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Microsoft Apologizes for XBL Downtime With Undertow

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the very-thoughtful-and-damp dept.

XBox (Games) 85

The extraordinary problems that Microsoft's Xbox Live experienced over the holidays were followed up with swift promises of a free game to compensate for the frustration many users suffered. The company has followed through, and has announced that Undertow will be the free game sacrificed to mollify gamers. The game will be free to download all this week, starting tomorrow (Wednesday) and running through this Sunday. "Two weeks ago, Xbox Live GM Marc Whitten posted a letter to Live subscribers apologizing for poor performance during the holidays and promising a freebie was on the way. There are currently no plans to offer a substitute game for those who already own Undertow." Just the same, Major Nelson sent along word to 360 Fanboy that they'd 'take care of you' if you found yourself in that situation.

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85 comments

Gold vs. Silver (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22142898)

I bet the Silver members will have to wait their turn to get their consolation prize.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (4, Insightful)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22142944)

Seeing as you don't actually pay anything for the Silver service, vs the Gold, I would consider this a bonus to silver members, assuming they get it. The free game is compensation for lost ability to use the services you paid for, namely multiplayer online gaming.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (2, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143054)

XBL outages don't just mean that online multiplayer is unavailable. It also means that you can't download demos and trailers, and that you can't shop the XBL Marketplace.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143534)

But the key part is, you don't lose any paid time. Downloading the demos, trailers, etc will all be there until XBL crumbles. Someone who purchased a three month Gold membership only has three months to do those Gold activities.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

NoodleSlayer (603762) | more than 6 years ago | (#22149936)

You also can't recover your profile, which sometimes means you can't really play your xbox. That DOES effect silver members.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (2, Informative)

DeeDob (966086) | more than 6 years ago | (#22151940)

Access to the silver service is included with the purchase of any 360.

Without access to Live, both silver and gold members cannot access parts of their 360.

Online gaming (gold) is just a small part of the Live service. MSN, marketplace, chat, mailing service, achievements system, leaderboards and more are all part of the package. Xbox live arcade games played on a friend's 360 also need to access Live in order to work beyond the trial versions.

Enetring my profile, then having to wait for 5 minutes until a connection can be made to live so that i can actually browse my games and demos on my own machine is a hassle for silver members. Playing Project Gotham Racing 4 and being returned to the title screen in the middle of a race with the message "your live connection has changed status, note that any unsaved progress has been lost" is not cool, even for silver members.

I may exagerate a bit, but every time you press a button on your controller, you send a signal to Live saying you are now "in the dashboard", "playing the third level in Halo 3 in single player" or "watching a DVD". With the Live service as of late, every button press to change your current gaming status can take a long while, sometimes over a minute.

So really, silver members need to be compensated just as much as gold members.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155092)

No, but instead, if you have arcade titles you bought on a different Xbox which you've since had to replace, you'll be unable to play those titles if Live isn't up.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148802)

Xbox's silver benefits are advertised. That's an expressed warranty that if you get a 360, this service is part of the product.

Just because Silver subscribers do not pay additional fees does not mean they don't deserve to use what they already paid for.

And of course, we all know what the xbots would say if the PS3 network, you know, the free one that works, was this unreliable. Or if the PS3 itself was this unreliable. Or if PS3 owners were gouged, for example with $100 wifi adaptors that certainly cost less than ten $ to produce, etc etc.

the 360 has amazing games. And really, that's a the most important issue. But it's not all that matters. MS really should have won this war, and it's kinda becoming clear they the PS3 is going to win. Because all of Sony's arrogance and blunders are simply less problematic than Microsoft's.

Anyway, I know you aren't really defending MS here, but the Silver subscribers did indeed suffer a loss. Silver isn't free. You pay for it when you buy the games and console that fund MS. Gold just costs a lot more.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150338)

Seeing as you don't actually pay anything for the Silver service, vs the Gold
Ignoring the $399 people paid for the console that was advertised as offering it.

I don't pay a monthly service fee to Microsoft to "permit" net access on my PC either. I bought the OS with it made pretty clear that I could reasonably expect access as part of what I'd already paid. If they sent out a forced update to all copies of XP that disabled net access in an effort to encourage users to move to Vista, I'd consider it pretty legitimate to be pissed off there too.

