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MS Details Last.fm on Xbox Live, Marketplace Changes

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the buried-by-natal-news dept.

Microsoft 82

Two of the less prominent announcements during E3 were that Last.fm would be coming to Xbox Live, and so would the ability to purchase games that were only available through physical media in the past. Microsoft has now elaborated on how those services will work. According to Kotaku, "The [Last.fm] service will be made available later this year, and will be free to all Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Once accessed, the Last.fm section of the 360 dashboard will function in much the same way as the popular internet radio station does on your PC." The Games on Demand service will let people pay the actual cost of the game with a credit card, bypassing the Microsoft Point system if they want to. To start, the service will be focused on making the popular, but older games available, rather than launching new games through it. Licensing for the games will work in much the same as for Arcade games now, so players will be able to re-download deleted games at will.

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82 comments

Last.fm (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264205)

Is only newsworthy if you can use it as an In-Game soundtrack.

Re:Last.fm (1)

drkamil (1242294) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264303)

don't forget the advanced use as a media center, i don't want to run all of my devices (xbox, pc, wireless audio system) at once, just to stream music while playing, think of the environment!

Re:Last.fm (3, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264367)

Not really, it's still a nice feature. Many people have their 360's plugged through their entertainment system. It's a nice way to have internet radio without having to plug in a computer...although it would be nice to have in game as well. Funny thing though, these days I don't find myself listening to music while playing games very often unless I'm playing a puzzle game or something of the sort. With all the 3D games today, I usually have the game audio playing for positional information. Depending on the game I might even put on headphones for more detailed positional information than what my tv puts out. It's not like the old NES/SNES days where I'd mute the game (unless it was something like Mega Man of course) and turn on the stereo.

Re:Last.fm (-1, Flamebait)

Zoidbot (1194453) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264413)

Actually it's horrible thing to have anywhere near a enterntainment system, it's too damn noisy for starters, runs too hot, and breaks all the time. I got fed up a couple of months back, sold mine, it's just too crappy at most things. Got a PS3 instead, much better.

Re:Last.fm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28266843)

Yeah I agree with the noise. My 360 can play back movies and music but the fans are to loud which annoys me, so I only use it for games.

Re:Last.fm (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 4 years ago | (#28269203)

Well, if you're not playing a disc (i.e., listening to streaming radio) the 360 is pretty dang quiet. The noisy part of the system is when all the fans and disc drive kick on while playing games.

Re:Last.fm (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 4 years ago | (#28268117)

You'd think it would be simple enough. Just HTTP, XML, and MP3. All of which is already used for UPnP streaming (although that's over UDP). But seeing as how this is Microsoft, they'll probably screw this up. It's unclear if Last.fm, Facebook, and MySpace are actually integrated with the dashboard or separate applications like Netflix. Probably the later, as I don't see any options to activate visualization.

downloaded content sucks. (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264255)

How about having some of the download only content available on physical media?

My biggest beef is that when I buy a download, If I want to get rid of it, I just burn the money. At least with a Disc I can sell it used to someone and recoup a couple of bucks.

Castle Crashers is fun, but I've played it through 12 times now, I'd like to give it to a neighbor or sell it for $1.00 on ebay.

This is why I hate downloaded content.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (4, Insightful)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264285)

This is why I hate downloaded content.

This is why publishers love it, though.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28264415)

What always surprises me is how much game developers love it, too.

I can understand publishers drooling over preventing gamers from selling their used games. But I'm always surprised that most respectable game developers actually seem to agree.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (3, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264521)

I can't imagine why developers like to get paid. They should learn to eat the happiness that comes with knowing people are enjoying their work.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (0, Offtopic)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264727)

I agree with your post. (or the cut of it). I disagree with your tag. IF the government is taking over private corporations that sounds like tyranny. IF the government is *buying* private corporations, I don't see any loss of liberty (provided you have a choice in the sale).

Re:downloaded content sucks. (0, Offtopic)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265505)

Except in some questionable cases where it appears the treasury pressured companies to make deals that might not have been in their interest. Or in other cases where it exercised non-controlling pressure to get things it wanted. In the first case, the CEO of Bank of America indicated that the board would be removed if he didn't approve a deal to merge with Merrill Lynch http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124045610029046349.html [wsj.com]. In the second case, the White House forced out the CEO of GM by threatening to withhold funding http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/29/AR2009032900708.html [washingtonpost.com]. Admittedly a legal action, but the government is leveraging itself a little uncomfortably.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28270775)

They did get paid. First sale Doctrine [wikipedia.org]. Just because they found a nice loophole in the spirit of the hundred year old law (and common law long before that) with new technology, doesn't make it right.

