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Official Xbox Magazine is a monthly video game magazine which started in November 2001 around the launch time of the original Xbox. A preview issue was released for E3 2001, with another preview issue for November 2001. The magazine is bundled with a disc that includes game demos, preview videos and trailers, and other content, such as game or Xbox updates and free gamerpics. For those without broadband and Xbox Live access, the discs also provide the software for the Xbox 360 for backward compatibility of original Xbox games.

The magazine features previews, reviews, and cheat codes for Xbox games. On November 22 2005 the Xbox 360 was released, and the magazine began including Xbox 360 game reviews, previews, and Xbox 360-compatible games on the demo disc. The Official Xbox Magazine reviews every Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade game, as well as downloadable content and expansion packs.

Contents

Staff

The current editor-in-chief is Francesca Reyes, while the UK version is edited by Jon Hicks. The US magazine's executive editor is Paul Curthoys and the senior editors are Dan Amrich, Ryan McCaffrey. Several subsidiary magazines of the UK version are published in other parts of the world, such as those to the rest of Europe, Australia, and Brazil. OXM is the sister magazine to PC Gamer, although OXM rates games out of 10.0 at 0.5 incremental points, compared to PC Gamer which rates games on out of 100% with 1% increments. OXM used to host several pages for a Review Roundup, which was a summary of all previous game scores, but due to the sheer number of games that have been reviewed since then, it is now included within every OXM demo disc, beginning with the August 2006 issue.

UK Edition

The UK edition was relaunched in September 2005 to pre-empt the launch of Xbox 360 in Europe. Its title was changed to Xbox 360: The Official Magazine. The original editor was Stephen Brown and the team consisted of Features Editor Gary Cutlack, Community Editor Ben Talbot, Reviews Editor Dan Griliopoulos, Operations Editor Vanessa Hards and Online Editor Graeme Boyd. The current team includes Editor Jon Hicks, Staff Writer Gillen McAllister, Online Editor Ryan King and Community Editor Ben Talbot.

Both the magazine and disc differ considerably from the US edition. The disc does not feature the game 'OXM Universe' but includes an interactive database of all reviews written after Issue 18.

Magazine Content

On the Disc
Every issue contains a demo disc with both Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade games. Each demo contains unlockable content like gamer pics and hidden demos. There is also a sim-like game called 'OXM Universe'. Gamers play the games on disc and view the videos on the disc to gain points, but only 800 points are needed for the unlockable content. The points have another use in which gamers use their points to research and build equipment for the in-game game 'OXM Universe'.
We Heart Xbox
In this section, new games which are not yet shown to the mainstream public or user-modified hardware such as consoles or faceplates are shown here.
Message Center
Besides showing readers' mail, the OXM crew reveals their 'Top 5' things on their mind at the moment. The 'Top 5' tradition was broke in Issue #85 of July, 2008, when the staff instead answered to the question "What's your worst habit - and do you even want to break it?"
Xbox Next
In this section, upcoming games are highlighted and previewed.
Features
In this section, games may get prolonged previews, or OXM may have an exclusive 6-10 page review for a certain game. There may also be special featured content like Issue #77's 'HDTV Buyer's Guide'.
Xbox Now
This is the section where every Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox Live Arcade game, and downloadable content is reviewed.
Xbox 365
This section contains Xbox business articles, gaming news, 'Hard Stuff' (a section that reviews contraptions related to an Xbox console), '2,000 Pennies or Less' (a section that shows the best cheap games that can be bought for either Xbox or Xbox 360), the codes of the month, 'Forza Showroom' (a brief column that shows some of the best Forza Motorsport 2 car designs that people have made), a section for versing the OXM crew in games like Lost Planet, Halo 3, Gears of War, and more, 'Media Ho!' (a section that talks about movies, books, and other items related to games), 'Live Space' (a section which shows gamers' Xbox Live gamertags, 'Ask Dr. Gamer' (a section in which gamers ask a Health doctor gaming related information), and 'The (insert something here) of Xbox' (a section that talks about business and other things of the Xbox gaming world. The column 'The Business of Xbox' was written by Geoff Keighley through the May 2007 issue, but the column is currently written, on a less frequent basis, by Chris Morris. As of Issue #71, the end page rotates columnists, with guests including game creators Tim Schafer, Denis Dyack, and Randy Pitchford.