Apologists let them get away with selling game systems with the promise of immediate access to demos, only to then artificially delay access by a week to make the pay service more appealing. Let's not convince them that we see what remains of the Silver service that was sold as part of the initial $399 price tag as a bonus we aren't entitled to either.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22151082)

The free game is almost entirely aimed at the multiplayer deathmatch crowd, so not a hell of a lot of fun for Silver members. Clever.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

DarthJohn (1160097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153800)

I paid about 80 USD for the year (I got the bundle thing with the camera) so if it were completely down for a full week I'd be out about 1.54 USD. Microsoft giving me 10.00 USD worth of extra service is pretty nice of them I think.

I do think the whole gold and silver thing should go away and the whole thing should be free (still buying points to get games/movies/useless crap if you want), and while that might be more likely to happen with the playstation network being free, I kinda doubt it ever will.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

NaugaHunter (639364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143292)

Why should Silver members get anything? They weren't paying, so they didn't suffer any material loss whatsoever. Whether the outages were excessive for a $50/year payment is one question, but I don't see how Silver can complain. Heck, what can you even do with Silver other than download updates and post a Gamerscore?

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143388)

Heck, what can you even do with Silver other than download updates and post a Gamerscore?
They can download trailers and demos, and can still buy content from the XBL Marketplace.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

Cerberus911 (834576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143610)

Silver members were unavailable to access content that they bought (say, extra rockband songs), but couldn't use since logging into xbox live was made impossible. They couldn't use something they paid for, so compensating them seems only fair.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144078)

You didn't pay for the service that had problems. You shouldn't get anything at all.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (2, Informative)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144194)

Actually, I was a gold member at the time. I let it expire, and as of tomorrow I'm a silver member. Also, not all of the gold members are paying gold members. When you first join Xbox Live, you get a free month's worth of gold membership for the same reason that the first month of World of WarCrack is free.

Re:Gold vs. Silver (1)

Morkano (786068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22150046)

According to the second article both gold AND silver get the game for free tomorrow.

Next week's XBL news... (5, Funny)

Ghazgkull (83434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22142914)

This just in: XBL unavailable again due to the massive demand for (the ironically named) Undertow.

Re:Next week's XBL news... (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152880)

This just in: XBL unavailable again due to the massive demand for (the ironically named) Undertow.
Actually, last night I was in the XBLA and received errors when browsing through various titles. So I might have to mod you -1 jinx.

Re:Next week's XBL news... (1)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154626)

Actually, I have indeed been having trouble downloading stuff from XBLA (including Undertow) - it keeps giving me intermittent errors.

Re:Next week's XBL news... (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22156620)

My XBL problems never got better in the first place. I still can't seem to get logged in about 90%+ of the time. Really dang annoying.

Re:Next week's XBL news... (1)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 6 years ago | (#22160180)

Actually, I had some trouble downloading Undertow. I kept getting an error stating that content was not available or just getting the same error I got when XBL was down. So while you were modded funny, what you suggested did happen.

Re:Next week's XBL news... (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22161542)

Your preface is prologue. I've been unable to get it. And there's like a three day window.

Not that I really care. I think Microsoft needs to apologize for this apology. But I just won't be renewing. Hell, at this rate, I may as well cancel outright.

Scary... (2, Funny)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143358)

"Major Nelson sent along word to 360 Fanboy that they'd 'take care of you' if you found yourself in that situation."

Sounds a little scary to me. I can just imagine some burly Microsoft tech taking a baseball bat to my 360. Or kneecaps.

Since we're on the topic... (1)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143640)

Does this solution for people who already bought Undertow seem like a real after-thought to anyone else? (This 'word' coming as a comment instead of part of the original post being my first hint.) I mean if they really cared about those of us who actually bought Undertow, they would just check the records and give us the points instead of making us jump the support hoops.

XBox Online Has Become A Joke (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22143554)

Xbox Online:

50 dollars fees just to be allowed to just play games - adds up to 200 to 250 dollars extra wasted over and beyond the base console's price
No dedicated servers
Laggy online play forcing players to rely on other players Net connections/bandwidth
Absurdly small player counts like 8 for Gears of War and 16 for Halo 3
Repeated downtimes
Developer hostile and closed. System is designed for complete control by Microsoft and function as a revenue source for them alone. See the six month to year delay Epic is going through having to rewrite UT to work around the problems with Microsoft online service and mods.

