The idea, itself, was actually suggested by the Microsoft people “e” and “Major Nelson.” So, why not talk ‘friends of friends.’ I really hope we get to be friends! We’re still VERY small, and we don’t have a large following… but I think what will make it most exciting – I get to watch it grow. Hopefully if I keep updating the site, the fan following will grow, my readers will want to game with me, and boom! We’ll all be the start of something big. 🙂

So, taking the idea from Unscripted’s u3660 friend finder, we have Gamertag WinBreak. Add WinBreak to your friends list, and let’s watch it grow together… starting adding me and our other friends to your friends list. Like Microsoft loves to tell us, “There’s 8 million people on Xbox Live, jump in!”

The Club demo coming to XBLM, soon!

One of my most anticipated games this year, The Club, has pushed their demo out to Microsoft, and is pretty much just waiting on them to officially put it on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

I have hoped this game would be as exciting as it looks, this will be our chance to see if it’s really worth dropping the cash. I love when demos hit before the games go retail!

The launch of The Club will also be a very proud achievement for the Bizarre boys… they will have successfully launched a game in yet another genre, as if casual games, rhythm games, and racing games weren’t enough! They are really turning into one well rounded studio, and have certainly done everything right by the fans so far. Let’s hope The Club is no exception!

Exclusive: Popcap's PEGGLE coming to XBLA

WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
It’s not quite as exciting as our first post of the day, but nobody has really made mention of this little headline. The game has been a huge success on the PC, but nobody has announced that it’s coming to the 360. Rated “E for Everyone” and confirmed by the ESRB, popular time waster “Peggle” will be making its way to the Xbox Live Arcade later this year. Rated by multple people’s favorites list (last link not work safe – ZeroPunctuation), there is no reason for Popcap to assume it will sell hugely on the Xbox Live Arcade. The game is widely available, even through iTunes now, apparently. So go ahead and check out their official site, and see just what you might be spending your Microsoft points on in the near future.

EXCLUSIVE: Moorcock's Storm Bringer saga coming to 360!

WBX: WinBreak Exclusive:
I received this information prior to Christmas and have been waiting for the right time and place to bring it to light. Now seems about right. Author Michael Moorcock’s Storm Bringer, the Elric Saga is making it’s video game debut in late 2008 or early 2009. This information came from a source “directly involved with the development of the game” and seems quite reliable. Below is a copy of the information that was sent to me.

New game, Stormbringer, “The Black Blade,” is testing the waters. They have yet to decide whether they want to deploy the game on the Xbox 360 platform or the PS3 platform.

Stormbringer “The Black Blade”
An enchanted sword of unspeakable power, its edge will cut through any matter on earth. Cursed with chaos magic, Stormbringer drinks the very souls of those it slays, feeding its wielder with newfound energy. It is unstoppable. It is alive. And it hungers always…

Introducing: Stormbringer — a new 3rd person fantasy-action game for the PS3 & X360. In this game, you are Elric, the emperor of Melniboné, ruler of a once great but now decaying island country. Formerly a mighty warrior nation, it is now a slave to its own decadence and customs, and under attack from all sides. Desperate to save your homeland, you strike a bargain with Arioch, the Lord of Chaos, pledging your servitude in exchange for the ultimate weapon – in exchange for Stormbringer.

Unstoppable and all-powerful, Stormbringer gives you the might to enter battlefield crammed with soldiers and emerge victorious. The sword allows you to use your enemy’s numbers against them. The more souls you collect, the more strength is added to your body, visibly transforming you into an unstoppable machine of war. But with every gift you take, Stormbringer becomes that much harder to control, making you wonder if your own soul is indeed the sword’s ultimate prize…

Key features of Stormbringer include:
ENTER THE WORLD OF MICHAEL MOORCOCK – along with Lord of the Rings, the Stormbringer series has influenced an entire generation of fantasy fiction. Moorcock’s dark vision combines legend, science, and sorcery into a twisted realm unlike any other. Elric is a true anti-hero who plays a key role in the ultimate battle between Chaos and Law as he struggles against his own grim fate.

EXPERIENCE A VISUAL MASTERPIECE – The world of Stormbringer is spectacularly brought alive with state-of-the-art Unreal 3 technology, the same engine that powered Gears of War. Elric’s mysterious land is packed with epic locales, populated by exotic creatures and fused with an advanced physics engine that allows for deep world interaction as well as incredible destruction as you topple pillars or level buildings to achieve victory.

