Comcast’s Xfinity Service Conveniently Has No Bandwidth Cap

Comcast’s new Xbox 360 app, Xfinity TV, has raised some questions about their practice of managing network traffic.  Usage of this service does not count towards a customer’s broadband cap, and the service is provided from a separate “lane” of broadband on the Comcast network.  The way Comcast is managing network traffic has caused some critics to question if what they are doing is a violation of FCC regulations.

FCC regulations prohibit an ISP from “prioritizing” certain kinds of traffic over others on a public network.   Comcast claims the Xfinity service uses a “separate but equal” lane of traffic.  Even if this is true, it still seems unfair that customers using other video on demand services such as Netflix or Hulu will gobble up their bandwidth caps, while users of Xfinity TV get a free pass.

Source:  Ars Technica

Microsoft Offering $99 Xbox 360 Bundle… With A 2-Year Contract

Microsoft will soon be offing the Xbox 360 the same way cellular carriers offer you those snazzy new smartphones.  $99 and a 2-year contract for $15 a month will snag you a 4GB Xbox 360, a Kinect sensor, and 2 years of Xbox Live Gold service.  So just like a cell contract, you will get hit with an early termination fee if you bail out of the contract.

This is an interesting new way to sell a game console, and if it catches on it could change the way people buy game consoles in the future.  Microsoft is hoping to compete with video streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV by making the hardware more affordable and locking people into more profitable service contracts.  This contract also offers a savings of about $40 over two years compared to purchasing the hardware and subscribing to Xbox Live up front.


Console Manufacturer’s Greed May Destroy Next Gen Gaming

The current generation of console gaming systems have introduced many new elements of gaming that only seem to exist to put bigger dents into the pockets of gamers.  MSRP game prices rose to a new standard of $60, Microsoft made online gaming a paid service, greedy publishers used DLC as a means to nickel and dime gamers for content that should arguable be part of the full game, rushed games fly out the door with severe bugs still in the code… I could go on forever with this list.  If console manufactures get their way things could be even worse when you buy your next console.

There are rumors floating around that gaming giants Sony and Microsoft are flirting with the idea of requiring an “always on” internet connection to protect games from piracy, meaning that every time your shitty ISP has a service outage, no gaming for you.  Sony is looking to tie the games you purchase with your PSN account, making it impossible to sell your used games to retailers such as Gamestop, and preventing game rentals.  Nintendo still seems to be struggling to bring gamers decent hardware, as the specs for the “Wii U” are still not even on the same level as the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3.

Will gamers actually behave like real consumers and reject this sort of consumer abuse, or are they going to let the console industry walk all over them again and keep handing them money without question?  This generation of consoles showed me that gamers can be awful consumers.  No one complains when a firmware update for a console forces you to sign a mandatory EULA that takes away your right to sue a console manufacturer for letting hackers have your personal information, but if someone doesn’t like the ending to a game there is a media-fueled shit storm.  It’s time for gamers to man up, get some priorities straightened out, and stand up to real consumer abuse by console manufacturers and game publishers.


Criminals Can Steal Your Credit Card Numbers from Your Old Xbox

Have you ever sold your old Xbox 360 console, or even just the hard drive?  If so, you should keep a close eye on your bills and credit reports, because it turns out hackers can snag the credit card numbers you used to buy those cute little avatar outfits.  Researchers at Drexel University have found that even after a factory reset, your personal information remains on the drive, waiting to be taken by hackers using common tools.

The sad fact is Microsoft is very good at protecting important data, that is, as long as they own it.  It would seem this generation of home video game consoles just can’t resist “leaving the keys in the lock” on your personal data, as demonstrated by last year’s hack of Sony’s PSN.  The worst part is, if you want to sell or give away your Xbox hard drive, you have to rig it to a computer, then use a utility designed to wipe the data from hard drives in order to destroy your personal information on the drive.  On the bright side, however, Xbox fanboys have officially lost bragging rights about security after the PSN scandal.


Apparently Anything Diablo 3 is News Now

Not anything as exciting as a release date of Diablo 3(May 15th if you missed it), as much as an analyst saying that they expect the game to sell over 5 million copies the first year that it is out.  While this isn’t really news as much as it is some random guy guessing and throwing numbers out there in an attempt not to sound wrong, it does kind of seem low.  Oddly the man making these less than bold claims also starts saying random things about the next MMO, that World of Warcraft will probably see a bump from some promotions, and stops short of claiming we should kill a loved one so Blizzard notices us.

I wonder if this is also the same analyst that said that Modern Warfare would sell 6 million units day one (it would later sell 3.6 Million units); because that number seems kind of low and this could be attempt to not claim “100000 billion units in three hours!” that most people in this line of work normally claim which is almost refreshing. What is really interesting to me is that people still report these things like they are facts.  On the day that the release date is announced I guess that it might get a couple more hits to your site to mention Diablo (I am clearly guilty of that action at this moment), but don’t believe this guy, or any other person claiming to know the future sales of anything.