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All posts tagged "xbox live"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Xbox Live Coming to Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 04:56 PM


The above image is from someone's Flickr account, so I'm not sure if it's real, but Engadget is reporting that Xbox Live is coming to Windows 8. This is impressive - between the Xbox hooked up to a TV, a Windows Phone, and Windows 8 on a PC or tablet, Microsoft has a three-screens entertainment strategy that can actually compete with Apple's iTunes ecosystem. Not bad Microsoft, not bad at all. Note that there's no word "Zune" anywhere in that screen shot, or on the Engadget one. That reinforces to me that the Zune brand is on the way out...but I wonder what they'll re-brand the awesome desktop software to? Xbox doesn't make sense as a media player brand - well, not to me at least.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Could Microsoft Be Ditching the Points System?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM


"Xbox Live deserves praise as a service, but being the standard for which other online gaming services are judged means its flaws come under repeated scrutiny -- for good reason. It's why I always find myself asking Microsoft executives a couple of the same questions whenever I'm given the opportunity to sit down with them: why is there a friends cap on Xbox Live and when will the entire service allow me to pay for content in real-world dollar amounts, rather than confusing Microsoft Points?"

Where do you guys stand on the issue of points? I'm not as negative on them as some people - I'm fine paying 800 points for an Xbox Arcade game, largely because I have no frame of reference for the cost. Interestingly, I found points to be very frustrating when deciding to rent SD and HD video downloads - I know how much a DVD or Blu-ray rental costs at my local video store, so having to fire up a Web browser to calculate how much a video downloads costs ticked me off. I like the idea of micro-transactions for game content, but think that it could co-exist alongside all the other content (songs, videos, games) being in dollar amounts. Any changes made to Xbox Live would rippled down to the Zune Marketplace. What's your take?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Zune Video on Xbox Live Reviewed Down Undah: Found To Be Not So Bad

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Media" @ 09:53 PM


"When the US [Gizmodo edition] reviewed the beta [of Zune Video on Xbox Live] yesterday, they were a bit harsh on the Zune marketplace. They said: “Not a whole lot to write home about yet besides 1080p streams”. But they come from a country where VOD is commonplace and easy to get — Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Amazon, TiVo… all let you watch your entertainment whenever you want. Here in Australia, we have iTunes, we have TiVo and we have Foxtel, but the truth is that the Zune Video Marketplace is a much easier and superior experience to both of those."

With all of the competition here in US, it's often easy to forget that even parts of the Western world don't have access to a wide range of quality VOD services. As compared to their brothers in the US edition, who found nothing particularly interesting in the Zune video-on-demand offering for Xbox Live, Gizmodo Australia was excited to report that the Smooth Streaming technology worked as advertised, and moreover that the service was easy to use. It seems like Zune Video is definitely a viable solution for those readers who are overseas and don't have access to maybe a Hulu or Amazon service. Hopefully we'll start to see some strong advances for those of us in the US too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Xbox Live Purchases Listed in Local Currency Cost

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:14 AM


"Meeting with Microsoft's Scott Austin to talk about Xbox Live, there was little expectation of sexy reveals or big news, and what we saw during the briefing wasn't flashy in any way. But there was still some really good news for Xbox 360 owners: Microsoft is getting set to update Xbox Live in a number of ways to make it easier to find and buy content. The big news is that games will be priced in your local currency, and you'll be able to buy with a credit card, bypassing the point system altogether. That's not all."

One of the things that really irritates some people about the Xbox Live system is the reliance on points for purchasing content - and because the Zune ecosystem is so closely tied to that of the Xbox, over on the Zune Market place points were the only choice for buying content. That's changing, at least on the Xbox side of things - purchases will be listed in local currency costs (that's dollars and cents) and you'll have the option to pay via a direct charge onto your credit card, or you can use points if you have them. That will be great for renting movies - it always ticked me off that I had to bust out an Xbox Points calculator to figure out how much an HD movie was really costing me.

Here's my hope: the Zune Marketplace will be able to transition over to a cash-based system rather than being reliant upon Xbox Live points. There are some people that absolutely loathe the points system, and if the Zune Marketplace can reach parity with iTunes and Amazon's MP3 store by charging dollars instead of points, I'll all for it.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Robbie Bach Talks Zune Video Offerings

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 10:38 AM


"In an interview with CNET News.com, Bach said Microsoft is looking at other areas where it can combine consumer devices with online services, such as its community site Windows Live Spaces. Later this month, it plans to let Xbox Live users share their "buddy" lists with people who use its Windows Live Messenger. "Ultimately, the idea of us going to create one social community throughout Live services is a very powerful idea," he said. Separately, Bach said that Microsoft is considering ways to offer video delivery services for its Zune media player. He said certain video types, including TV shows, comedy and user-generated content, work well on small screens like Zune's, but not feature-length movies. Microsoft is contemplating which business models are best suited for these content types."

