Gaming News May 2009

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Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood (Preview)

Gaming Heaven :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Call Of Juarez was released a few years ago and was quite the success in the gaming community. As a wild west style FPS with an impressive engine it was used in many cases as a benchmarking utility for new graphics cards at the time. The follow up Bound In Blood is due for release this year and again has the same two character mechanic. We recently spent some time with a few of the levels which we found out is actually a prequel to the first title.

Release This: Too Human, Sims 2: Apartment Life Head U.S. Lineup
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Gamasutra’s latest “Release This!” explores a week that brings the debut of Too Human and The Sims 2: Apartment Life in the United States, as Japan prepares for J-League Winning Eleven 2008 Club Championship and Inazuma Eleven.

Saling The World: Madden NFL 09 Leads U.S. Sales on 360 and PS3
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Gamasutra’s latest “Saling The World” charts see Madden NFL 09 outselling all Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 competition in its first week of release in North America, as Tales of Vesperia meets with an enthusiastic reception in Japan.

Critical Reception: D3/Treasure’s Bangai-O Spirits
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
This week’s edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Bangai-O Spirits, a Treasure-developed sequel that reviewers describe as “a shooter that celebrates shooters.”

Release This: Madden NFL 09 Kicks Off in North America and UK
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Gamasutra’s latest “Release This!” explores a week that finds Madden NFL 09 debuting in the U.S. alongside Line Rider 2: Unbound and Bangai-O Spirits, as Summer Athletics and Table Football premiere in the UK.

Critical Reception: Bizarre Creations’ Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
This week’s edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, an Xbox Live Arcade shooter sequel that critics say is a “superb sequel” that “bests the original in every respect.”

Release This: Tales of Vesperia, Fire Emblem DS Launch in Japan
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Gamasutra’s latest “Release This!” explores a week that finds Tales of Vesperia and a Wii port of Imabikisou debuting alongside awaited portable offerings like Fire Emblem: Shin Ankoku Ryuu to Hikari no Ken and Summon Night 2 in Japan.

Saling The World: Soulcalibur IV Debuts High in Worldwide Charts
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Gamasutra’s latest “Saling The World” charts see Soulcalibur IV top weekly Xbox 360 and PS3 software sales in the U.S. and Japan, while Phantasy Star Portable leads overall Japanese cross-platform results.

Critical Reception: Namco Bandai’s Soulcalibur IV
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
This week’s edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to this week’s debuting fighter sequel Soulcalibur IV, which initial reviews claim is “unquestionably [Namco Bandai’s] best fighting game to date.”

Release This: Soulcalibur IV, Rhythm Tengoku Gold Debut Worldwide
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Gamasutra’s latest “Release This!” explores a week that brings the worldwide debut of Namco Bandai fighter Soulcalibur IV and the Japanese portable premieres of DS music game Rhythm Tengoku Gold and Sega’s PSP action/RPG Phantasy Star Portable.

Saling The World: Final Fantasy IV Heads DS Charts In Debut Week
Gamasutra Columns :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Gamasutra’s latest “Saling The World” charts see the just-released Final Fantasy IV surpassing long-time chart leader Guitar Hero: On Tour on the Nintendo DS in North America, as KORG DS-10 leads DS sales in Japan.

360 Modification Disc v1.6
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
FrostyTheSnowman released a new version of his 360 Modification Disc(info ). What’s new/fixed in v1.6: * Updated all firmware to iXtreme v1.6 * 0800 Mode for Samsung/BenQ/Lite-On (thanks to iXtreme v1.6) * Added ‘Donations’ screen, to show my appreciation :) Official Site: n/a, by FrostyTheSnowman Download: n/a (contains modified FWs) News-Source/Full Readme: xbins.org

