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Microsoft Announces "Game Room," Confirms Natal For Late 2010 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the also-check-out-the-blender-addon dept.
Microsoft has confirmed that their upcoming motion-control system, Natal, will be released during the 2010 holiday season. The announcement was made during CES, alongside news of "Game Room," a service that will act like a virtual arcade, bringing classic games to users of the Xbox 360 and Games for Windows Live. It's due out this spring with 30 games to start, and will gradually ramp up to over a thousand titles. According to Kotaku, "You can buy a game for between 240-400 Microsoft Points, or if you really want that old arcade feeling, you can pay 40 Microsoft Points and play the game once, like it was 1985 and you'd just dropped a quarter." Another interesting bit of news is that subscribers to AT&T's U-Verse will soon be able to use the Xbox 360 as their set-top box.
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Microsoft Announces "Game Room," Confirms Natal For Late 2010

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    we all know that "points" means a way of sidestepping a nations currencys real worth
    the whole thing is seedy and scammy
    i guess MS must really be desperate

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why is this modded troll? That's pretty much the reason why all those virtual currency providers do it: to hide the fact that you are spending real money.

      Spending 2 Fun Points on something trivial is much less painful than directly seeing that it actually costs 2 €. Yes, customers are this easy to manipulate.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Where's the micro-payment option where there aren't transaction fees added by the bank/credit card companies? Remember those fees? The ones that banks slap on ATM uses? The ones merchants fork over to credit card companies? The ones PayPal slaps on?

        Cheaper for the service providing companies to sell you their own micro-transaction currency so they only get hit with the fees once per purchase of their micro-transaction currency.

        I don't like the idea of such points and don't use them myself but the reason

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dangitman (862676)

          I don't like the idea of such points and don't use them myself but the reason they're used isn't based on being seedy or scammy. It is based on practicality.

          So, why isn't the ratio of points to real currency 1:1? The only reason for that is to be scammy and underhanded. They could always just use real currency denominations, and set a minimum transaction amount - such as the Playstation Network's "wallet funding" which works in real dollars.

      • by Thud457 (234763)
        if it's not backed by fractions of LD-50 of interesting recreational pharmaceuticals or radioactive isotopes of specified half-life, it's just fiat funny-money and a tool of the evil new world order.
      • by Toonol (1057698)
        Why is this modded troll? That's pretty much the reason why all those virtual currency providers do it: to hide the fact that you are spending real money.

        There's at least two OTHER major reasons they do it:

        1) To avoid microtransaction fees. If they simply charged your credit card each time you made a $2 transaction, the minimum fees would eat up much of their profit. By having you by points in bulk, in multiples of $10 or #$20, a much smaller percentage goes to the credit card companies.

        2) To ha
    • by Xest (935314)

      ...and yet, Microsoft points work out better for me in the UK at least.

      See here for an overview:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms_points [wikipedia.org]

      In the UK, we pay only 11% more than the US for games, which is actually a bargain because we have 15% sales tax more to pay. Not every currency is fortunate as us in this respect, but if you contrast to other real money systems, like Steam, where despite using real currency you can sometimes pay 100% more (i.e. $29.99 USD = £29.99 GBP even when it was $2 to £1).

      S

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:29AM (#30680770)

    ...and play all those classics for free...

    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      Wouldn't that require people to have an actual, proper computer to play their computer games on, rather than having some set-top games box? (which I hear is called a "con-soul" or "con-sell" or something?)

    • -1 Illegal (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Namarrgon (105036)
      Or did you buy original copies of all those game ROMs you're playing for "free"?
  • Credit suck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte@drun[ ]ipers.com ['ksn' in gap]> on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:31AM (#30680778) Homepage

    Why can't I pay with real money instead of fake money which I can only buy in certain quantities so that I will always have left over fake money.

    That's the second reason why I won't buy anything from Games for Windows Live Market. The first reason is that I don't trust Microsoft to keep that service running.

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Because of all the different currencies. Should everyone in Europe or Asia use dollar? Or should americans use euro or yen?

      It's easier when there's a "currency" thats the same everywhere.

      btw, you can buy with the exact amount. You don't need to add credit, just buy directly with credit card and you pay exactly the amount.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        are you really that stupid?