Review system

Until issue #52, the Official Xbox Magazine (OXM) used a 100-point system, scoring games out of 10.0 with .1 increments. The games that received at least a 9.0 were given an Editor's Choice award. Beginning with issue #53 (Holiday 2005), the US OXM switched to a 20-point scoring system, scoring games out of 10.0 with increments of 0.5. The UK edition though switched to a 10-point scoring system, scoring games out of 10. This ratings scale is detailed on the introduction page to every issue's review section. A score of 10.0 is not considered perfect, but is called "Classic" and is considered to be "one of those rare and very best of games." OXM's review scale does include a score of 11.0 (termed "Mecha Godzilla's Choice") as "Perfect," however the description for that score is "The unicorn. Will never happen. Never."

Ten games have received a 10/10 score from OXM, but only BioShock has been given this score by both the US and UK editions. The six, 10/10 games from the US edition include: Fight Night Round 3, Gears of War, Fallout 3 , Halo 3, Call of Duty 4 and Mass Effect. Whereas the three, 10/10 games from the UK edition include: Grand Theft Auto IV, PGR4 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

OXM also has begun reviewing Xbox Live Downloadable Content (DLC), on a three-point scale: Buy, Fanboys Only, and Deny. The exception is The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles expansion pack in issue 70, which, due to the game's size, being "much more than a simple map pack" was reviewed on the normal 10-point scale, receiving an 8.5 (Great). (The game was later released as an expansion on DVD.)

Bonus materials

Some disks have come with additional material for Xbox games. Early issues' demo disk included a costume expansion to Dead or Alive 3. Some material seen only available for download on Xbox Live was included on demo disks.

Podcasts

Audio Podcast

KOXM is the weekly Official Xbox Magazine podcast, hosted by Dan Amrich and Ryan McCaffrey. The audio podcast features a recap in the week's past events and game releases, two trivia contests (Name That Xbox Sound Effect and Dan's Useless Trivia) for a prize (usually a tee shirt or Xbox Live Arcade game), and developer interviews. The show is produced by Andy Bauman.

Video Podcast

The OXM Video Podcast is updated much less frequently, with gaps over a month or more. The video podcast slowed until it was picked up again in the form of Inside Xbox, a short Xbox Live program that OXM became a part of in 2008. The OXM Report on Inside Xbox features similar video content to the original video podcast, but with more timely information on games such as Gears of War 2 and Mirror's Edge.

Awards

On October 12, 2007, the UK edition was awarded 'Best Xbox Magazine' at the Games Media Awards. [1]

Criticism

Favoring Microsoft

As an officially branded Xbox product, some have alleged the magazine is biased to first-party titles[2] and/or Xbox-exclusive titles from third-party publishers.[3] However, Official Xbox Magazine is created under license by an independent, external company (Future US, publisher of gaming magazines including PC Gamer, PSM, and Nintendo Power); that licensing agreement lasts until 2011.[4] In the Magazine Stuff section of its Frequently Asked Questions list at its website, OXM maintains that its content is not dictated by Microsoft.[5]

Despite the allegations of favorable bias, high-profile first-party games Shadowrun and Crackdown received review scores of 7.0, which were on-par or lower-than-average ratings.[6][7] Currently, there is no statistical evidence to suggest that OXM's review scores are unusually favorable to Microsoft games.

Penny Arcade comic

One criticism of OXM can be seen in a Penny-Arcade comic, where the magazine is referred to as a "husk or peel for the demo disk" that should be "thrown away immediately upon removal.". The disk in question contained an exclusive demo for Eternal Sonata.[8] This can be taken as either a criticism of the magazine's content and quality, or as a satiric comment on its existence as a print product in a space dominated by online outlets. However, it is most likely a display of Penny Arcade's enthusiasm for the Eternal Sonata demo, as opposed to a distaste for the magazine.

Controversy

Amuze, developers of Headhunter Redemption pointed out certain factual errors in the Official Xbox Magazine UK review of the game, implying that the reviewer did not play enough of the game to write a proper evaluation of it. The reviewer had said that frequent motorbike sequences broke up the gameplay when there were, in fact, none in the game at all. The magazine was highly ridiculed in their online forums for months to come. Someone from Amuze themselves posted on the forums to point out OXM made these errors. The magazine never admitted their error.[9]

Mal Sales Practice

With the purchase of a brand new Xbox 360, consumers receive a post card that offers a "free issue". If he fills out the card, the company will send him the free issue and a bill demanding the user to pay up. If the customer does not respond to the bill, a collection agency, "North Shore Agency", would start sending collection letters to further threaten the customer, sometimes with bad manners and accusing the consumer for owing them money. </br> OXM's records with BBB is unsatisfactory and they have several complains in billing and sales practice that are unsettled. [10]</br> NSA's records with BBB is also unsatisfactory and is known for sending consumers collection statements regarding money owed to companies that consumers are unaware of. [11]

References

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External links

Template:Xboxpt:Revista Xbox 360 fi:Official Xbox Magazine

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