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224 Comments

Ads, Games, and the Growing Complexity of Xbox Live

The lack of advertising for Mark of the Ninja upon its release really bothered me, and here's a few reasons why.

A look at Xbox Live’s front page over the past few weeks included a big, fat advertisement for Mark of the Ninja, quite possibly this year’s best release for the platform. When Mark of the Ninja was released on Friday, September 7, however, there wasn’t one. Okay, that’s not completely true--it was on the games tab.

This is what Xbox Live looked like the day after Mark of the Ninja launched on the service.

But who actually navigates to the games tab to learn about new content on Xbox Live? I don’t. Do you? We head to the games tab to purchase something we’ve already been convinced on.

Microsoft should be applauded for crafting an interface that, while rightfully scrutinized in recent revisions, can prove useful to the user and creator, and help expose them to one another. That’s not as easy to do on Wii or PlayStation 3, and having to open a store will always mean some never see it. It's an important distinction.

It’s frustrating, then, to turn on Xbox Live and see nothing but advertisements for movies and politics. (Though, good on Microsoft should for attempting to inform a demographic of the electorate that is historically finicky when it comes to voting.)

Ads promoting Mark of the Ninja, a Microsoft-published release, were nowhere to be found on Friday, September 7. It was Microsoft’s decision to publish Mark of the Ninja on that day. It was, then, up to Microsoft to give up one of its likely lucrative advertisements slots for it. And that’s where I'm guessing the rub is. Promoting Mark of the Ninja might end up with more sales for Mark of the Ninja, and thus more profit for Microsoft, but it’s not a guarantee. If no one clicks on the advertisement to download Snow White and the Huntsmen, Microsoft still pockets the ad money.

Yeah, Microsoft eventually gave Mark of the Ninja prominent placement on the dashboard, but like other media, games typically do their best business on the first day of release. It’s where you build momentum forward. Mark of the Ninja was released on a Friday, and that’s when reviews and social networks were buzzing about the game.

“Better late than never,” said Supergiant Games creative director Greg Kasavin to me Twitter.

Kasavin was responding to a photo (pictured above) where I showed relief that Mark of the Ninja was now promoted. Another user asked whether or not days later was a big deal, which Kasavin was quick to discuss.

“Late isn't a stretch,” he said. “Many games do their best business on the first day of release and then it's all downhill.”

If someone had seen an advertisement for Mark of the Ninja when booting up their Xbox 360 that night, maybe it would have helped pushed them over the edge. When a title's within the games tab (or, worse, buried in the games library), the chances of just finding something become more and more remote. These games deserve better.

Friday has become a new, unexpected slot for XBLA releases. Mark of the Ninja joins Fez, Joe Danger: The Movie, and others. In the TV world, having a show on Friday night is a death sentence, as many consumers are out enjoying the weekend. Discoverability is huge problem on XBL, and prominent ads are one way, albeit not a great one, to combat that. If a user boots their Xbox 360 once that weekend, possibly for a round of Call of Duty, that ad is vital.

Microsoft is under no obligation to make the front of Xbox Live wholly dedicated to video games, and I’m not expecting or asking them to. That said, video games are the reason Microsoft’s box is in a position to compete as an all-in-one media solution, the holy grail when it comes to today’s television, and the games aren't getting their due.

I asked Microsoft to provide some clarification on how its advertisements for self-published games are determined, and got this statement in response:

“We do not share the editorial details of how we determine promotional merchandising placement on the Xbox LIVE dashboard, which is separate from the paid advertising that appears on the service.”

...which is exactly the answer I expected, and I don't blame Microsoft for not saying anymore. Ads are determined on a game-by-game basis, and are often part part of contrats between Microsoft, both as a platform holder and a publisher. Getting ad placement can, for example, change the royalty share on a game. That's not true of every game, but it happens, and shows the kind of power Microsoft wields when it comes to discoverability on its service.

This isn’t the first time it's happened, and it probably won’t be the last (see: Joe Danger). I’m not sure why this particular situation incensed me so much. Maybe it's because I’ve heard similar stories of developers upset at the disconnect between the internal teams at Microsoft who handle game development and game promotion. Maybe it’s because Mark of the Ninja is just a damn good game, and it’d be an awful shame if more people didn’t play it.

