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Xbox Live Cracks 6 Million, Windows Cost Revealed

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the lots-of-uno-played-every-day dept.

XBox (Games) 117

Kotaku offers up a Microsoft press release on the unexpectedly early arrival of 6,000,000 players to the Xbox Live service. Along with some rather odd statistics to pass on (over 2,300,000,000 hours in-game time spent on the network already), there are some very interesting numerical tidbits passed on. An astonishing 70% of Live users have purchased a title from the Xbox Live arcade. Nearly half of all users hit the Marketplace at least once a session. This all has to add up to good news, financially, for Microsoft; but are they overreaching? GameInformer reports on pricing for Live on Windows Vista. Gold-level service is exactly the same as on the Xbox ($19.99 for three months), while Silver is free. Encouragingly, if you're already a Gold member on the 360 the same will be true on your PC. Just the same, the company is now charging for services normally taken for granted as a freebie on the PC platform.

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117 comments

Charging for what was free (4, Insightful)

Froster (985053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260278)

I can't say that I'm too bothered by this. I have had all kinds of headaches with online play over the years, and if Live on Vista works as well as it does on XBOX, then its a welcome change. I think that too often game developers take the online portion of their games for granted because it doesn't generate revenue. Hopefully this is a step forward, not back.

Re:Charging for what was free (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260484)

The problem I have with it is that it's not even charging for what was free, it's charging for less than what was free - you don't get dedicated servers, game servers are hosted entirely by peers.

When extra content from the marketplace has costs of it's own and games are hosted by the clients I have to ask what I actually get for my subscription other than access to the service? If access is all then £40 a year is an extortionate cost.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261140)

What PC game gives you dedicated servers for free? I've never seen one.

MMORPGs, yes... but MMORPGs have dedicated servers on Xbox Live as well.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261436)

Actually, most of the multiplayer FPS's I've played had official servers hosted by the developers/publishers. Granted, these handful of servers aren't nearly enough for everyone when you've got tens of thousands of players, but they do exist. And it does mean that during stages where the game isn't as popular, you've still got those servers to play on when player-made servers are scarce.

And don't forget Blizzard with their Battle.net. That's existed since Warcraft 2 back in the Windows98 days, and it's always been hosted by Blizzard and free.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261614)

I think his point was that it looks like it might be impossible to RUN YOUR OWN dedicated server the way so many other PC games allow you to do, assuming they stick with the traditional "Live" way of doing things. There are thousands of user-run dedicated servers out there for the HL/HL2 series, the UT series, and TONS of other games. Some of them are extremely popular in their communities.

The way live has traditionally worked, you only host a server for a single "match" at which point you can either host another one or search for a game yourself. The major hang-up in this is the added system demands coming from running a server and playing on that server at the same time.

We'll really just have to see what comes out.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263654)

Posting here would be easier if people said what they meant. "Gave me the ability to create a dedicated server for free" is a lot different than "gave me a dedicated server for free."

In any case, I don't see why Xbox Live on PC would change anything. There's nothing technically preventing game companies from making dedicated server versions of their games like they have in the past. I can't say for sure they will, but the grandparent also can't simply declare they won't without any evidence.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265916)

You really don't see why it would change anything?

One word for you. Marketing.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266340)

Warcraft 3/D2/SC (battle.net)? Guild wars?

Although battlenet just arranges for match making and assigns a random "host" if it's not custom maps. Peer Hosting. But most people don't know that or can't even tell. Guild wars provides free servers.

Re:Charging for what was free (3, Insightful)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261384)

The analogy that always come to my mind is this:

Free online gaming is like swimming at the public park. Playing on Xbox Live is like swimming at the gym you pay for.

There's a lot more riff-raff pissing in the pool at the park. The gym pool may not be perfect; but it's a whole lot better, simply because you are forced to pay to use it.

For that reason alone I am willing to pay for Live, and the pool at the gym.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261624)

Not even close. Remember, with Live in most games it's a client that does the hosting. I can't think of even one PC game where you can't put a password on your game when you host it online.

Your analogy might fit somewhat with MMORPGs, (ie. you may find somewhat more riff-raff in free MMO's) but not at all when comparing Live with regular online gaming.

Also, most games that are not client hosted give you some means to create your own private passworded game (ie. Battle.net). Payment not required.

And furthermore, they intentionally make the bar of entry low enough so that everyone who might be interested in online gaming will still be there. The only people this eliminates are some of the more mature who just don't see the sense in paying for something like this. All the griefers and the kids will still be there.

If there's any advantage to a service like this, it's that it centralizes online gaming. You only have one server to log on to, and from there you can see who's online, and who's playing what.

Re:Charging for what was free (2, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262048)

I think you missed the point... On Xbox Live if someone is being rude or obnoxious I can block them, they're not only blocked in that game but every other game I might ever play on the service, they'll be excluded from games I host and the automatic match making will avoid putting us in the same room.

If they're causing more serious problems and I report them, and 9 other people report them as well, then they'll get their account reviewed and banned. They've lost all of their achievements, they've lost their friends list, and all of their other account details but most importantly they'll have to pay another $50 to sign back up. How much do you think the "riff-raff" would be willing to lose before they just go bother people on some free service where they can create new accounts to their hearts content?

I loathed online gaming for the longest time, it was a pain to find quality servers, it was a pain to find people who were my skill level, it was a pain to keep in touch with other gamers, and it was damn near impossible to get all three of those at once. I barely got any enjoyment out of online gaming in comparison to the work involved. I stuck mostly to LAN parties or split screen console games. When Dead or Alive Ultimate came out on the Xbox 1 I wanted to play online against some college friends so I signed up for Xbox Live... after about an hour I couldn't believe how streamlined and simple the whole service was. I've had an Xbox live account for 3 years now and I couldn't be happier with it. I could care less if the server us just one of the peers, I rarely have problems with lag or slowdown (probably because the game is built to handle the load of acting as a server) which is a lot more then I can say for the majority of the "proper" servers I find through the various free methods.

I used to spout off all sorts of crap about how stupid paying for Xbox Live is... bullet listed items with sound arguments and sources... While most of that is still true; and they really aren't doing much, the resultant ease of use the system creates makes playing online with a quality connection, skill matched opponents and plenty of options as easy as just loading the game and picking up the controller. For me, that's worth every last damn penny they charge.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262284)

I think you missed the point... On Xbox Live if someone is being rude or obnoxious I can block them, they're not only blocked in that game but every other game I might ever play on the service, they'll be excluded from games I host and the automatic match making will avoid putting us in the same room.

If they're causing more serious problems and I report them, and 9 other people report them as well, then they'll get their account reviewed and banned. They've lost all of their achievements, they've lost their friends list, and all of their other account details but most importantly they'll have to pay another $50 to sign back up. How much do you think the "riff-raff" would be willing to lose before they just go bother people on some free service where they can create new accounts to their hearts content?
Not really. I just assumed (obviously incorrectly) that pretty much everyone who's played online games already knows that these types of blocking and banning do very little to stop these kinds of people. If they get banned, they buy another game/account/etc. and keep right on doing what they were doing. (No, most of these kinds of "players" really don't care about achievements and friends lists.) And for every one you block, there's five more ready to take his place. And how big is your global ignore list anyway? 50? 100? 500? Because you'll need enough space to block thousands to get rid of every annoying but unbannable player you ever come across.

