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Xbox Live Silver Accounts Becoming Second Class

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the live-classists dept.

58

Ben Kuchera, at Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog, points out a troubling development on Xbox Live. While paying members of the service (those on the 'Gold' level) have always had more options than those on the free 'Silver' level, Microsoft is now making that gap even wider. From the article: "While the demos and videos are cool, almost everyone I've talked to about the system sees having an Xbox Live Gold Account as an almost required piece of the 360 puzzle. Those with Silver accounts may start to feel the pinch though, as content is starting to be released that can only be viewed with a Gold account. The first thing? The new Gears of War Trailer." Tycho has some choice words on this development as well. "This is really quite a trailer. The term 'trailer' may even be insufficient. But, um... When you make people pony up for instant access to ads? They might get the impression that you are taking advantage of them. I'm just throwing it out."

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58 comments

When you make people pony up to watch ads? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16614736)

When you make people pony up for instant access to ads?

When people want to watch them as badly as they seem to want to. Normally advertisements are a parasitic thing. Apparently this is more than just your run-of-the-mill ad (as Tycho concedes himself)

Other outlets... (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616572)

Tycho did provide a link [gametrailers.com] to the ad...

The web makes using content as a lure for subscription somewhat irrelevant and thus a bad idea.

Re:Other outlets... (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 7 years ago | (#16619630)

Hell - if MS is going to CHARGE you to WATCH an advertisement, then the following quote seems even more apt than before:

"The American public knows what it wants. And it deserves to get it....good and hard." - H.L.Mencken

As for me - if I have to PAY to get interested in your product? Then keep your ad, keep your product, and choke on it.

Re:Other outlets... (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16619908)

Except, the trailer on the 360 is in crystal clear 720P with 5.1 digital surround sound and this is some quarter-HD res with stereo sound. It's not THE real deal.

Re:Other outlets... (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16629070)

Open mouth, insert foot. I watched the Quicktime version of it and it wasn't in 720P. The Windows media version on the other hand is the real deal. Silly me.

Re:Other outlets... (1)

lordmatthias215 (919632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16636960)

Well it just so happens that I (along with most of the people I know personally with 360s) don't have 720p or 5.1 surround. I'm just playing on a standard TV with stereo anyway. I might as well go watch the ad online for free (on a PC with better-than-hi res and 5.1 surround), rather than pay a monthly rate to have the right to pipe advertising to my 'box.

Re:Other outlets... (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16638675)

I didn't mean that it is right for Microsoft do to it. I just underlined the fact that you were getting a better version of it on the Marketplace. Which for the folk who are lucky enough to have 5.1 surround and 720P is a hell of a deal, because the trailer is terrific. But, if you go to websites like GameTrailers.com or TeamXbox and watch the Windows Media version of it, you'll actually get the hi-def version of it. (I can't vouch for the audio being in 5.1 tough, my computer is not hooked up to my home theater, only my 360 is) So why is Microsoft giving it to Gold Live Members when everybody else is getting it for free everywhere else?

Oh heavens no!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16614846)

B-but I thought that silver DOES mean first, including first class? Doesn't it?!

Trailer? (2, Insightful)

DarkNemesis618 (908703) | more than 7 years ago | (#16614952)

If they don't pay, why should they expect access to extras. I mean sure, it'd be nice, but they're not paying for it so what can they really expect. Besides, if they really want to see the gears of war trailer...give it a week, I'm sure it will be all over the internet, youtube, google video, etc.

I personally think it'd be better to let silver have access, but I guess it's just Microsoft doing business.

Re:Trailer? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615028)

Besides, if they really want to see the gears of war trailer...give it a week, I'm sure it will be all over the internet, youtube, google video, etc.

Whether patience is a virtue or not might well be debatable, but it can certainly save you a lot of money.

KFG

Re:Trailer? (2, Insightful)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615118)

While I can understand the idea behind giving extra perks to Gold members, this seems like an odd item to start out with. I would think giving Gold members access to unique downloads for games, or maybe even discounting such pay-for-download items would be a good way to start. But making an ad a "premium exclusive"?