More than anything, though, XBL has the power to expose great games to more people. It's a tool of money and power, and it has the ability to do more than I ever could. Can you fault me for wanting Microsoft to use it well?

224 Comments
Edited by SuperPickle

OK the beta dash has a new layout and lets just say there was more space for crap including ads and mark of the ninja was shown for at least a week as a icon on the home and game screen. when it was working right and then that bug was fixed after we bitched about it. oh and everybody in the beta or alpha testing has already bitched about the ads and still bitch at every test dashboard they do not go away they do somethings we ask but they will not get rid of this crap.

If you thought it was bad before we bitched you should have seen it before it was all ads and they took the biggist spaces.

When the update hits the xbox you will have more room for ADS and non ads on the screen and the xbox live game of the week is shown most of the time.

Also the games tab is not burried anymore it is closer to the home screen and it is bigger.

my braking of the NDA is over.

The apple fan boy should be in the beta I thought that was his job......OH wait it's to play and look at the crap nobody cares about like what games are on apple crap and macs... he must have been distracted by the over priced iphone 5 crap that has no real games on it and forgot to have microsoft update his xbox ....never mind

he Is is complaining about a Dashboard layout that is going away very soon Oh i fell sad console noobs have to put up with that windows 8 metro crap and do not have a choice I would hate to be you.

Posted by starfurydysan

@Jamesesdad: Again agree to disagree, sir. You definitely are not a non-fanboy, you already coloured yourself as biased by the $ in MS, and .

I have all the systems too (two 360s, PS3, Wii, DS, 3DS, PSP, PC, Mac, etc), and choose to pay for the best services for my dollar, so I don't feel fleeced at all. I get the most out of my money, PS+ is just not worth MY money, you can do what you like with yours I don't care. I do like Steam but the argument was for comparing paid premium online services on game consoles.

I just expressed my opinion that GB does not have a dissenting opinion to Patrick's current tirade against XBL (ads, indie games, & fees) and his push for PS+ as a equivalent service worth comparing. I don't think it is after my 3 months of PS+ experience (that was gifted to me) and my +7 years with XBL the services don't compare, and it just lead to podcasts & articles with no debate on the subject. There are a lot of people like me are willing to pay for a good secure reliable service like XBL (remember the PSN downtime and stolen credit cards, I do and the hassle it caused me) and feel that it is a valuable, not because there is no alternative but because it is worth the money, so there must be a counter point to his. I would have liked a discussion on it.

And yes it is worth paying for well maintained publicly owned private courts at my local municipal community centre which don't have any of those annoying things you describe.

You will be the last person I'll reply to in this post as this is just sad to see that only Sony & Steam fanboys want to reply back spouting platform propaganda. At least I can be proud that the fools who did reply created accounts (1 post really, lol) just to reply back to little old me. Cool story bro.

Edited by planetary

Bad Klepek. "Build momentum forward" sounds like horrible marketing drivel. Are you auditioning for a PR job? And these process stories are pretty shitty. They have nothing to do with what's really interesting about video games.

Another way that Klepek doesn't really fit into the Bomb Crew.

Posted by Valdarez

Can't stand the new "Metro' UI for XBox360. After M$ changed it to Metro, I changed my 360 so it starts the game, and not the UI first, so I no longer see ANYTHING unless 'I" want to see it.

Posted by Metric_Outlaw

I use the games tab to find new games. I don't know why games journalists think that its impossible to navigate to where the new games are. You just go under the games tab then look under new games. Also TV and video games are two totally different mediums. Saying that putting a game out on Friday does not equal a death sentence. Most people work during the week and don't have time to play any games until the weekend. Also if you want to compare unrelated mediums you could use movies and say its the best day to release a new game. I love your articles Scoops but Idk about this one.

Edited by MindChamber

Lol, more than anything it probably was simply cue'd up for front page, and it just takes that long to go through the system.