Or, you could just play a game that allows your clan to host your own dedicated server and split the cost between you. Then you've got full control over it. No need to report anyone - someone's being an asshat, you ban his IP. If he gets another IP and comes back, do it again. Thirty seconds of your time wasted, and he's got to find away to get another IP address every time he wants to come back. Proxies may work well for anonymous web browsing, but they really don't cut it for online gaming.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265210)

Not really. I just assumed (obviously incorrectly) that pretty much everyone who's played online games already knows that these types of blocking and banning do very little to stop these kinds of people.
Really? You're so sure? I'm glad you know how often I run into these types in my daily gaming routine. I play maybe 4 hours a day... at this point on an average week I might block 1... maybe 2 people. I've only had to report maybe 3 people total over the last year. Maybe I'm just playing the wrong games. Obviously it wont get rid of everyone but in my experience it works and works well. There seems to only be so many people that are in my skill range, in my "zone", play the kinds of games I play, and play during the same hours that I play... that narrows the pool down quite a bit, beyond that once you've got 30 or so people on your block list the number of undesirables you encounter plummets to almost nothing. I'm not making some unfounded claim... THIS IS MY ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. The "zone" filtering does wonders too as it seems almost all of the ass hats game in the "underground" zone.

Then you've got full control over it. No need to report anyone - someone's being an asshat, you ban his IP. If he gets another IP and comes back, do it again. Thirty seconds of your time wasted, and he's got to find away to get another IP address every time he wants to come back. Proxies may work well for anonymous web browsing, but they really don't cut it for online gaming.
How is banning someone's IP any different from blocking them on Xbox Live? If someone is in a room with me I push my guide button select their name out of the recent player list and hit the "Avoid this player" option. I never see that person again, not matter what game I play with. If they want to come back they have to drop another $50 to do so, not to mention they wont even know that I've blocked them, the system will just quietly put us in separate lobbies and they're none the wiser.

Or, you could just play a game that allows your clan to host your own dedicated server and split the cost between you.
And if I don't have a clan? I don't know anyone IRL who likes playing the same games I do. I live in the friggin woods, I'm lucky if I can find another gamer nevermind someone who shares my tastes and is at my skill. I turn around games quickly too... I might spend a month with a game before moving on to another. How much work would I have to do to configure a server and find a good group of people to play on it? Are we at relative skill levels to make the game enjoyable without feeling dragged down or pulled along? To me that's a whole lot of time wasted setting up a decent gaming experience when I could just be playing instead. If you're a hardcore gaming group of friends then yeah running your own private server is ideal, but what about people like myself that while I game frequently I really just want to pop online and have a fun casual game with people who aren't so good they annihilate me or people so new they don't even know the basic concepts of playing the game.

Re:Charging for what was free (0)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266242)

Really? You're so sure? I'm glad you know how often I run into these types in my daily gaming routine. I play maybe 4 hours a day... at this point on an average week I might block 1... maybe 2 people. I've only had to report maybe 3 people total over the last year. Maybe I'm just playing the wrong games. Obviously it wont get rid of everyone but in my experience it works and works well. There seems to only be so many people that are in my skill range, in my "zone", play the kinds of games I play, and play during the same hours that I play... that narrows the pool down quite a bit, beyond that once you've got 30 or so people on your block list the number of undesirables you encounter plummets to almost nothing. I'm not making some unfounded claim... THIS IS MY ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. The "zone" filtering does wonders too as it seems almost all of the ass hats game in the "underground" zone.
Fine. Everyone's online experience is different, I'll grant you that. However most people aren't as lucky as you are, even with Live. No, I don't use it myself but I know plenty of people who do.

How is banning someone's IP any different from blocking them on Xbox Live? If someone is in a room with me I push my guide button select their name out of the recent player list and hit the "Avoid this player" option. I never see that person again, not matter what game I play with. If they want to come back they have to drop another $50 to do so, not to mention they wont even know that I've blocked them, the system will just quietly put us in separate lobbies and they're none the wiser.
If the person drops another $50 to get another account, the system might just as quietly put him in the same lobby and the same game with you again, and you would be none the wiser. If you ban someone's IP, pretty much the only way they're getting back on your server is if they find another ISP. That's a great deal more hassle than just dropping another $50 to buy another account.

And if I don't have a clan? I don't know anyone IRL who likes playing the same games I do. I live in the friggin woods, I'm lucky if I can find another gamer nevermind someone who shares my tastes and is at my skill. I turn around games quickly too... I might spend a month with a game before moving on to another. How much work would I have to do to configure a server and find a good group of people to play on it? Are we at relative skill levels to make the game enjoyable without feeling dragged down or pulled along? To me that's a whole lot of time wasted setting up a decent gaming experience when I could just be playing instead. If you're a hardcore gaming group of friends then yeah running your own private server is ideal, but what about people like myself that while I game frequently I really just want to pop online and have a fun casual game with people who aren't so good they annihilate me or people so new they don't even know the basic concepts of playing the game.
Then I really do feel sorry for you. Being "hardcore" is not a requirement to have a clan. In my clan, there's about half a dozen of us that regularly game together, and another dozen or so that show up occasionally. When there's a FPS that we really like, we set up a server for it, for as long as we feel like playing it. Other times we just hang out on TeamSpeak and play our own separate games. Or sometimes we play games like GW. Yeah, we pay to have our own website/game/VOIP server hosted, which costs around $15 a month per person. But that's not even a requirement. It's easy enough to find a place to have a website hosted for free, and use something free like Xfire for text and voice chat. It's about gaming with people you actually get to know, instead of just always playing with 20 more people you never met before.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264882)

"If they're causing more serious problems and I report them, and 9 other people report them as well, then they'll get their account reviewed and banned. They've lost all of their achievements, they've lost their friends list, and all of their other account details but most importantly they'll have to pay another $50 to sign back up. How much do you think the "riff-raff" would be willing to lose before they just go bother people on some free service where they can create new accounts to their hearts content? "

Even 13yr-old yelling racist epithets and talking about mom-rape...to teammates...will still have 5-star ratings because other 13yr-olds find it funny.

The rating system doesn't lower the amount of assholes out there, it just gives you the ability to push them away one-by-one using about 20 seconds each using a menu system(note that you're also not playing while you're going through this). I could care less about the skill-matching because many games well, suck at judging skill. Though it's a nice feature when it works.

But other than this, I too have no problem with Xbox Live's fee. Primarily because of the friend system. It performs better at unifying friended gamers than the other services that attempt the same. Of course it has the advantage of being directly designed into the platform rather than being a 3rd party add-on like the PC services, but there it is. There are places it could improve(like having saved invite lists rather than picking through each time) but it works well.

50 dollars over a year is trivial, and I appreciate the value. I find myself using it as a phone to talk with my friends when we're playing different games or not playing at all. There are other ways we can do this, it's just convenient.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265462)

Well you're right that the rating system doesn't really help much at all for weeding out the undesirables. I was more referring to the report system (not to be confused with the prefer/avoid rating system). I've spoken to an actual XBL employee about it and if an account gets 10 or more reports a real person will sit in on a game or two to see if the reports are founded and take appropriate action

I even recall playing UNO one night and there was a guy in there, he seemed a little rough around the edges... we were all just having a conversation about various things and joking with each other. Someone dumped a whole bunch of cards on him and he said "Awe, you Ni...." and stopped himself. He then said "Sorry, I can't say that word anymore because I got my XBL account banned for a month for that stuff and if I get reported again it's canceled for good." It made me smile, because it was proof that the system was working, and took someone who would normally spout off raciest vulgarities and turned them into a someone worth playing with.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262316)

Spoken like someone who has never played on Live, and set up a 'Player Match'.

