Microsoft Sues UK Game Controller Maker

Datel Xbox 360 Controller

Microsoft isn’t about to play dead and allow anyone to take over their turf, so to speak. The latest internet news sources are reporting that the computer giant is suing UK-based company, Datel Design and Development Limited. Microsoft claims that Datel, a well-known maker of video game accessories has copied their XBox 360 controllers without permission.

According to the suit which was filed in the Western District of Washington, Seattle, on Thursday, April 1, 2010, Microsoft claims that their patents for the controllers were infringed upon. Microsoft states that the Datel controllers made for the XBox, namely, the TurboFire and Wildfire were almost replicas of their own controllers. The controllers are sold for $30 and $50 respectively.

Various news networks are reporting that as many as six patents are involved. These are: D521,015, D522,011, D547,763, D581,422, D563,480, and D565,668. Microsoft is reportedly seeking civil damages, royalties and profits resulting from the sale of the the TurboFire and Wildfire controllers. They are also asking that an injunction be placed on any further sale of the video game controllers.

There have yet been no formal comments from Datel Design and Development Limited or its US unit regarding the patent infringement lawsuit to date.

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Lost Planet 2 Demo Available on the Playstation Network

If you enjoyed the original Lost Planet game now is your chance to try out the second iteration via the Playstation 3. Capcom recently released Lost Planet 2 with multiplayer capability so you can get your frag on. Unfortunately, the demo won’t be available publicly until April 22nd but you can get your hands on it early via several different methods including the official Lost Planet community website.

Additionally, Capcom is flexing its financial muscle by offering a challenge. If 1.5 million players download the upcoming demo they’ll donate $25k to charity with $20,000 being donated if it hits 1 million downloads. The charity of choice is Music for Relief which is currently raising money for Haiti… How nice! Although like always it is a move to get good will & gain a little green back.. However, downloading a game seems to be a small price to pay to help out a charity with that agenda.

If you don’t have the energy or time to hunt down an early access code then feel free to take a look at the multiplayer gameplay video:

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Is Project Natal A Step Into The Future Or A Bump In The Road?

Microsoft has been hyping up their newest creation, Project Natal, and it’s unveiling at E3 this year so hard that it’s knocking some people over. Between press releases and them “insisting” that you place their World Premiere for this new project on your calendar, it seems that we’re being bombarded with Natal. Now, I have to admit that I’m a lazy gamer, and the thought of having a hands-free system that will allow me to just move a little bit or twitch my hands (a.k.a. Johnny Neumonic style), does really intrigue me. I’m all for those sweet, high-tech gloves that Johnny Neumonic used in the movie to surf the web by simply opening up little boxes and so on. How sweet would that be? So will Project Natal really live up to the massive amount of hype being put you? Well, let’s hope so and let’s take a little bit better look at it.

First, let’s keep in mind that Microsoft first started banging on our gamer doors with Project Natal in 2009 at E3. Did it hit shelves and our grubby little gamer hands since then? No – much to my disappointment. But, those who tested it out were convinced that this was truly the future of gaming and more. Project Natal is a full body motion sensitive system used to control games on the Xbox, and is supposed to be set for Windows systems soon as well. Take a second for that to really sink in gamers… think about playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with this system. You get to really move, duck, shoot, run, sprint, you name it… through the game. What a workout! What a fun, kick-rear workout that would be! Or if CoD isn’t your bag, think about playing World of Warcraft with this system. You can really move your hands to craft your good, really swing that broadsword at that Worg’s head, really kick that annoying little murlock in the noggin when he calls his little magic wielding buddy over because he’s dying. Oh the thrills that this little system would really bring to our collective gamer hearts… *sigh* And, since this is a whole body system that takes every single movement you make and mirrors it on the screen… think of the fun victory dances you can do after that gruesome kill.

Ok, back to reality from that wonderful gamer fantasy.

I’ve read some of the critics comments. “Repetitive arm movements hurt”, “Even Wii motion controllers get tiresome sometimes”, and blah blah blah. In my opinion, these are either not hard core gamers or they have not tried this thing out to make up their minds. Being a hard core gamer myself, I have to admit that this system has me foaming at the mouth to get my hands on it, even if it makes me work a bit more in-game. Heck, I could stand to lose a few pounds – what gamer couldn’t?! I am sure that many, many hard core gamers around the world will agree and this system will sell out everywhere – when they release it that is. And, if Project Natal is going to be priced under $100, like some sources have leaked, man, I’ll be headed out asap to get one. I mean, heck the Wii Fit and other gadgets can cost twice that without being half way near as cool.

For those that were sitting in the wings wondering about what Microsoft had planned for this year at E3, well, Project Natal is it. If you are headed out to E3 2010, I would suggest you put this stop on your calendar as Microsoft will be holding their “world premiere” of Project Natal, and you don’t want to miss this “experience”.

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250GB Xbox 360 Hard Drive Released

Need a bigger hard drive for all of the DLC currently filling up space on your Xbox 360 HD? Microsoft finally has a solution for you! That is if you have the $129 in hard earned USD that it will take to get your hands on one. However, if you consider the 20GB hard drive is still hovering around $50 refurbished that price tag isn’t difficult to swallow.

The 250gb standalone drive includes a data transfer kit allowing you to transfer all of your precious saved data to the drive & comes loaded with an amazing array of junk such as HD game demos, videos and several Xbox LIVE arcade trials (which I’m sure most of you will remove right away). Although, if you read the official release info they tend to jazz that news up a bit more:

  • Highest hard drive capacity available: The Xbox 360 250GB hard drive is the largest hard drive available for Xbox 360.
  • Game downloads: Download game demos, Games on Demand, Xbox LIVE Arcade games, game add-ons and more from Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Keep all your game saves handy in one place with no worries about storage.
  • Videos: Download hundreds of movies in standard- and high-definition, as well as television shows, independent videos, game trailers, and lots more.
  • Other media: Rip CDs to the hard drive with reckless abandon and no concern for space constraints. Download music videos, gamer pics and dashboard themes, and store your own photos on the console.

The new standalone drive isn’t anything new to Japan. Fear not though, as of the 23rd it’s available from most of your favorite online retailers.

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Mass Effect 2 DLC : Firewalker and Kasumi

It seems Bioware is releasing a duo of DLC in the near future for its sci-fi RPG Mass Effect 2. The first pack “Firewalker” will be released on March 23rd. Firewalker introduces us to the Hammerhead hovercraft tank. You get to go across 5 additional levels in this beast describe as a“..heavy assault vehicle that hovers over the battlefield at up to 120 kilometers per hour and features a guided missile system ensuring accuracy even during aggressive maneuvering.” One thing to note for players who experienced vehicle combat in the first game in the Mako is that the new Hammerhead is a hovercraft. This was done in an effort to combat the strange glitching and hiccups on terrain that plagued the first game.

For those who bought the game new either on the Xbox 360 and PC, you’ll receive this for free over the Cerberus Network. If not you might have to dish out $15 bucks if you want to enjoy this great new future into an already incredible game.

Last but not least is the “Kasumi’s Stolen Memory” premium pack. It will cost 560 MicroSoft points for Xbox 360 ($7) or 560 Bioware points for the PC. The pack will contain an additional hour and a half of gameplay, a new squad member, a “Locust” SMG, and a flash-bang grenade you can toss around. The DLC revolves around Kasumi, a thief who’s loyalty you can gain by helping her go undercover against a corrupted art collector. While there is no concrete release date, expect it somewhere around early April. And yes, even Cerberus Network members will have to pay for this one.

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