I Feel Used: Used-games vs. Next-gen

You probably saw all the headlines that hit the internet in late January: “Next Xbox to prevent you from playing used games!”

In terms of headlines, that’s a doozy. In terms of credibility, it’s unknown. But in terms of business strategy? It’s incredibly risky.

Read more at Official Xbox Magazine

Does Transmedia Work?

In June, the Syfy Channel and THQ debuted “Red Faction: Origins,” a television movie that not only received decent reviews, but was also the test pilot for a potential series.  Days later, the latest game in the series – “Red Faction: Armageddon” – landed on store shelves.

Just shy of two months after that, though, all talk the TV series had stopped and THQ had put the game franchise on ice. And that death knell called into question the effectiveness of the transmedia movement.

Read more in the December edition of Official Xbox Magazine

Hackers vs. Gamers

Given how fierce the console wars can get – and how loyal some users are to one brand – it’s not surprising there was a little bit of schadenfreude when Sony announced it had been hacked and shut down the PlayStation Network in April.

As the sophistication and extent of that data breach came to light, though, feelings began to change fast. If a company as big as Sony could be caught unaware by an attack this big, was Microsoft really any more prepared?

Read more in the August edition of Official Xbox Magazine

Buy now? Or save later?

When Dead Space 2 hit store shelves on January 25, it cost roughly $60 — no matter where you bought it. By mid-February, you could find it on sale at some big online retailers like Amazon.com and BestBuy.com for anywhere between $40-$50. Meanwhile, more than three months after the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops, that game hadn’t gotten a penny cheaper. What gives?

The pricing of videogames might seem entirely random, but there is a logic to it. And understanding that logic can actually explain why we’re seeing so many games with “2” and “3” at the end of their titles these days.

Read more in the May issue of Official Xbox Magazine

Bite-sized Gaming Heats Up

Long the domain of garage and independent developers, the iPhone is starting to lure over some of the more familiar names from the Xbox 360. They’re eager to see what they can do on Apple’s iOS, but might that mean they’re thinking about abandoning the console world?

As 2010 drew to a close, a pair of top-tier iOS games hit the app store — id Software’s Rage and Epic Games’ Infinity Blade. Both let players see a console-quality graphics engine up and running on a portable device. But for the developers, it was the chance to return (in some ways) to the industry’s early days – in a much more dramatic fashion than independent or Xbox Live arcade games allow for.

Read more in the March 2011 issue of Official Xbox Magazine

Duke Nukem courts controversy with cheeky multiplayer mode

No one would ever accuse Duke Nukem of being a closet feminist, but the cigar-chomping, buzz-cut sporting, alien butt-kicker is stirring the pot once again.

The multiplayer modes for the imminent Duke Nukem Forever have been announced (via the April issue of Official Xbox Magazine) — and one, dubbed “Capture the Babe,” has raised some eyebrows.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

2011: Microsoft’s Year of Mystery

After the busy holiday-season dust settled, a though occurred to us: we really don’t have a fleshed-out feel for what Microsoft has in store for us next year. Thing is, most gamers probably don’t care too much right now. And that’s just the way Microsoft wants it.

Core gamers have their hands full with “Halo: Reach” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops”. This frees up the marketing wizards at Microsoft to keep as much focus possible on Kinect, building demand and momentum for the motion-sensing peripheral.

Read more in the January 2011 issue of Official Xbox Magazine

The 360’s big show

From the Cirque du Soleil-infused unveiling of Kinect to a solid game lineup for 2010-2011 to the unexpected announcement of a redesigned Xbox, Microsoft had no shortage of surprises at June’s E3 convention. It was, in fact, something of a challenge to keep up with it all. On a macro level, though, their new Xbox 360 offerings can be broken down into four easy-to-digest categories, each with its own level of appeal and promise.

Read more in this month’s Official Xbox Magazine (pdf)