Its one thing if this was a kick starter campaign where every day counts, but if it finally shows up a day later on the front page, then well, its still on the front page. news must be slow at ol GB, or Patty is just a bit of an alarmist.

also when I want to play games,(even when I have a new game in the tray) I always go to the games tab to see what new demos are out. so idea where you got that idea.

Posted by ChrisTaran

This is the most toothless and bland editorial I think I have ever read.

Posted by bybeach

Ive disconnected from the 360 and 360 dashboard for the past year or so. But admittedly I haven't stayed with it either. PC gaming....Still last time I saw it it was horribly screwed up. Just really unbelievably terrible presentation.

Halo 4. ..maybe?

Posted by zodstein

I actually browse the games tab every Wednesday to see what's new. But only because I know that is the only way i will see it.

Posted by barberforce

I don't find this to be so much of an issue in the UK. We get rotating slides on the big square in the middle and generally covers a game and the big thing in entertainment for that week. However I do always navigate to the Games tab to see what's what's for that week. As I do know Microsoft can't cover EVERYTHING.. I think a good solution would be to have a slide dedicated to each tab on the front page that's scrolls.. Then showing you most things. But this will never change as Microsoft for years have been pushing digital entertainment. Mr Gates himself said he saw the future in digital downloads/streams for movies. So Microsoft need to build a brand imagine doing this and so Games will always take back burner on the system as they push for the all in one entertainment/tv box

Posted by MachoFantastico

Right now, navigating the Xbox 360 is one of the worst experiences I can think so. I hate it so much, it turns me off turning on my 360. It's poorly thought out, but still usable if it weren't for the messed up order everything seems to be in. I have had serious issues finding games at times and the adverts... don't get me started on the ads. Stopped paying for Xbox Live Gold a few months back and I wish I'd done it sooner. Hell! I even pay for Gold if it meant removing adverts (which in itself is a crappy practice I know, but I hate the ads so much). It's not like there ads I want to look at or relate to me, I'd accept them if they were game related or informed of something I might be interested in, but no. Can't help but sense that if Microsoft don't get their act together for the next console, they might find themselves slipping back.

Not saying PSN is much better, but least the subscription is better value by miles and the interface works, it's not great but it works. I'd hate to be game developer and see my game (which I'd worked so hard on for months/years) to be poorly treated by Microsoft... must suck balls.

Posted by xbob42

@InsidiousTuna said:

@Dezztroy: That's because all Steam has are games. What about in 5-10 years when you're buying television shows off of your Steam Box?

Your computer IS your Steam Box. You can already buy television shows on it. This is irrelevant.

Posted by Nashvilleskyline

I see indie games a bit like indie music. The diamonds in the rough will come out to light eventually. I'm a bit tired of hearing both journalists and game developers bashing on the services that put out their games to the public. Not every great game needs to be a commercial success. Patrick, as long as you will see games as a "product of rentability" and not a work of art, you will always be disapointed in this side of buisness... From Microsoft, sony, steam etc etc. They will all, eventually, let you down. What won't are the games created by passionnate people. I'd say that 95% of the best music will never be listend by 95% of the population. And you know what. That's totally fine. As the game industry grows, it becomes impossible to know and be aware of all the game that comes out. And it will get harder to play them all too. It's up to site like yours and community like ours to share that knowledge and be part of what I could call : a living and breathing indie game world.

Don't write an article to whine about a service that almost created indie gaming, but instead write another article on how you believe Mark of the Ninja is the best thing you've played this year.

Posted by xyzygy

I check the games tab every time I turn on my 360. I don't, however, check the videos or music tabs. Because I mainly use my 360 for gaming.

I really how people cdan still be complaining about the 360 UI. When you learn where things are it's so simple to use.

Posted by sickVisionz

I think people expect too much of Microsoft. First there are complaints that every two bit homebrew indie game isn't spotlighted on the front page of the dashboard and now it's that every XBLA game isn't plastered on the front page of the Dashboard. They'd run out of space if they put everything up there.

Besides, I saw the advertisement... then I heard about it on Weekend Confirmed, then Gamers With Jobs, then IGN, then Gamespot, then etc, etc, etc. I think it's a case of MS realizing that there are multiple ways for a game to get out there and they don't need to plaster every facet of the interface to cover every single release.

