Tag Archives: Xbox Live

New Xbox – no Xbox?

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Ruh-oh.

Edge Online is reporting that Microsoft’s next Xbox console may require users to have a permanent internet connection, virtually ensuring the end of the second-hand games business.

You’ll still be able to buy a physical copy of a game (which will ship with a one-use unlock code, tied to your Gamertag), but Microsoft’s overarching strategy for the next-gen is download-based.  Great if you live in a major city with serious broadband infrastructure, but not so brilliant for everybody else.  Can’t afford a decent download speed?  On a monthly plan which caps your downloads?  Sucks for you.

This is, to say the least, a bloody risky gambit and one designed to lock out a great many gamers who can’t afford to buy a $60/£45 game every month  – I find it hard to believe that Microsoft, of all companies, would view providing a download version as an opportunity to pass on cost savings to the consumer.  Their ‘on-demand’ store on Xbox Live currently charges hilarious prices for games – and I would suspect that controlling the method of delivery to gamers will only make that worse.

Of course, Microsoft don’t comment on rumours and speculation ahead of one of their major product announcements, but if this method comes to pass, I don’t see myself persisting with Xbox gaming – after a while, you begin to get the message that Microsoft are akin to the neighbourhood kid who took their football home when the game wasn’t going their way.

There’s no word on whether Sony are looking to carry out similar measures with their PS4 – and a gambling man would suggest that where Microsoft choose to go, the Japanese company might look to distinguish themselves to consumers by offering a different system which doesn’t seek to marginalize and alienate potential consumers.  Just an idea, mind you.

I’ve given up Xbox live this year and felt no ill-effect from doing so.  If Microsoft are going to treat gamers like this, it might be time for me to jettison any thought of adopting their future platforms.  I mean, as I’m European, it’s not as if Microsoft gives a toss about me anyway, is it?

 

 

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Multi-player Madness?

Money spent on Xbox Live membership by Fluffrick in 2013? Zero pounds!

Microsoft have recently been keen to remind gamers that Xbox Live has been around for a decade – hence e-mails like the one above, which I received this morning.

I might rather have received one of these, but as I live in Europe (and we don’t matter to Microsoft), I’ll just be happy that they deigned to send me an e-mail which has reminded me of something crucial – my Xbox Live Gold membership is the nerd equivalent of the gym membership that I don’t use.

My taste in games has always skewed towards the solitary and offline – a good percentage of the Role Playing games that I spend my time with don’t really bother with online modes and competitive functionality – and so it really doesn’t make that much sense for me to spend the price of a new game on a service which I don’t actually use.  Sure, Mass Effect 3 has a suite of multiplayer options but it’s not really the kind of thing which appeals to me – plugging wave after wave of NPC’s in the company of some random dude who doesn’t speak/plays music down his headset or regale you with his unsolicited neo-Nazi views is not my idea of happy-happy fun times, truth be told.

I’ve tried “Gears of War” multi and “Call of Duty” online (see my previous neo-Nazi comment) and found the experience profoundly wanting – and it’s not just a problem with the 360 audience, as Uncharted 2 on the PS3 had more than a few highly vocal 12-year-old nitwits ready, willing and eager to demonstrate their bigotry and stupidity to all and sundry in matches and lobbies.  I find myself actively wanting to disassociate myself from many of the people who play online on consoles, as this gaming generation has exposed me to people so acutely unpleasant and unrepentantly objectionable that their stupidity can surely only be explained away by being a stunt or deliberate tactic of some kind – gamesmanship employed by people for whom winning is the only goal.

Testify, Wonka – testify!

Yes, we can mute and report people to the enforcement teams on the respective platforms but the point to me is that by the time that you’ve done that, the very last thing that you want to do is venture back online and play against people – I’m fairly soured on the whole notion of competitive play against people who I don’t know.

When my Gold membership expires in a month or two I am pretty certain that I won’t be renewing it. And, you know what?  I’m totally okay with that.

 

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You’re Doing It Wrong!

I suspect a cunning double-bluff of some kind...

When confronted by this kind of genuine pleasantness online, I must sadly confess that I’d be expecting a sucker punch of some kind.  Sad, huh?

(Via Reddit)

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Microsoft SpaceBucks To Go Bye Bye?

Eurogamer reports today that Microsoft are preparing to phase out their unloved virtual currency, Microsoft Points, by the end of 2012.

Microsoft Points - good riddance?

Moving instead to payment based on regional currency in the territories where Xbox Live, Zune Marketplace and similar MS platforms now operate, this development might well bring a song to the heart of any bleary-eyed gamer at 2:00am who can barely work out how to stand unaided let alone negotiate the confusing territory of the computing giant’s virtual money and it’s idiosyncracies.

80 points equals One British pound does it?  Not for much longer, if a report first published by Inside Mobile Apps is to be believed (I read it mostly for the riveting coverage of proactive synergies in the hand-held market space, don’t you know?).

I’m sure that this will be an entirely positive development and not just an excuse for prices to climb astronomically based on the price of the dollar against the pound and vice versa – because Microsoft wouldn’t dream of doing anything like that, of course…

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Reminder – Xbox 360 dashboard update hits tomorrow

Rest assured, "FIFA 12" will never besmirch my console's integrity...

Just a reminder that Microsoft are due to release the latest revision of the Xbox 360 dashboard on Tuesday 6th December – with Bing search integrated (with Kinect support, too, if you’re on the motion control train) and a LoveFilm application included if streaming films is your cup of delicious builder’s tea (the best kind, obviously).   More stuff is scheduled to roll out between now and the end of this year, with some kind of as-yet-undecided BBC presence due in the first quarter of 2012.

No news yet on whether that constitutes full iPlayer integration for UK Xbox users or something of a catch-up digest, with selected programmes on offer.

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New Xbox Live dashboard to arrive on December 6th

Yes, I'm sure that I'll be able to get "30 Rock" on demand when the dash launches in the UK...

Whilst still in the land of Uncle Bill’s lovely white games box, I would wholly remiss in my duties if I were not to mention that Microsoft have set a December 6th roll-out for the new Xbox 360 dashboard – Major Nelson will be delighted to tell you more.

The wording of the blog post suggests that some of the previously advertised content – Lovefilm, iPlayer, etc – might not be there day-and-date but will be arriving during the Holiday season and into 2012.

I won’t be able to use the Kinect stuff, but it’s cool to see Microsoft continuing to add value to the 360 even as recent rumours about the next box swirl around the interwebs.

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