Picture
Microsoft has issued its earnings report for Q1 of its fiscal year 2011, and things are looking good for its gaming division. The company reported revenue of $16.20 billion for the period, which ended on September 30. This amounts to a 25 percent increase over Q1 FY 2010 overall.

When it comes to Xbox 360, the console was cited as a top performer, alongside Windows 7 and Office 2010. In fact, Microsoft reports that sales are up 38 percent overall, compared with the same quarter last year, "outselling every competing console in the U.S. for each of the past four months," it gloats.

Diving into the numbers, Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division (home to Xbox, Zune, and Windows Phone 7) benefited from a 33 percent rise in revenue from Xbox 360 sales over Q1 FY 2010, to the tune of $409 million. Shipments of the console to retailers totaled 2.8 million units for the quarter, up from 2.1 million during the same period last year.

Revenue from software sales also increased, bolstered by (what else?) Halo: Reach. The Bungie title generated a whopping $350 million for Microsoft in the quarter -- a number made more impressive by the fact that, having launched September 14, that revenue resulted from only 17 days of the game's sales. No wonder Microsoft is considering releasing Halo games on a more frequent basis.
 
 
Picture
Andrew Huang wrote a book a few years back called Hacking The Xbox. He's an expert on the subject. He's such an expert, in fact, that federal prosecutors are trying to stop him testifying in a mod chip court case. Courtesy of a report on Wired, Matthew Crippen is facing three years in prison if convicted of servicing Xbox 360 consoles and installing mod chips on them, offences which violate the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Huang is willing to testify on Crippen's behalf, arguing that installing a mod chip does not in itself constitute a violation of copyright. He points towards a recent U.S. Copyright Office decision to allow the "jailbreaking" of Apple's iDevices as precedent for this; if they can be legally modified to allow third-party applications, so too should game consoles.

Federal prosecutors, however, have called for Huang to be barred from testifying on the grounds it would be "legally irrelevant".

I don't know. Seems pretty damn relevant to me.


Prosecutors Seek to Block Xbox Hacking Pioneer From Mod-Chip Trial
[Wired]
 
 
You're getting a Kinect! And you're getting a Kinect! And you, and you and you're getting a Kinect! Oprah did today what only Bejeweled and FarmVille have been able to do so far: Get a bunch of middle-aged women ecstatically excited about video games. The television guru indeed gave an Xbox 360 system and a Kinect sensor away to every member of her studio audience this afternoon, and while you might expect a group of gamers to be a little thrilled about that, this crowd went freakin' nuts.

The show was about "The Next Big Thing," and featured an appearance by reality show crooner Susan Boyle, as well as a segment on The Daily Show's upcoming "Rally to Restore Sanity" anti-movement. But whatever the reason Oprah decided to go all Microsoft motion controller on her audience, it appears to have worked -- they loved it. Maybe this means they don't have to buy Christmas presents for the kids this year? Watch the whole surreal video after the break.

 
 
Picture
As if there was any doubt, Bethesda Softworks reveals plans to support Fallout: New Vegas with downloadable game add-ons, with an Xbox 360 exclusive pack coming out first. Hopefully they'll work this time. Having released several downloadable add-ons for Fallout 3, it comes as no surprise that Bethesda has big plans for Fallout: New Vegas post-launch content. The cavalcade of downloadable goodness kicks off exclusively on the Xbox 360 sometime after the game's launch tomorrow.

"We're excited to continue the partnership between Bethesda and Microsoft, and build on the success of the game add-ons released for Fallout 3 on Xbox LIVE," said Pete Hines, VP of Marketing and PR of Bethesda Softworks. "Fans will once again be able to continue their experience in the Fallout universe with the add-on packs planned for after the launch of the game."
 
 
Picture
The first round of invitations to the Crysis 2 closed multiplayer beta test are going out, indicating that this first session is a strictly Xbox 360 affair. Back in June EA told customers the first round of multiplayer beta tokens would be offered to folks who signed up at the game's community site. Now those invites are going out, but PlayStation 3 and PC players need not apply.