No passwords required, because you already know who your friends are.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263556)

Oh no, you caught me. Nope, I've never actually played on Live.

And guess what. I'm never going to.

It's not really that hard to figure out what it does and does not do without actually using it. There's plenty of information out there about it, and there's plenty of free online gaming services (not to mention MMORPGs where your money actually gets you someone hosting a game server for you as well) that are similar enough to figure out what advantages and disadvantages Live might have.

There's nothing Live has to offer that I need/want that's not available in a free program that works better already than Live ever will. I'm sure it's nice for some people to have that all centralized in one clunky interface, but personally I just don't see a reason to pay a fee for something like that.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264700)

No problem, Live isn't for everyone.

But when you spread mis-information about not being able to create private games I think it is important that somebody post a correction.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266032)

Where did I say you can't create private games with Live? Oh, that's right. I didn't.

What I did say is that that being able to create private games is not a benefit exclusive to Live. Most PC multiplayer games already have that option.

Re:Charging for what was free (2, Insightful)

Saige (53303) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262606)

It's actually NOT charging for what was free.

The PC, until now, doesn't have the Xbox Live model. There is no persistent identity from game to game, no gamer profile that sticks with people that allows you to look at someone else and see what games they play. The idea of a "friends list" is either per game, or you're talking about IM. If you're in the middle of one PC game, and your friends want you to come play with them in another, is there a simple way for them to send you a game invite that you can accept that will end the current game, start the new one, and go right into the game they're in? What about playing cross platform between the PC and the Xbox?

There are quite a few things that Xbox Live does that just aren't really there in any coherent form on the PC. Whether or not it catches on with the PC is to be seen.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263724)

One word:

Steam.

Re:Charging for what was free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18264690)

One word:

Fucking pile of steaming shit.

Ok, 5, but you get the point

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264200)

The PC, until now, doesn't have the Xbox Live model. There is no persistent identity from game to game, no gamer profile that sticks with people that allows you to look at someone else and see what games they play. The idea of a "friends list" is either per game, or you're talking about IM. If you're in the middle of one PC game, and your friends want you to come play with them in another, is there a simple way for them to send you a game invite that you can accept that will end the current game, start the new one, and go right into the game they're in? What about playing cross platform between the PC and the Xbox?
It's called Xfire. No, you can't jump from one game right into another, but it's going to be a few years yet before PCs can do that anyway, Vista Live or not.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264580)

It's called Xfire.


Does it work for single player games too?

I love that I can be playing a single player game, and then see a friend sign in and be able to go multiplayer.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265986)

Yes. It even works for Windows Solitaire. Hard to get much more single-player than that.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265552)

I have to agree that paying for XBL does seem like a rip off when PS3 and Wii are offering free online service. Then you play PS3 and Wii and you realize that paying $50 a year for XBL is worth it. It would be a problem if the PS3 and Wii would step it up.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261024)

Just the same, the company is now charging for services normally taken for granted as a freebie on the PC platform.

Like this pointless (and incorrect) dig at Microsoft for no reason at the end of the article.

No, no PC game offers what Xbox Live offers. Sorry. You can find individual games that offer some of the features, but most of the entire point of Xbox Live is that you have the same friends list across every game you play, which is not true of any PC games. Additionally, it does a great job of removing griefers and cheaters from the game ecosystem, again, across every game you play. That means if someone is found cheating at Gears of War and they get caught, you don't have to worry about that same cheater later showing up in Prey. And the (almost trivially small) charge discourages that cheater from creating a new account and getting caught again. Plus, Xbox Live guarantees the games tracking server will be up as long as the Live service exists. Which is almost certainly much longer than most PC game trackers remain up otherwise.

Xbox Live does provide a valuable service at a reasonable cost. While the services it offers are normally taken for granted, they also come in a bunch of different disjoint packages... sure Skype lets you leave voicemails for people (I think), but you can't really use it in game. Sure TeamSpeak works in game, but it doesn't integrate with the built-in Unreal Tournament 2004 speech system. Sure World of Warcraft gets rid of griefers, but those griefers can just show up in Everquest 2 the next day with a fresh history.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

Dred_furst (945617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262368)

"Charging for what was free"

shouldn't this be "Charging for what is free"

A prime example is valve software's steam platform, you get access to multi player, content delivery and everything minus the subscription, plus the range of games keeps growing fast. you pay for just the games (i.e. the retail price or less), not for logging in.

Re:Charging for what was free (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263588)

Wait a minute. I thought the "silver" version was for demos and online access, and store purchases, but no online gaming.. Why T. Eff. would a computer need a "silver" service?!?! My computer does these things just fine already, thanks. Am I missing something here? I don't care about tracking "achievements" over several different games. Why would i? Oh look, i beat halo 2 two years ago, and now I'm playing WoW. What a diverse and complete gamer profile i have! Blech. Keep your XBL off my computer.

Lets See How Long This Lasts (1)

lupine_stalker (1000459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260294)

the company is now charging for services normally taken for granted as a freebie on the PC platform.

 
I'm not sure the many thousands of people playing online right now would be keen to pay for traditionally free multiplayer components just so people can settle the whole "keyboard/mouse vs gamepad" debate. I like the idea of Windows Live Anywhere overall, but Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot (for massive damage) by making the unwashed masses pay.

Re:Lets See How Long This Lasts (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262014)

I'm not sure the many thousands of people playing online right now would be keen to pay for traditionally free multiplayer components just so people can settle the whole "keyboard/mouse vs gamepad" debate. I like the idea of Windows Live Anywhere overall, but Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot (for massive damage) by making the unwashed masses pay.

Are you kidding? I wouldn't do it for long, but I'd pay for Xbox live just to enjoy the satisfaction of joining a game with a bunch of joypadders and vaporizing them all with der maus und keyboard. But frankly if they have any clue they won't merge PC and Console FPS play.

Re:Lets See How Long This Lasts (1)

amohat (88362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266856)

Why can't the 360 support a keyboard and mouse again? They have USB and wireless support in the hardware, and there might be some compatibility issues, but get the right one (official kit, overpriced but quality) and bam, there is no difference! Sales through the roof.

Sure games would have to support m&k options, but wtf why don't they? RTS games *need* keyboards, among other genres. Key binding, quick text chats...it's a goddamn travesty that these next-gen boxes are joystick only. (reason enough to hack the hell out of them)

So, in conclusion: all the hardware is there, just need some software updates to make it happen and PC gaming is taking another ass-kicking.

(and we know now just how sneakily/transparently MS updates "their" 360's...through Live or through playing new games if offline?!? Spooky...)

Re:Lets See How Long This Lasts (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266970)

Why can't the 360 support a keyboard and mouse again? They have USB and wireless support in the hardware, and there might be some compatibility issues, but get the right one (official kit, overpriced but quality) and bam, there is no difference! Sales through the roof.

If it was like former Microsoft keyboards and mice, it would be overpriced and with no quality.

Sure games would have to support m&k options, but wtf why don't they? RTS games *need* keyboards, among other genres. Key binding, quick text chats...it's a goddamn travesty that these next-gen boxes are joystick only. (reason enough to hack the hell out of them)

Well, I agree. But this won't add mouse/kb support to older games, which is probably as good a reason not to do it as any. It would piss people off.