iXtreme v1.6 – Team HyperX -THX- *update*
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
>>A new release of the iXtreme firmware for BenQ, Samsung and LiteOn drives. Hitachi will follow at a later date (ETA unknown) as usual. Team HyperX Presents IXtreme 1.6 firmware for Benq, Samsung and Liteon drives Features: -Strict Wave 3 compliance! hybrid (modified disks) will not boot! -Strict drive speed compliance – 12x only for game discs! -Support for SS V2! -Integrated 0800 for game dumping including SS v2! -Full support for all known game exceptions! eg ddr etc! -One shot boot mode! – allows a one off boot of gamedisc without -stealth/partition checks (will still use stealth), use activate.iso disk to activate each time! -Support for easy drive key/version info cmd, same as liteon! -Strict stealth/wave checking, one shot boot mode will boot wave(x)! More Info Strict Wave 3 compliance means wave 3 games will only boot if they have correct PFI/DMI/SS and timestamp for wave 3 Strict drive speed compliance means games will only boot if drive is set for the initial speed of 12x, any modification of this make games fail to boot SS v2 suports multiple timing samples for challenges type 5 and 7 , stroing them in the SS. This is a pre-requiste for SS v3 which has support for the so called AP2.5 check. Since this has never been used or may never be used by MS we will adopt a wait and see approach and continue to monitor for its usage. With drive in Windows mode (Tray half open on powerup) 0800 mode is activated allowing easy dumping of game disc including SS v2. In this mode the drive is also able to output drive key, fw version and drive type by using a simple custom inquiry command. Game exceptions are integrated in the fw for games that do not comply with the strict wave checks but are legitimate. These are Dance Dance Revolution Universe, Stoked, Ping 17 disk, afro samurai One shot boot mode allows you to boot a Wave X or non stealth game by using the activate.iso disk as a flag. Just insert the activate disc and the next disc inserted will boot without any strict checks. This will still utilise full stealth if available. As soon as that disc is booted the flag is cleared, and you will have to re-insert the activate disk again to enable one shot boot. As always use with caution. We apologize for the short delay, but we found some last minute bugs very late and wanted to make sure you guys are safe! As usual, modifying your firmware comes with NO guarantee for safety on xbox live. Why the name change? No reason, we just felt like it. -THX- -*UPDATE*- A repack was release for the LiteOn version. This repack was just a slight fix to the original release. The repack .bin has ‘repack’ as the file name, and the new upcoming JungleFlasher(info ) will automatically recognize the new version, and discard any beta/old versions. Official Site: n/a (By Team HyperX) Download: n/a (May Be illegal under EULA/DMCA) News-Source: xbins.org

NPD April 2009: Xbox360 175k, PS3 127k, Wii 340k
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Here are the US NPD April 2009 numbers: * DS – 1,040,000 * Wii – 340,000 * Xbox 360 – 175,000 * PS2 – 172,000 * PS3 – 127,000 * PSP – 116,000 And Microsoft’s reply via gamasutra.com : <BR><I> Responding to Thursday’s NPD U.S. game sales numbers for April 2009, Microsoft highlighted third-party game sales of $98 million for the month, “a key measure of platform health” and beating the Wii and PlayStation 3. Overall, the company conceded that Xbox 360 U.S. retail sales were 175,000 units, a dip of 7 percent compared with a year earlier. However, it argued that “April 2008 saw the release of the blockbuster Grand Theft Auto IV, significantly boosting Xbox 360 sales this time last year.” The company noted that Xbox 360 sales were up 28 percent year-on-year in the first four months of 2009, “the highest growth of any console this year”, as Xbox 360 games claimed four of the top 10 console titles, including The Godfather II, Resident Evil 5, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Metallica. </I><BR><BR>

Xecuter RROD Pro Repair Kit Tutorial
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
From team-xecuter.com : <BR><I> Here is our official tutorial for the RROD Pro Kit. We’ve made its as simple and noob-friendly as possible. We have also fixed the downloads page and updated the Dissasemble Xbox 360 Instructions to include info on how to remove the motherboard. </I><BR><BR> Official Site: Buy Now: mrmodchips / ck3.co.uk