FYI: Im a software developer, and yet I still get paid.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (3, Insightful)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264441)

I've seen some of the DLC content for sale on physical media. Still can you blame the publisher? Lets be honest here what you bought is a license, you don't own the game (regardless of the distribution system).. You own a license to play it. You don't own the right to use the game characters to sell your products you don't own lots of other rights to the game. I think this is reasonable. If you want the right to sell your "license" that you purchased of a particular game/music, they're not going to give that to you. You're going to have laws written to require that. Go talk to your congress person.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265029)

Lets be honest here what you bought is a license, you don't own the game (regardless of the distribution system).. You own a license to play it.

That's still up for debate on the courts. Problem is, you need someone with the big bucks and will to fight it to supreme. Or, in my case, someone to bribe our congressman and Judges

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265109)

I'm not sure why you'd need laws. Presumably, game publishers don't want to allow internet resale because the ease of finding people to sell to online is huge and if there was no physical getting off the couch/posting a disc nearly everyone would do it. I'm guessing that this would require the games to get more expensive (or lower budget) to compensate.

If there was big demand and people really cared about this issue the free market would take care of it, because games that could be resold online would be more popular than those which couldn't, and thus more profitable despite being more expensive. I don't see that though, so I'm guessing the real answer is that most people don't care about it enough to let it dictate their choice of games. For instance I don't care about selling my old games much. I'll happily take the ease of internet distribution over that any day.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Lockblade (1367083) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265171)

Sure they can do that via DLC, but if you have physical media, you have a right to sell it even if it's against the license agreement. See this article [arstechnica.com] for the court ruling. This ruling also might have more of an effect later, as the arguments hinged on the fact that even though the software was billed as leased, the transaction had the characteristics of a sale, and therefore the First Sale doctrine applied. Using that logic, would it be reasonable to expect that the bits you paid for could come under the ruling?

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265267)

I'm no lawyer, but I think in one instance you purchased a physical item in the other you didn't purchase anything physical (the bits were already on your machine). It's reasonable to assume you can resell your physical media. I guess what would be interesting to see is someone selling an ipod on ebay full of music (that they legally purchased). I know there similar issues on ebay before (but I believe it involved pirated music or music of questionable origins). I like the convenience of downloading games, I like to believe that there is a cost savings that is passed down (no physical media, no shipping, and no middlemen). Things that have to be weighed against the inability to sell the game when tired of it.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265563)

Two points: First, all we've ever been able to buy is a license to a game, not the game itself. Why is it that just because the distribution model changes from bits on a disc to bits on a wire, the consumer should lose their rights to resell? Perhaps the companies can be held liable for denying consumer rights, or perhaps we do need a new law to cover this.

Second, if these new products cannot be resold and they have no physical component, then they are less valuable. They are cheaper to produce, cheaper to distribute, and less valuable to the consumer since the purchase cannot be recouped in any way. Therefore, they should be priced at a much lower point. I won't hold my breath though.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28278769)

Therefore, they should be priced at a much lower point. I won't hold my breath though.

Already there. Most of the Xbox Arcade games are in the $10-$20 price range. That's a lot less than the standard $60 for a disc game.

Yes, I know the disc games are also usually bigger, but you have to admit that many downloadable games are just as enjoyable for 1/6 to 1/3 of the price.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28270843)

In the US you're wrong, the doctrine of first sale applies to software and there's a ton of money tied up into successful businesses exploiting this fact.

They can sue you for having "nothing physical" on your machine (warez), so they can't have it both ways, either they can't sue us for digital downloads, or it's a product just the same and can be resold. The first downloaded content market that realizes and implements game sale transfer will clean up. Actually Gamestop implementing this in any competent manner would clean the fuck up on Steam or Impulse on day 1; if anyone has the clout to make it happen, Gamestop does, they have one hell of an incentive too.

As for game developers, fuck em, I lost all sympathy the day the cert got revoked for Gears of War. With the insulting comments made at PC gamers and all the other shit, I'm done. I own well over 10,000 bucks in PC games (not even counting console), I have a closet full of games you've never heard of, many never played, bought for the sheer pleasure of having something unique, even if it was bad or didn't even install on most systems. I earn 6 figures and from now on, I'm a pirate, ARRRR!