Posted by TooWalrus

I think the bigger issue here is how damn slow and clunky the dashboard has gotten. I honestly don't care which specific ads Microsoft shoves in my face- I ignore them all.

Posted by BR4DL3I9H

@sickVisionz said:

Besides, I saw the advertisement... then I heard about it on Weekend Confirmed, then Gamers With Jobs, then IGN, then Gamespot, then etc, etc, etc. I think it's a case of MS realizing that there are multiple ways for a game to get out there and they don't need to plaster every facet of the interface to cover every single release.

You must realise that dedicated gamers, like yourself and I, are in the minority when it actually comes to high sales figures with games. More so with downloadable games too. Most 'gamers' don't frequently visit gaming websites, listen to gaming podcasts and do in-depth research when a new game is due to be released. I would wager that aside from the main page there are a healthy number of people who don't go into the stores to search for games. Heck, I know a few 'harcore' gamers who don't even bother to look at downloadable sections at all, so even a basic ad on the front page will enhance the number of downloads sold.

Just as an aside, a friend of mine who is probably the most invested gamer that I know didn't even realise that Journey came out when it was released, but not because the PS store didn't advertise it enough, but that he simply just doesn't care, however, when castle crashers first came out he saw it advertised on the Xbox dashboard and bought it with no previous intentions. My point is, product positioning is but one part of a successful marketing plan, but it's still a necessary and important factor that plays a significant role.

Posted by sickVisionz

@BR4DL3I9H: The main thing is that I did indeed see the advertisement on the front page of XBL. I don't see what Patty's issue is. So what if it was later? Like you said, nobody comes to gaming sites or listens to podcasts so whatever day the XBL ad goes live will be the "launch" day for the tens of millions of people who aren't on gaming sites. It's not like the XBL ad says, "PS: this game is older than other stuff."

I think complaints that MS doesn't elevate every single game on the service to god-like status is a weak one, especially when it's used for a game that got a front page ad. What more do folk want? Unskippable video ads every time they load up the dashboard?

Posted by kpaadet

The main thing I got out of this article is maybe Brad of Jeff should proofread Patricks writing.

Posted by medhead

Patrick mentioned on the Bombcast the same thought he expressed in his article--that games sell best on their first day of release. I think this rule applies when the game is advertised, but if an unadvertised game is released, does it really hold true then that the first day of release is its most important? Mark of the Ninja's most successful day could very well have been the day of its first advertisement appearing on Xbox Live, as the game could have gone unnoticed before then.

Posted by Razorlution

Its no secret that all those ads are paid for, and regardless if M$ is publishing a game, it wont guarantee it gets front page.

Posted by Toug
But who actually navigates to the games tab to learn about new content on Xbox Live? I don’t. Do you?

See, that's what surprises me. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I just got into the habit of clicking over to games and checking the "new releases" section. It's just muscle memory for me at this point. I find it strange that others, particularly other (ugh) "hardcore" gamers don't do the same.

If I see an add for something cool, that's great, but I feel like as someone who is looking for new games to play, it's at least partially my responsibility to go looking for them.

It's no good for me to walk into a grocery store and get mad if I can't immediately see the milk.

Posted by abdo

What about the fact that people pay for Xbox Live Gold and still get adverts?

Posted by Nation764

@cancerdancer said:

"and are often part part of contrats between Microsoft"

PROOF READ YOUR SHIT.

This, among several other examples pointed out. Are you a professional or not? You're paid to be a writer, act like it. These errors don't happen when the other guys write articles, but happen very frequently in yours. No excuse. The fu**ing huge tile of the article has a spelling error!

Also, whine much? Are you a PR rep for Mark of the Ninja or what?

Edited by Metal_Mills
@Nation764 said:

@cancerdancer said:

"and are often part part of contrats between Microsoft"

PROOF READ YOUR SHIT.

This, among several other examples pointed out. Are you a professional or not? You're paid to be a writer, act like it. These errors don't happen when the other guys write articles, but happen very frequently in yours. No excuse. The fu**ing huge tile of the article has a spelling error!

