Rumor Killers: September 9th, 2008

Is Microsoft Planning a "Launch Party" for the New Xbox Experience?

Yesterday, an interesting rumor emerged claiming that Microsoft was planning a huge launch party on September 25th to celebrate the release of the dashboard update. While it wouldn’t be odd for the company to hold some sort of event in order to drum up interest, the sheer magnitude of the event was going to be staggering.

According to the source, the company was teaming up with G4 to present a five-hour programming marathon, featuring a countdown and various product announcements along the way. Among these earth-shattering plans were going to be reveals for a partnership with Sirius satellite radio for service over Xbox Live, a new music store and, biggest of all, the announcement of twelve new Xbox 360 titles, coupled with the release of 6 free original Xbox games, among them the original Halo.

If you’re thinking this sounds too good to be true, you’re not alone. All of the features listed here were not even mentioned by Microsoft at the E3 dashboard reveal, and none of these features leaked at PAX either. Also, the fact that such a huge event was being planned and yet not a single promotion has been made on G4 (the studio that runs nonstop commercials about how you can watch Cops pretty much every hour of the day) seemed quite fishy. It turns out the whole thing is just a hoax.

Kotaku took it upon themselves to get a comment from G4, and according to the company, they have had absolutely no talks with Microsoft regarding such an event.While G4 reps couldn’t comment on what Microsoft may plan to do internally for the dashboard update, the station confirmed that there is no televised countdown and no major red carpet extravaganza. Looks like this is just a case of some over-eager fanboy using the Internet to spread his vision of a Utopian Xbox future. Well, we’re here to kill that Utopia and bring him back to harsh reality.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Killed

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Coming to PC?

While the reviews of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed haven’t exactly been overwhelmingly positive, that hasn’t stopped LucasArts from developing the game for every platform known to man, including both handhelds and the iPhone. Therefore, it’s easy to assume that the game would find a home on the PC, and that’s exactly what RockPaperShotgun did.

As it turns out though, the PC is the only platform The Force Unleashed won’t appear on, as LucasArts immediately issued a denial. The company’s statement in no unequivocal terms that there are "no plans" for a PC version seems to leave little room for doubt, so we’ll take them at their word.

It’s still odd that there isn’t going to be a PC version of the game, as it seems like such an endeavor wouldn’t exactly be difficult. Considering that the game has already been coded for all three consoles and that console to PC ports happen all the time, this shouldn’t be a big deal. I have to assume it probably took more re-engineering to make the game run on the iPhone than it would for PCs. Obviously, if the game sells exceptionally well, LucasArts will likely revisit this decision and quickly slap together a PC version, but as it stands now, the possibility of playing The Force Unleashed on your computer is as remote as George Lucas actually making a good Star Wars movie.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Killed

Editor’s Note: RockPaperShotgun has since updated their site to reflect the LucasArts response, but the original report can still be read there.

Intel Vying for a Spot in the Next Xbox?

While we don’t yet know when the next batch of consoles will be released, we do know that all three companies are already hard at work on the next-next generation, and as a result they’re in the market for parts. According to recent reports, Intel has been wooing Microsoft in order to get its Larrabee chipset into the new Xbox 720. The company is eager to get a console deal (they are also reportedly in talks with Sony) so they can compete with other major manufacturers and drum up interest in Intel-powered PCs amongst the gamer crowd.

At this point you might be shrugging your shoulders and saying, "So what?" The major issue that arises from this potential deal, as Joystiq points out, is that a new GPU could create major backwards compatibility issues. Just like all currently-manufactured PS3s can’t play PS2 games, the next-gen Xbox would likely be unable to support 360 games if such a major change occurs.

It’s still early enough in the console development cycle for all manner of companies to be pitching their products and placing bids to have their components included in a new system, so this by no means a done deal between Microsoft and Intel. The company may very well stick with ATI, who designed the 360’s GPU, or they might go off in a completely different direction altogether. For now we play the waiting game, but at least we know Intel has expressed an interest and Microsoft seems to be listening.

TGR Verdict: Possible

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