So, in conclusion: all the hardware is there, just need some software updates to make it happen and PC gaming is taking another ass-kicking.

I think the primary reason that they don't do this is that there's not enough money in selling mice and keyboards. Clones would come out within the week and they would cost 10% as much.

For what do we have to pay? (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260300)

Considering the fact that microsoft games are very few why we have to pay the same fee of xbox live for much less game, but maybe the right question is why we have to pay for play online? we have already paid 50-60 euros for the game, WoW costs 5 euros and you also get some free weeks also lineage2 it's totally free to download you just pay the monthly fee. And why we have to pay for trailers and demo too? we can get them for free

For Microsoft to make money. (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260562)

Are you seriously asking a question? If I can give a free service to 10,000 people, or give paying service to 1,000 people... where do you think I make more profit? Dont really need to hear about "losing customers" because the "x-box" fans are going to buy x-box no matter what (well, pretty much). I cant believe people are actually asking why Microsoft is making them pay... on Slashdot... wtf...

Re:For what do we have to pay? (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260652)

Who pays for trailers and demos?

Re:For what do we have to pay? (2, Interesting)

Obsi (912791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260742)

Everyone who ever legitimately purchased Windows paid for a beta/demo.

Re:For what do we have to pay? (2, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261150)

Nobody. Those are free over Live Silver, and Silver accounts are free.

Good attempt to flame Microsoft for no reason, though! Don't let those silly things like "facts" get in the way!

Re:For what do we have to pay? (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261236)

i'm not really sure about trailers, but there are some demo for gold members only

Re:For what do we have to pay? (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262202)

There are no "gold member only" demos. The most you get are demos that hit Gold members earlier than they do Silver, usually by about 3-4 days.

Re:For what do we have to pay? (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263938)

Those are free over Live Silver, and Silver accounts are free.


A 'silver account' is barely an account at all; all they give you for 'silver' is the ability to walk into the store. Awfully kind of them.



And very telling that they don't bust out the number of Gold subscribers vs Silver.

Games for Windows (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265918)

Considering the fact that microsoft games are very few why we have to pay the same fee of xbox live for much less game, but maybe the right question is why we have to pay for play online? we have already paid 50-60 euros for the game, WoW costs 5 euros and you also get some free weeks also lineage2 it's totally free to download you just pay the monthly fee. And why we have to pay for trailers and demo too? we can get them for free
Welll..

A) Microsoft is starting a new labeling scheme they call "games for windows" where they certify games as of reasonable quaility, within the bounds of the MS standardized control scheme, and capable of working with Xbox Live. So what you are paying for is access to that community of members, including ladder boards and a bare handful of competitions. You also get to accrue "gamer points" apparently a new way to measure penis length.

B) I have no idea what you mean by "pay to download trailers and demos" those are free when I download them off live.. and they're just as free for silver (non-paying) accounts. It's a good service, it makes it easy (stupid easy) to find quick pick-up games online.

I'm not a big fan of M$ generally, but I've been really happy with the 360 and Live.. and of course I get more out of it if more of you join, so I'm willing to talk it up a bit. (more people = more opponents = faster match finding)

-GiH

Oh man... (1)

js92647 (917218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260306)

... whoever is monitoring the amount of text messages sent (and what they contain) is probably thinking, "What the fuck is wrong with these kids?"

Windows Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260318)

Seriously, what a misleading title, or at the very least ambiguous.

Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (1)

CelticLo (575344) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260362)

...I had to create a second xbox live account so my friends who came over to play Gears of War splitscreen.

Re:Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (5, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260494)

Whilst you're right in that temporary accounts make the total user base figure look less impressive, the original post also states:

"An astonishing 70% of Live users have purchased a title from the Xbox Live arcade."

Which is a figure that to be fair on MS, gets more impressive when dummy accounts are taken into consideration.

Re:Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260878)

However the article linked to makes no reference to that though it states: "Xbox LIVE Arcade has been an instant hit on the Xbox 360, with nearly 70% of all connected consoles already downloading and playing Xbox LIVE Arcade titles." - this does not necessarily mean purchased, you can download trial games.

Re:Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261202)

Also note that "connected consoles" is not the same as "subscribers" or even "users".

Re:Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262068)

The actual wording from the press release is "...with nearly 70% of all connected consoles already downloading and playing Xbox LIVE Arcade titles." Downloading and playing does not necessarily mean purchasing, as every Xbox live Arcade game has a downloadable demo.

Re:Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (1)

Doodlepants (646546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262424)

If anyone is like my friend, who has created at least 5 different silver accounts, that would mean that there is at least 1.2M users on LIVE ?!? I'm impressed. Don't you hate bloated figures like this ? Just like the "10.4M X360 sold" makes you wonder what the real number is when the return rate is so HUGE. Everyone I know is at least at his/her 2nd or more X360 because they fail with some horror stories to up to 4 ! )

Re:Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260564)

...I had to create a second xbox live account so my friends who came over to play Gears of War splitscreen.
It doesn't have to be a live account - you can make a new account local to the Xbox and play split-screen with that. (And attach that account to Live later if you want, preserving the achievements.)

But you're right, there's tales of people creating accounts half-way around the world to get access to region restricted content and downloads. But I doubt there's that many.

Re:Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (1)

anduz (1027854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260608)

You had to create a second account to play splitscree, yes. But it didn't have to be a live account.

Re:Gears of War made me skew the figures up... (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263310)

...I had to create a second xbox live account so my friends who came over to play Gears of War splitscreen.
I also keep a second account... but not just for gears. Ever since Halo2 came out, and they created a distinction between free play vs. ranked (have be be gold member) play. I want to play in ranked matches. I want to play with my friends. An extra $7 a month +/- is practically nothing for the privledge of enjoying these great games with my friends.

That's my take on it.

-GiH

I hope Live on PC doesn't stick... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260504)

I know there are throngs of people who enjoy WoW and the like, but I really don't like the idea of paying for a game after I buy it, and I hope that developers don't jump at the opportunity to do this on the PC. It seems like all Vista is doing is bringing death and destruction to gaming on the PC. Games for Windows my ass.

Re:I hope Live on PC doesn't stick... (2, Informative)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260576)

For MMOs I can understand a subscription model. I pay for website hosting on a monthly basis, so I don't see a real issue with paying for 'EVE Online hosting'. Either would be meaningless without the 'online' part of the service.

However I also object to paying just to be able to use games online. I mean, the 'service' of finding matches with another player, and have your local bandwidth/computer systems take up the load, I consider a mandatory part of a game with 'online content' and one that should be bundled in the initial purchase price.

If I'm paying £40 for a game, I expect it to be either mostly standalone, at which point the online service is a minor thing, and therefore should be a small fraction of that cost, and built in, or the online part to be the major component, and therefore also included in the initial cost, since it's otherwise 'not fit for purpose'.

I'll make an exception for MMOs, as they literally don't work offline, however I still consider it unreasonable to charge for both content _and_ time spent playing. Free game + sub seems reasonable. Expensive game + no sub also seems reasonable. The exact model I'd say depends a lot on the replayability of the game in question.

Re:I hope Live on PC doesn't stick... (2, Interesting)

anduz (1027854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260634)

I agree with what you're saying, but the sad truth is that some games just don't deliver a working online part. I remember countless times where a couple of friends and I were heading for an online gaming session in whatever, that turned out to be a load of frustrations because the online service just didn't work.