Also, whine much? Are you a PR rep for Mark of the Ninja or what?

I guess you've never written professionally. Some articles are riddled with errors, they get corrected when the editor-in-chief reads it. You know, like what Jeff did for a decade. That's why his grammar is perfect. And are you really bitching about Patrick whining after whining yourself? 
Posted by Nation764

@Metal_Mills said:

@Nation764 said:

@cancerdancer said:

"and are often part part of contrats between Microsoft"

PROOF READ YOUR SHIT.

This, among several other examples pointed out. Are you a professional or not? You're paid to be a writer, act like it. These errors don't happen when the other guys write articles, but happen very frequently in yours. No excuse. The fu**ing huge tile of the article has a spelling error!

Also, whine much? Are you a PR rep for Mark of the Ninja or what?

I guess you've never written professionally. Some articles are riddled with errors, they get corrected when the editor-in-chief reads it. You know, like what Jeff did for a decade. That's why his grammar is perfect. And are you really bitching about Patrick whining after whining yourself?

Yes

Posted by NGPriest

Free comment! :D

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

I just wish there was a option to customise dashboard, choose what tabs you want and where they appear. The dash needs to show things like a top 10 weekly list on arcade titles on the games tab front page and a what's new. The tiles system doesn't show enough information. I'm starting to think Patrick does typos on purpose to generate more comments on his articles because how hard is it to use spell check and get a friend of the sites name right...

Posted by Terramagi

Oh boo-fucking-hoo, your pet game didn't sell very well and isn't going to get ported to other platforms because of it (and the fact that Microsoft owns the property). Normal people just deal with it, as opposed to trying to guilt people into maneuvering through 5 menus to buy a game that clearly nobody cares about.

Posted by abdo

@Toug said:

But who actually navigates to the games tab to learn about new content on Xbox Live? I don’t. Do you?

See, that's what surprises me. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I just got into the habit of clicking over to games and checking the "new releases" section. It's just muscle memory for me at this point. I find it strange that others, particularly other (ugh) "hardcore" gamers don't do the same.

Agreed, I didn't want to call Patrick out for this, but yeah. You want games, you go to the games tab, it's not exactly difficult.

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

I understand being upset about getting non-game related ads, somewhat.

But some people are taking it too far by saying "I'm paying for this, there shouldn't be ads at all!"

I pay for my internet, cable television, AND Xbox Live. There's ads all over them and I've never thought "this is BS, my money should go towards removing ads entirely". Just remember that we are all material girls, living in a material world.

Posted by SatelliteOfLove

The 360's dashboard has been an ever more enraging trainwreck. I'd love if it went back to 2008-era when the goal was functionality of finding what you seek not cram-assing shit they want you to want. The Durango's will be hell.

@Nashvilleskyline said:

I see indie games a bit like indie music. The diamonds in the rough will come out to light eventually. I'm a bit tired of hearing both journalists and game developers bashing on the services that put out their games to the public. Not every great game needs to be a commercial success. Patrick, as long as you will see games as a "product of rentability" and not a work of art, you will always be disapointed in this side of buisness... From Microsoft, sony, steam etc etc. They will all, eventually, let you down. What won't are the games created by passionnate people. I'd say that 95% of the best music will never be listend by 95% of the population. And you know what. That's totally fine. As the game industry grows, it becomes impossible to know and be aware of all the game that comes out. And it will get harder to play them all too. It's up to site like yours and community like ours to share that knowledge and be part of what I could call : a living and breathing indie game world.

Don't write an article to whine about a service that almost created indie gaming, but instead write another article on how you believe Mark of the Ninja is the best thing you've played this year.

This too. If it was dicked over, THEN we can talk about something else other than Dashboard's clunkiness.