My PC system is installed, backed up to image, has nothing important on it, and now will play warez games. I hope everyone like me gives PC game publishers the middle finger too, until the day they pull their heads out of their asses, APOLOGIZE, and offer me a more compelling product than the warez groups.

If you want a full list of grievances, I could write em up, but fuck it, read the news, read the game forums where users try and patch games the devs couldn't or wouldn't. Read devs bitching about poor perception of their game due to bad warez copies crashing due to copy protection. Read statements of douchebags from EPIC. Read as Brad Wardell slowly descends into douchebaggery (though there is some hope for that company, I think). Guess what my grievances are, after doing that, you'll probably be able to name enough to make yourself sick anyways.

I don't think I have a right to anything free, I am actively hoping they all die as businesses. I want this industry to die badly. From the ashes I hope we get something that has a heart and a soul.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 4 years ago | (#28273683)

So since I have a "license", will they replace my game for free in case I scratch the media?

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264471)

You're one of those terrible, terrible people who the Games Industry complained about [sfgate.com], aren't you? One of those poor misguided suck...foo...'consumers' who thinks that just because you bought it and there's legislation (in the US at least) that gives you certain rights when you purchase something then you should be able to do what you like with it, making a profit, a profit, without sharing any of it back to the poor, deserving and penniless publisher that let you have it in the first place.

Yeah, I agree, give me the physical copy any day rather than yet more digital downloads. Ditto with things like Steam - some people rave about it, but even ignoring the bandwidth required I wouldn't want to trust its invasive and ingrained DRM solution that relies on remote servers, meaning I can't re-sell it and could lose it at any time.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28272395)

I don't see how steam is any less reliable than a bunch of CDs or DVDs. Lost the CD? Get ready to steal, because you won't get it back otherwise.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#28276495)

Lost the CD - that's your own stupid fault for not being careful. Have the company lose/close the server - that's completely out of your control and can deprive you of something you purchased (see all the people with Yahoo and, I think, Walmart music who either lost or nearly lost all the music they paid for).

CDs and DVDs are just like any other physical item - you buy them, you own them, they're your responsibility to look after. Or are you suggesting that your mobile phone/PDA/books/external hard drive/remotes should also be on a DRMed rental service where you can get a replacement if you're stupid enough to lose it, but it can be removed from you at any time? What about the next stage of your OS (which Microsoft is already working towards) so that Microsoft (or another OS maker) can lock you out of your machine by accident/malice/disappearing servers?

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28278093)

You're very wrong. The company may be able to lock me out of their servers, but they can't lock me out of my software. It's the internet, after all.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#28279351)

In what specific was is it wrong? If your game needs to contact an activation server before letting you play because it is a digital download, or if the only way to get a game is from a download server (which may or may not still exist in three, five or ten years time) then they sure as hell can lock you out of the software you bought and 'own'.

If I own a game on CD/DVD then I own it. I can install it when I want, where I want. I can even (and I've done it recently) play a 14 year old game without having to worry about whether the activation server will have vanished. Whether or not I can play the game is entirely in my hands.

If I buy it through Steam or other DRMed download systems then I don't own it. I've got a binary copy (possibly - it depends whether Steam and the like will download an installer you can backup or whether they all work as "install from the Net), but that copy activates itself through a server that I have to assume will a) be contactable and b) still exist. Whether or not I can play a game I bought and own is entirely at the whim of the network/publisher/activation or authentication server provider.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (2, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264529)

If I have the option, I'll never buy downloadable content as opposed to physical media. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been selling old Super Nintendo and N64 games complete with their boxes and instruction manuals, easily recouping what I spent on the game in the first place over 10 years ago. If Nintendo had instead let me download those, they would be completely worthless to both me and anyone else in the market at this point. A couple of months ago I was looking to purchase World of Goo, and while I could get the game off Steam or even download directly from 2D Boy, I decided to pay a little extra for the boxed copy from Amazon. At least I have the disc now and can install it whenever I feel the need to play again.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264893)

Personally I don't mind the fact that pure DLC is tied to an account, although I see your argument, because what I don't like is when you buy a game on physical media and then have to activate it via Steam and so can't sell the game on because when it's tied to your account and e-mail address the physical media effectively then has no value so you either bin it which is wasteful or have it sat lying around.

