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XBOX Live No Longer The Gold Standard?

themadlionsfanthemadlionsfan Posts: 9,119 ✭✭✭✭✭

Xbox Live: No Longer the Gold Standard

January 3, 2013 9:57AM PST

By Tom Mc Shea, Editor

Why Xbox Live Gold should not return in the coming generation.

My resolve weakens whenever a new Halo is released. The lure of slaying irascible hunters with three like-minded Spartans by my side trumps the lone supersoldier experience, so I willfully ignore the greedy means that make such a feat possible. But I can no longer run from the harsh truth of reality like so many foolhardy grunts. Xbox Live Gold is an antiquated dinosaur that no longer fits within this industry. It's an exploitive service that takes advantage of people's innate desire to connect with others, charging significant money ($59.99/year, or $9.99/month) for features given away for free on competing platforms. As the next generation approaches, it's time for Microsoft to shelve this nickel-and-diming venture once and for all.

Hey kids, if you want to play alongside the Chief, you have to pay a little extra.

It's a concept that people who are immersed in gaming take for granted, but sounds downright crazy when viewed from a different angle. Shelling out your hard-earned cash for Halo 4 doesn't get you everything; you also need to pony up for a Gold subscription if you want access to the lion's share of content you paid for. The much-heralded multiplayer mode is completely closed off, as is playing through the campaign online with friends. Even Spartan Ops, which can be enjoyed alone if you pay Microsoft's subscription fee, is inexplicably kept away from people who don't part with some extra money. This is a ridiculous barrier that doesn't exist on any other system or in any other medium. Microsoft's ardent desire to force people to pay more money means that you might not get to experience the entire game that you just purchased.

Years ago, Xbox Live Gold offered a novelty well worth its asking price. Although online gaming was widely available (and completely free) on PCs, the ability to play with faraway friends and strangers had yet to enter living rooms. Slowly but surely, consoles began to tap into the online ecosystem. The Dreamcast created a mild ripple with its built-in 56K modem and the peep-smashing joy of Phantasy Star Online. The GameCube and PlayStation 2 had a few online games as well, but because you had to buy a broadband adapter, connectivity became another peripheral failure. It wasn't until the Xbox that online gaming on your television became a viable entertainment option. I didn't think twice about shelling out a few extra dollars each month to engage in the fiery dogfights of Crimson Skies or the kinetic card battles of Phantom Dust.

Gold is an exploitive business practice that should disappear into the ether when the next generation arrives.

Microsoft's strong commitment to online gaming continued with the Xbox 360. The console's operating system was designed with connectivity in mind, so with only a few button taps you could view what your friends were playing, invite them to chat, or check out their achievements. Slowly but surely, the Xbox 360 became the go-to system for online-focused games and the streamlined accessibility of the online infrastructure went a long way toward establishing that trend. Microsoft's competition out of the gate lagged far behind. It took years for Sony to upgrade the PlayStation 3's firmware to a level competitive with the Xbox 360, and the tedious friend code system (and outdated visuals) of the Wii made it a weak opponent to the juggernaut in Redmond. When the Xbox 360 became the first device to stream Netflix movies to your television, the extra cost of Gold was a no brainer.

But Microsoft's huge advantages are now distant memories.

Aside from cross-game chatting and invites, the PlayStation 3's online features go toe-to-toe with the Xbox 360's, and just about every other aspect of the premium experience is made redundant by free equivalents on other systems. Non-game applications such as Hulu and Amazon Instant Video offer the same experience on a variety of devices, and Microsoft's apps for such services don't always compare favorably to its competitors. Netflix is not only available on Sony's console, but the PlayStation 3 is now the number one source of television streaming. That's a vital piece of information. Even though there are more Xbox 360s out there, more people use the PlayStation 3 as their primary source of Netflix streaming. Could it be because Microsoft banished this service behind a pay wall?

When you dig deeper, you see that Sony has a sizable advantage in some areas. For instance, if you love sports, ESPN has an app on the Xbox 360. But league passes for the NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB are available on the PlayStation 3, which is a major coup. Of course, all of these streaming apps require you to pay extra--it's not as if you can watch Netflix movies on your PlayStation 3 without subscribing to the service--but that's unavoidable. Microsoft is limiting the potential user base of these products by forcing people to dole out money for Gold while paying the cost for these services as well. And to what end? There's no benefit to using the Xbox 360 to watch Netflix over the PlayStation 3, so you're merely paying for the right to give Microsoft more money. It's a ridiculous premise that's ultimately urging people to turn off their Xbox in favor of Microsoft's biggest competitors.