If that is the alternative, then I sure hope live catches on on windows aswell. More so because I own an xbox, and it'd be nice to play from that with friends of mine who can actually afford hardware that is useful under vista. :p

Re:I hope Live on PC doesn't stick... (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261438)

My only concern about MMOs is what happens when they die. In Diablo 2 there was always the single player if the network was dead or for whenever Battle.net is gone. When blizzard decides it's time to end WoW, where do the characters go? Is all that invested time completely kaput? Will Blizzard provide some method of downloading character information?

It's all fun, I'm just a save file packrat and the idea that I won't be able to go back and revisit the fun makes me sad.

Re:I hope Live on PC doesn't stick... (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261750)

My guess is that as the number of players dwindle, they'll start combining servers, until eventually they get down to one. And then once the number of players drops below a certain point, to where it becomes much too cost-prohibitive to keep that last server running they'll shut that down too. This is of course assuming a company that's still active and working on new games, as opposed to a game that got shut down because the company went bankrupt.

PC Online is very different than Console Online (2, Interesting)

cdneng2 (695646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260624)

Microsoft is doing what they've always been trying to do. Just because it's had success in one area, it tries to push it's product in a totally unrelated area expecting the same success.

I have to say that Xbox live is really well done. However, it's successful because it's the only game in town on the Xbox and 360.

On the PC, there's a plethora of games out there that allow you to play online for free after you purchase it. I can see if my friends are online to play against via IM, Yahoo Messenger, Googletalk, ICQ. I can email them and chat with them. I can VOIP with them. I can download game demos from many sites. I can download videos from many sites.

What can Xbox live offer me that I can't get for free online? Gamerpoints? I can play with UNO with people on Live?

Honestly, if I have Halo 2 for the PC, who is still playing Halo 2 on the Xbox? Halo 3 will be on the 360 by that time, so all those Halo 2 PC gamers will just be playing against someone else who has Halo2 on the PC.

Re:PC Online is very different than Console Online (2, Insightful)

screamingdreaming (1072758) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260766)

let's not kid ourselves. no one i know bought the xbox to play dashboard games or to frak around with the other "content" or bells and whistles it offers. i've never seen anyone play the dashboard games other than secondary users like girlfriends and non-gamer types who are passing the time while the gamer is doing something else. the *only* reason i bought a Live account is to be able to play Gears online and maybe Halo2 sometimes. i'm not interested in anything else MS has to offer and all the logging in, profiling, clicking around trying to find this or that, etc, just takes away from length of my gaming time (which is inversely proportional to my age, it seems). also, i think the Live interface is clunky, counter-intuitive and needlessly bloated, just like most MS products. it's an added insult that we have to pay to simply connect up a few clients over internet to play. Tribes and Tribes2 were both games so much ahead of their times in this respect...the interface told you what you needed to know, had friend management and real-time server/ping updates and was frakking FREE (and i'm not talking about the Tribes2 browser feature nobody used, just the server/game listing). so, in a nutshell, MS has done what corporations are good at doing: inserted a needless layer of crap into an experience that would otherwise still work without it, just so they could charge for it (i say this about gaming and corporate operations, ever notice how big companies insert layers of middle management everywhere to "streamline" things?).

Re:PC Online is very different than Console Online (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263566)

Hooray for Anecdotal Evidence!

Small Arms gets as much play time on my 360 as GoW and Halo2. So lets not kid ourselves. Everyone has live accounts to download and play dashboard games. ALL my friends did, so it has to apply to everyone!

Re:PC Online is very different than Console Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260822)

Halo 2 won't offer xbox-vs-PC play anyway. The Shadowrun shooter will, but a) it's Vista exclusive and I have lot more friends to play against who use Windows XP (10 or so) than Xbox Live (0), b) the UI is supposedly gimped on PC so you e.g. don't get hotkeys and c) does anyone care about that game anyway?

Re:PC Online is very different than Console Online (1)

SquareVoid (973740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262580)

You are not looking at this from the right angle here. What Microsoft is offering is a platform. This is what Live is. And if the Live platform for the 360 is as successful as they say it is, why wouldn't a developer leverage it? A developer would be tapping into over 6 million subscribers.

The choice to go to Live for games is not yours to make anymore, it is put squarely on the developers. If a game comes out that uses Live and you want it, then you will be using Live or you will not be playing the game.

Halo PC Online going strong (1)

Markavian (867505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262936)

Halo 1 on the PC still has a strong on-line presence, ~800 active users at any one time? I bought an Xbox, with Halo 2, and stopped playing it because I got frustrated. Sure, I loved the maps and the weapons and it has a fantastic matching system, but hey... the traditional server system that Halo PC uses works for me.

I play it -almost- every night. I find a subscription service to Xbox hard to justify considering the amount of time I play on consoles. They're just too inconvenient compared to PCs, but that's down to life-style I guess.

Does this figure represent XBL Gold accounts? (2, Insightful)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260786)

Or by online gamers do they include Silver members downloading something?

A PC is not a gilded cage (4, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260810)

Microsoft can get away with that kind of shit on the XBox 360 because it is a closed system. Everything that runs on it must be approved by MS and meet their platform specifications. MS control what runs, how you buy it and how you play it. Want to chat online with your friends? Screw you pay MS. Want to set up a game? Screw you pay MS. Want to "exclusive content"? Screw you pay MS.

The same is not true on PC (much though MS would wish otherwise). There are countless online systems available, and countless ways that games use those systems or integrate with their own. I really don't see many companies being interested in this unless MS waves a big fat paycheck under their nose. The Valves, Blizzards and NCSofts of this world aren't suddenly going to dump their products just because MS is trying to muscle in. And I don't see the likes of Gamespy or XFire disappearing either unless MS engage in some extremely anticompetitive behaviour to kill them off.

In fact I see next to no reason for users to be interested either. Unless you own a 360 already and therefore get Windows Live Gold for free, where is the incentive. What is so compelling about the MS service to justify forking out $50 to use it when the same can be had for free elsewhere?

It's "Games For Windows" (1)

LordJezo (596587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261664)

That whole "Everything that runs on it must be approved by MS and meet their platform specifications" thing you mention about Xbox and what runs on it? Well, that's Games For Windows now on the PC. MS has put out a whole set of specifications that developers need to support in order to get the tag. No tag? Less advertisement, less official support, maybe less shelf space on the stores. I bet PC Windows Xbox Live (whatever) support will be added onto the list of things games need to offer in order to be officially tagged with the logo.

Re:It's "Games For Windows" (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261838)

I'm sure they'd like to do that, but that's just *begging* for another antitrust suit.

The requirements as they stand on MSDN now (2, Informative)

LordJezo (596587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261976)

From the MSDN site on Games for Windows:
Games for Windows: Technical Requirements [microsoft.com]

* 1.1 Games Explorer Integration
* 1.2 Support Parental Controls
* 1.3 Support Rich Saved Games
* 1.4 Support the Xbox 360 Common Controller for Windows
* 1.5 Support Multiple Aspect Ratios and Resolutions
* 1.6 Support Launch from Windows Media Center
* 1.7 Direct3D Support

It's only a matter of time before we get a 1.8 Windows Live Gold support

Re:A PC is not a gilded cage (2, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262410)

What is so compelling about the MS service to justify forking out $50 to use it when the same can be had for free elsewhere?