I'd rather they kept it separate - DLC is DLC, physical media is a product that can be used and sold on independently. I wouldn't expect my car, my toaster, a book, a loaf of bread to be tied to my e-mail address, I wouldn't expect a DVD to be tied to my e-mail address so why the fuck should a game bought on physical media be tied to an e-mail address and account? I can live with the idea of it when we're talking about a purely non-physical entity like a DLC game although like you say it'd be better if I could sell it on, but when they take it to the extreme of tying physical media to a virtual account and/or e-mail address that's what annoys me!

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28267267)

If your Car was a Game.. wouldn't it be nice that anytime you wanted to drive your car (any one of dozens) you just said a few words and within minutes your car arrived, fully functional, anywhere in the world? You can park it anywhere and leave it for years and the car always returns brand new! It even comes upgraded to the newest car version too!

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28268073)

Not if I can't sell it on when I've finished with it and not if the manufacturer can randomly deny access to said car through faults at their end, no.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28272347)

Ah, but that's all knowledge up front and not hidden costs/disadvantages. Also, just like all businesses, you can "shop around" for the company you feel is the most competent to keep your Car available at all times. Or you can just pick a normal Car and hope you never lose any keys to your dozens of cars 5 years down the road (or resell some before that happens).

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28276569)

Well no, this is the problem. It's not advertised on physical game boxes (i.e. see Dawn of War II) that your access to the game is dependent on Valve's servers, it only states that you have to register with them, not activate with them, not update from them, and not depend on them for access. The downsides are absolutely not advertised up front.

There's also no way to get a copy of Dawn of War II without Steam, and as games are as different as movies, it's not as simple. Cars all effectively provide the same services and can provide the same features, games do not so your stretching of the analogy stops making any sense at all around this point. You also make the assumption when you talk of losing your keys that you wont also lose access to digital content 5 years down the road - can you guarantee absolutely that Valve will continue supporting all their games, all their services and will continue to be in business 5 years down the road? If this recession has taught us anything it's that no, you can't. You cannot guarantee when you put a product in a 3rd party company's hands that you will be able to access it indefinitely as has been demonstrated by the likes of Microsoft's music service and many others in the past.

If you buy a hard copy game it should remain a stand alone item, if you buy it online then fair enough yes, you should receive the services and downsides you state. People should have the choice rather than be effectively forced into accepting the downsides of electronic distribution when buying a physical product making the physical product a complete waste of resources in the first place. At very least the packaging of the physical product should make it clear that all you are buying is basically a husk of the game and that if you want to play it you'll have to get the rest of it online anyway but again it doesn't, it merely states you have to register it and nothing more, it doesn't even state that you have to sign up to Games for Windows Live let alone explain the fact that you may not be able to access the game when Valve's servers screw up. If they at least were honest about the downsides when buying a physical product that has to be activated like you suggest they are it'd be one thing, but as I say they don't even do that.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28278081)

I just went to gamestop.com and looked at the physical game box. On the back under system requirements is says "Internet connection required" in bold red and then explains that you must activate and use the game with Steam in order to play.

That being said, the phyisical game box/cd in this case seems very useless since it's tethered to Steam anyways. Not sure why you'd buy this in a physical store when you have to use the internet with it anyways? Perhaps a previous contract with Gamestop?

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28278157)

I think the US version of the box maybe slightly different then, certainly nothing about using it with Steam here, only that you must initially activate it and certainly nothing about being required to sign up to Games of Windows live, only that it supports it.

Of course, even the basic registration requirement isn't mentioned on many online retailers sites, but that's the retailers fault as much as anything.

I agree with you in that the physical game box/cd is useless and that's largely my point, you can effectively buy a game online with the impression like all other games before it you can just play it standalone, have it delivered to your door, find you have to activate, activate and find you can't then transfer your product, find you also have to sign up to Games for Windows live, Steam and so on and it's not just a simple case of activating.

As I say I have no fundamental problem with being able to buy and use DLC, my problem lies with the fact they're blurring the line between the choice of a physical copy and DLC, they're providing bear minimum information or sometimes none at all as to what this actually means for you as a consumer. I'd actually have preferred it if the physical version wasn't available for these games so that at least then you can't be misled and you know from the start what you're getting - that's why I have no real problem with DLC on consoles etc. because I know what the deal is from the start. I have a much bigger problem with games like DoW2 though which are simply misleading - I have had further issues with DoW2 i.e. Valve refused activation for me at first, and I kept getting server is too busy when trying to update the game, that's something I should not have to deal with when I choose to buy a physical copy but is now being forced on even physical copies.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265533)

On the other hand, (and this is going to sound extremely lazy), you don't have to get off the couch to change the game disk.