ENGAGE IN FANTASTIC COMBAT – You wield Stormbringer, a blade unmatched in the entire world, using a deep combo system that allows you to move quickly from foe to foe or juggle enemies with ease. Keep the momentum of the fight going by harvesting souls, growing visibly stronger, and cutting larger arcs of destruction, ending in staggering finishing moves. In distant lands you will build repertoire of combat styles, learning new moves as well as gaining unique advantages of your toughest foes.

HARNESS FORBIDDEN MAGIC – channeling the energy harnessed by your whirling blade,you can also unleash dark magic that can rain molten fire or unleash monstrous demons to rip your opponents limb from limb. Your journeys will lead you to forgotten lore of Chaos and Law that can combine with the might your sword to keep your enemies at bay or twist their minds. Gain the favor of demons or elementals that can give you the ability to travel to new realms, or fight in entirely new ways… for a price.

FIGHT ON AN EPIC SCALE – Neither size nor number matter to the might of Stormbringer… Your dark powers are enough to conquer any, a towering Melnibonéan war machine or even a hundred-foot-tall Burning God. Fight alongside your own legion and use your magic to spur them to victory, or rely only on your own chaos abilities and the hunger of your blade to conquer the vast armies laid before you.

STRUGGLE FOR YOUR SOUL – Stormbringer is the source of your strength, but also the root of your corruption. As you take more souls, your power intensifies, but your devastating attacks will make it difficult to keep the sword from slaying your friends as well… beware that your bloodlust may ultimately make them indistinguishable from your foes. If you instead embrace this dark fate, the most terrible powers can be gained by taking the souls of your closest allies, those which Stormbringer finds the most sweet. Taking this road transforms you into an instrument of destruction, but will drive the conclusion of your tale down a darker path.

Platform: Playstation 3 & X360
Rating: M for Mature (appropriate for ages 17+)
Price: $59.99

Upon first read, it almost sounds like the Fable sequel we’ve all been waiting for. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

My source added that this title may end up being a PS3 exclusive, or an Xbox 360 exclusive, or it may launch on both consoles. At this time, however, it seems very promising that the 360 is locked in.

Welcome to WinBreak's Rebirth!

Founded June 14th, 2006, WinBreak.com was founded as a Windows PC security website. We covered all sorts of news topics dealing with viruses, security exploits, you know, geeky stuff! As I grew more and more involved with my final year of college, I stopped working on the website. It later just became a ‘hobby blog’ – I would post whenever I felt like it, nothing major, just the occasional bit of news in my personal life or bit of news from the tech industry.

As time passed, I found my only ‘stress relief’ from my senior thesis (as well as my post graduation ‘unemployment blues’) came from video games. It was like being in high school all over again. I loved video games, I stepped away from my PC and PC games, and the cash it required to keep up with the hardware, and bought myself an Xbox 360, after being bugged by a buddy of mine.

Sure, I had played around with them, seen how the Xbox Live Arcade games worked and what have you, but once I bought my own, it was love at first game (which, by the way, was Gears of War). After all of the trials and tribulations (yes, the dread ‘3 red lights’), I still enjoy my Xbox 360, and have decided it was time to give a little something back to the community.

QUICK QUESTIONS:

What’s with the name?
As I mentioned, WinBreak was originally a Windows PC security site. WinBreak was taken by pressing the “Windows key” on a keyboard, and the “Pause/Break” key on a keyboard. This “Win+Break” combination is a keyboard shortcut to your device manager, the part of the computer that tells you about the hardware in your computer, all of the nerdiest details. After looking into multiple domains, and attempting various backorders, I have decided to simply “rebrand” WinBreak so to speak.

So, who are you?
That’s the fun question. I’ve gone by one name only, on the internet. NuAngel. It’s been my nick name since the days of Doom and Quake. When I owned NuAngel.net, and worked with other community members on PC gaming news related sites, I really built up a passion for working on the web, and wanted to continue that.

Where are you located?
WinBreak central command is located in a rural town in Pennsylvania, near lake Erie. I get snowed in a lot, so what better way to pass the time than playing video games and reading/writing on the web? Hopefully relocating in the next few weeks, but we’ll have to keep you all posted on that!

Why now?
Well, the original goal was to bring back my first website, NuAngel.net. I purchased that back in 1999, and let it expire once I got busy in college. Unfortunately, my ‘domain backorder’ fell through, and I had to push the launch of this site back a few weeks. Also, the more people I told about my intentions, the more contacts I developed, and I realized I was already creating a back log of work for myself, so I decided to move ahead with it, both ‘behind’ and ‘ahead’ of schedule (interesting how so many things really influenced my decision!).

That’s all for now, everyone. I will start the regular news posting VERY soon (including several exclusives I have lined up).

See you on Xbox Live!