PC Online:

Free to play for all
Dedicated servers
High player counts
Developer friendly and open system

PS3 Online:

Free to play for all
Dedicated servers
High player counts
Developer friendly and open system

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144578)

This same sony shill crap gets posted in every story about the 360. "No dedicated servers" and "Absurdly small player counts..." are verbatim talking points from every such post.

My question is, who the hell mods this crap up?! Does the AC have an account with mod points he uses on his own posts?

There is nothing insightful about the parent, and some of what he said is downright fabrication. The 360 is more hostile to developers than the PS3? Common people.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144854)

What the hell are you babbling about?

Xbox owners themselves have been demanding Microsoft give them dedicated servers for a long time now. Gears had absurdly bad lag problems with people really upset that for one of the biggest games of the year they didn't bother to set the game up with dedicated servers.

And Epic themselves have stated repeatedly that they are having to rewrite Unreal Tournament's mod code just for the 360 due to the way Microsoft has Live setup and it looks like it is going to take at least six months. Companies like NCSoft are bringing their PC MMORPGs to the PS3 because the system is open and friendly to third party developers unlike Microsoft's. NCSoft came right out and stated this publicly as to why they weren't supporting the 360 and focusing on the PS3.

If Sony really is about to release the in game messaging stuff that they've been sorely lacking Microsoft is going to truly become a complete joke for online gaming. They've done nothing to try to step up their service and have ignored the demands to drop the idiotic online fees or implement dedicated servers.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (4, Informative)

tcc3 (958644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144698)

PS3 Online

Dedicated servers, only if the developer offers them and can be terminated at their whim. You can still play Mechassault for the original Xbox on Live, more than 5 years later.

A system so open that there is no system. Its all up to the developer. Some do it well and some don't, and theres no oversight or requirements.

No universal access to the system from within games. To send or look at messages you have to leave a game and go to the main PS3 screen (whatever they call their dashboard)

Do they have a unified friends list yet? I'm truly not sure.

The problem with PS3 online is its too much like PS2 online: there isn't any strategy really. You may balk at the paltry Live fee, but you get what you pay for.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (1)

antek9 (305362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147814)

You may balk at the paltry Live fee, but you get what you pay for.
Yes, you do. No, wait....

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (1)

tcc3 (958644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148156)

Ho Ho! You've cleverly pointed out that their service is not infallible. There have been some problems lately but this is the first time the service has had any prolonged problem in 5 years, and it was never down completely.

They had a problem with the system, they endeavored to fix it, they offered recompense.

When was the last time Sony admitted a mistake?

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (0)

antek9 (305362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22148334)

Oh my, you're not doing awfully well as a Microsoft apologist/shill now, do you? I mean, you explicitly state you don't know what you are talking about (PS3 online service, unified friends list, and so on), but then you get all aggressive as soon as someone (that would be me) pulls your leg with a little aside, regardless.

Just my two cents here: PSN doesn't even try to be Live, it follows a different concept, so what about getting over it and stopping to do futile comparisons, like "Hey, PSN doesn't look as shiny and web-like as Live, so it fails!"? I, for one, will welcome our new Home overlord as soon as it hits the earth, but I will not do any cheapskate comparisons à la "Live is what?! 2D only? That sucks!", because, you know, apples to oranges don't compare that well. If this helps: PSN is more like a back-end system, where Live is more front-end heavy. Let's hope both concepts get the job done, but accept that many don't find it acceptable for a paid service to be simply 'forgotten' to be beefed up for the peak sales season of the year.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (2)

tcc3 (958644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152026)

I didn't start the futile comparison, I only corrected an inaccurate one. I believe our positions are actually closer than you might think. You're right: PSOnline is not Live and doesn't try to be. My personal opinion is that being more like Live would be a better user experience, but then again I like Live. But people who compare the prices of the services like to pretend there's feature parity, and thats just not the case.

Their open system does have its advantages. MMOG devs certainly seem to prefer the freedom. Burnout Paradise works a little better on the PS3 because the Xbox blade system doesn't bring you out of the "drive through the city" menu metaphor.