I sometimes play the same game for a week at a time because I am too lazy to go the 10 feet to change the disk. I can turn the console on and off without getting up. If only you could load all the disks into the damn thing.

Re:downloaded content sucks. (0)

Zoidbot (1194453) | more than 4 years ago | (#28267469)

hang on a moment. When HD DVD crashed out, everyone jumped on the "Digital Download Bandwagon", when Microsoft proclaimed that they didn't need Blu-Ray, and digital downloads were the future. Now it seems they might not be, and Xbox has to rely on 1999 technology for it's optical storage medium? Next thing you will be telling me that Forza 3, FFXIII, MetalGearSolidRising and many Xbox games will be coming on multiple discs....

Anyone else hear that sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28264291)

That's the sound of a little bit of steam leaking from the valve...

They still won't be able to top it, considering
- a. No subscription cost
- b. Being able to move the games to alternate platforms (computer systems)
- c. Consumer trust
- d. Quality and selection of titles

I, for one, applaud them for trying though. At least they got the "free re-download" part right.

Re:Anyone else hear that sound? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264667)

Being able to move the games to alternate platforms (computer systems)

But why would you want to move an Xbox game to a PC? Xbox games don't support keyboard and mouse, and they're usually intended to be seen on a monitor much bigger than 19" diagonal VIS.

Re:Anyone else hear that sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28264779)

Being able to move the games to alternate platforms (computer systems)

But why would you want to move an Xbox game to a PC? Xbox games don't support keyboard and mouse, and they're usually intended to be seen on a monitor much bigger than 19" diagonal VIS.

Sorry for being unclear. That is a list of benefits that Valve's Steam has over XBL. You could move a steam game from your main PC to your laptop, your grandmothers' machine, etc.

Move an XBLA game to another Xbox 360 (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264979)

You could move a steam game from your main PC to your laptop, your grandmothers' machine, etc.

Likewise, Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] Xbox Live Marketplace purchases are associated to both a console and an Xbox Live account. This means any logged-in Xbox Live member can redownload any game that he has purchased to any Xbox 360 console, but it won't play unless he's logged in.

Re:Move an XBLA game to another Xbox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28265443)

Wrong. It will play even if he's not logged in. You can only redownload content to a console with the account you bought it from.

If you want to play them, you can do so on that same console with any account on that console. No problem.

I know this because I bought games from XBLA (Geometry wars 2, braid etc.) from some other account but I only play it with my main account. And no, the account I bought it with does not have auto-login enabled.

Re:Move an XBLA game to another Xbox 360 (2, Interesting)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265853)

If you are playing on the same physical console you do not have to be logged in. If you do something like switch consoles, or upgrade to say, the Elite Version of the xbox, the downloaded content will not play on that xbox unless the account that purchased it is logged in and signed in to live.

Re:Move an XBLA game to another Xbox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28266681)

There's a way to get around this. Suppose you move to a new console and you want to move your content there permanently, login to the xbox.com website. There's a 'transfer content ownership' tool there that lets you transfer everything you bought to the new console. It's still tied to your account but it's tied to that new console as well.

So now, anyone else can use that particular console and play the content you bought without having you to log on.

That being said, they limit access to that tool to about once a year so that sucks. If your 360 ever gets RROD, be sure to get the support guys to do their job and actually transfer the content fo ryou.

I have a 360 only, considering of getting a PS3 but I wonder why I put up with such bullshit.

Re:Move an XBLA game to another Xbox 360 (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28271697)

Wrong. It will play even if he's not logged in. You can only redownload content to a console with the account you bought it from.

If you want to play them, you can do so on that same console with any account on that console. No problem.

To clarify, when you download on XBL you can download play it:
1) On any Xbox 360 where the purchasing account is logged in.
2) With any account on the Xbox where the game was purchased.
So, any console you log into, or anyone on your home console. You can't download it to your friends to play on their consoles, unless you purchase it on their console or are logged in at the same time.

Meh.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28264313)

I have been able to use Last.fm on my PS3 for 2 years already, no stupid subscription fees needed.

I also havn't had to deal with a silly obfuscated "Points" scheme, and been able to download full PS3 games from the store for well over a year already.