After all, this means that you will have to pay in order to see an ad. I don't care what the ad is for - it's still an ad.

Then again, Sony's online plan will require you to pay to download demos - another boneheaded move in my opinion. But perhaps Microsoft is taking the cue from Sony, figuring if Sony can charge for content, why can't Live do the same thing?

Re:Trailer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16646199)

I haven't downloaded any game demos for PC in years, except F.E.A.R., because a large number of them anymore are hosted solely on download servers that charge a monthly fee for access. They do quite well.

Hell, a lot of people buy the Sunday paper before Black Friday just for the ads.

And never mind the dolts who will actually pay a premium to buy branded clothes.

Most consumers are boneheads. They don't see it for what it really is: paying the advertising fees for the company trying to sell them something. They see it as if they're being treated to some sort of special product or content.

Like I said. Most consumers are boneheads.

Pay for what? Content or advertising? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#16619600)

Sounds to me like the advertising is only being delivered to people who paid for service, while those who don't pay aren't required to view advertising. Sounds like a pretty twisted reversal of the usual approach, where those who don't pay have to suffer the indignity of perpetual ad-pushing.

I think it'd be pretty pathetic to pay to see a preview without actually getting real content. It makes about as much sense as paying for a CD case, but not actually getting a disk inside. All the gloss and advertising, but no product.

Surely there is some other reason people pay for memberships?

A recipe for poorer service (3, Insightful)

imidan (559239) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615068)

It's really a similar thing to what's going on with "micro" payments for content. You can make the customer pay more if you make him or her believe that the extra money is actually buying something.

As an example, I used to work in a university IT department. The administration came up with this plan that basically pitted the various departments on campus against each other for funds, and we had one particular upper management guy in our IT department who went for that all the way. Everything, in his mind, suddenly got this ability to have value added. Give customers a baseline for free, and then nickel and dime them to death with extra levels of service. A 10 Mb Ethernet port? Free. 100 Mb? That'll cost you.

Invariably, it seems like what you end up with are companies who aren't offering increased levels of service for a small price, but are instead scaling back the basic level so that they can rake in more dough on micro payments without making better or more product. Monthly payments can degenerate to the same kind of deal when there are tiered levels of service, one of them being free. The service provider only has incentive to offer the most basic of features and service for free: just enough to get the customer to see how great the service could be if they paid a little money for it.

I'm not against micro payments or monthly fees on principle. I played WoW for a while, and never begrudged them their $15/mo. I know that it's the way the industry is going. And it's early, yet, so they don't know how to implement it, and we don't entirely know what to expect. But I suspect that when companies like EA push this far enough, and Tiger actually has to stop at the pro shop and buy a box of golf balls using xbox live points before playing, people are going to start pushing back. Hopefully, things will balance out sooner rather than later.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615132)

Your analogy fails because other departments in your university probably could not go out get a competitive price from another 'IT department.'

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615188)

And xbox owners can't get another matchmaking service on their xboxes. Sounds equivalent to me.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16619034)

You are being a little absurd, though, right? A university department cannot seperate itself from the university - but a gamer can choose a different system or choose not to play at all and go outside and get some sunshine.

Also, Xbox (original) could use a Gamespy system or any other similar system to simulate a lan (technical).

It's a little like the Ipod and Itunes. You can't choose any other DRM system using their player.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16623738)

They could just as easily quit their job and switch universities, or go outside and get some sunshine.
 
The problem is that they've already paid $400+ for an XBOX 360, and there's no way to switch services. With the PS3 and the Wii unshipped, the only next-gen option is (and has been) the XBOX 360.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16640887)

See, this is why conversations break down. People break their own logic.

A DEPARTMENT cannot quit a university. The analogy as stated the department as the equivilent of an Xbox users, not PEOPLE working IN the department.