Posted by imfaraway

Man.... NG+ is looking pretty enticing right now. Everybody play this damn game

Posted by hookem1883

This article represents a lot of my recent problems with this site. Patrick, as others have written, you need to step up your game. I know you probably don't have access to a copy editor (it's a position that doesn't make money, so why have one), but you are a professional writer. Have respect for your craft. With regard to the article itself, what's the point? There's an army of revenue managers at Microsoft who have crunched the numbers, and determined that the non-game stuff makes more money. They know that more promotional space for Mark of the Ninja isn't going to make any difference to the bottom line. This article treats a numbers decision like it's an unfortunate XBL glitch or oversight. It's business. This article, as well as your article on Steam's Project Greenlight, comes across as merely a means to post something rather than an attempt at real journalism. We can get complaints from developers about Microsoft or Steam's policies on Twitter - don't settle for being an aggregate source. You can do better. I know it.

Posted by bkfountain

@Terramagi said:

Oh boo-fucking-hoo, your pet game didn't sell very well and isn't going to get ported to other platforms because of it (and the fact that Microsoft owns the property). Normal people just deal with it, as opposed to trying to guilt people into maneuvering through 5 menus to buy a game that clearly nobody cares about.

Actually, they hinted that Mark of the Ninja is going to Steam.

Posted by Terramagi

@bkfountain said:

@Terramagi said:

Oh boo-fucking-hoo, your pet game didn't sell very well and isn't going to get ported to other platforms because of it (and the fact that Microsoft owns the property). Normal people just deal with it, as opposed to trying to guilt people into maneuvering through 5 menus to buy a game that clearly nobody cares about.

Actually, they hinted that Mark of the Ninja is going to Steam.

So did Phil Fish. Look what happened to him.

Posted by CTS_1987

I'm Just tired of the 360 dashboard getting bigger and bigger (boxes) and showing more ads with every system update, to the point where my background is almost gone. Currently right now all I have as my background is a inside view of a 2011 Dodge Challenger. I used to have pics of good looking ladies untill the dashboard got bigger.

Posted by hagridore

I'm in the beta for the new dash and I'll break my "confidentiality" to say the UI is constantly receiving tweaks. Almost like Microsoft doesn't have a strong idea of how it should be formatted. I'd personally like the marketplace only visible in that menu option & have a simpler menu. Like that'll happen...

Posted by Arrangers

I'm agree with Patrick. Well said :)

Posted by YummyTreeSap

@Terramagi said:

Oh boo-fucking-hoo, your pet game didn't sell very well and isn't going to get ported to other platforms because of it (and the fact that Microsoft owns the property). Normal people just deal with it, as opposed to trying to guilt people into maneuvering through 5 menus to buy a game that clearly nobody cares about.

So you're kind of a butt, huh?

Posted by Katkillad

@hookem1883 said:

This article represents a lot of my recent problems with this site. Patrick, as others have written, you need to step up your game. I know you probably don't have access to a copy editor (it's a position that doesn't make money, so why have one), but you are a professional writer. Have respect for your craft. With regard to the article itself, what's the point? There's an army of revenue managers at Microsoft who have crunched the numbers, and determined that the non-game stuff makes more money. They know that more promotional space for Mark of the Ninja isn't going to make any difference to the bottom line. This article treats a numbers decision like it's an unfortunate XBL glitch or oversight. It's business. This article, as well as your article on Steam's Project Greenlight, comes across as merely a means to post something rather than an attempt at real journalism. We can get complaints from developers about Microsoft or Steam's policies on Twitter - don't settle for being an aggregate source. You can do better. I know it.

The point is, people are paying a monthly/yearly subscription to play video games on a video game console. The added media center options are nice and i'm sure some percentage of users might use Xbox360 primarily as a "media center device" and less of a video game console, but i can guarantee they are in the minority.

What value do you get from paying for XBL service? You get to play games online and there are sales, which are a complete joke except the big sale they do at the end of the year. If you compare that to Sony, and i'm thinking completely with business logic as I don't even own a ps3, these are things you don't have to pay for with an option for a premium service that gives you actual video games and video game deals.

Now that is kind of a tired/old comparison at this point, until you factor in how the XBL service has changed. It went from functional, to user friendly and focused on games, and finally to something slightly unrecognizable as primarily a video game service. From a business standpoint, you are right...it's pretty damned brilliant to have people paying a subscription that now focuses on advertisements unrelated to video game content and in many cases replacing updates/notices on games we could potentially be interested in.