So what is Microsoft REALLY bringing to table that news? Not much it seems. Perhaps they should direct some of these resources currently being used to play catchup, to actually making the console WORK, without breaking every other month. Nearly 4 years in, and the reliability problems are only marginally better than when they launched.

and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FREE (2, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264315)

and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FREE on the pc?

This is what sucks with locked in systems.

Re:and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FR (3, Interesting)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264373)

Requiring GOLD xbl membership for last.fm is silly. That being said, its free (for Gold members) they're not charging you for it. As for downloaded games those aren't free on the pc.

Re:and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FR (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28264541)

I believe that the parent is referring to "downloadable content". Since the dawn of PC games, addons have always been free. You can download a Total Conversion for DooM, a Mod for Half-Life, New planes for IL2, extra unit packs for Total Annihilation, etc...

I don't have an issue with micropayments for video games (considering I'm a small game developer), but I can understand the complaint of the grandfather post.

It's been a painful trend over the last few years on console games that have micropayments to release half-finished games and charge for map packs. Take Unreal tournament or Quake 3 when they came out. Both contained over 10 maps. Map packs and patches were free. Compare that to, say, Halo 3 or Left 4 Dead, Both started with less than 10 maps. Halo 3 charges for more maps.

Even apples to apples, You could find yourself paying for DLC on a console when the exact same type of content is free to download on a PC with some games.

Re:and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FR (0)

Zoidbot (1194453) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264395)

It's Microsoft everything costs. It's sucks, but Last.FM is free on PS3 no subs required.

Re:and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FR (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264499)

They need to make their money back somewhere. If you can sucker console gamers in with £45+RRP games when PCs are closer to £30RRP then why not make them pay more for other things as well? They're obviously willing to do it ;)

Re:and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FR (3, Interesting)

sricetx (806767) | more than 4 years ago | (#28266095)

The freely available x360mediaserver http://sourceforge.net/projects/x360mediaserve/ [sourceforge.net] will send streaming internet radio to the xbox360. It runs on any PC with java (Linux or windows). I haven't tried it with last.fm, but I assume it would work. If it doesn't, run the Lastfm stream through LastFMProxy http://vidar.gimp.org/?page_id=50 [gimp.org] and connect to the proxied stream with x360mediaserve.

Re:and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28277683)

The x360mediaserve project has been abandonned since 2007.
A guy named jmoses forked it though, and has since applied some patches.
Get it here:http://github.com/jmoses/x360mediaserve

edit: github seems to be down for now...

Re:and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FR (1)

ray_nicov (732928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28266493)

Last.fm is NOT free. Last.fm is 3 GBP per month, no discounts for longer subscriptions. Sure you could use some of it functionality free-of-charge but the best bits (loved tracks, playlists) require payment (http://www.last.fm/subscribe)

Re:and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28269483)

what you're forgetting is that the high piracy rates on the PC are what contributes to the high cost of games on that platform. if piracy rates were to drop, then the cost of games would come down - as has been stated by publishers many, many times over the years. that's why on an (almost) locked down system such as the 360, or on the PS3 were piracy is non-existent games cost much less compared to the PC.
For example a top selling title...
    Call of duty 4 Modern Warfare - RRP on 360/PS3 is £49.99 compared to a whopping £34.99 on PC
okay, not a very good example, but what about a soon-to-be-released title...
    Prototype (activision) - RRP on 360/PS3 is £49.99, but a ludicrous £34.99 on PC
Hmm. two anomalies there, so what about
    Streetfighter 4 - a wallet busting RRP £29.99 on PC, whereas you can pick it up for just RRP £39.99 on 360/PS3
Hmm...

Xbox 360 Slim (1)

Xenolith (538304) | more than 4 years ago | (#28264777)

Sounds like the Xbox 360 slim rumors didn't come to pass.

Re:Xbox 360 Slim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28266031)

They have yet to resolve the horrendous airflow issues with the 360Phat. There's no way in hell they're going to sink more money into reworking the box from the ground up just to slim it down. They've already lost enough money on it as it is.

It's rubbish (-1, Troll)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 4 years ago | (#28265547)

Live is complete rubbish. I was forced to use it to download extra content for Fallout 3 (PC game I bought on Steam). Compared to Steam, Live is a big pile of steaming ****.

Re:It's rubbish (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 4 years ago | (#28266465)

And my post above is flagged Troll for what reason exactly?