None of this is shocking news, but it's the closest I've seen to Microsoft actually saying "You'll be able to purchase episodic TV content, the same stuff on Xbox Live, for your Zune." We all knew this was coming, though many were surprised it wasn't ready right out of the gate - I suppose it's an infrastructure issue in part, having to have 320 x 240 versions of the TV shows available for download. When you purchase a show in HD via Xbox Live, they also give you access to the standard definition (SD) version for free. So I'm going to hope that the price of Zune shows are going to either be less expensive than the SD versions, or the same price but you'll get the Zune + SD version of the TV show for the same price. Are you willing to pay to watch TV shows on your Zune?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Zune to Become Gaming Device? Perhaps Sooner Than We Think

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 04:28 PM


"So what exactly will you be doing for PopCap? GC: I will help proliferate their titles on other consoles. It’s a broad in scope role. It encompasses everything from vision and strategy to execution and marketing. It will all be part of my group and charter. Business development will be part of that as well. It will be about taking the stable of franchises and games out of PopCap's studio and adapting, customizing it for different platforms -- adding multiplayer, new play modes, HD, customizing the user interface and display for Zune, ipod, Apple TV, Nintendo DS, PSP. And I'll get into interesting things like custom game development for other consoles, and publishing with partners beyond the studio. The next couple years will be spent just mining the PopCap catalog -- adapting it for a stylus or a Wiimote."

We've all heard the rumours about the Zune eventually becoming a gaming device of some sort - there's really not much choice given that's what the iPod has become - but what we have above is the first real piece of evidence that this is more than just hopeful speculation. The Zune has all the raw tools to become a great gaming device - a big, bright screen at 320 x 240 resolution, a d-pad (the iPod scroll wheel is second rate for games), and buttons that would work well for gaming (they're perfectly placed). So the question is, when will we see the first Zune game, and how will it work in the ecosystem of the games? Let's explore that topic a bit...

When I was at CES, I was shown a nice presentation about Xbox Live on Windows. They've developed an Xbox Live client that allows you to play Xbox Live games on the PC (Uno, Bejeweled, etc.) The experience is completely killer - you can join in games on your PC that your friends are playing on their Xbox, and with a wireless adaptor on the PC you can even use the Xbox headset and controller. I asked about how the licensing was going to work on this - would you have to re-purchase a game you already own? As in, if I buy Assault Heroes on the Xbox and I want to play it on my PC, would I have to pay for the game again? To me, that would make the service a much harder sell - I'm not going to pay for content twice. The Microsoft person I spoke to about this said they were still trying to figure that part out, but he hinted that the odds were good it wouldn't require re-purchasing. You pay for a game once and you can play it on your PC or Xbox, as long as you're logged into your Xbox Live account.

Now transfer that line of thinking to the Zune: you pay for Uno on your Xbox, or maybe your PC, and the Zune Marketplace would allow you to transfer the game onto your Zune. Combine the WiFi on the Zune with the ability to play against others online, and you have a portable gaming machine pretty much unmatched on the market today in terms of functionality and an ecosystem. You have to think that purchasing games, and content, right on the Zune wirelessly are also part of where the Zune team is going. Suddenly the Xbox Live points system doesn't seem so crazy does it? The Zune will plug into a larger ecosystem, and that's what will make it unique against other competing devices in the market. This is exciting news!

Tags: xbox live, gaming

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What is the Zune?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 10:51 AM

One of our readers kindly informed us that in the excitement of the launch of Zune Thoughts, we failed to mention what the Zune was, and so he had to perform a quick web search to find out more. Not too surprising, really. There hasn't been much Zune-related publicity in print and visual media, and most of the buzz surrounding the product has been generated from blogs, internet news sites, and teaser pages. Over the days, weeks, and months, we'll be revealing the Zune slowly and steadily, similar to the peeling of the layers of an onion (without the pungent smell, of course). To kick things off, this post will give a quick "5W" analysis of the Zune. For those of you who have been tracking past and present Zune-related news, you won't find anything new here. This post scrapes the surface of the Zune, and serves to provide a basic overview of what the Zune is and what it has to offer.

What: Zune is a collective term describing the hardware, software, and services behind a new Microsoft-driven portable digital entertainment experience. All three components will be heavily tied together, much like the successful Xbox and Xbox Live model. Unlike other digital audio players driven by Microsoft technologies, the Zune will be unique in that everything will be born and bred within Microsoft, without the interference of OEM partners.

Who: As you've probably worked out, Microsoft is the company behind the Zune. Digging deeper, some of the folk behind the Xbox 360 are the brains behind it all.

When: The Zune isn't a Microsoft project lasting several months. While the first-generation Zune device is expected in the fourth quarter of 2006, the project will continue for many years as successive models are released with new features enhancing the overall integrated experience.

Where: The Zune will initially launch in the United States. By the end of 2007, the product line will expand and be made available in multiple countries.

Why: Microsoft's plan to rejuvenate its presence in the portable digital entertainment market isn't simply about replicating the functions of other digital audio players. The company plans to go the extra mile by tapping into this core theme of "community and discovery", which it knows a lot about, thanks to the successful Xbox model. Visiting an online media store won't just be about purchasing the media, but rather, an additional opportunity to share media (both purchased and user-created), share experiences, and so on. And then in the bigger picture, extending and integrating that Zune experience with other Microsoft products such as Media Center, Windows Mobile, Windows Live, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, and the list continues. Many have argued that the Zune is simply an iPod clone, but based on the hints that Microsoft has dropped over the past couple of months, it's a lot more than just a clone, and as we approach Christmas, we'll start to see the Zune take shape and its features become clearer.

Want to see Microsoft's official teaser page? Visit Coming Zune.

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