The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: New Changes to Xbox LIVE, EA's Big Announcements, Call of Duty MMO?, and More!

The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: New Changes to Xbox LIVE, EA's Big Announcements, Call of Duty MMO?, and More!


The Week in Review news piece summarizes and highlights the most important gaming related news and rumors over the past week. This weekly article will keep you plugged in and in-tune.

Ars Technica got the week started off when they broke the news that, in a meeting with Microsoft’s Scott Austin, the archaic Microsoft Points value system was to be replaced standard pricing according to the region or country’s local currency. Unfortunately, the next day it became apparent that this change was likely only going to take place for the new Games On Demand service soon to roll out.

However, it was also correctly revealed that user ratings will soon be implemented on Xbox LIVE to help gamers sift through the ever-increasing amount of content. Austin stated, “One thing that customers have been asking for is more information about games, especially for community games or game add-ons that don’t get a lot of coverage or reviews, so we’re introducing user ratings.” The rating system will be based off the five star system; such as the one we use here at Cheat Code Central.

Additionally, Avatars will also be getting more support in the future. While buying clothing and accessories in order to play dolly is not high on my list of priorities, the ability to unlock such goods by beating games is something I’ve wanted to see since Avatars were announced. It now appears that such rewards will be implemented on top of Achievements.

Finally, Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio 3.1 was officially released on Thursday with a host of upgrades that members of the design community have been hollering for. Changes include Avatar and LIVE Party support, enhanced audio and video playback, and a much-needed name change. That’s right; Xbox LIVE Community Games will be changed out for Xbox LIVE Indie Games in late July in order to better reflect the kind of content provided by the service.

EA also made three rather important announcements this week. For starters, The Sims 3 is off to a wicked start – as if that’s surprising. More than 1.4 million units of The Sims 3 were sold during the game’s first week at retail. Additionally, more than seven million downloads of player created content went down. What’s more, The Sims 3 also holds the number one downloaded app position in the Apple App Store since its launch.

Next, we found out that yet another Need For Speed title is currently in development. EA COO John Pleasants mentioned during the William Blair Growth Stock Conference that Criterion Games, best known for their outstanding work on Burnout Paradise, is currently developing an unannounced Need For Speed title.

Lastly from EA, in addition to Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Battlefield Heroes, and Battlefield 1943, fans of the Battlefield franchise will be rewarded with a true successor to the mainline series. EA COO John Pleasants confirmed the development of the game back on Wednesday.

This week’s gaming whopper came on Friday, when it was posited by Destructoid that Activision could be contemplating a premium fee model for the multiplayer side of their Call of Duty franchise. According to a dubious survey “making the rounds,” the Call of Duty franchise could in fact be looking at a pay to play model in the vein of MMORPGs.

Apparently, “Activision is considering creating an online service that would bring timed exclusive content, as well as premium extras, to the multiplayer side of the Call of Duty franchise.” Whether this will come in the form of a monthly fee, a one-time premium purchase, a completely separate IP, or if it will ever drop at all is still a matter of speculation.

Thanks so much everyone and we will see you next week!

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