My apologies if I overreacted to your comment. Ive just been reading about folks complaining about this Live outage and I'm tired of it. They just sound like a bunch of whiners. MS fucked up, but they addressed the issue and tried to make up for it. If people are bothered that much they are free not to re-subscribe. But its not like nothing was done or the problem was ignored completely.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (1)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144700)

What downtimes? I can only recall a few, and their planned, and usually in the wee hours of the morning during the week.

Low online player count: I don't know the reason behind this. I know that "Front Lines: Fuel of War" will have 32 players online for the 360.

I am not arguing that PC online doesn't have more pros. But I believe you were wrong on a few 360 points.

I used to play PC games, but I figured paying $50 a year for Live was better than paying $500 a year to upgrade my PC so I could keep up.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (1)

dstyle5 (702493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145952)

"What downtimes? I can only recall a few, and their planned, and usually in the wee hours of the morning during the week."

What about when Halo 3 came out? I couldn't connect to Live at all the first day it was out and my connection was hit and miss for a few days after that. How did the COD 4 launch go? I got the PC version so I don't know but I'm guessing Live took a hit then too.

Microsoft has seen this behaviour before the Christmas, they didn't expect people to play their 360s in during their holidays? My guess is that in their effort to finally make the Xbox division profitable they haven't been upgrading the Live infrastructure to keep up with the increased user numbers.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (1)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146180)

I apologize. I read downtimes, but was thinking of planned outages. I thought parent meant that Live was down often because of upgrades or whatnot. I agree that should be no excuse to a service being down that's paid for.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (2, Informative)

toolie (22684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145184)

No dedicated servers
Laggy online play forcing players to rely on other players Net connections/bandwidth
Wasn't it the Warhawk developers saying that they were also including player hosted games because they realized that dedicated servers weren't the best in all circumstances?

Yeah, it was [playstation.com] . Only having dedicated servers is a bad idea. Even your precious PS3 game devs realize that. They even claim it reduces normal latency issues because you can find games closer to home, especially when in other countries.

Developer hostile and closed.
Because XNA is really tough to get a hold of and play with, right? Especially since the development environment is free and all.

PS3 Online:
Developer friendly and open system
Now that is some funny shit.

Re:XBox Online Has Become A Joke (2, Informative)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22156984)

Developer hostile and closed. System is designed for complete control by Microsoft and function as a revenue source for them alone. See the six month to year delay Epic is going through having to rewrite UT to work around the problems with Microsoft online service and mods.
Microsoft bashing is all well and good when it's true, but I'm afraid I've got to call bullshit on this one as Xbox is the only reasonably open [wikipedia.org] "next-gen" gaming platform out there. That's right, for a paltry fee ANY programmer can sign up for the Creator's Club and develop 360 games with an off the shelf system.

You let me know when $100 a year will get you a dev kit for the PS3/Wii to play around with to your heart's content. Sure, XNA isn't the ideal environment for high level game development by a long shot (.NET simply isn't suitable for the problem space, for a lot of reasons I could get into), but it's really an unprecedented level of official open development support for hobbyists in the console world.

So, to recap, with $100 and a high quality free IDE [wikipedia.org] you can make your own games for a current generation console. Don't even try to tell me this is developer hostile, because it's one of the most egalitarian things the industry has yet to see. Not saying they couldn't go further in this direction, but it's a good step in the right direction if you ask me.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a fan of Microsoft. I despise them. In fact, about a year ago I got so disgusted with them I reformatted my hard drive to go open source and really haven't looked back. I give them credit where credit is due though.

Well that's just dandy. (1, Interesting)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22143686)

According to Wikipedia it starts on Wednesday January 23'rd and finishes on Sunday the 27'th, that's a very small time window.
Thanks to them not thinking of time zones internationally (again!), I for one happen to be away from any kind of technology for exactly that period (plus a day) - that's not cool.

I wouldn't have any serious beef except the fact that people PAID MONEY for a service which was not available to them, much like paying for electricity, cable tv, water, gas, cell phone etc.

As someone who has recently purchased a PS3 and 360 quite close to each other, I have to say the concept of me paying for the live service just feels insulting.
*(AUD here)*
569$ for a premium system
99$ -> 119$ for a game (RRP)
89$ for a cheap, plastic headset*1 and 12 months of live

*USD here*
495$ for a premium system
86$ -> 103$ for a game (RRP)
77$ for a cheap, plastic headset*1 and 12 months of live

That last one on the list really strikes home, I mean I'm paying 570$ for an expensive NOISY console and I'm paying another 100$ for a game and now after I've paid for a game, I have to pay to play it online?
As a long time PC gamer and very very regretably I admit one who has pirated PC games in the past, the whole notion of paying for a game means that you CAN play it online to me, you're no longer generating a CD key or cracking an executable, you've bought it and have the right to use all the features as intended.