And yeah, they can switch services. Or use Gametap or the PS2 (has online service) or just any other option out there - arranging games on message boards, etc.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16654383)

ALl of which would require them to toss out a hardware investment. And have totally different games (in gametap's case, its mainly 6 year old games). So no, they can't switch.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

imidan (559239) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615244)

Well, not for an Ethernet jack. But for computer support, which also ended up with tiered levels of service, departments certainly could try (and succeed at) finding other vendors to help them out. Unfortunately, xbox owners are not in a position to solicit bids from other service providers. They're locked in to the xbox live service.

It's Microsoft's right to run their service the way they want, of course. What I'm more concerned about is how this spreads in the rest of the industry. We haven't seen great problems with this on Sony's or Nintendo's consoles because it hasn't been possible so far. It will be interesting to see how PS3 and Wii influence the economy of xbox live.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16619022)

You are being a little absurd, though, right? A university department cannot seperate itself from the university - but a gamer can choose a different system or choose not to play at all and go outside and get some sunshine.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (2, Funny)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615370)

I suspect that when companies like EA push this far enough, and Tiger actually has to stop at the pro shop and buy a box of golf balls using xbox live points before playing

Oh my god, shutup before EA hears you! ;)

Re:A recipe for poorer service (2, Insightful)

hemorex (1013427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615374)

Well, there is an existing model for using micropayments for access to gaming... ever heard of an arcade? *rimshot*

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16618312)

what arcade makes you pay $60 to get in then makes you pay per game?
There are show like pinballexpo that make use pay to get in but then most of games in there are free to play.

Re:A recipe for poorer service (1)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16623754)

My arcade charges you $400 to get in, and then $59 (plus tax) for each game you want to play. It also charges you a monthly fee for watching ads, and additional game content (like armor for horses) and cheat codes are extra.

But it has high-definition support!!

That made sense (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616538)

But I suspect that when companies like EA push this far enough, and Tiger actually has to stop at the pro shop and buy a box of golf balls using xbox live points before playing, people are going to start pushing back. Hopefully, things will balance out sooner rather than later.

Actually, as a gamer I'm not sure I have a problem with that. It would bring back an element of challenge into games, because suddenly you would have real motivation to not loose balls into that lake...

I know in my heart the idea is evil, but for some reason the gamer in me likes it.

Other evil ideas:

* Sliding payment scale for respawning closer to the flag

* Buy virtual "markers" with limited amounts of "ink" to hand-decorate in-game items.

* Main game is free but you pay for each minigame

* Can purchase time-limited God Mode (I had already read elsewhere about being able to buy what are essentially cheat codes - why not ones that expire?).

Re:That made sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16622074)

* Pay extra for a virtual cart, or be very patient while you have to walk to the ball

That is REALLY EVIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16624892)

However, it'd be pretty cool if the next Unreal Tournament had a mode where you can gamble on duels. I wouldn't mind if the publisher took a (small) cut, either.

Yeah, illegal in the US (blame your senators), and provides way too much motivation for haxxors, therefore never happen. Still, fun idea.

It's a LARGE trailer (1)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615090)

Bandwidth isn't free, even for Microsoft.

Re:It's a LARGE trailer (1)

bryerton (524453) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616238)

And neither is the cost of the game.

I think I almost would like a world where you had to pay to see advertising... be nice to not see any :)

Re:It's a LARGE trailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16620968)

Bittorrent.

Re:It's a LARGE trailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16618752)

Broadcasting isn't free either. We should be paying for the privilege of seeing those ads on television.

Re:It's a LARGE trailer (1)

Klintus Fang (988910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16623818)

exactly. I fully expect that the only reason MS is doing this is because of the BW costs. They'd have nothing to gain by not providing the trailer if doing to was no cost to them (because the trailer stimulates game sales).

Paying customers get access to all content. Non-paying customers don't get access to content that burns large amounts of MS's server BW. Why does this surprise anyone??

fuss over trailers? (1)

mackil (668039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615112)

The gap is widening because trailers aren't available without a gold account? Overblown don't you think? When they start to limit the games you can play, then I think we can have this conversation.

