games / Columns

Living LIVE News Report 04.02.12

April 2, 2012 | Posted by Trace Aber


Mass Effect 3 had the best graphics, but I still think Mass Effect 1 had the best gameplay. One thing, other than the ending, I disliked about ME3 was the armor…you didn’t seem to be able to get BETTER armor, just different armor. If it was better in one way than the standard armor, it would be worse in another way. I suppose it was a mini-strategy game to outfit your player? Some of us just like to upgrade.
Posted By: Guest#2723 (Guest) on March 26, 2012 at 03:45 AM

I noticed the lack of truly upgraded armor as well. I understand what they were going for, but I found it to be a bit disappointing that none of the armor I purchased/found had a practical use for my Shepard.

I mean, for EA shutting down those servers, it’s probably due to lack of gameplay on them anyway so it’s just a waste.
Posted By: goodolsscutup (Guest) on March 26, 2012 at 08:14 AM

Agreed, but I believe the only reasons these servers are shut down are due to EA’s demands of hosting online games on their own servers and not Microsoft’s. Perhaps they should hand over server rights or something when they need to get rid of them. I don’t think this batch of games will bother too many people, but as more servers requiring online passes are shut down the more upset customers will become.

Welcome everyone to another issue of the Living LIVE News Report, and as always, I’m your host for the evening, Trace Aber.

Selling Your 360 Could Lead to Identity Theft
While the next console generation may have absolutely no use for used gaming, the market still exists today, and some people go as far as to sell the consoles themselves in hopes of trading in for a new version or even the competition. While this is a common practice, a study from Drexel University suggests it may end up costing you in the long run.

The study indicates that even if you reformat your Xbox’s hard drive, hackers could still use some very common tools to dig up that old data and find sensitive information like your credit card number and address. After purchasing a refurbished Xbox 360 last year, the team of researchers used a simple modding tool to gain access to the system’s files, and eventually find the previous owner’s credit card information. To make matters worse, the team isn’t comprised of gamers, meaning it would be even easier for seasoned hackers;

“A lot of them already know how to do all this,” warned researcher Ashley Podhradsky . “Anyone can freely download a lot of this software, essentially pick up a discarded game console, and have someone’s identity.”

Microsoft has released an official statement, claiming they are investigating the situation;

We are conducting a thorough investigation into the researchers’ claims. We have requested information that will allow us to investigate the console in question and have still not received the information needed to replicate the researchers’ claims.

Xbox is not designed to store credit card data locally on the console, and as such seems unlikely credit card data was recovered by the method described. Additionally, when Microsoft refurbishes used consoles we have processes in place to wipe the local hard drives of any other user data. We can assure Xbox owners we take the privacy and security of their personal data very seriously.

While it may be a while before we hear anything final on this issue, Podhradsky does have some advice for those looking to sell their old consoles. You should take the hard drive and connect it with your computer, then use a sanitation program like Darik’s Boot and Nuke. That should completely wipe the hard drive clean, though Podhradsky does mention that Microsoft is demonstrating a pattern;

“I think Microsoft has a longstanding pattern of this. When you go and reformat your computer, like a Windows system, it tells you that all of your data will be erased. In actuality that’s not accurate—the data is still available… so when Microsoft tells you that you’re resetting something, it’s not accurate.”

I can see either side being right, to be honest. There are some very powerful modding tools out there and it is feasible to think that if you dig deep enough you can pretty much find anything you want. If that’s the case, Microsoft really needs to step up their customer privacy game, though I’m sure most already think this. On the flip side, it does seem like the credit card information is stored online, not the system itself. Or maybe Microsoft is keeping your personal information on the hard drive as a way to prevent used console sales.

Maybe the Xbox Truly is a Home Entertainment Machine
Microsoft has spent the last couple of years shouting to anyone that will listen that the Xbox 360 is the home entertainment center, putting everything you need in one convenient box. You can watch cable TV, movies, HBO, listen to music, and play video games all from one tiny box. But to us gamers, the 360 has always been about the games and everything else is just distractions, right? Oh, no, that’s totally wrong? Damn.

According to Microsoft, the percentage of time people spend on their Xbox is now predominantly spent streaming video or music and not playing online games. The average user spends about 84 hours a month on their 360, with about 45 hours of that spent streaming content. Of course, TV use in homes is still around 150 hours per month, meaning the 360 has a long way before truly replacing, but it does seem to be a growing alternative. So much, in fact, that Xbox live use has increased 30% from last year.

Just last week Microsoft released apps for HBO Go,, and Comcast’s Xfinity TV on-demand service, so one would expect that these numbers would only grow. But what does this say about the supposed “hardcore gamer?” Are they becoming a minority in their own playground, or are they all just playing offline games? I think we can partially blame the Kinect for this rise as well, as it did become the “must have” accessory for a while, introducing the Xbox brand to thousands of new families across the world.

Is it possible that this trend continues into the next console generation and set-top boxes, DVD/Blu-Ray players, and everything else gets replaced by a video game console? It seems unlikely, but Microsoft seems hell bent on making sure every household has at least one console, and by the time the Durango arrives it may just achieve that.

Random News and Notes
-Still no word on when the latest Skyrim 1.5 patch will hit, though Bethesda reportedly sent it for certification nearly two weeks ago. Unfortunately, this seems to be a process that will never speed up, as PC users have had the update for nearly two months now.

-The highly-anticipated indie game Fez finally has a release date of April 13, 2012. The game has been in production for over four years and will set gamers back 800MP.

-While the Devil May Cry HD Collection is scheduled for an April 3 release, some GameStop stores have been selling them a few days early. Apparently the street data has been removed, but not every GameStop store has been doing it, making it all seem rather strange.

-Another month, another Forza 4 DLC pack. This month sees the release of Aplinestars Pack, which features ten cars and serves as the final DLC, set to release on April 3rd. The full list of cars is below:

• 2011 Aston Martin # 009 Aston Martin Racing AMR One
• 2011 Mercedes-Benz # 35 Black Falcon SLS AMG GT3
• 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
• 2011 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S
• 1972 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3
• 1985 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE
• 2012 Jaguar XKR-S
• 1997 Volvo 850 R
• 1995 BMW M5
• 2012 Scion tC

The Digital Downloads
Arcade Games
-Wrecked Revenge Revisited (1200MP)
-South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge (800MP) [Review Here]

Games on Demand
-Two Worlds II ($44.99)
-Fantastic Pets [Kinect] ($29.99)
-Gears of War 3 ($39.99)

The Theater
Max Payne 3 Multiplayer Gameplay

Asura’s Wrath – DLC Trailer

Kinect Star Wars Launch Trailer

Sniper Elite V2 Preview

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations

The Witcher – What is a Witcher?

411 on Twitter!

Signing Out
That does it for me this week. Be sure to check back next week as we discuss all of the latest Xbox 360 news, including releases, rumors and reviews! Also, don’t forget to bookmark 411Mania! And a note to all of the Indie Game developers out there – if you have an upcoming title that’s going to be released soon drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know. I’ll write a full review of your game to be posted on, which is a great way to get your game promoted!


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Trace Aber
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