      • Re:Credit suck (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:47AM (#30680868) Homepage

        It's easier when there's a "currency" thats the same everywhere.

        Easier for who? It's impossible for Microsoft to do realtime conversion and show prices in your local currency? You know, since they have to do that any when when you "buy" points?

        • Re:Credit suck (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @08:20AM (#30681010) Homepage Journal

          Matter of getting you accustomed to using their "pay-back" currency which only they accept. In case you win something, earn something with them, get your purchase cashed back or whatever, you could normally demand they pay you the same currency you paid in the first place. Which then you could take and spend at their competitor's. In case of Microsoft Points, every time -they- owe -you- anything, they are sure their money will eventually return to them.

        • And their spiffy new search engine will do it automatically (just like google) to within the hour. Bing!
      • Re:Credit suck (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @08:12AM (#30680966)

        Because of all the different currencies. Should everyone in Europe or Asia use dollar? Or should americans use euro or yen?

        It's easier when there's a "currency" thats the same everywhere.

        Whilst this is true, it also has the "nice" side effect of making it easier for them to bill more in countries that will tolerate it.

        I don't know the exact pricing for points, but you could take the price of 1 point in the USA, convert to GBP (using a lousy exchange rate of course), add 17.5% for VAT and then throw an extra markup on top (because you just can [wikipedia.org]) and reflect that in the price of a point in the UK.

        So $10's worth of points in the USA at a poor exchange rate should be around £7 + VAT = £8.23. Yet they could get away with also charging £10. A nice 66% markup.

        Net result, is that you can screw people in the UK over without them really realising that they're paying far more than they would in the USA - despite the fact that everything is served from servers in the USA and therefore there are no additional costs involved by doing business in the UK*.

        (* or if there are, they've already been covered by the business elsewhere. It's not like this is a new country for Microsoft)

        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          But to be fair, PS3 has real currencies and they still charge differently between countries, so it most likely wouldn't make any difference.

          Wii also has points like 360, and they too charge more. They're all doing it, points currency or not.

        • Re:Credit suck (Score:4, Informative)

          by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday January 07, 2010 @11:12AM (#30682566) Journal

          We know we're paying stupid money. But...

          Amazon USA: 4000 points = $44.99 (£28.30) = $1.12 per 100 points
          Amazon UK: 4200 points = £49.33 ($78.43) = $1.87 per 100 points

          Ebay USA: 4000 points = $48.99 (£30.81) = $1.22 per 100 points
          Ebay UK: 4200 points = £34.99 ($55.63) = $1.32 per 100 points

          ...no one pays full-whack for points. Ebay is kings for points in the UK and they're normally emailed as scanned jpegs within 5 minutes of payment.

          • by Xest (935314)

            Why not just use the official costs charged when buying direct from Microsoft on XBox live rather than using unofficial manipulated prices? At the current exchange rate today:

            In the UK 5000 MS points = £42.50 ($67.79)
            In the US 5000 MS points = $62.50 (£39.18)

            Factor in the UK's 17.5% VAT and the £39.18 in US costs rises to £46.04 or the UK cost would be £35.06 minus the VAT.

            On those eBay prices you're saving about £1.50 off the official price normalised for 5000 points in

      • People would use their own currency just like they do when they buy the points.

        The reason for points is that it makes all countries feel like they're getting a fair deal for once but in reality some are paying more per points than other countries.

        But more importantly you'll almost certainly always end up with left over points which will encourage you to buy more. If you don't buy more then that means you've paid more than you should have.
    • by jgtg32a (1173373)

      Two reasons

      1. Most people don't keep track of the exchange rate and they don't pay attention and don't consider "credits" to be money

      2. Its easier for the live team to set the price of XYZ to 800 credits, and then charge different amounts in different regions .

  • A quarter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DianeOfTheMoon (863143) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:33AM (#30680792)
    Only Microsoft could charge you $.50 to make you feel like you dropped a quarter. I swear these guys could nickel-and-dime nickels and dimes.
    • Mod parent up (Score:2, Insightful)

      by argent (18001)

      +1 Funny, +1 Insightful, +1 Inevitable.