Re:It's rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28266907)

Nobody should ever say anything negative about anything, full-stop.

That aside, qualifying your criticism of Live could have helped, instead of calling it shit and leaving it at that. It may be a valid concern to you as you're fully aware of the circumstances of your exchange. We aren't.

So, what happened exactly?

Re:It's rubbish (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28267527)

Because it was nothing but an insult, had no useful information, and no bearing on the topic at hand. It was a troll post.

Ditch the points system entirely, please. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28266023)

The points system is the stupidest thing. I have to buy a block of points that don't have a covnversion rate in base 10 (instead, it's 80 points to the dollar).

Then, the sellers pick an arbitrary number of points (320 points) and want me to do a conversion in my head to figure out what I'm actually being charged (which I'm capable of, but shouldn't have to. In this case, $4). Then, if I have only have 300 MS points, I have to buy a block of at least 400 more.

MS needs to ditch the points system. I rarely buy anything on XBL (except when I win points through sweepstakes). If they would just cut the bullshit I'd buy a lot more.

Re:Ditch the points system entirely, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28266179)

The points system is brilliant that way (for them, certainly not us). It's the same reason arcade tokens are 5 to a dollar, or why hotdogs and hotdog buns come in packs of 10 & 8. All you have to do to keep anything from going to waste is to sink even more money into it.

Re:Ditch the points system entirely, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28270223)

did you try putting put two dogs in one bun?
with 10 dogs and 8 buns you just need to do this twice and there's no waste.
you could also try eating 7 normal hotdogs with a single "3 dogger" to finish.
this sort of system also works well if you've got some vegetarian guests over,
they can enjoy "no-doggers", just double-up what they don't eat into the rest
of the buns.

Re:Ditch the points system entirely, please. (1)

markimusk (669429) | more than 4 years ago | (#28275477)

thank you! I've been reading slashdot since 1999 (on my Dreamcast, didn't have a modern computer at that time...)

I very rarely post but I wanted you to know that was the most informative post I think I've ever read... Kudos to you Good Sir!

PS: I am posting this from my XO laptop and I must say the keyboard really blows...

Re:Ditch the points system entirely, please. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#28266827)

The points system is the stupidest thing. I have to buy a block of points that don't have a covnversion rate in base 10 (instead, it's 80 points to the dollar).

Then, the sellers pick an arbitrary number of points (320 points) and want me to do a conversion in my head to figure out what I'm actually being charged (which I'm capable of, but shouldn't have to. In this case, $4). Then, if I have only have 300 MS points, I have to buy a block of at least 400 more.

MS needs to ditch the points system. I rarely buy anything on XBL (except when I win points through sweepstakes). If they would just cut the bullshit I'd buy a lot more.

They aren't ditching the points system, but they're giving you the option of direct-billing your credit card instead.

Me personally, I always buy my points on sale (they count as "accessories" - to which Dell and many stores often have sales of 10% off or more on). So people like you will always be able to buy that game for $10 off your credit card directly, while people like me get bargains and get it cheaper in exchange for having the oddball balance. Of course, I also don't have to give Microsoft my credit card number, but that's a different thing altogether (one less vendor to update CC information on).

Microsoft listened.

Heck, in the US, you can buy XBLA games off Amazon.com! Pay Amazon the money, you get a code and get the game. Microsoft's just extending that to everyone else. (You save maybe a penny or two over the normal point value cost...)

The points system will stay around because it's way too useful (e.g., "allowances" and the like to those who don't have a credit card). And at least the US has a consistent exchange rate of $1.25 to 100 points. Worldwide, it's different (mostly to account for fluctuating currencies) - big stinks have been raised over pricing when currency fluctuates.

Heck, I wish Sony would release points cards in Canada too, but they don't have 'em. Wouldn't mind grabbing stuff with discount point cards.

Re:Ditch the points system entirely, please. (1)

Corngood (736783) | more than 4 years ago | (#28268725)

One benefit is that they only need to adjust the price of points in other currencies as they fluctuate, and not the price of every single item they sell.

At one point when the Canadian dollar was nearly equal in value to the American dollar, Sony adjusted all their Canadian prices on PSN to the American prices. That was only possible because they happened to have prices for all items in another currency of approximately the same value. Now that the Canadian dollar is weaker again, they will be making less from Canadian sales.

It's a choice between trusting the value of a new currency, or coming up with prices for all items, in all currencies, and adjusting them over time.

