Conan O'Brien's deal with TBS may have thrown every TV pundit and pontificator for a loop, but here's one that will make your head spin clear around your neck. (WARNING: TV Squad and its parent companies will not be held responsible for any head and/or neck trauma that may occur while reading this article).
While everyone thought Conan would simply jump to Fox because it was the last remaining network without a strong late night slot, Coco and company were being courted by all sorts of networks and media outlets, including ... Microsoft???
That's right, the technology giant had been talking to Conan about a deal that would have brought his nightly talk show to their XBox Live service.
The problem is video game developers pick TV shows that should never even become a travel sized board game. Developers have given the greenlight to games based on shows like American Idol, Desperate Housewives and even ... Grey's Anatomy?!? I hope that last one was a first-person shooter.
There are far better shows that offer far more entertaining elements for a kick-ass video game. These are the shows that should be next in line for a pixelated re-treatment.
I know, you probably can't remember a Thanksgiving commercial to save your life. There have been a ton of them over the years, but 99.9% of them have to do with department store sales ("Before Thanksgiving Sale!" and "After Thanksgiving Sale!" with a "Thanksgiving Sale!" thrown in for good measure) and they all seem to blend into each other after a while. But there are have been a few over the years that are worth looking at again, and after the jump we'll take a look at them.
Netflix currently lets users stream selected content using a web browser or a dedicated set top box developed by Roku. You won't need to pay any additional fees to watch Netflix videos. But you will need a Netflix subscription. Microsoft says the Xbox 360 will be the only video game console to support Netflix videos, but I wouldn't be surprised if what Microsoft is really saying is that the Xbox 360 will be the first video game console with Netflix support.
Microsoft has also announced that customers will be able to purchase and download videos from NBC and Universal. Titles will include Battlestar Galactica, The Office, Monk, The Mummy, and the Bourne Supremacy. The videos will be available in high definition. Microsoft says there are now over 10,000 movies and TV shows available through the Xbox Live marketplace.
Xay de Matos from Fanboy speculates that the reason behind ditching the tracks is that they were never intended for Rock Band. Rather, they were intended for Guitar Hero (specifically Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock), the video game an entire episode in Season 11 is dedicated to. Apparently, the people in marketing didn't know the difference.
I don't understand the logic behind this decision. It's an excellent promotional possibility, so why wouldn't the makers of these video games be all over this like a fly on rotting food?
The final specs for the DVD set haven't been released, so it's possible some extra goodies will still be on it (Trey and Matt have historically at least done mini-commentaries for every episode). It's a case of wait and see.
It looks like some extra goodies are being included with the South Park Season 11 DVD set. Not only do you get great episodes such as "Cartman Sucks", "More Crap" and the immortal "Imaginationland" story arc (I pray the season DVD includes the full commentary of the "Imaginationland" one), but the DVD also includes a 3-song download for the XBox version of the video game Rock Band.
This marketing move makes sense on a couple of levels. First, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are big gamers so they probably got some cool stuff that other gamers only wish they had access to. They even confess their hobby on one of their DVD mini-commentaries. Second, the season includes the episode "Guitar Queer-o", which uses the predecessor game Guitar Hero as central to the plot.
Okay, I think I have reached my sarcasm quota of the day, so let's get serious here. Dexter is a fantastic show and I have watched it faithfully through its run so far. However much I enjoy it, I cannot imagine it becoming a video game, let alone playing it. The show is built around blood, self-tortured deception, and internal monologue.
This move is yet another step in putting a ubiquitous entertainment console in the living room. Not that this is a bad thing. Some of the content will be available in HD, despite the fact that Microsoft is not offering HD-DVD in the console. Maybe they're going Blu-ray?
Last year, a group of XBMC developers started working on a Linux port. And now one XBMC community member has begun creating a Mac port as a replacement for Apple's Front Row software. The software's not exactly stable just yet, and there's a good chance that if you try running it nothing will happen. But if you've got some programming chops, you could pitch in and help develop the Mac port. If not, you might just want to keep an eye on the project so you can try it out when a workable version is released.
Joshua Gomez, Morgan on the NBC action-comedy Chuck, loves his video games. And, when I say 'loves' I really mean 'LOVES'. He's a man who can spout philosophically about the difference between Halo and Halo 2, and can spend 12 straight hours on the couch playing Xbox. Now, that's dedication! Especially since he never mentions anything about bathroom breaks.
So, being cast as a die hard gaming wonk on Chuck was probably the best thing that could have happened to him. That, and he was able to find a kindred gaming spirit in the show's star, Zach Levi. In an article at the gaming website Kotaku, Gomez talks about the game references that are liberally sprinkled throughout an episode. He mentions that many of those references are ad-libbed because the writers aren't actually gamers, themselves.
I have to admit that I don't own a gaming console of any kind, mostly because I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to tear myself away from it. This sort of merger of video-on-demand and games-on-demand with a gaming console would no doubt make it harder.
Sony has already announced plant to launch a TV-tuner add-on for the PS3 that will turn the system into a PVR complete with a hard drive, electronic program guide, and the ability to watch and record live TV. Now it looks like there's talk that Microsoft may issue an updated version of the Xbox 360 with an HDTV tuner as well.
The new unit would reportedly have an HD-DVD drive built in. Right now you need to buy an external device if you want to use your Xbox 360 to watch HD-DVD movies. Sony's PS3 has an internal Blu-Ray drive, which is one of the reasons the video game system launched at a significantly higher price than the Xbox 360 (or any other video game console in history). But with the cost of next generation DVD players coming down, it's getting cheaper to build HD video support directly into a gaming console.
Maybe one day we'll stop calling them game consoles and begin referring to them as entertainment systems. Even though I don't play games very often, for the right price, I'd be willing to buy a single box that can watch and record TV, play music, movies, internet video, and video games.
So, back in May I told you about a limited number of Simpsons-style XBoxes being given away at promotional events in anticipation of the upcoming movie. If you weren't lucky enough to snag one of the yellow consoles with Homer's visage at one of these events, you can try bidding on one that recently popped up on eBay. Just bring a lot of cash, 'cause the bidding, as I type this sentence, is at $1,900.
You'll still need a PC to download movies. But if your Xbox 360 is plugged into your home network, CinemaNow's Media Manager software will recognize it. That means while the movie will still be sitting on your PC, you can stream it over your network to your Xbox for viewing on your television set.
Nothing too revolutionary there, except that CinemaNow has a library of over 7,000 videos, some of which you will not be able to access from the Xbox Marketplace.
The Xbox Media Center can play music, videos, and pictures from the original Xbox console's hard drive, DVD drive, a USB flash drive, your home network, or the internet. But when it comes right down to it, the media center's just too cool and useful to be confined to a single hardware platform, so a group of the developers are busy porting it to run on any Linux machine. And they're asking for help.
If you have experience programming with C/C++ and have time to volunteer, you can contact the developers directly.
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