Another journey with Nathan Drake is your special reward.

Contrast Microsoft's approach with Gold to Sony's premium plan. PlayStation Plus requires a yearly fee of $50 ($10 less than MS' plan), but offers a much different package. Sony doesn't erect a nonsensical barrier for those who would rather avoid a costly subscription fee. Rather than charge extra for features that should be standard, such as online gaming and useful apps, Plus makes the PlayStation 3 and Vita's wide assortment of games more readily accessible. Downloadable games sometimes become available earlier or cheaper for those who pay for the extra service, and certain games are completely free. Now you're rewarded with a copy of Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Final Fantasy Tactics for no charge, or get to play Journey a week before everyone else. It's a system built on giving rather than withholding. Plus nurtures the gaming audience while Gold segregates it.

The reason why Microsoft insists on using this draconian pricing method is clear: They make money from it. But it's time that customers take precedence over coins. Cordoning off entire sections of a game from people who paid good money for that product is indefensible, and Microsoft is only hurting itself by forcing people to go through pay hoops to access non-gaming apps. Although my resolve weakens whenever a new Halo is released, I recognize that Gold is an exploitive business practice that should disappear into the ether when the next generation arrives

just what I've been saying since I got an xbox....after HBO Go....shit is very underwhelming


  • genocidecuttergenocidecutter Posts: 17,731 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I really hold they make online play free.
    Gives us back images in sigs
  • RawAceRawAce Posts: 4,800 ✭✭✭✭✭
    MS is the ultimate American company.
    They never skip a chance to make a buck and they never skip a chance to make somethin at a cheaper price.
    The 360 has had what, 3 revisions and its still being made wit that cheap mexican plastic
  • VulcanRavenVulcanRaven I don't knowPosts: 18,847 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have been saying this since last gen. SMH@ My sister asking me how to watch netflix on my nephew's 360 and being disappointed when I told her you need a Live subscription.Luckally her bf got a PS3.
  • grumpy_new_yorkergrumpy_new_yorker Use your head for more than a hat rack Posts: 5,958 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That's MS bread and butter. They aren't getting rid of live any time soon.

    Wouldn't be surprised one bit if sony implements their own version next gen.
    Sean Price (R.I.P.) - Lighters in the Air
  • The RecipeThe Recipe Posts: 10,549 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • funkdocdamcfunkdocdamc Posts: 3,786 ✭✭✭✭✭
    As long as LIVE is making Microsoft millions, that shit isn't going anywhere. People always complaining about paying for online access yet they continue to do it just like people always complain about COD and Madden being the same shit every year yet they keep buying it. Money talks; If people don't like something, voice your dissatisfaction by not buying it, but you know people these days can't do that, smh.
  • kanggoodiekanggoodie Posts: 3,354 ✭✭✭✭✭
    didnt read but first paragraph.. sounds like a grumpy ps3 user that wanted to play xbl for free.. you get what you pay for man.. people think servers are free i guess...
  • kanggoodiekanggoodie Posts: 3,354 ✭✭✭✭✭
    what kills me is people act like they are paying $50 a month or something.. its the price of one game for all year.. and xbox rarely, if ever, goes down.. there are only few lag problems in the blockbuster games, whereas on the ps3 there is always lag.. and dont say it isnt cuz i used to have one.
    Got Em ShookfocusMr.ForteStoneColdMikey
  • MeekMonizzLLLLLLe14MeekMonizzLLLLLLe14 Posts: 15,317 ✭✭✭✭✭
    i mean i choose not to pay to play on live cause now at 22 i don be that hardcore into the online play as i was at 18

    at the same time you do get what you pay for. in this day and age cable bills are high as fuck cellphone bills can easily be around $40 or $50 a month which is about the yearly price of live. so really its not that much to pay. also lets say xbox live is free for everyone you will have more people on the serves making them even slower. Its like your giving $12 a month to have the reliability you expect from your phone or your cable/internet bill on your online video game experience.
  • Musa DanielMusa Daniel Posts: 288 ✭✭✭
    live is a rip off plain n simple
    Got Em ShookMr.FortegenocidecutterCallMeWelvinParallelfocusBcotton5StoneColdMikeyex-soldier
  • MeekMonizzLLLLLLe14MeekMonizzLLLLLLe14 Posts: 15,317 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ya'll are cheap as shit, haha. Live doesn't cost that much. Buy it for the year and it costs less than a Subway sub per month.

