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Introducing 'Xbox Live Season of Savings'
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 16, 2009   |   Episode 47 (Show Archive)  

   

With some digging we were able to uncover this unused advertisement!
The economy has hit tough times and people all over the country are losing their jobs. Families of all walks of life are saving more, spending less and fretting over what has become the worst economic crisis since the great depression. In other words, we're screwed. Even the video game industry, which was considered by many to be "recession-proof", has had to deal with the economic woes. Companies like Electronic Arts, Sega, and Microsoft have all suffered through layoffs, while a company like Free Radical closed their doors altogether. Times are bad, and they see to only be getting worse.


If Microsoft and EA are laying people off, then there's something wrong with the economy!
And that's why I'm so excited about Microsoft's new Xbox Live promotion, Xbox Live Season of Savings. Microsoft knows that you shouldn't be spending your money on Microsoft Points, so the company has decided to offer absolutely nothing of any interest at all. That's right; week after week Microsoft is giving us titles we could care less about, simply so that we won't have to dole out the bucks for Microsoft's fake money. It's really a courteous thing to do, and as far as I'm concerned Microsoft should be commended. So thank you Microsoft, last month alone you saved me over $50. That was enough to keep my phone turned on; I couldn't have done it without you.

Unfortunately I'm late to game when it comes to reporting on Microsoft's brand new Xbox Live Promotion. It turns out that Microsoft has had

Cleaning this dirty room would be more fun than playing Interpol!
this promotion going for several months now, but for whatever reason they've kept it under wraps. Their January line-up included such classics as Fun Town Mahjong and Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos. Interpol? Seriously? Who knew that the proper way to start out the new year was to bring back the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego-style of graphic adventure. And let's not forget that just two days ago Microsoft uploaded the dismal 3 on 3 NHL Arcade, perhaps the worst sports game since Cyber Tiger.

Thankfully we have some great Arcade games to look forward to, right? Oh how wrong you are. The truth is the Xbox Live Arcade upcoming line-up is

You can make it 3D, you can add new art direction, you can even make it faster ... but it won't change the fact that Lode Runner sucks!
incredibly weak. In fact, the Arcade line-up is so weak that Microsoft's biggest title is a remake of Lode Runner. That's right, Lode Runner, the semi-fun action game where you dig holes and trap people. It's the update nobody has been waiting for, yet Microsoft seems to think this is going to be the next big thing. At the moment there is no firm release date for this new Lode Runner, but it would fit in perfectly with the rest of the games in the Xbox Live Season of Savings.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there haven't been any good games released during the Xbox Live Season of Savings. There have been some, including last week's stunning R-Type remake. Now this is the way you remake a classic 2D shooter, I love the way it plays and how easy it is to switch between the new graphics and the classic look. However, the instant you see that $15 price tag your heart skips a beat and you remember how frustratingly difficult that game was. Maybe it's not worth your money after all. Good job Microsoft, your Season of Savings has done its job. It's saved another Xbox 360 owner a few dollars that he can put in the bank, or spend on food or use to download pornography. Your program is clearly working.

And did you know that Microsoft is also having a special Xbox 360 promotion, too? That's right, they are currently running the Xbox 360: Games You Can Do Without campaign, targeting 18 - 34 year old males looking to save some money for rent or the heating bill. Although the money saving campaign is fairly new, Microsoft has already released a list of games taking part. A partial list includes such heavy hitters as X-Blades, Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, MLB Front Office Manager, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand and Microsoft's own Halo Wars.

When we did some digging into the origins of these two Xbox promotions we were stunned to learn that Microsoft was stealing the strategy Nintendo has been using for almost a year now. According to Nintendo's PR director, the company is currently using their "Wii: Now You're Able to Pay Rent" ad

Seriously, who buys this crap?
campaign. Their plan is to not release any more compelling software for the Wii so that people won't feel that need to buy new software. Nintendo is hoping that the money the Wii owners save on not buying games will go towards rebuilding their life. So far the strategy has paid off; Nintendo had their best year ever last year, despite not releasing even one compelling piece of software after April. With nothing on the horizon, it looks like Nintendo is going to stick with what is working for them.

Sony on the other hand is going about it all wrong. Currently they are busy releasing software that people might actually want, including the brilliant PSN title, Flower. Even the PSP is getting some love, what with the release of LocoRoco 2, the much-improved sequel to one of 2006's most intriguing games. It's clear that Sony wants you to spend money, which is probably why the company is having such a hard time selling PlayStation 3 units. Sony needs to get on board or else, it's clear that consumers have bought into Nintendo and Microsoft's promotions. People like it when companies only release terrible games; it saves them money that could go towards something more important. So thank you Nintendo and Microsoft, the two of you are definitely doing your part to save us from slipping into a depression.
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