The same reason it's always been to fork over $50 for Xbox Live - quality of service.

You've listed only one pro for PC multiplayer, and that is the free-ness (as in beer) of it all. Personally I can think of a couple more:

- Support for user mods.
- Text chatting... but that's more a hardware difference than a service one.

Allow me to explain why I believe Xbox Live is worth every penny:

- Global friends lists and enemies lists: Every single game I play on the service is tied to the same friend and foe lists. If I meet a very annoying player, I can blacklist him, making sure I do not get paired up with him *ever again* in *any game that I play*.
- Tighter profanity control: When I get on CS I am hit with a wall of prepubescent vulgarity. On Xbox Live users that swear excessively get bad reviews, are less likely to get paired up with you. At the extreme end there is an active system that will ban such players. With free PC multiplayer everything is at the server level. For every vulgar n00b that gets banned off a particular server there's a million more just waiting to log in.
- Skill based rankings: Ever notice in online shooters that the scoreboard always has a few top players that duke it out, while everyone is just cannon fodder? On Live the TrueSkill system will attempt to place you with others of similar skill, ensuring that as you improve your game so do your opponents. Gunning down hapless newbies isn't fun for too long, nor is getting your ass handed to you every time you spawn.
- Guaranteed availability: This one is not intrinsically unique to Live, but I've yet to see a PC game do this well. On PC I'd surf huge lists of servers to pick the game I wanted. This I find annoying but necessary - there are a ridiculous number of laggy servers out there, if I don't manually pick one odds are it's going to suck. On XBL I can trust the "Quick Match" feature to put me in a good game. Many on PC have tried, all that I have seen have failed.
- Instant join for friends and games: I turn on my Xbox. My buddy John is playing Gears of War. He sees me come online through a quick message on his screen. He pauses his game, hits his menu, and bam, he's invited me to play. Networks like Steam have this feature also, but... how many games does Steam have again (especially just counting the ones that people care about)? XBL enables this feature across the board for *every game you play*.
- Play type preference: On XBL there are 3 "zones" of play: Rec, Pro, and Underground. These zones have slightly different rules, and are designed to segregate casual gamers from competitive ones. Some people play some games religiously and demands squad tactics from all their fellow players. Others are just there to unwind and shoot aliens. On a PC I've run into this problem repeatedly. The only solution is to bookmark servers that you know fits your play "style"... Both time consuming and annoying. Of course popular servers tend to fill up, so you're right back to "refresh server list, find good server... attempt to join".

I can't think of much else off of my tired, groggy head. But there are plenty of reasons to go from free online play to paid services. As long as you're getting your money's worth.

Re:A PC is not a gilded cage (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264484)

If you're the kind of gamer who's only got a couple of friends and you always just play on pub servers, I suppose what you listed might be somewhat beneficial. But if you're a gamer who's part of a clan, or are part of a group of gamers that you always play with and have gamed with for years, then the Live system actually hinders more than it helps.

Why I like my dedicated server: (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267218)

I have a spoiled rich kid friend who has a nice Xeon server that we set up in his mom's basement. We hold small LAN parties there -- 8-10 people.

So, locally, we have no lag. People over the Internet can still connect and play with us, but we all have pings of 0-5, and a few of us have admin rights.

Personally, I don't think it's as fun to give someone a bad review on Xbox Live as to pimp-slap them around the map for swearing -- or turn them into a Llama (so everything they say gets turned into random textual and auditory sound effects). Or take that camper -- you can give them a bad case of gas, so you can hear them farting from 20-30 feet away.

Find a good server that does that to the morons, and especially if it's a dedicated, 24/7 Linux server, you can bookmark it and always come back to it. Xbox Live, last I tried, was probably 50% "bridging", so if you bridge yourself (ensuring you only hook up with legit people), it can take 5-10 minutes to find a game. And you can't immediately go back into the same game -- when the round is over, you go back into Matchmaking, and you may or may not get someone with a good server. Counter-Strike? Bookmark a good server and stay there for hours. Good != popular, btw -- just has to have enough people to play.

Or have a clan and a clan server. Guaranteed to always have good ping, and always have a slot, and always challenging opponents to play against.

Oh, and Steam does actually have a fair number of games, they're just mostly small-ish ones.

But then, I don't play this kind of game often enough to care that much, and when I do, it's that LAN party.

Re:A PC is not a gilded cage (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262804)

Xbox Live is an accessible revolution in online gaming. Where is it stated that Microsoft is not allowed to make a smooth, streamlined premium online environment? They're taking something disjointed and hit-or-miss, the current online gameplay model- which is a pain in the ass and generally leads players to play a smaller scope of online games. Xbox Live is extremely centralized and socially-centered, allowing players to easily match up with anonymous gamers in a fairly smooth environment, make friends, and play a large variety of games across genres with ease.

It's an online gaming solution, just because it's Microsoft doesn't make it wrong.

Any of you who have worked with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo in console gaming know that Microsoft has excellent development support for game devs- so the whole "everything must be approved by MS" argument is simply invalid. An extra level of QA and support is actually a benefit to developers.

I've personally had an excellent experience working on Xbox 360 titles with Microsoft, especially compared to Sony.

Re:A PC is not a gilded cage (1)

KaiserSoze (154044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263668)

You're paying to get access to the network of other players Microsoft now has at their disposal. Nothing more, nothing less.

Re:A PC is not a gilded cage (1)

DudemanX (44606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263954)

Agreed. Most of the people that are posting about the massive benefit that Live gives them but would probably be just as happy running the free XFire [xfire.com]. Live may do a bit more, but not $80 a year more. I'd rather buy more games.

Re:A PC is not a gilded cage (1)

Anonymous Cow herd (2036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265470)

I disagree. I've played around with and used a lot of different matchmaking/community software including XFire, Steam, All Seeing Eye, Ventrilo, Gamespy Arcade, and a few others that I don't remember by now. Steam was probably one of the most promising but suffered from slow adoption, by gamers and by developers/publishers. XBL was the only service that feels like it's worth the money... slick interface, excellent integration into games, good matchmaking, leaderboards, achivements, profile. I would liken Xbox Live to say, a Blizzard game... almost never revolutionary; but instead producing a highly polished best-of-breed product for a given genre.

Re:A PC is not a gilded cage (2, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265632)

In fact I see next to no reason for users to be interested either. Unless you own a 360 already and therefore get Windows Live Gold for free, where is the incentive. What is so compelling about the MS service to justify forking out $50 to use it when the same can be had for free elsewhere?
What Xbox Live offers is not available for free anywhere else. It is not available for money anywhere else!

If I play a game with someone that I like, I can instantly get a list of the games they play online cross references with the games that I play online, tag them as a friend - I can be notified in-game when they log on and log off, And with in 3 seconds invite them to the game I am hosting while I am still playing. Or, when I log in, I can go to my list of friends, see what they are playing right now, and instantly join their game sessions if they have open slots. All of this functionality is integrated with the game itself.

If I don't like a person I am playing with, I can tag them as someone I don't like, and when I search for game sessions, the games that they are playing in won't show up in my list (nor will they be able to join the games I am hosting). And if they are being assholes, yelling racist slurs or whatever (which is super common in online play on the PC), I can report them - and a microsoft employee will investigate, listen to audio to see if the person was actually saying stuff that violates the TOS, and ban the player (and that account is tied to their credit card and xbox serial number, so it is no small thing to create another account).