Yes, yes I know they provide a good service with Live and yes I know infrastructure isn't free but hey Sony's service is free.
Before anyone says it, it is not even HALF as bad as people claim, it may not be as good as live but it's certainly not terrible (see: Wii)
Furthermore, Microsoft net a lot of sales of the Xbox 360 and it's games due to its community, Live is certainly a factor in those sales they have vs the PS3, some people get it just for the community aspect.
Therefore, live isn't just making them money in subscriptions, in itself it's driving (some) of the entire value of the product and sales to the company.

So to drive the long winded point home, these people are making good money selling these systems*2 and should've planned for something to happen over Xmas, I and many others wouldn't complain if it was a free service and those who do complain certainly would likely fall on deaf ears.

Hence a 4 day window to download this game, not cool, feels very 'oh you missed your bonus? sorry' infact the entire Xbox experience so far BESIDES BEING NOISY seems very nickle and dimish.
Hell 5,000,000 people trying to download this game in a 4 day window seems like they are asking for trouble to boot.
Before it's said, no I don't hate the system by any means but I'm incredibly surprised at just how much I use my PS3 vs 360, based on what I read in games forums and the gaming press before buying. I allowed hype and those sources to convince me that my PS3 would be that lemon that sat idle that I impulsively purchased for games in anticipation for future use maybe.
The reality is the 360 hasn't been switched on in 10 days and the PS3 is getting quite a bit of use.
(oh and while I'm ranting, how nice is it that Sony's controllers use a STANDARD usb cable for charging them? just one less nickle and dime)

So, ultimately - this sucks, if you stand by this 'apology' put the bloody game up for a couple of weeks, not 4 days hoping some people miss it (I mean cmon the time window is so short, what other possible reason could they have?)

*1 = yes, that's right there's 2 regions in the world Microsoft chose to randomly 'dick' by simply not including the headset in the full package (Australia and I think Mexico?)
There seems to be no real reason, they simply don't include it! further to this, Australia was one of the best supporters of the Xbox 1 and live system per capita too.
Also all their documentation and web pages need to be tailored to 'oh that's right, we removed it for those guys didn't we?' and they've slipped up several times on web pages / interviews by accidentally mentioning it's included. - tools!

*2 = no before you say it, they are starting to make a profit with the 360, through live, online games / downloads/ software and accessories, the system itself MAY still sell at a loss (I think?) but their money losing spree is near its end.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144430)

No, they still haven't turned a profit.
No, games aren't $100 ea.
A "Year" of Live is 13 months.

If you feel this service isn't worth it, please don't buy it.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144550)

Yes that have announced their first profitable quarter.
What part of Australia don't you get? Australian games are 99$ -> 119$ (RRP)
13 months schmirteen months, you're paying for what's free on the competing platforms.

I don't feel the service is worth it and due to other issues with them not knowing how to manage a simple database
(http://forums.xbox.com/17297131/ShowPost.aspx)
I doubt I'll redeem the 12 month (sorry, 13 month) card sitting in my drawer.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

amohat (88362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154530)

But didn't you also list prices in USD? One of the few times i would have modded down if I had the chance...

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22276794)

I list both prices and follow US news extensively, I generally post US prices so that the majority of the comment readers understand my complaint.

You could have moderated down, you just would have been stupid to have done so.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145070)

Why complain before you even attempt to correct the situation? Call/e-mail support and explain the situation. You might be able to get that download or perhaps some additional compensation (such as some points). I understand it's more fun to complain on slashdot, but...

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145780)

I'm pointing out how cheap it comes across, maybe I will call them - but I've heard their helpdesk is far from useful (yet it was back in the XB1 days when they had barely any members)

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146106)

I think it's a great deal, considering that as as daily XBL gold user, I haven't really noticed any problems other than slow response times connecting, and an error signing into messenger. As of today, things seem much snappier in the menus though. Joining online games has been problem free (Halo3, COD4, GRAW2). I'll take the game anyway, of course.