      Given that YOU paid for the frigging arcade machine already, and YOU paid for the floor space, they should cost *less* to play than Pac Man or Dig Dug. Not more.

      • by ArcherB (796902)

        +1 Funny, +1 Insightful, +1 Inevitable.

        Given that YOU paid for the frigging arcade machine already, and YOU paid for the floor space, they should cost *less* to play than Pac Man or Dig Dug. Not more.

        Well, to be fair, Microsoft did sell that "friggin arcade machine" to you at a loss with the idea that they would make their money back on inflated game prices.

        Disclaimer: I am a Linux user. My 360 was a gift. So far, I have purchased one game for $1.00 at Gamestop.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jeffmeden (135043)

          Not to mention the fact that Microsoft has no problem with you paying up front for the software and playing it as much as you want. Honestly, why bag on this feature when it's basically a full featured demo of the game for a fraction of a dollar? If you don't like the game, you can take your coins elsewhere; when else has browsing through titles been that affordable? (aside from either pirating, or an actual arcade?)

        • by argent (18001)

          Well, to be fair, Microsoft did sell that "friggin arcade machine" to you at a loss with the idea that they would make their money back on inflated game prices.

          They didn't eat nearly as much as the arcade machine owner you're paying the quarter to.

    • by Namarrgon (105036)
      I'm a bit out of touch, but don't arcade games cost somewhat more than a quarter these days?Last I saw here (AU), games often cost a dollar coin (US$0.90) to play, or more.
      • New games might cost a $1.00 but I don't ever recall anyone ever charging that to let people play Donkey Kong, Pac Man, etc.
      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        They said "old arcade" which in AU would be 20c. If my wasted youth recollections of 20c -> 40c -> 60c/2 for $1 -> $1 -> $2 are vaguely accurate.

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)

        At Chuck E. Cheese's all games are one token which averages out to $0.22 IIRC, the coin slots can also run off of actual quarters if you want, that was usually 0.01% tops.
         
        I worked at CEC in HS and Freshman year summer, making my info about 6y/o.
        Also because its always asked, I don't mind the kids, kids are kids, but fuck parents.

    • by gsslay (807818) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @08:23AM (#30681034)

      Of course it was the paying for every game that was half the fun! I can't tell you how many times I've finished playing a game on my Xbox with an empty feeling of disappointment, simply because I still have cash in my pocket. Now I won't have to immediately run out into the street and force coins on strangers in order to get that true arcade experience. Thank you Microsoft!

      Of course, you'll will still be lacking the frisson of implied threat that you got from the shady character that stood in the dark corner of most arcades. Is he going to knife you, offer you drugs, or steal your cash? Either way, it added to the sense of heightened awarenesses necessary for a true arcade experience. Surely Microsoft can manage to replicate this?

      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        Unless you've got a very strange mod on that XBox (remember: the small slot is has is for peripherals, not for coins ;) ) then you might still have to run out on to the streets and force coins on strangers.

        As for the full arcade experience, it sounds like you just need to move to a rougher neighbourhood!

      • by dangitman (862676)

        Of course, you'll will still be lacking the frisson of implied threat that you got from the shady character that stood in the dark corner of most arcades. Is he going to knife you, offer you drugs, or steal your cash?

        No, he's just the guy from the FBI who makes sure that Winners Don't Do Drugs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MMMDI (815272)
      "Players have three options: 400 points ($5) grants a dual-platform license (playable on Xbox 360 and PC), 240 points ($3) gets you the virtual arcade cabinet on one platform (Xbox 360 or PC), and, for the old-fashioned types, 40 points ($0.50) is exactly "two quarters" worth of playtime -- for an authentic arcade experience, minus the sticky floors."

      http://www.joystiq.com/2010/01/07/xbox-game-room-pricing-partners-detailed/ [joystiq.com]
      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        I didn't read TFA or the article you pointed to, but I actually think that this is a good idea.. I'm a fan of old video games, but I bet even some of the ones I used to like I wouldn't like as much now.. Also there are probably others I didn't really like that I'd like now. So the ability to 'try out' the game like in an arcade is very cool.