And, voice chat is a standardized part of online play. Everyone on xbox live is expected to have voice chat hardware, and the functionality is integrated with the game and the system. Everyone playing is able to communicate via voice, the voice settings are part of the game session settings (I can set if I want dead players to be allowed to speak with live players in the same menu where I set respawns, for example... in some games you can set if opposing teams are allowed to communicate or if all communications are in-team).

I gave up online gaming on the PC for online gaming with xbox live, because there is nothing like xbox live on the PC. If I had to go back to online gaming PC style, I would just give up online gaming. I would pay $100 a year for xbox live, never mind $50 a year.

Re:A PC is not a gilded cage (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267042)

Actually, I strongly suspect Valve would cooperate with them. After all, what reason did they have for making Source run on DirectX -- especially when it's a fork of the original Half-Life code, which did run well on OpenGL -- other than because the company was founded by a bunch of ex-Microsoft guys?

Blizzard would certainly say "Fuck you, MS, if they're paying anyone, it's us." But Valve might just bend over because they like it.

Seems like a ripoff (0, Troll)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261468)

I have an XBOX360, and a Gold membership- but the fact is that I'm probably going to cancel my membership soon, because I was thinking to myself just the other day that it's really kind of a ripoff. It's touted as an easy-to-use, unified, quality-controlled service for online play, but my experience has been quite the opposite.
I don't play online extensively, but the few times that I have tried to load up a game online, I've found that half of the time I join a "game" where no game is actually taking place, just some people standing around- or the server goes down minutes after I join. When the games do start, they have a tendency to be laggy and unreliable- since they are all hosted on home broadband connections.
Not specific to XBOX Live, but the quality of players is abysmal as well. I wouldn't mind the technical issues so much if I had ever found a friendly game- unfortunately the only people on xbox live seem to be 13 year olds who's vocabularies consist entirely of the words: ghey, pwn, fuck, and asshole.
The market place is a bit better- and worth it since you don't have to pay for the right to buy stuff from the marketplace. I've paid for a few things (mostly stuff for Oblivion), but the selection in the xbox live arcade seems overpriced and unimpressive.
I haven't tried online play with the PS3 or the Wii yet (no wii games even support online play yet AFAIK, and the only PS3 game I have that supports it so far is Resistance- I'm not about to subject myself to playing a FPS online, though I suspect that I may play Motor Storm online once I pick it up in a couple of weeks) but both have suprior online catologues IMHO. The Virtual Console has a steadily growing collection of gems which, although overpriced IMHO, are hard to overlook even if you already have the ROMS. The Wii also does the best job of any of the consoles in making online part of the experience, with integrated messaging, as well as things like the internet, everybody votes, and weather channels. The Playstation Network on the PS3 also has a few things going for it- at least I haven't found it nearly as convoluted as everyone tries to make it out to be. I've bought more for the PS3 online than for any of the other consoles- that might be because of the lack of real games for the PS3 so far- but it also seems to have the best selection of new good games at a reasonable price ($20 for tekken seemed a bit high, but $10 for GripShift and Fl0w didn' seem too bad, and $4.99 for PS1 games for the PSP isn't a bad deal, I've paid for a few of those, although I do wish that I had the option of playing them on the PS3 as well as the PSP).

Re:Seems like a ripoff (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261908)

Couple of quick comments on your PS3 comments. Fair criticisms, but a few points I want to make.

the only PS3 game I have that supports it so far is Resistance- I'm not about to subject myself to playing a FPS online, though I suspect that I may play Motor Storm online once I pick it up

Every game I have for the PS3 supports online - Resistance, Blazing Angels, Ridge Racer 7, MLB2k7. The online experiences vary with each, but the connections are consistent. The only game I've experienced lag in was Ridge Racer 7, and it was pretty bad. It only happens once in a while when someone in Japan is hosting (I'm in the US, so a little lag is understandable). I've only seen lag in Resistance once in 50 matches, and that was a 40 player game and the lag was just a small jump of a player. It was hardly noticeable and I had two other laptops going on the same wireless connection at the time. All in all, I'm very satisfied with the PS3 online experience.

The Playstation Network on the PS3 also has a few things going for it- at least I haven't found it nearly as convoluted as everyone tries to make it out to be.

The interface is pretty easy to ignore and I hardly use the friends options. However, I have noticed a few inconsistencies. The biggest thing is that Resistance doesn't seem to populate the Recent Players list on the PS3 XMB, so it's difficult to match up with players you meet in that game. Most of the others I've played around with - Blazing Angels and Full Auto 2 - work well with the XMB. Games have been easy to find and join in all games, and the integration with online is seamless in many of them - RR7 especially is pretty transparent between the network and game itself. You can easily upload race times after a race and the streaming updates on track times and rankings on the main menu is pretty cool as well. I think that this kind of thing is going to become the norm in PS3 games to the point where you can't even tell the difference between what is streaming from online and what isn't.

PS1 games for the PSP isn't a bad deal, I've paid for a few of those, although I do wish that I had the option of playing them on the PS3 as well as the PSP).

That's rumored to come in the next major firmware update, which could be as early as today and as late as next week due to the launch of the PS3 in Europe.

Re:Seems like a ripoff (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262290)

Maybe it's your connection that's shitty?

I've played more hours of XBL than I care to admit, but trust me, it's a lot. I've played everything from saintsrow, cod2, cod3, halo2, chromehounds on my 360 and many many more on my regular box. Lately, with COD3, my disconnect rate is nearly nonexistent. A host quitting results in the game being taken over by another random host. cod3 suffers little to no lag whatsoever, and cod2 rarely had much more. Halo2 is even better for picking non-lagging games. Players don't just "stand around" either, quite the opposite. On halo2 or cod3 where rank matters, you'll get the most aggressive players around. It's always a lot of fun to play those high ranked games, though it can get stressful (for me anyway).

In short, you're either lying or your connection is shit. My connections aren't the greatest (Over they years they've varied from small MSO/Cable, to comcast to qwest dsl), which are the epitome of consumer level broadband connections in the US.ep

Re:Seems like a ripoff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18262436)

Amen.

I haven't played on Live since Halo 2 became unplayable. Just tried last night with Ghost Recon. 4 out of every 5 games, I either get disconnected or the host quits, booting you back to the menu. Get a few too many kills in a row, the host bitches out and everyone gets dropped.

When I spend more time looking for a game than playing, something is wrong.

I guess it's back to the PC for multiplayer, for now.

Re:Seems like a ripoff (1)

jidar (83795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263228)

Arcade is overpriced?
Tell me something, how much less than $5 would you have to pay for something not to be overpriced?
Maybe you're just a cheap bastard?

Or maybe since you think paying $5 to $20 for PS3 online is fine but $5 to $10 for Xbox is expensive... well maybe you're just a PS3 fanboy?
Could be?

Re:Seems like a ripoff (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263466)

So far nothing on Xbox Arcade has seemed worth it to me. It seems largely to be a bunch of really old arcade games that there are numerous clones of - not much that is very unique. It's really just a matter of preference I guess. To be fair, I will almost certainly download Symphony of the Night at some point.