No, for this early round of tech testing requires an Xbox 360 and an Xbox Live gold account.

Reader JollyClogger sends along this image of the invitation. Sadly Jolly no longer owns an Xbox 360, so he won't be participating in this initial phase.

Hopefully developer Crytek and EA will expand to include other platforms as the testing progresses.
Picture
 
 
Picture
Having first been revealed in, oh, 2007, it seems that the Xbox 360 is finally going to be able to play nice with AT&T's U-Verse streaming TV service. Thing is, there's a catch. Well, catches. For one, you can't just sign up and use the Xbox 360 on its own like you can with, say, almost every other type of application like this around the world. You'll need at least one digital video receiver in the house already for it to function. So the 360 is in effect (unless you already have multiple boxes and want to get rid of one) a glorified remote control.

The other catch is that if you own an Arcade Xbox 360 - ie one without a hard disk drive - then you're SOL, as the service will require HDD space to run.

If you meet those criteria and get it working, you'll be able to access U-Verse via an icon on the Xbox 360 dashboard, just like you can with things like Facebook and Twitter.

The service will be available on November 7.
 
 
Picture
A playable demo for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 will be released on PSN and XBLA on October 12, LucasArts has confirmed.

"The level focuses on the very beginning of the game, which takes in a secret cloning facility on the planet of Kamino," explains Lucas.
"Starkiller, told by Vader he is no more than a clone, becomes tormented by the memories of his past and escapes into the rain-soaked planet with Vader not far behind. Unleash the power of dual Lightsabers, over-top Force powers including the new Jedi Mind Trick."

Sounds cool. The full game will be out on Wii, PS3, 360 and PC on October 26.
 
 
Picture
Between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2009, 696 gaming-related injuries were reported in the United States. How are gamers hurting themselves? Researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia gathered together data on five years of gaming-related injuries in an attempt to identify how gamers are getting hurt while playing their games. Polling the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the researchers discovered that 696 injuries have been reported over the course of the five-year period.

And those were only the reported injuries.

Of those 696 injuries, 92 occurred while playing what the researchers consider today's modern, more interactive games. Of those 92, 76 were injured while playing the Nintendo Wii.

"Interactive video games are becoming increasingly more popular with a wide variety currently available," lead study author Dr. Patrick O'Toole wrote in an email to The Canadian Press. "These games are fun to play and differ significantly from traditional video games as the player must physically mimic movements in order to compete. Injuries sustained during these interactive games are likely to be similar to injuries sustained in real sports."

Indeed, the majority of interactive gaming injuries involved abrasions, sprains, and strains of the shoulder, ankle, or foot.

Of course, that doesn't mean that traditional gamers are safe. While Wii players are busy hurting their bodies, traditional control-pad using gamers are hurting their eyes, neck, and face. Of the reported injuries, all 65 seizures, eight cases of eye pain, and all but one neck injury occurred during traditional gaming.

I suppose it could be worse. I'm not seeing any report of gaming-related deaths, outside of those involving violent crimes. As long as we keep hurting ourselves but not killing ourselves, we should be good.

The findings are being presented today at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.
 
 
Picture
Microsoft officially makes Don Mattrick the president of its Interactive Entertainment Business. It's not really that big of a change, moving from senior vice president to president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, at least not for Don Mattrick. Prior to today's promotion, Mattrick was already in charge of everything Xbox360, Xbox Live, Kinect, Zune, and Mediaroom related. Following the departure of Microsoft's president of Entertainment and Devices Robbie Bach earlier this year Mattrick also became responsible for PC and mobile interactive entertainment. Basically if is fun and Microsoft does it, Mattrick is your guy. Now he's just really your guy.

Don Mattrick is more than just an executive. He's the designer of the original Test Drive as well. Mattrick served as president of Electronic Arts Worldwide in 2005, joining Microsoft first as an external advisor and then as the senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in 2007.