This is a video game website and i'm assuming patrick wants what is best to further the industry. With the "indie boom" the relationship between game developer and end user has changed and users are getting more vested in the games they enjoy. So instead of microsoft helping developers with advertisement, instead you get to see a state farm insurance advertisement or MSNBC's funniest clip of the week. It's not good for gaming and that is the point you failed to see.

I think more people should be upset about it, personally if microsoft has a paid service again next console generation i'm not buying into it again, because it's hard to see what value i've got from it when you compare it to PS3 and Steam.

Posted by theuselessgod

The new Xbox dash was what convinced me to ditch consoles forever and build a gaming PC.

So you won the battle since I still play my 360, Microsoft, but lost the war. If you are going to charge me yearly for something and STILL plaster ads on it, our business is through.

Posted by lockload

@abdo: Like pretty much ever other medium including tv, magazines, newspapers....

Posted by abdo

@lockload: But in relation to other games services like Steam and PSN, it's atrocious. You don't pay to use Steam and PSN, or to play online on their games, and you get ads on one and none on the other. Xbox Live Gold makes you pay for something you get free with its competitors, and still gives you ads. I've always wondered what those costs cover, since not all online games use dedicated servers, if not most of them.

Posted by Nation764

@abdo said:

@lockload: But in relation to other games services like Steam and PSN, it's atrocious. You don't pay to use Steam and PSN, or to play online on their games, and you get ads on one and none on the other. Xbox Live Gold makes you pay for something you get free with its competitors, and still gives you ads. I've always wondered what those costs cover, since not all online games use dedicated servers, if not most of them.

The only response that will have any effect is to not pay for Xbox Live Gold. Vote with your dollar, and see if that has any effect. My guess, not so much. Like Michael Pachter always says , its a profit deal. Money, money, money, take it or leave it. All the whining and bitching will not change a damn thing.

Posted by BR4DL3I9H

@sickVisionz: You are absolutely right there. The average person whose only experience with videogames are off hand purchases and big releases probably has no idea that xxx is being released on xx/xx/xxxx on the market place, and thus gets annoyed when they don't see it on the front page of XBL marketplace. The day it IS on the front page is the day that they notice it.

I do think this article is making a bigger deal out of this than it really is.

Posted by FellOpenIan

If people ever want this nonsense to change then they should be blocking the ads and refusing to pay for Gold.

Posted by DeadDorf

Proofreading?

Posted by hookem1883

@Katkillad: Thanks for the reply. I can see your argument, I just don't think Patrick is doing a very good job of presenting that issue. I think the way XBL skews toward triple A titles and media is a problem for independent developers. With regard to your point about paying for Xbox live and expecting video game ads/services, I think that's a general problem with subscription based services. They've got your money, so now they are going to try to find new ways to get more of it or get you to give some to their advertising partners. But unlike a subscription for a magazine or a website - where you can simply stop subscribing if you don't like the message - you need to stay on XBL in order to play online. I think people need to realize that from Microsoft's standpoint, Gold members are paying for the right to play online, use video services and receive certain discounts on games. They are not paying for the right to determine the ads or general presentation of the service. Perhaps there is a way subscribers can change this. My feeling is that the ship has sailed on this.

Maybe this will change in the next generation of consoles. With this generation, paying for Xbox live didn't seem like such a bad deal because Xbox had much better games and UI than the PS3. Now that the systems are entering the next console cycle largely neck and neck with regard to content/games, and Sony has seemed to learn their lesson with reference to UI and Online experience, it could mean that Microsoft will have to improve Gold membership in order to maintain the same success. Following on top of that, both systems will have to compete with other media units (Smart TVs, Roku, etc.) for advertising as well as game sales. Basically I'm saying that a change in Microsoft's approach will only come from market forces, and not from a group of users who, though disgruntled about the presentation of their service, have already proven time and again that they will pay for memberships regardless.

Posted by PoisonJam7

I agree 100% with this article. When I first heard about Mark of The Ninja, it was the day it came out and I read about it on this site. It literally came out of nowhere, because I had never known it existed until it released. I'm so glad I read about it here though, because I immediately downloaded the trial, fell in love and bought it all within the space of 15 minutes.