    And I remember I was at my boy's playin MW2 and people were flying around and shit, and some weird zombie shit happened one game. He was surprised when I was like What the fuck is this? He thought 360 had the same thing going on. I dunno if it's regular to let glitches go on for too long on PS3 or not. But that shit doesn't happen on 360.

    the same niggas paying $30 a month to have the internet on their phone are some of the same niggas outchea bitching about paying for xbox live lol its sad
  • SionSion Moderator, Legion of Trill, AHH Content Producer, AHH Editor Posts: 45,411 Regulator
    edited January 2013
    I have all 3 consoles and let me just say... I mostly use PSN for my multiplayer games and I'm disgusted by the quality of service, my dude my internet connection is fine on most other games but whenever I use PSN it's a problem with lag, connection issues, etc. Now I'm all for free, free is cool but I swear to God I would pay however much I'd have to a month, year, whatever if it meant I'd get better service. Sony aint broke I KNOW they could make it better. Now I know niggas on here go back and forth with the whole PS3 vs Xbox thing I don't give a fuck, PSN is waaaay behind the curb w/ online play. I seen my little bros play black ops 2 on xbl with NO problems, I run Tekken and it's a fucking lag here lag there. I get it's free so there's bound to be a catch but come the fuck on......

    Xbox Live is better than PSN, plain and simple. I think next gen Sony should start charging for online if it means better service.
    IC Moderator and AHH Editor


    ^^^ If you need anything go here

    jono wrote: »
    This is the folly of the internet. Its become a bastion of misinformation, rumors, conspiracies and propaganda. A place where a person with no face or name can make accusations at any time with no verification or credentials and brainwash a small segment of people.
    T. Sanford wrote: »
    Message to the trills of the IC: May Legion Of Trill be your enemies downfall
  • focusfocus The #1 Nigga, I Don't Need No Hype. Posts: 5,361 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2013
    If you even notice the yearly cost of XBL on yo bank statement then you need to evaluate yo whole life.

  • earth two supermanearth two superman ladies please dont fight. E2S is here all night! Posts: 17,149 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2013
    says the guy who brags about his XBL female friends. But that comes out to around a buck and some change per female interaction so i guess for focus it's a good deal.
  • bow to royaltybow to royalty Posts: 3,966 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Groupon has a 12 month live deal for $45 right now in case anyone needed to re-up. Less than $4 a month. Less than a fast food combo. Deals like this stay goin on. Live is cheaper than a used game with that deal and people still complain about the price like it's a big issue.
  • funkdocdamcfunkdocdamc Posts: 3,786 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Groupon has a 12 month live deal for $45 right now in case anyone needed to re-up. Less than $4 a month. Less than a fast food combo. Deals like this stay goin on. Live is cheaper than a used game with that deal and people still complain about the price like it's a big issue.

    Check the cheap ass gamer thread; Amazon has a better deal going on right now.

  • dontdiedontkillanyondontdiedontkillanyon Show me some love, you losers. Posts: 10,144 ✭✭✭✭✭
    PlayStation 4 out November, has Xbox Live-style subscription - report
    And SmartGlass-style controls via your phone.

    By Tom Phillips Published Wednesday, 20 February 2013

    Sony's sparkly new PlayStation 4 will be released this November, a new report suggests, and include a number of features familiar to Microsoft fans.

    The PS4 will require a subscription for "most" of its online features, similar to Xbox Live, and the ability to hook up your smartphone, similar to SmartGlass.

    Two models will be made available, a source told Kotaku, provisionally priced $429 (about £277) and $529 (£342).

    Sony's new PlayStation subscription service will be named PlayStation World, and replace the existing PlayStation Plus offer. It's highly likely that the PlayStation 4 will offer at least the same level of cross-game chat and multiplayer features as Xbox Live, a service that Sony is apparently just as eager to ask money for.

    Connect your smartphone to the PS4 and you will be able to "control the PS4 remotely" - but whether this means actual games or just navigating the system's menus is unclear.

    The report mentions using a smartphone to chat with PS4 friends or buy games - similar functionality to that available via Microsoft's SmartGlass app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phones, and Nintendo's future plans for the eShop.

    You'll get a new PlayStation Eye in the box - similar to how Microsoft will reportedly include Kinect 2.0 with the next Xbox - and be able to stream live gameplay from friends.

    That last feature is one familiar to streaming service OnLive, and likely comes as part of Sony's deal with rival offering Gaikai. Domains set up by Gaikai and spotted last night include mention of a service named Playstation Cloud, rumoured to be the way PS4 offers backwards compatibility.

    Sony is set to (hopefully) confirm all of the above later tonight. The show starts at 11pm.


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