XBL vs. Steam (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146318)

Yes, yes I know they provide a good service with Live and yes I know infrastructure isn't free but hey Sony's service is free.
Before anyone says it, it is not even HALF as bad as people claim, it may not be as good as live but it's certainly not terrible (see: Wii)
Compare Xbox Live to Steam, and it's hard to see what exactly Microsoft is providing for $50/year.

Friends list and notifications? Check. Clans? Check. Achievements? Check. Gamer profiles? Check. Voice chat and instant messaging? Check. Downloadable content store with demos, trailers, and full games? Check. Automatic game updates? Check. Instant access to network features during a game? Check.

But Steam does all that for free.

Oh, and Steam also lets you play on dedicated servers: more players in each game, less lag, no cheating by the host (the server admin can cheat, but you can find another server). And again, it's free.

So, what do you get for all that money you drop on an Xbox Live subscription? A gamer score and video/picture messaging. That's it.

Re:XBL vs. Steam (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146478)

Yes the steam comparison is fantastic, great example - not only that but to my knowledge Steam has just as many members as Xbox live,........ pretty good service when you think about it (and it's come a long way)

50$ US a year - but 70$ US a year for the Australians too - let alone other countries which get taken advantage of.
(this is not a physical product, it needs no region coding, it needs no language changes, it's a subscription, why 20% more expensive? - sad)

Re:XBL vs. Steam (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146562)

Well now, I didn't expect that one...

Do you know what Steam is short for? Steaming pile of shit.

That is perhaps the worst piece of software I've used.

It takes forever to load (on a dual dual core with a raid 0 (2x 150 raptors) and a 8800). 3rd party games are completely unsupported (oh but they will sell them to you). I bought Call of Duty 4 and could not play it for weeks. Even halflife had issues with crashing and such. Apparently the anti cheat software wasn't compatible with vista 64. meanwhile back at the "support" forums all of my requests sometimes took over 5 days to be answered. they were along the lines of "why doesn't the game work" along with a detailed description of the problem - there were not really any answers, just a link to a worthless FAQ. I asked for my money back... they could not do that either. Not during the entire process was there a phone number or a live chat available. Backwards much?

Fortunately I tried to play the other day and there was a magical update to the anti cheat module and it worked. What a terrible experience though.

Re:XBL vs. Steam (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147002)

Do you know what Steam is short for? Steaming pile of shit. That is perhaps the worst piece of software I've used.
Sorry to hear it. My experience, on the other hand, has been almost perfect. There's been some downtime, but never for as long as XBL was down, and in any case it's free so I can put up with a little less than five nines of reliability.

Never had any crashes, but there have been a few times when I've had to restart Steam because some of my games disappeared from the list. Each time, Steam has come back up quickly, loading faster than iTunes or Trillian.

Of course, I'm using XP, not Vista. Maybe that's your problem. Time to upgrade your OS!

Re:XBL vs. Steam (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147700)

Oh god you're one of 'those' guys, convinced Steam is still shit from back early 2001 or whenever it was launched.
It's a very very very different service now, if you're having problems with the latest builds of steam on a modern machine, go have your machine looked at.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

PopeGumby (1125507) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146370)

99$ -> 119$ for a game (RRP) 89$ for a cheap, plastic headset*1 and 12 months of live

As a fellow Australian, it's my duty to tell you you are bring ripped off, big time. Shop around, you should get heaps better prices than that for games.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147722)

That's not the point of my post, hence RRP
The Xbox 360 is also cheaper than 569$ - that doesn't change the fact the RRP is 569$

We pay RRP 99 -> 119$ RRP for games, the Americans pay 49.99 -> 59.99$ RRP for their games.

both markets we can get deals, the sad thing is the Americans START 25% lower than us in cost on items which are basically IDENTICAL, it's not like they do a control R to replace all instances of color with colour for us now is it?

You're forgetting about taxes. (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153230)

Don't forget to blame your government for the fact that you pay more in Australia. In the US, retail prices do not reflect sales taxes, as sales tax is levied by state and local governments. We don't have a VAT or a GST in the US. Australia does, and that tax is factored into the retail price. So, if you think you're getting fucked in the ass, take a look at Canberra before you blame the manufacturers.

By the way, I know about the GST because I've been to Australia, and my wife's an Aussie.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146488)

I like my 360 and I'm happy with it.

But I have to ask: Why the hell do you continue to pay them if you are -so- unhappy with them? Seems to me your time and money might be better spent elsewhere while they wake up and realize they can't dick people around simply because they don't live in the US. Of course, they'd realize this a -lot- sooner if people would quit throwing money at them despite the bad service.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147772)

I purchased the 12 month card but haven't redeemed it, until I am allowed to have *MY* gamertag back, I will not be redeeming the card.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

sabinm (447146) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147110)

Yes, you're right. As a symbolic gesture, they should offer the free download in a window that closely approximates the time that the service was unavailable for Live's users.

Are you listening, Major Nelson?

Re:Well that's just dandy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22149084)

How is this post over-rated? Someone has a vendetta.

Re:Well that's just dandy. (1)

ender- (42944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22149784)

According to Wikipedia it starts on Wednesday January 23'rd and finishes on Sunday the 27'th, that's a very small time window.
Thanks to them not thinking of time zones internationally (again!), I for one happen to be away from any kind of technology for exactly that period (plus a day) - that's not cool.


I'm in a slightly different, but equally annoying situation.
My Xbox got the RROD. I sent it into the repair depot, and it just arrived there this weekend. I was told it would be 2-3 weeks before I get it [or another refurb] back. How am I supposed to download this free game if I don't have my console through no fault of my own?

So now I'm going to have to call MS Xbox support again, and try to get my free game after I get my console back. Grrr...

Wrong decision, Microsoft (1)

40ozFreak (823002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144088)

I feel that if they were going to compensate paying subscribers for their inconvenience over the holidays, that free points would have been the right way to go. Instead, they chose an XBLA title that 1) was already widely downloaded and 2) was very widely panned by gamers. It has its fans like any game, sure, but I would say that a large population of gamers I've talked with about it don't like the game and would've enjoyed the chance to pick out what THEY wanted instead of what Microsoft felt like parting with free of charge. If you want to make the gamers happy, give them 800 points (the average cost of an XBLA game) and let them decide.

Re:Wrong decision, Microsoft (1)

krakelohm (830589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22155262)

I think your still missing the point that they did not have to do this. I agree that having your service down for a few days sucks but I think they are making good.

Re:Wrong decision, Microsoft (1)

40ozFreak (823002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22159006)

I know they didn't have to, but if they're going to give out something for free, they could've done a better job of evaluating what that reward would be. There were a lot of people that were angry or irritated by the XBL troubles, and giving them a game that had been out for ages and wasn't rated very highly is a poor patch-up decision, in my opinion.

Re:Wrong decision, Microsoft (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22164004)

I think your still missing the point that they did not have to do this.
Depends on where you live. In some places Microsoft can't disavow any guarantee of service -- which means they owe the members either a refund or an extension to the service. That would be the right thing to do, not offering some crap game as a freebie.

Oh FFS (1)

DJNephilim (832695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144474)

Gee thanks Microsoft, thanks a pant-load. Just what I wanted, a game that I have absolutely no interest in, that got terrible reviews to boot!

Awesome, you rock like week-old, half-eaten oatmeal. Why do I even bother paying for Live?

How about the points instead? (0, Flamebait)

wazzzup (172351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144556)

This is the second time they've offered a free XBLA game that I already purchased. So what is my recompense for not having a service available that I paid for? Why should I be passed over because I already bought the game?

Result, I get nothing while others get a bone tossed to them because, ironically, I gave them money where others did not.

Re:How about the points instead? (1)

dctoastman (995251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145020)

Actually, you can contact XBox tech support and they will credit your account with 800 points. (Or something like that)

ONE WEEK ONLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144658)

My 360 just red-ringed three days ago... no way I'll have it back in time... sonnuva....

Re:ONE WEEK ONLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22144964)

My 360 red-ringed days ago also. I am trying to get something worked out on the phone right now. The dude says he might be able to get me 800 ms points or a download of the game included with my return from repairs. The last repair came back with a code for one free month of XBL gold.

Re:ONE WEEK ONLY? (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153364)

You won't be missing much. I played the demo last night. It was crap. When I told my wife about this, she said, "They couldn't just credit everybody with 1000 points to spend; they had to give away a crappy game? Idiots."

