By Benedict Wee
Those of you who've signed up for the Xbox LIVE Update Preview can download the beta update by turing your 360 on and connecting it to the internet.
The update brings the following changes and new features :
Honoring those who have subscribed to the Xbox Live Gold memberships by inserting the number of years (on the top right corner of their gamertag) they have been paying for the privilege to play with other people online.
Tallying up the total amount of achievements and gamer points you gotten across the games you've played (possibly in attempts to shame you for not being hardcore enough).
There will be a 5-star rating system for game content in the Marketplace so you can judge if the money you spent was worth it.
There will be no new additions of titles from the previous generation's Xbox games. The current ones available will be grouped under the Games on Demand tab which will include the option of downloading full Xbox 360 games when the update is officially launched on the 11th of August.
More MS Points (read: money) for you to spend on dressing up your Avatar in clothes and ridiculous props in the brand new Avatar Marketplace.
Xbox Live Community Games -a platform for small/amateur game developers to showcase and sell their games- will now be known as Indie Games with prices as low as 80 MS Points.
Be warned though, this update is in its beta stage so there are a lot of bugs that might irritate you. I've gotten trapped in some tabs as they've refused to move despite the screen acknowledging that I've press the buttons on the controller. Also, I can't get into some parts of the dashboard like downloadable content for music games.
Also released today for the 360 is arcade favorite: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 which goes for 1200 MS Points. This marks the last game of the Marvel vs. series and the developers made sure it went out with a bang. If you're a big fan of 2D fighting games then this is one I highly recommend.
That is if you're over 18. If not then sorry kid, them the brakes. As we've seen on Fair Go today, Microsoft has decided to bar downloading of any kind on the Xbox 360 in New Zealand to those 18 and under. Yet it still allows them to purchase MS Points which makes no sense. Kotaku.au has also reported on this matter and they've been trying to pursue it but all they've gotten is scant information.
It's not only mature content by the way, it's everything on Xbox Live. We are the ONLY people in the world that has gotten this strange and highly ageist lock-out. Microsoft won't even say if this a government initiative or if this is temporary. It's really sad that they won't come clean with a proper explanation on why a 17 year old can't download an Ice Age 3 game demo. Do they want to encourage teens to create fake accounts and lie about their age?
I smell 'Nanny State' politics in the air. There is no excuse to why Microsoft should carry out this ban. The Xbox 360 already comes with parental controls which are more than enough to prevent undesirable content reaching children.
P.S. I don't recommend you take Fair Go's advice and purchase a Playstation (3 was what they meant I think), it's more expensive and they play similar games.