UT 3 multiplayer requirements...VISTA LIVE GOLD? (1)

siDDis (961791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261668)

So to be able to play the latest multiplayer shooters I need Vista Live Gold or Xbox Live Gold?
Anyway Microsoft can in fact do this since most game developers have already married Microsoft and have no plans on getting divorced. The future looks just cruel :(

I have a Xbox 360 today, but I've only tried the trials of arcade demos, and yeah some games are really fun but NO WAY WORTH $5-10 today. There are so many other free great alternatives. And I'm not willing to pay to play versus people on Xbox Live. I have enough great and free multiplayer games on my PC. Heck Gears of Wars multiplayer is far from as fun as good ol UT. The problem with the Xbox 360 is the lack of good single player games! I don't care at all being able to frag my friends over Live. It's way more fun playing Guitar Hero together in the same room. That is what I call social gaming. Not sitting alone in the darkness with your virtual friends.

Forcing customers to pay for playing multiplayer games on the PC will only increase piracy and illegal gaming networks ala http://www.pvpgn.org/(Battle.Net) [pvpgn.org]!

Re:UT 3 multiplayer requirements...VISTA LIVE GOLD (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262006)

Even if this service ever does pick up and become popular, it's not going to happen right away and any game that includes DirectX9 (or Win2K/XP) support will most certainly not have a "Windows Live" requirement. This means most games coming out for at least the next year or two might not support this new service at all, let alone require it. So no, UT3 will still be as free to play online as any UT has ever been. :)

No PC game maker is going to tie himself to live. (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261864)

I'd have no problem paying for Live if it actually did something. Paying 7 bucks a month for a chat server though? Yea right. That'll fly on consoles where theres no multitasking environment to handle stuff like buddy lists properly but not on a PC.

Anyone who's claiming Live will solve any multiplayer problems they've had in the last 5 years is having wistful thinking. It's a matchmaking service! Most games don't even need such a thing. You can't use that for a real FPS for instance. Nobody wants to play a crappy 4 player match hosted off your PC. Games like diablo can no longer really use matchmaking either because after d2 people expect dedicated secure servers.

That means that the only big genre that needs what Live offers is RTS's. I don't think Blizzard is going to be chomping at the bit to switch over to Live either when battle.net actually makes money off advertising.

Re:No PC game maker is going to tie himself to liv (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262434)

You clearly have never used Live. I suggest doing so before giving your criticism. If you did, you would know that Live is much more than a match-making chat server. You would also know that Xbox 360 *does* multitask and handle buddy lists (beautifully, IMHO, though there's always room to be better)... I would say XBL buddy list integration is better than any PC system I've seen.

Xbox Live Gold is a rip-off (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261996)

Seriously, Microsoft asking for a monthly fee so people can have online multiplayer capabilities is just as bad a rip-off as Apple asking to register Quicktime to be able to play content full-screen.

And last, Linux is not yet ready for the desktop (hey, I had to crap on all 3 sides, didn't I?)

Xbox Live (1)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262136)

I've been a live member on the 360 for nearly a year now, and have really liked it. I play alot of games online and have never seen any serious issues. Every once in a while there might be a laggy session, but they seem few and far between. What I'm suprised at is how much content I have purchased via Live. Like this morning, Worms hit the Live arcade. I started the download as I walked out the door for work.

Live seems to encourage impulse buys. They make it easy to get points (just click confirm and they charge your credit card), so when you see the advertisement for your favorite South Park episode, it is a few button presses away. I've eneded up buying alot of stuff on there that you don't find at your local Wal Mart. At least not up here on the rural Canadian border. There just isn't enough interest in this area to keep Venture Bros, Harvey Birdman, Sealab, etc. in stock.

Plus I figure it's saved me money in the long run. Being able to demo most games is pretty sweet. For example, the classic arcade ridge racer games were always fun. I would have bought it at $50+ when it came out, were it not for the demo when I discovered you can drift the wrong way around a corner! There are a few other games I would normally just buy, were it not for finding a deal-breaking flaw in the demo.

Anyway, I'd say I'm very happy with Xbox live. Not so happy with the xbox 360 hardware issues I have had, but Live has been well worth it, IMO. So much so that I don't really want to send my box with the malfunctioning disc drive back, because I still have so many arcade and video titles to play with.

It was necessary (1)

Admodieus (918728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262192)

If Microsoft offered Live Anywhere on Windows for free, nobody would keep their XBox 360 Live subscription. They're in a tight spot with this; you need to charge the same for both groups, but PC gamers have always had this service for free. Live Anywhere will only work once the entire service is offered for free.

Pay for dumbed down on line play NO WAY (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18262610)

live means
-NO MODS
-Games dumbed down to work with the xbox 360 controller
-M$ can force games makers to pay to rated by the ESRB or other $2000-$3000 game raters.
-People may be banded for just trying to use a mod form all games and may even have there windows key black listed.
-Forced to use M$ severs
 

Re:Pay for dumbed down on line play NO WAY (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18263904)

live means
-NO MODS
Says who?

-Games dumbed down to work with the xbox 360 controller
Expectation to support the hardware doesn't require the game to be designed around the hardware. Besides. Simple interface != dumbed down.

-M$ can force games makers to pay to rated by the ESRB or other $2000-$3000 game raters.
Any game that wants to be carried in major retailers needs to be rated anyway.

-People may be banded for just trying to use a mod form all games and may even have there windows key black listed.
'banded'? If you're cheating, I have no pity. A wallhack is entirely different from a TC. There is no logical reason for MS to blacklist license keys because you violate their game service. If you get your Hotmail banned, does your license become invalid? You pulled this out of your ass with absolutely no proof to back it up.

-Forced to use M$ severs
The only 'M$ severs' that Live uses now are xboxes. It's all client side. I doubt the vista side of it will be any different.

Re:Pay for dumbed down on line play NO WAY (1)

Kyokugenryu (817869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265658)

Tell your ass that next time it wants to talk, it should check simple spelling and grammar. I know talking out of your ass is hard work, but it's really only a couple extra minutes of work.

Free? It still is. (1)

DeeDob (966086) | more than 7 years ago | (#18264306)

Just the same, the company is now charging for services normally taken for granted as a freebie on the PC platform.

What you had that was free will still be free. Battle.net will still exist. All the other "services" you used will still exist.`

The only thing that will change is those "Games for Windows" games that will plug-in to the unified service of Live. THAT wasn't available before. The service is a LOT more than just "matchmaking for online games", which is what the old free services were.

...hence the cost, but not for what people already had. It's for "new" stuff.

Personally, i'm just glad it will give people a "fixed" online identity. There is less incentive to act like jerks and hack/cheat in your online games if it's going to have repercussions on ALL of your gaming experience in every "games for windows" games.

Case in point: - Phantasy Star Universe for PS2 and PC: hacked to death and no longer fun. - Phantasy Star Universe for 360 under Live: still viable as "hacking" is less found on it.

Re:Free? It still is. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267080)

Ok, I'll bite.

How is this better than Steam? What features does it have that Steam doesn't already do, better?

If you're going to bend over for a large company trying to build a game network, it may as well be a game company.

Then again, Valve is a bunch of former MS guys. They might just bend over -- not because MS is forcing them, but because they like it.

You don't NEED Live to play online (1)

Kyokugenryu (817869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18265566)

Live won't be REQUIRED to game on newer Games for Windows, it just gives you the same advantages (Friends list, Gamertag, Live Arcade, Achievements, in-game notices, etc.) that you get with the Live service. Not to mention that the subscription counts for both PC and Xbox. You get a year of an excellent service for less than the price of one game. My experience with Live has always been great, and it's optional in new games to boot, so we don't have to pay for it if we don't want to. No reason to get alarmed, folks.
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