More Details on Xbox360 Error Codes
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
From a user on XBH forums on xboxhacker.net : <BR><I> I noticed nobody has posted the reasons for visual error codes so I figured I’d put out what I know. A lot of these errors can be the results of any number of problems, especially with something like E74. So take these with a grain of salt. The explanation “general hardware failure” is an acceptable description for most of these because you would have to specifically look at each board to see what went wrong, but this might help with a few trivial errors, or help people pinpoint problem areas. E64 – Dvd drive timed out during reset E65 – Dvd drive is not DMA configured E66 – Dvd drive pairing failure E67 – Hard drive timed out during reset E68 – Hard drive not DMA configured E69 – Reading the HD Security sector failed E70 – Hard drive not found E71 – Error within Xam E72 – Error within Xam E73 – Couldn’t calibrate HSIO Bus from edram E74 – HSIO related, could be crc error, or many things. E75 – Ethernet – Couldn’t read ethernet phy vendor E75 – Ethernet – wrong ethernet vendor E76 – Ethernet – Couldn’t complete ethernet reset E77 – Ethernet – phy request is already processing E77 – Ethernet – reading reg failed E77 – Ethernet – Failed to write reg E78 – AsicId check failed E79 – Couldn’t start xam.xex E80 – Wrong LDV version The secondary error codes work as follows. Each blinking field represents 2 bits of an 8 bit hex value, or 1 byte. This byte being the “E” error code. 1 blinking field = 01 2 blinking fields = 10 3 blinking fields = 11 4 blinking fields = 00 For example, an led field sequence of 1031(crappy naming method) that some people have posted. It should really be be 1431 (that other method of naming is annoying). This means our 8 bit error code is 01001101 which when converted to hexadecimal becomes 0x4D and then to decimal as 77. so, 1031 is E77. So do the same method as before holding sync and pressing eject to get your secondary code, convert each to the proper bits, and then convert those to decimal, and you’ll have your “E” error code. Hopefully this will help some people stuck with 3rods out of warranty and nothing displaying on screen to see what’s wrong. Thanks to Tmbinc and redline99 for their help. </I><BR><BR> News-Source: xboxhacker.net


Datel Hacks Xbox360 Memory Card Protection – 2/4GB Memcards
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Datel launched a 2GB (40 USD) and 4GB (50 USD) Memory Card compatible with the Xbox360. It even includes a Micro SD slot for more memory (up to 16GB). Afaik this is the first unofficial memory card for the Xbox360 (unlike normal USB memory sticks/hdds these can be used as real memory card to store gamesaves and XBL content). Looks like Datel managed to bypass/hack the protection Microsoft uses on their memcards. From codejunkies.com : <BR><I> MAX Memory 4GB is a 100% compatible memory card for the Xbox 360 that includes an incredible 4GB of high speed flash memory – that’s 64x the size of a standard 360 memory card! If you don’t have a hard drive you’re going to need a memory card if you want to use Xbox L!ve, save your progress in games or make use of new content like themes or expansions; MAX Memory is the perfect choice for storing and transporting all this content. By including a massive 4GB of storage capacity, MAX Memory is a fantastic value alternative to a hard drive. What makes MAX Memory even better value is the fact that it can be expanded using any Micro SD memory card, including SDHC (High Capacity) up to an incredible 16GB. Since Micro SD is one of the best value memory formats available, MAX Memory can be expanded to provide all the save capacity you’ll ever need at a minimum cost. MAX Memory is the only Xbox 360 memory card to offer all of these features: * 100% compatible with Xbox 360 * Huge 4GB of storage capacity – 64x the size of a standard memory card * Expandable up to 16GB with snap-in Micro SD cards * Backup, restore and access files from your PC * Plug-and-Play </I><BR><BR> Official Site:

Picture for the new Xecuter RROD Pro Kit
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
Here’s a picture of the content of the new Xecuter RROD Pro Kit . Official Site: Buy Now: mrmodchips / ck3.co.uk

Xbox Tester: Secret Xbox Suicide Command and MGS4
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
From 8bitjoystick.com : <BR><I> Yesterday I had a very long interesting conversation with a recently laid off Xbox 360 hardware/software tester who had some very interesting things to say to me. 1st. Interesting Thing: There is a super secret kill-switch remote suicide self-destruct command that if Microsoft really wanted to they can remotely trigger and tell an Xbox 360 to fry itself and die. This was intended to be a last resort option if a fight against Xbox Live cheaters or major league professional game piracy ever got big. To their knowledge it has only been done in test situation in the lab but if they wanted to they could have the regular system security sweeps over Xbox Live activate a kill command when it found a compromised hacked Xbox 360 system. It works by having the Xbox overload a fuse and “pop” the fuse. The Xbox 360 will then crash and then will get an “Red Ring of Death Core Digital” error when the boot-up test comes back with a major component hardware failure. This is not the same as bricking or crashing a system since this will actually do physical damage to the motherboard. 2nd. Interesting Thing: Microsoft is currently software testing Metal Gear Solid 4 for Xbox 360. They might announce it at E3 but Konami likes to make money and Metal Gear Solid 4 was very expensive for them to make. Microsoft and Konami will not admit it before they are ready to but secretly builds of Metal Gear Solid 4 for Xbox 360 started being tested late last year. Konami want to make back their software development costs and they need to get it on the Xbox 360 to do it. 3rd. Interesting Thing: Microsoft makes a lot of hardware prototypes and very few hardware projects actually make it to market. They probably did start to build a Blu-Ray player and a motion sensitive wand controller but they never got close enough to making it to market. </I><BR><BR> Full Story: 8bitjoystick.com

