Welcome to an especially swampy installment of the News Blips. My air conditioner broke, so the act of writing is physically demanding enough to cause my eyeballs to sweat out.
Microsoft reportedly plans to begin selling a $99 version of the Xbox 360 that comes with a two-year contract. Tech site The Verge has rustled up a rumor that suggests the software giant will subsidize the cost of a 4GB Xbox and Kinect bundle when customers agree to pay $15 per month over two years. The subscription fee will provide the user access to Xbox Live Gold and possibly some sort of streaming television package. Any way for a video-game company to be more like my cell-service provider is great news to me.
Sony is looking into bundling PlayStation Plus with Call of Duty Elite and full Blu-Ray games. The Japanese conglomerate recently issued a survey to some of its customers to gauge the interest in expanding the service. The inquiry presented a number of options that would add to or remix what the subscription plan has provided so far. For example, one option for $59.99 annually would provide 10 "full Blu-Ray games" and a 50 percent discount on 10 pre-selected titles and DLC. This is just part of a feeling-out process and doesn't confirm any changes, but it at least shows what features Sony is taking under consideration. [IGN]
EA is pulling the plug on Rock Band for iOS at the end of May. Users may have paid $4.99 for the license to the rhythm game, but that privilege is being revoked. An in-game message reads: “On May 31, Rock Band will no longer be playable on your device. Thanks for rocking out with us!” The publisher isn’t saying what has prompted this decision. While blocking access to something that a customer paid for is worthy of the “Worst company in America” title, the greatest crime is that this app is still purchasable in the iTunes App Store without a warning about its time-limited fate. This feels like an evil move, but maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. Until EA starts communicating with its consumers, everyone affected will continue to assume the worst about it. [Consumerist]
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