Archives For Gaming

Tax Day!

Dave Zatz —  April 15, 2008

Lest we forget, today’s the Ides of April.

I haven’t gotten a refund since selling my condo about three years ago. But if I had some unexpected cash coming my way, I’d probably be thinking about supplementing my Xbox 360 with a Wii or (more likely) a PS3. I might also be a little more motivated to pull the trigger on my first HTPC in years since decommissioning the projector – when we sold that aforementioned condo.

So, did anyone else wait until the last minute to finish up their taxes? If you’re getting (or already received) some money back from Uncle Sam, where’s it going? Paying bills and saving don’t count. We need stimulus! ;)

Gamefly Buying Used Games

Dave Zatz —  March 18, 2008


Gamefly (Netflix for video games) has started buying up subscriber’s used games:

As a long-time member, you’ve been hand-selected to participate in our GameFly Trade-In Program. Now you can trade in the games you own for credit toward your membership fees!

This strikes me as an interesting business initiative… I specifically use Gamefly to avoid purchasing titles. In fact, I only own one game: Battlefield 2: Modern Combat. Which was actually my first Xbox 360 game (that I traded a pal my Xbox Live Camera for – revisiting my high school NES strategies). I haven’t played Modern Combat in probably a year, so I’ll take the $11.50 credit (minus shipping).

Gamefly’s PR rep tells me they have no intention to rent these games. Rather, they’re utilizing a third party that resells games in retail channels. Googling the mailing address used with my trade-in turns up Gamers Factory, who seem to sell through a variety of outlets.

RROD: An Unhappy Ending

Dave Zatz —  March 1, 2008


My pal Tim is d-o-n-e. He’s wiping his hands clean of Microsoft gaming gear. His family will ultimately be a two-system home again, but a PS3 will join their Wii. Tim’s story (and ebay listing) in his own words:

You are bidding on a piece of junk XBOX 360. Please understand that this is non-functioning system. The system was repaired by me after the initial warranty expired, and before the new extended 3-year warranty was authorized. I had to glue the magnet back onto the DVD drive. It worked great for a while. However, this constitutes tampering in the eyes of Microsoft, and therefore, when I sent it in for repair for the rings-of-death they returned it un-repaired with the nice letter to XBOX enthusiast stating such. This was, of course, after a month of waiting, and in spite of the smarmy robot XBOX support voice-mail guy Max assuring me that my system had been repaired and was being shipped back to me. Max didn’t help me cancel my recurring XBOX live subscription. That involved moving through two different overseas calling centers. But, I digress.

This unit does not include the hard drive. The hard drive contains my personal information, including my credit card data. It also includes probably $75 worth of downloaded content. Bummer for me. I will be destroying the hard drive in a special ceremony involving a Bill Gates voodoo doll and and an unlicensed version of Windows Vista.

The power supply, cables and a headset for the controller are included. There are no controllers included. As far as I know those items work, but I can’t guarantee anything. In fact, I can’t recommend that you bid on this item at all. I wouldn’t. Maybe you can salvage something from the system. The cables? The headset is worth something, maybe.

I will also include something called an Intercooler. That is not shown in the picture. It’s a third party device that is supposed to keep the XBOX from overheating. It makes a racket, though, and there is no evidence that it does much of anything to keep the XBOX 360 from failing. In fact, because it puts additional load on the power supply, it could actually cause problems. Can’t recommend it either.

Proceeds from this sale will go to purchase of games and accessories for our fully functioning Nintendo Wii system. Bid at your own risk. This is JUNK. No returns. Paypal only. The shipping and handling is $19 via USPS. Barely covers my costs.

Picture of the Day: Battle Royale

Dave Zatz —  February 20, 2008

Coming Soon: Apple TV v. Vudu v. Xbox 360

Sony Demonstrates PS3 PlayTV

Dave Zatz —  February 14, 2008

The BBC received a demonstration of Sony’s upcoming PlayTV accessory which will offer PS3 owners over-the-air tuning (DVB-T, abroad), OTA EPG, DVR functionality, and PSP placeshifting. Looks pretty cool (other than the UI load time)… Though, I wonder if we’ll ever see this in the US – is the PS3 OTA ATSC market large enough to matter?

Netflix on Gaming Consoles?

Dave Zatz —  February 14, 2008


I wasn’t planning to cover this, but the amount of attention it’s received (and the amount of pings I’ve received) have led me to say something: Netflix movie streaming to PS3 and/or Xbox 360 ain’t gonna happen any time soon. When conducting market research surveys, scenarios are often presented in the present tense, as if they currently existed. For example, last summer Netflix gathered opinions on the possibility of a $50 or $100 movie-renting set-top box. Seen one yet? So let’s be clear – gaming console Netflix movie viewing doesn’t yet exist and you probably won’t see anything like it for many months, if ever.

Having put it in perspective – I think this could be a killer app for any gaming console and something I’d personally appreciate. Tons of movies, perhaps unlimited viewing included with my monthly subscription on a box I already own, and the Netflix name to market the service (and console). However, Netflix will find several barriers to entry… Going beyond their technical challenges, Microsoft currently runs their own movie service on Xbox Live. Would they consider augmenting it or replacing it with Netflix? Because the only way Netflix will land on the 360 is with Microsoft’s blessing. Unless they go the extender route which isn’t as clean or elegant and would reduce their potential customer base exponentially. Continue Reading…


Notice any familiar billboards in Burnout Paradise?

Apple’s Got Game?

Dave Zatz —  February 11, 2008


By appyling to expand their trademark coverage last week, Apple’s keeping the door open to enter the gaming arena:

Toys, games and playthings, namely, hand-held units for playing electronic games; hand-held units for playing video games; stand alone video game machines; electronic games other than those adapted for use with television receivers only; LCD game machines; electronic educational game machines; toys, namely battery-powered computer games.

I could imagine Apple bringing additional casual gaming titles to the iPod (iPhone and Apple TV too), but I’m not sure what else (worthwhile) they can bring to the industry at this point. Though the “educational game machines” angle is interesting… A LeapFrog-a-like or how about a Hypercard 2008 tablet? The industry segment that could use the Apple touch is digital photography.