Limited Edition Xbox 360 Shoes
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
From gear.ign.com : <BR><I> We’ve seen a lot of ridiculous console merchandise come across our desks here at IGN Gear, and while there are an infinite number of excessive products, thankfully they retail at prices that aren’t going to make you feel like you were left unguarded in a prison shower for five minutes. Today, unfortunately, that trend ends as we’ve been made aware of Xbox-themed shoes that cost more than six Xbox 360 Elite consoles. Do they interact with your games? Nope. Do you get free DLC by purchasing them? Nah. Will they result in you getting into a fight with the kid wearing the PS3 leather jacket? Winner winner chicken dinner! The Xbox 360 Controller Shoe is designed to compliment the look of Microsoft’s premiere gaming system, all for the low low price of $2,500. </I><BR><BR> Full Story: gear.ign.com

WSJ ‘Confirms’ Xbox 360 Full Body Motion Sensing Controls
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
From wsj.com : <BR><I> Microsoft Corp. is developing a new videocamera for its Xbox 360 videogame console that will allow players to control games with the movement of their bodies, according to people familiar with the matter. Unlike the Wii, the Microsoft camera won’t require users to hold any hardware in their hands to control in-game action, people familiar with the matter say. The device could be shown as early as the E3 game industry conference in Los Angeles in early June, though it likely will not be released until next year, these people say. </I><BR><BR> Full Story: wsj.com

No Japanese Voices on Western FF XIII Xbox360 Version?
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
From kotaku.com : <BR><I> Hey, did you hear? In the West, FFXIII is coming to the PS3 and the Xbox 360. The PS3 has Blu-ray. The Xbox 360 does not. So when it comes to things like adding extra voice tracks, that might be difficult for the Xbox 360 version. According to Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase, “Obviously, when we talk about XIII it’s for PS3 and Xbox – with PS3 being on Blu ray there would be enough memory, but on Xbox probably not. At the moment we’re thinking of releasing the voice in English only. Are there many people who would like to play with Japanese voices?” </I><BR><BR> Full Story: kotaku.com

Pachter: 360 demolished PS3 in April, US trade down 17pct
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
From vg247.com : <BR><I> Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter just put out his US console sales estimate for April, putting Wii at 480,000 units, 360 at 275,000, and PS3 at 175,000 consoles. The analyst predicted another tough comp for the month, saying he expects sales of $550 million, down 17% compared to last year’s $660 million. </I><BR><BR> Full Story: vg247.com

New Xecuter RROD PRO Repair Kit with X-Clamps
Xbox Scene :: Saturday, May 16, 2009
From team-xecuter.com : <BR><I> We released our original Xbox 360 RROD repair kit during Christmas 2008 – and after over 100,000 sales it has proved to be a superb success. Of course there were still many consoles that it could not fix, and 360 modders were using an X-Clamp kit along with the Xecuter RROD kit to do a more robust repair. Naturally we wanted to make sure that our customers had the very best solution possible so we took the time to investigate the many many X-Clamp kits available and found that no two were the same, with many giving varying opinions and methods. So we spent a week or so testing the ass out of many many different fix designs and after finding what we think is the absolute perfect solution we can now launch the Xecuter RROD PRO Repair Kit for the Xbox 360. Not only have we included our specially formulated K-Pads for the memory chips, we have custom designed our own X-Clamp and have manufactured the bolts so that the length is the absolute precise length and thickness to offer the very very best solution. We also include perfect sized washers and the best quality silicon paste to enable you to repair both the GPU & CPU all in one kit. All other tools are of course included. As a test, we purchased exactley 100 RROD consoles from a games store and applied the fix to all of these. After bench testing for 7 days we have 87 consoles working perfectly with just the RROD Pro Fix, 6 others needed a DVD drive replacement and 7 could not be repaired at all – so were returned to M$ for replacements We are very pleased with the results and believe this kit will be the definative repair kit available anywhere for the XBOX 360. </I><BR><BR> Official Site: