Scams + crazy MPs = a mixed week for gamers

Microsoft Xbox
Microsoft is releasing an Xbox Dashboard update at the beginning of December

This week's been a bit of a rollercoaster for fans of electronic entertainment: we've had good news, bad news, big news and mad news.

Good news first: Microsoft's Xbox dashboard makeover is happening on 6 December, bringing a dash of Metro goodness to the ageing Xbox UI. It's an evolution of the existing interface and brings closer Kinect integration.

Did someone say Kinect? It's getting an upgrade too: the forthcoming Kinect for PC hardware will have a "near mode", enabling you to use Kinect without having to stand four miles away from the sensor. Hopefully the same thing will come to the console, because quite frankly we're tired of having to stand in the street to play Dance Central 2.

This week wasn't all sunshine, flowers and waving at televisions for Microsoft, though: many users have found their credit cards charged for things they didn't buy, notably EA Sports Ultimate Team Packs

The story reached the tabloids, giving Microsoft a PR nightmare, but so far it seems as if the problem is due to external phishing scammers rather than any kind of security breach: as Chris Smith explains:

"It is thought that the phishing scam could have arisen from unauthorised websites promising gamers free Microsoft Points if they first hand over their details. However, affected gamers are claiming to have no knowledge of falling for these - rather obvious - scams." This story, we suspect, isn't over yet.

One story that, thankfully, does appear to be over is the 2011 edition of Silly Man Wants Thing Banned. This year's silly man - not for the first time - is MP Keith Vaz, who filed an early day motion in Parliament condemning Modern Warfare 3 for, y'know, being horrible and bad and stuff.

Hurrah, then, for MP Tom Watson, who delivered a virtual teabagging by adding an amendment praising the game and arguing that "adults should be free to choose their own entertainment in the absence of legal issues or material which raises a risk or harm".

That 3D helmet thing

Remember virtual reality, which led to such great films as The Lawnmower Man? It's back in the form of Sony's HMZ-T1, a 3D headset that will lighten your wallet by an impressive eight hundred quid.

We thought it was "amazing", but it was also "tiring to wear, not for claustrophobics" and "an expensive indulgence." It isn't wireless, doesn't work with batteries and "we also found ourselves becoming slightly paranoid the longer we wore them." Week in Tech reckons Sony probably won't put that last bit in its adverts.

On the subject of adverts, what's ad-funded music service Spotify up to? The service has 2.5 million subscribers - impressive, when you consider that it only hit its first million back in March - and is hosting a global press conference where it will unveil "a new direction".

We suspect that "new direction" means "iPad app" or "movies too" rather than "from now on we're only doing skiffle and German techno".

Last but not least, the news that The Social Network and West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin was considering writing a film about Steve Jobs caused much amusement, especially on Twitter and Facebook.

We're not sure Transformers director Michael Bay is the best man for the job, but we agree with @flashboy that "Jason Statham would make an excellent Jony Ive". Our columnist @garymarshall's reckons that the Steve Jobs movie should be helmed by videogame-movie-crapfest-creator Uwe Boll.

It wouldn't make a lot of sense or be particularly well acted, we know, but the fight scenes would be awesome.


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