Xbox admits blunder
Microsoft Corp. said Friday that it will give Xbox 360 owners a free video game to make up for poor performance over the holidays by the system's online hub. Gamers log on to the Xbox Live Web site to buy games, television shows and movies to load onto their consoles, and to interact with other players. Video game blogs such as Joystiq recently reported that users had a slew of problems with the site over the holidays, including trouble signing in, downloading media and getting matched with online opponents. "We are disappointed in our performance," wrote Marc Whitten, general manager of Xbox Live, on the Xbox 360 support Web site. He said the company will give a free game from the Xbox Live Arcade, but did not say which titles will be chosen, or when.
Fending off missiles
As many as three American Airlines jets carrying passengers will be outfitted with anti-missile technology this spring in the latest phase of testing technology to protect commercial planes from attack. An American Airlines spokesman said Friday the test will determine how well the anti-missile system holds up under the rigors of flight. The first Boeing 767-200 will be equipped in April or later, said the airline spokesman, Tim Wagner. American said it is "not in favor" of putting the systems on commercial planes but agreed to take part in the tests to understand future technologies.
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A brainy move?
The maker of Monopoly is adding to its empire of board games. Hasbro Inc., the world's second-largest toy company, has agreed to buy privately held game maker Cranium Inc. for about $77.5 million, the companies said Friday. Hasbro owns the board game brands Parker Bros. and Milton Bradley, which make perennially popular games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue and Battleship. Cranium is best known for its Cranium board game, which requires players to hum, draw and sculpt their way to the top. It makes a range of other games and has sold more than 22 million games, books and toys worldwide.
Got a time share?
Bee business writer J.N. Sbranti is writing a story about what people should know before purchasing a time-share unit. Did you buy one? If so, would you be willing to share your experiences with The Bee? Was it as terrific a deal as you were led to believe, or a financial blunder? What's your advice to others? Share your thoughts by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 578-2196.