The Future of Gaming, the Xbox

Computer gaming has really come a long way from past few years; we are light-years away from the ancient game consoles like the predecessors of handheld consoles with the first versions of Donkey Kong and Super Mario brothers. Gone are the days of the pixilated, two dimensional versions of Duke Nukem and Doom, they have now been replaced by updated versions with different game consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox 360, or Xbox Live offering fluid and flawless graphics with superb sound and solid game play.

The gaming industry has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy with annual earnings not going below 10 billion and increasing each year, this also brave rise to professional gaming with young players enjoying lucrative jobs where they can play and earn, all at the same time. Game and game console manufacturers also took advantage of the advances being made over the internet and conjured up ways to enable players all over the globe to connect and play with each other. The gaming scene today, one of the leading game console manufacturers is Microsoft, with its flagship console, the Xbox and its upgraded processor, the Xbox 360 complete with online capabilities through the Xbox, and the Xbox LIVE service.

This latest version of the Microsoft's game console is simply known as the Xbox 360 boasts a brand new appearance and an A-list motherboard called the Valhalla which allows 25 to 30 percent more space for other hardware, this is combined with the XCGPU, a first class micro processing unit that combines the Xenon Central Processing unit and Xenos Graphics processing unit, plus eDram all in one chip to create the most compact and efficient model of the game console yet. Other new features include: five standard USB ports plus a special port for the Xbox Kinect, touch sensor activated power buttons, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi for internet browsing capabilities and the free Xbox Live service, and a built in TOSLINK S / PDIF optical audio connector.

One feature of the Xbox 360 that sets it apart from other consoles and predecessor models is the ability to take advantage of a high speed Wi-Fi connection and connect to the free Xbox Live service that gives users access to online entertainment like; watching the latest movies through Netflix, following live sporting events and viewing TV shows on demand through ESPN for free Xbox Live, and listening to the top hits on the charts via Zune or Last.fm. The free Xbox Live membership enjoyed by the consoles' owners also permits them to use their Xbox 360 just like a normal PC with an internet connection, the free Xbox Live service covers Facebook, Twitter, and video Kinect, a new way to chat with and video call friends and family using the TV monitor and Kinect sensors that can recognize hand gestures. Leaving your home and your Xbox game console does not mean that you can not connect to the Xbox Live server, Microsoft already came up with the Windows phone that comes with its own free Xbox Live membership that lets its users stay in touch and in the game with all the features of Xbox Live for the Xbox 360 modified and fitted into the palm of your hand.

Of course, the most important feature of the free Xbox Live membership service for any gamer out there is the capability to enter the Xbox Live gaming server where a vast amount of downloadable games, game upgrades or add-ons, and demos are available and more than enough to fill any hardcore gamers' appetite. Friends and family can play cooperatively or compete with each other via a plethora of action packed, hard hitting games that require tactics, teamwork, and a steady hand, in a race to get to the top spot. To the more subdued gamer, there is also a wide array of other games to choose from, like puzzle games, sports, and music themed games.

These are some of the top Xbox 360 games as rated by the International Gaming Community

Halo: A series of sci-fi inspired first person shooter games set in the futuristic 26th century that places the player into the identity of a super soldier with cybernetic enhancements battling hordes of alien life forms and robotic enemies on an artificial planet called Halo.

Starwars: Knights of the Old Republic: A role-playing games based on George Lucas' extremely successful Starwars franchise where the player assumes the role of a former Sith lord who was betrayed by his apprentice and saved by a Jedi Knight. The story follows the main characters journey from his dark past to becoming a Jedi knight and choosing to end the Sith once and for all or take advantage of its dark and powerful potential to rule the Galaxy.

Ninja Gaiden: an action packed, third person view adventure game about a fallen ninja named Ryu Hayabusa, who was brought back to life by his clan's raven spirit to avenge the death of his clan and reclaim a legendary sword stolen by the murderers. The story is set in Japan in the fictional Vigoor Empire.

For the more "dedicated" gamer, which insatiable gaming appetite can not be satisfied by the free Xbox Live version, it can opt to avail of the Xbox Live Gold membership and gain access to perks like playing the full version of online games and connecting with friends , watching the latest live TV shows and HD movies instantly, listening to and downloading personalized playlists on Zune, and having unlimited connection to Video Kinect, Facebook, and Twitter. In a nutshell, the gold membership gives its holder more freedom to enjoy all the Xbox Live has to offer to the fullest.

For those looking for a cheaper way to gain the perks of a gold member, some sites offer Xbox live points that you can use to purchase games on the Xbox live website in exchange for participating in surveys. You just have to register a valid e-mail address and start answering those surveys.

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