Re:fuss over trailers? (1)

Keeper (56691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616562)

It isn't even that bad. Gold accounts get a time limited exclusive -- Silver users still get access to the content a week later...

Advertisements, Tycho? (1)

Chardish (529780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615126)

It's only really an advertisement if it's designed to expose you to a product you've never been exposed to before and get you interested in it; otherwise it's a promotional material, designed to make those who are already interested in it more interested. This may be quiddling with semantics, but I think it's important when "advertisement" is a loaded word that echoes concepts such as inconvenience and marketing.

Furthermore, if people are willing to pay to see something, it's not exactly an advertisement anymore, is it? It's a product. I don't view this as making Silver customers second-class citizens; I view it as creating more incentives to upgrade to Gold.

Re:Advertisements, Tycho? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16616102)

Similar to the way that if an auto maker made their car randomly die on the freeway if you didn't pay for the 'Emergency Roadside Assistance' feature, they'd be creating more incentives to upgrade to that service.

It's all BS, designed to part the user from their dollar without any recompense. It's not capitalism, it's con artistry.

Re:Advertisements, Tycho? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616162)

How does "promotional material" not echo the concept of marketing? That gears of war trailer is meant to make people want to buy the game. It's not a piece of entertainment. It's not really informative. It doesn't have any sort of story or lesson. You're supposed to watch it and say, "Wow, that looks really cool."

It's been a long time since advertising moved well beyond simply creating awareness of a product's existence. Playing semantic games all you want doesn't change the fact that video game trailers exist to sell more video games. Xbox Live charging people to see their ad isn't necessarily evil, it just seems counter-productive, since after spending all those resources to make your ad, you'll want to get it in front of as many eyeballs as is possible. Add in the fact that it's already possible to get the ad for free other places, and it makes even less sense.

They're not creating more incentives to upgrade to Gold. They're not creating anything. They're taking away something that you used to have unless you'll give them extra money to keep it. I don't think that Tycho really thinks they're being immoral or even unfair with this new change, just that they're taking the lazy route, and it probably won't convince many customers to upgrade (or stay with gold if they already have it).

Entire Microsoft Online Strategy In Shambles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615204)

Long, long ago Microsoft after missing the boat on the Internet and scrambling to try to catch up to the rest of the industry, they envisioned a future where Microsoft acted as a toll-keeper to all Internet traffic. It was clear to Microsoft that they were reaching saturation in their two main monopoly markets, OS and office software, and that one of the few ways that could significantly grow a company already as large as Microsoft was the insanely large amount of revenue that would flow into the company with the regularity of a public utility company.

As we all know those plans didn't work out, but Microsoft has been trying smaller scale versions of their grand Microsoft Network ever since. The online service for the Xbox is probably the final attempt to make some semblance of those original dreams a reality. Nintendo and Sony offering free online gaming for their consoles have really put Microsoft in a desperate position with their forcing players to pay for just being able to play games online.

With the first Xbox Microsoft made some obviously bogus but at least hard number claims for how many actual people were paying each month for the service. With the new Xbox Microsoft is clearly avoiding any mention of how many people are actually paying for the service each month. It is hard to imagine that if the number of people paying for the service went up from the first console that Microsoft would be so reluctant to state hard subscriber numbers and not these useless numbers for free and paid for accounts.

With the comprehensive and free online service Sony has with the PS3 the Xbox 360 community is demanding anywhere from refunds for the money they have spent so far to Microsoft following Sony's lead and doing away with the monthly fees that add up to 200-250 dollars over the life of the console.

Microsoft needs to do something drastic to fix the bind they are in. The online fees the get from 360 owners is one of the main ways they are hoping to offset the losses on the hardware.

Clarification (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615256)

Just to clarify for those who don't know (the summary is a little misleading I think) the GoW trailer in question will be available to Silver subscribers, it just isn't yet. Major Nelson was quoted as saying that this (delayed access to trailers etc for Silver members) will be getting more common place. I haven't yet seen any mention (other than speculation) of plans to actually prevent Silver members getting specific content, and to be honest that would be a big turn around as MS have consistently said that Silver members will get full access to the marketplace. Rather, I think they've realised that trailers and demos are very valuable commodities and having access to them right away will appeal to a certain segment of the userbase, and might encourage them to sign up for Gold.

Not really Microsoft's idea. (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615358)

EA started this with a pay per view of the developers playing Madden. Microsoft is following the idea.

To my knowledge they haven't made anyone buy gold unless they want to play online. It's true they now require gold for one trailer, but the way fanboys are salivating after it. I have a gold account, but I use it once in a while with my buddy, it's not required, but it'll be nice with GOW. I just hope more games do Co-op with it.

Microsoft needs to be careful and keep gold as a feature, not a necessity. Silver accounts are really good, but Gold should be multiplayer only if possible.

No... NO! (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615420)

"When you make people pony up for instant access to ads?"

No...

Must resist...

The urge... the URGE!!!

Can't.. hold... back... any... longer...

OMG P0n13Z!1!!

(Commentary: It is a sad indication of the quality of my life that I find this as amusing as I do.)

For once, I say (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615602)

long live the free market.

I am fully confident that plenty of people will laugh at this new tactic, ignore the GOW trailer, and go on with their lives. Who cares if ALL their trailers have to be paid for? I can use one of my free rental coupons at Blockbuster and play the game when it comes out, and see if it sucks; if not, I'll buy it. Who needs the trailer?

I avoid games that REQUIRE a Gold account to play, and if I need something via Xbox Live, I get live points cards for that. Total anonymity, and no need to pay monthly charges for a Gold account. I'm not into online play so I'm utterly untouchable on that front even if they make online play a pay-per issue. I use my PC to play online. Or I'll get the PS3 for next-gen online action.

I don't know if avoiding it will make it go away, but it makes me immune to it, and I can get around it.

I hope it doesn't lead to.. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615792)

.. patches being released first on Gold, and only a week later on Silver. Granted, I'd prefer games didn't need patches at all, but it seems MS are actually letting games be patched via Live.

First thing? (1)

DeeDob (966086) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616086)

GoW is not really the first content.

I am 100% positive that there were content that was only available for gold members download back during E3, last spring.
This news is just really late... By about 6 months.

Of course all content that was available last E3 has been removed from the marketplace soon after the show's end. I still have some of it's content on my 360's harddrive though.

Free trailer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16617142)

The trail'r ah live in shur wurnt free.

Paying to game (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16617880)

When someone goes on TV and says nobody is on control of the situation, I can _hear_ the long-snouted very large dragons in Redmond atop their hoard grinning their dagger-toothed grins. Control is what they want, and if this plays into Microsoft being able to lean heavily on publishers to enforce what kinds of things can be sold on their marketplace and at what prices, this will be bad for gamers. That said, the microtransactions-in-gaming sphere is very young. Those publishers really are feeling their way around. The Oblivion horse armor was really the first thing of its kind on in the mass-market gaming world of consoles. But what the Lumines guys really did was throw spaghetti at the wall and see if it would stick. You have to admit it's bold, even if I'd agree with those who say they hyped the game as a game, priced it as a game, and then really sold you a demo with many hooks to take more and more money from you. Also keep in mind, though, that publishers are really trying to start forcing American consumers to act in a way they DO NOT ACT IN ANY OTHER MARKETPLACE. I may lack imagination, but I can't think of any digital service where people are willy-nilly making micro purchases. We just don't work that way. As a high-choice market-saturated society we demand options and we demand value for the money we spend. Why else would gamers hold in high regard the number of hours it takes to get through a good game. In what other industry do they have to worry about the depth and replayability of a previous release in a franchise when planning the next one? Certainly not the movies or in music. It's the value, stupid! Value perceived is value achieved. Lumines Live ain't it

Xbox Live Silver was second class from the start (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16618246)

Dude A: Hey, I got an Xbox 360!
Dude B: Cool, I got one too! Do you have racing game X?
Dude A: Yeah, I bought it with my Xbox 360!
Dude B: Cool, log in Xbox Live and we'll race against each other!
Dude A: Ok... hey, it won't let me?
Dude B: Dude, you have to have a gold account to play against other people online!
Dude A: What?! I've been playing non-MMORPG games online against other players for years, WTF is that "gold account required for online multiplayer" crap now? Thanks Microsoft, I'll go play Tetris DS on Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection! FOR FUCKING FREE!

That's the way I feel about it, anyway. Requiring people to have PAID ACCOUNTS to download ADS to HELP THEM SELL MORE GAMES is the stupidest marketing idea I've ever heard. In a while, anyway.

Re:Xbox Live Silver was second class from the star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16624386)

That's pretty funny. I have a DS and love it, but I won't pay £25 for Tetris because I can play it FOR FUCKING FREE on my PC.
MarioKart DS or Outrun 2006 would have been better examples, seeing as they're actually worth it.

Re:Xbox Live Silver was second class from the star (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16628380)

It may be the stupidest marketing idea ever... so what do you think that says about the XBox userbase?

Great response, Microsoft! (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16623448)

Sony: Our online service is free!
Nintendo: Our online service is free!

Microsoft's response?: Not only do you have to pay for the best parts of our service, we're now going to make you pay for the mediocre parts as well!

There goes the whole "XBox Live Gold for free in response to Sony and Nintendo" hypothesis...

Re:Great response, Microsoft! (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16632310)

Sony and Nintendo do not have an online service for their consoles, while Microsoft launched their service 4 years ago. I'm not sure how you can reasonably interperate that as 'Sony and Nindendo have a free online service', it's only free in the sense they don't exist yet.

When the other vendors eventually launch online gaming on their consoles (like Sega did with the Dreamcast over 6 years ago, but that Sony and Nintendo both dismissed as irrelevant) or at least talk openly about what they intend to offer, then it's worth discussing. Until then, it's the same old tired mantra of "Yeah, well when OUR console comes out it will be TWICE as good!" vendors playing catchup have induldged in for about two decades. In reality, most vendors are knowingly deceptive about what they intend to offer, and it's invariably a huge over hyped disappointment. While it's certain all vendors will have an online offering of some sort, it remains to be seen how it will compare against Live.

Coming from a PC gaming background too, I think it's marginally annoying to be charged for the services offered by X-Box live as I'm used to them for free on the PC, but the amount they are charging is peanuts and they are offering some reasonable service with decent content - like demos, previews and community content, the IM service, gamer profiles. The quality of the service is entirely inline with the small annual fee (about 45 UKP a year), it's not as if they are charging 10 UKP a month.

That said, the pricing structure falls down with MMO's though. I think PSO on the 360 will fail by attempting to charge an additional monthly fee as users perceive they are paying twice for the same service. They'd do better to have a Live subscription of a higher level (e.g. more like a 10-15 UKP a month value) that gave you an entitlement to play all MMO games on the 360, and have some way of doing revenue sharing with the publishers based on what services were getting the most use. I think MMO games on all consoles will suffer until a better pricing mechanism is implimented, which is a shame as a lot of console gamers have never played an MMO and are missing out on the experience.

Re:Great response, Microsoft! (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 7 years ago | (#16635174)

Sony and Nintendo do not have an online service for their consoles, while Microsoft launched their service 4 years ago. I'm not sure how you can reasonably interperate that as 'Sony and Nindendo have a free online service', it's only free in the sense they don't exist yet. When the other vendors eventually launch online gaming on their consoles (like Sega did with the Dreamcast over 6 years ago, but that Sony and Nintendo both dismissed as irrelevant) or at least talk openly about what they intend to offer, then it's worth discussing.

They ARE talking openly about what the intend to offer; both the Wii and PS3 online services have been announced to be FREE, no need to pay for the "privilege" of playing online.

That's what touched off the speculation mentioned by the parent about Microsoft possibly having to stop charging for Live. Pay attention.

Re:Great response, Microsoft! (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16635970)

They ARE talking openly about what the intend to offer

No they arn't.

If you disagree, I'd be interested to hear a rebuttle with a detailed description of what both Sony and Nintendo have confirmed about their online gaming platforms. For example, I would love to know more about the friends system, the match paring system, if it has different 'zones' for different types of players, if there will be different subscription levels, and what the abuse mechanism is like (especially if there is no charge for the service - that is how they intend to deter abusive players who've been banned from just creating yet another free account on the spot).

It was just over 7 days ago that Sony even started to give tangible information about the actual online gaming experience (ie. beyond pure speculation from marketing), and even then they have shared it only to selected parties, like the folks at 1UP (who, it's clear from their latest video podcast, still arn't sure what it's going to be like). So far, the browser and that it will have an online store is all we've heard. It turns out we now know Sony's store lists the price of items in straight forward monetary amounts, rather than hiding behind a points system, and that it will interact with your PSP. That's pretty much all we know (and none of that tells us how the online gaming service will actually function).

Nindendo have been conspicuously quiet about the details their offering too, no one knows exactly what they have planned. While are all excited about itwe don't know what it's going to be like yet.

I would add in closing that playing on line *is* a privillage (no quotes needed), it's not a basic human right or anything - it's a service on offer that is charged for. The hosted service that make Live possible is not free to run (even in the case of peer hosted games, Live still matches you with people you know and like, avoids recommending servers where there is someone who you don't want to play with on them, and provides different 'zones' for different types of players). Sure non MMO multiplayer gaming on Windows and the Mac is free once you've bought the game, but they don't offer any of those features (though frankly I'd really like to see zones and a player rating system on all platforms, especially in teamplay games like Battlefield).

It's pretty hard to paint Microsoft in a bad light for charging a small fee for a service that no other vendor is even offering yet. The other vendors have now had 6 years to play catch up to the Dreamcast and despite much hope the PS2 and GB would support online gaming, they didn't (and it's not unreasonable to think that if Microsoft hadn't launched Live 4 years ago - at a time where both Sony and Nindendo were saying, incredibly, they didn't think online gaming was that big a deal - that the incumbants would not have been pushed into coming up with similar offerings).

just wait until "Platinum Memberships" (1)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16624010)


At first there were no "gold" or "silver" accounts. There was simply
X-Box Live and it was widely understood that membership to X-Box Live brought with it
the priveleges of online play.

Then Microsoft created a tiered system where users could pay more to access advertisements for new
games, and pay even more dollars to download 3rd rate games created in 1983.

The problem is that Microsoft has already made it perfectly clear that new content
and new services will always represent additional costs. There is no sense of
"membership priveleges", or that new content creation will come with even a Gold Membership.

For all of Microsoft's suggestions that Xbox LIVE is a content-rich service, the
reality is that Gold Memberships are essentially paid for Internet access.

PC games have better and more diverse online gameplay for a small fraction of the cost.
Demos are always free, and anyone who's played Diablo or Guild Wars has experienced
something that Microsoft will never, ever, ever offer: Free online gameplay.

The trend is clear. Microsoft wants to charge you more and more and offer you less and less.

Platinum Memberships will soon be discussed for even "more" premium content. Or maybe
just the same content previewed a couple weeks in advance.

Re:just wait until "Platinum Memberships" (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16635990)

So, let's see if I can understand your point here. Microsoft is bad because they took a service that was only available to people who paid for it, added a whole bunch of stuff, and made those additions (at least in terms of game demos and videos) available for people who don't want to pay for the service. AND, the fact that they did this is somehow a slippery slope towards forcing people to may more for the service, despite the fact that the price for full Xbox Live [Gold] access hasn't changed while free [Silver] stuff has been added.

Well played!

A buncha freeloaders they are... (1)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16632166)

Standing on the virtual curb with their "Will work for points" signs and their tin cups, panhandling for points... :-P
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