Size? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144712)

Anybody know the relative size of this game's download?

Re:Size? (1)

kahanamoku (470295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145310)

XBLA Games were all supposed to fit on a 64MB Memory card.. so it'll be less than that.

last I looked it was something around 53MB

Re:Size? (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22161594)

> XBLA Games were all supposed to fit on a 64MB Memory card

50 megs was the old limit, but it's been 250 megs for some time now. Microsoft is supposedly willing to bump that to 450MB on a case-by-case basis (not sure they've ever had to). They do make 512MB memory cards for people who just won't do the HDD thing...

Re:Size? (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22168700)

I downloaded it yesterday - 49.15MB XLA games are supposed to stay under 64MB, but if I recall they lifted that limit

Well great (1)

alanmusician (734071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144884)

That'd be just peachy if my brand new Xbox 360 that I bought a couple weeks ago wasn't just shipped off to Microsoft to be repaired for RRoD. I bought the new one to replace the one I've had for two-and-a-half years. The old one had disc drive issues and begin to freeze regularly and finally RRoD also. Now I'm going to miss the free game because the window is too short. Anyone got a Wii for sale?

Re:Well great (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147376)

you know, most stores have a 90 day exchange policy on electronics. You probably could have just exchanged it at the store for a working one.

Re:Well great (1)

alanmusician (734071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153282)

Nope. Bought it from Hastings, they wouldn't take it back. They have a no-return policy on Xbox 360s alone. You can return your wii or ps3, but not your 360. They told me to talk to Microsoft.

Re:Well great (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22154470)

Nope. Bought it from Hastings, they wouldn't take it back. They have a no-return policy on Xbox 360s alone. You can return your wii or ps3, but not your 360. They told me to talk to Microsoft.


Wow. I wonder how many broken 360s they had to replace to force a policy change like that. The only electronics I know stores usually have a policy like that on, are TVs over 30" in size (where there might be a scratch or something in the plastic case, or on the screen, or a defective pixel). In those cases they explicitly refer you to the manufacturer.

Constitute an Acceptable Settlement? (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22145840)

I was unknowingly included in a class-action suit against my former wireless provider, and received part of the settlement (minutes to be used on any network, nothing impressive).

Now, this has gotten me wondering if by downloading this game there is some sort of clause or recognition on Microsoft's part that you have in fact accepted this as acceptible compensation, barring you from raising any future disputes about the issue.

Can anyone confirm this?

Too little too late and Gamer Tag limbo (1)

reccall (1172053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22146322)

I'm not sure how many are taking the cancellation route but after being stuck in limbo due to a Gamer Tag recovery gone bad it's too little too late. I would have been happy to take advantage of intermittent service. Spent almost two weeks playing as a lowly guest on Halo 3 waiting 10-15 minutes for a match from various consoles/homes. Too many slow to non-existent replies to emails.

Seriously, if they aren't giving you the service you paid for or expect then leave. It sucks because for many like myself multi-player constitutes the majority of my play. But be warned. Canceling is proving to be a pain in the rear. 20-41 minute phone calls because they don't offer a way to cancel on the console or online. Apparently, the far too few number of "supervisors" are the only ones allowed the final say on canceling accounts. There's no warning about call volumes and if they take down your info for a call-back laugh inside because they won't. I'm on day 3 of canceling my account. Tomorrow might be a call to my card company for a charge-back.

I may even fight for a refund for my non-existent Gold service due to the gamer tag issue if my state has consumer laws that trump the Live TOS (no guaranteed level of service can't surely mean a complete lack of paid service). If paying with a credit card check your issuers terms for provisions that may help you get satisfaction.

For those willing to stand up for quality of service and customer service good luck when canceling and bring your patience and always remember to be courteous to those you talk to.

Crap Game (1)

Johnny00 (213878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22149410)

I downloaded and played the free demo off XBL a few weeks ago and that game is utter crap. :( Should of known they wouldn't of given out something worthwhile. Oh well.

Undertow? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22162714)

Having now downloaded and played the game, I can say this is pure Microsoft.

"To make up for failing to live up to our promises, we're going to take a big, greasy dump on your chest. You're welcome."

I thought I'd be hard-pressed to find a game on the 360 worse than Bullet Witch. I was wrong.
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