        (again, I don't know if they're actually doing this) It would be even better if you were essentially refunded your "two quarters' worth" if you were to buy the full v

  • by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:34AM (#30680798) Homepage Journal

    Considering you play using your hardware, your electricity, your room, and get no supervision to intervene in case of problems (only phone support), $0.50 per credit sounds rather steep.

    • The old quarter paid the entire arcade AND the development. Staff, location, lighting etc etc.

      MS has far fewer costs, yet charges more... amazing.

      But then, people swallowed that with iTunes.

      Costs savings to be passed on to the customer, wasn't that the whole point behind the free market? Elmer Fud told me so ages ago in a cartoon, so it must be true.

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        iTunes charges more than what? Music labels for CDs? No. iTunes was so successful because despite (still) having a high profit margin, it was so extremely competitive in its prices comparing to most alternatives.

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)

        Of course cost savings are passed to the customer, but you have to take demand and competition into account as well.

    • by flitty (981864)
      Price is my only complaint about this idea. If I could put $2.00 worth of "Coins" into my account, and if the games were something like 5 points a play, (which allows for what, 32 plays of these games?), This idea would be great. Only pay for what you play. I don't need to pay $5 to play most of these games more than a few times, and the low price gives you incentive to "go to the arcade" to play, making the arcade a social hub, as well as a gaming hub. By making buying the game only worth 10 plays, the
  • by indytx (825419) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:55AM (#30680894)

    This would be awesome, clutter-reducing, wife-inspring news if Microsoft would support blu-ray on the Xbox. Then, we could get rid of both our POS cable box AND move our blu-ray player to another room AND (this next part is the holy grail of my house) have a good excuse to connect a console to our big flat screen in the living room. Woo-hoo!!! "Just ONE box connected to the TV, Honey!!!" . . . . "Yes, I KNOW it's a game console, but JUST ONE BOX!!!"

    Eventually the "just one box" mantra would win out. F*** you, Microsoft, for not supporting blu-ray.

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      You do understand it would require physical changes to your 360? It's not possible just with software update.

      But that's a perfect opportunity to get a PS3 on the side.

    • I know you're joking, but you can stream 1080p movies into XBox 360 with Zune Marketplace. I'm not big on having physical copies of movies (with a tiny handful of exceptions), so 1080p streaming to my 360 pretty much negates any need for me to get a blu-ray player.

  • Xbla games (by and large) qualify as shovelware. this venture i see as no different... it'll just be byte-sized shovelware.
  • I thought buying consoles was the equivalent to drop a bunch of quarters in an arcade machine! Not buying consoles AND pay to play
  • Will you still need to pay att $7/M to use the xbox + $50 a year for live as well? and likey you will still need to have 1 att DVR box as well and it's to bad that all xbox360 don't have HDMI.

    • Old, old, ass ones don't necessarily have an HDMI port, but there's an adapter you can buy to have an HDMI output from it. All XBoxes manufactured since 2007 have normal HDMI.
  • If they would integrate with the DVR capability of Windows Media Center well, I would consider paying paying for cable (although the $50 a month is still tough). Honestly Media Center with Over the Air broadcasts, 4 tuners, and 3 extenders is the only Microsoft product I have liked in a long time (and saved me tons of money not paying for cable). The first content provider that integrates into this system well with a decent pricing model (pay per channel is the best!) will win my business. Getting raped b
  • by Tom (822) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @10:35AM (#30682148) Homepage Journal

    Ok, I know, everyone and his dog is inventing his own "virtual currency" and all that.

    But... "microsoft points"? Did that win the Bad Taste Awards or why was it chosen? It's got the sex appeal of Steve Ballmer.

    • by formfeed (703859)
      But this way they will also be able to use it for other things than gaming:
      Customer credits, "rebates", prize money,..
  • For those of us who aren't American, can someone please translate "Holiday Season" ?

    Christmas ? Easter ? Spring break ? Summer ?

    Thanks!

    • by formfeed (703859)
      "Holiday season" is the pc term that refers to the time around the winter equinox when Jesus [our savior | the [false] prophet] was [not] born.
  • I look forward to the announcement of Chip's Challenge being available for purchase in XBox 360's game area!

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