Re:Ditch the points system entirely, please. (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 4 years ago | (#28276997)

MS needs to ditch the points system.

OK, suppose Microsoft would just show the "real" prices of the content. How do you propose MS will account for different currencies and inflation in various parts of the world? The points system masks all this: If you buy a points card, you'll get a certain amount of stuff.

You can't ditch the account system entirely and go for pay-as-you-buy, because not everyone is willing, or even able, to pay with credit cards. (I for one can't buy a damn thing on most interesting online game stores. Nintendo and Microsoft? Just go to the nearby supermarket and grab a points card.)

And if you start using "real" currencies, there will be a lot of nasty people in official-looking suits who will be telling Microsoft "oh, I see you allow people to deposit money on accounts - this means you will have to be living up to the standards of the rest of the banking world." Microsoft doesn't want this to happen. Yes, it's kind of evil. Sometimes, evil gets the job done: they just want to sell people some make-believe credits which people can exchange for make-believe games and stuff, and bringing in the bureaucracy associated with the banking would make life difficult for both Microsoft and their customers.

In short: The points system sucks, but the other current alternatives are more complicated and probably suck even more. Who should we thank for this? Probably the banks as a whole, for not developing a standardised, open international electronic currency system. We should get that done first. I first tried e-cash back in mid-1990s, and while the system worked pretty well (basically, I could deposit money to the e-cash account through a local bank), there was just nothing worthwhile to buy back then (wow, I could buy... desktop wallpapers). Now there is.

Download old games at new prices! (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 4 years ago | (#28267241)

Seen this tactic before. Download old games at new prices. So while the game is available for £10 at retail brand new, you can download it for £30 saving you the trouble of dealing with things like pysical media, packaging and resale value.

Steam is frankly just as bad though. When I wanted to buy Frontlines it was £35 on Steam, or £10 delivered from play.com with the T-shirt, Art book and Dogtags. Market tollerance is a terrible thing.

Re:Download old games at new prices! (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28272481)

Must be nice living in a world of free shipping.

My option for Assassin's creed is either 10 dollars on steam, or 20 dollars and 30 dollars shipping with an on-line store.

Re:Download old games at new prices! (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 4 years ago | (#28273743)

Tried gamestracker? I know that for the uk it lists prices with shipping included, so you can see exactly who is the cheapest. It should be the same for the US as far as I'm aware.

The majority of new titles will drop bellow the £15 mark at some point with in the 1st 3 months of release. Stores get overstocks or put them up as loss leaders, it's just a matter of checking gamestracker and hotukdeals (I'm sure you have an equivalant) on a regular basis. I've seen games suddenly spring up in 2 for £25 deals while they're still going for £25 used on amazon...

Deals on pysical media are and always will be out there if you know where to look for them, unlike downloadables, where the value is whatever the content provider dictates it to be, instead of its value being driven by market forces.

Re:Download old games at new prices! (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28277831)

From my perspective, the value of a download is either full price or nothing. If the publisher refuses to sell to me, I'm under no obligation to buy. Doesn't mean I can't play.

(Gametap is insane for that though. Practically every game I've wanted to play but couldn't find is there.)

Microsoft needs to offer discounted HDD (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28268749)

The Xbox I picked up has a 20gb HDD. With online distribution a major feature for the console, this is just criminally small. Yes, yes, I'm sure it was huge back when they put the specs together but it's pathetic these days. There's a 120gb model you can buy but it's like four times what a comparable drive could cost in the PC world. These drives are the razors, Microsoft, the downloads are the blades! Make a drive that expensive and I'm just not going to download much. When I can get a 1.5tb drive for $100, they should be selling drive upgrades for Xbox at around a $50 price point. They'll be buying in bulk and make their money back.

Re:Microsoft needs to offer discounted HDD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28271453)

You have to remember xbox360 hard drives are 2.5" not 3.5". Dont get me wrong, they are still way over priced, but a 500gig 2.5" seagate is 150bucks CND, or 130bucks for a 5400rpm.

Are You Still Listening? (1)

hidannik (1085061) | more than 4 years ago | (#28271577)

The big question: Will last.fm on the Xbox 360 stop playing after 45 minutes of no input, the way it does on the PC? The "Are You Still Listening" prompt would seriously decrease its value.

RE: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28359221)

For free re-download, I've been had. Microsoft can fix the re-download issue then i'll be satisfied other-wise, I want my money back

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