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Some New (And Old!) Xbox Live Services to Require Gold

And AT&T is apparently crediting U-verse customers to allow them to upgrade.

Comcast is offering its On Demand service for XBL, while Verizon's doing "select" live channels.

UPDATE: Microsoft is now telling me Best Buy's Cinemanow application may not be free to all Xbox Live members. As seems to be the case with much of these new content updates, there are plenty of details that remain in flux.

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There was some confusion about Microsoft's big entertainment news yesterday, in which Verizon, Comcast, HBO and other companies pledged to bring content to Xbox 360 in the next few months.

What content is coming over depends on the company, and there was some question about whether it would require Xbox Live Gold.

Plenty of questions remain, but Microsoft did provide me with a tiny bit of clarity on the Gold question.

"Public service broadcasters, like BBC, and transaction-based applications, like Best Buy’s Cinemanow, will be available to all Xbox LIVE members," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "Other applications and services, such as HBOGO, Bravo and Dailymotion, will require an Xbox LIVE Gold membership. We’ll have more details to share about each of these experiences soon."

I'd actually asked for a breakdown of every subscription requirement, but that's all I got back.

Verizon, for example, outright listed the Gold requirement in its press release.

"Using a Verizon-developed software application," read the release, "FiOS TV and Internet customers who are also Xbox LIVE Gold members will be able to view popular live TV channels through their Xbox consoles without any extra hardware required."

It appears some services that were once on the Silver side will be brought over to Gold, as well. One Giant Bomb reader passed along an image from AT&T that confirmed its U-verse service will be making the transition to Gold before the end of the year. In response, AT&T is giving a one-time $60 credit to U-verse customers to use towards a Gold upgrade.

When asked about its decision making process behind putting some service applications but not others behind the Gold requirement, Microsoft sent me a pretty boilerplate answer that doesn't say very much at all.

"Xbox LIVE is free to any Xbox 360 owner with a broadband Internet connection and includes access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows in 1080p HD, not to mention nearly 25,000 pieces of gaming content all through Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Also available is a 12-month Xbox LIVE Gold subscription for only $5 per month. Gold members have access to all the music, movies, games and now live and on demand TV available on Xbox LIVE. No other device brings together all of this entertainment with the social connectivity of Xbox LIVE and the ability to use Kinect for voice search and voice commands, which allows users to easily look across a variety of content catalogs and play entertainment without ever raising a finger."

If I hear anything more, I'll let you know, but to assume most things are going Gold would probably be accurate.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
Comcast is offering its On Demand service for XBL, while Verizon's doing "select" live channels.

UPDATE: Microsoft is now telling me Best Buy's Cinemanow application may not be free to all Xbox Live members. As seems to be the case with much of these new content updates, there are plenty of details that remain in flux.

--

There was some confusion about Microsoft's big entertainment news yesterday, in which Verizon, Comcast, HBO and other companies pledged to bring content to Xbox 360 in the next few months.

What content is coming over depends on the company, and there was some question about whether it would require Xbox Live Gold.

Plenty of questions remain, but Microsoft did provide me with a tiny bit of clarity on the Gold question.

"Public service broadcasters, like BBC, and transaction-based applications, like Best Buy’s Cinemanow, will be available to all Xbox LIVE members," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "Other applications and services, such as HBOGO, Bravo and Dailymotion, will require an Xbox LIVE Gold membership. We’ll have more details to share about each of these experiences soon."

I'd actually asked for a breakdown of every subscription requirement, but that's all I got back.

Verizon, for example, outright listed the Gold requirement in its press release.

"Using a Verizon-developed software application," read the release, "FiOS TV and Internet customers who are also Xbox LIVE Gold members will be able to view popular live TV channels through their Xbox consoles without any extra hardware required."

It appears some services that were once on the Silver side will be brought over to Gold, as well. One Giant Bomb reader passed along an image from AT&T that confirmed its U-verse service will be making the transition to Gold before the end of the year. In response, AT&T is giving a one-time $60 credit to U-verse customers to use towards a Gold upgrade.

When asked about its decision making process behind putting some service applications but not others behind the Gold requirement, Microsoft sent me a pretty boilerplate answer that doesn't say very much at all.

"Xbox LIVE is free to any Xbox 360 owner with a broadband Internet connection and includes access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows in 1080p HD, not to mention nearly 25,000 pieces of gaming content all through Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Also available is a 12-month Xbox LIVE Gold subscription for only $5 per month. Gold members have access to all the music, movies, games and now live and on demand TV available on Xbox LIVE. No other device brings together all of this entertainment with the social connectivity of Xbox LIVE and the ability to use Kinect for voice search and voice commands, which allows users to easily look across a variety of content catalogs and play entertainment without ever raising a finger."

If I hear anything more, I'll let you know, but to assume most things are going Gold would probably be accurate.

Staff
Edited by DudeOlav

I hope I'm not stealing this.

edit: I think i dun did it.

Anyway, being a dirty European, most of this is of no consequence to me.

Edited by Aperture_Science

first? too good to be true, damn quests!

good too hear the bbc stuff will be available to all, also isn't that a bit out of character for AT&T?

Edited by krabboss

Hmm, interesting. It's not really what I was hoping for, I guess...

Edited by RobertOrri

Locking everything behind Gold seems pretty stupid, and I'm really surprised they still haven't introduced some additional subscription level that only gives you multiplayer. Well, okay, not surprised when looking at it from their point of view... but it's very consumer-unfriendly.

I don't care too much, since Live isn't supported in my country anyway and all these additional services like Last.fm, Zune Movies and all that are always IP-blocked when I access them via a US or UK gamertag. It's just really fucking dumb that there's such a huge portion of their userbase that isn't based in any of these few countries getting all the benefits and they still have to pay the same price for a subscription.

Posted by ptys

Foxtel on 360 (Aus cable) does require gold, they usually try and hook you with a free month of it, then there's no going back as it's a pretty good service. We are getting some free-to-air stuff like ABC and SBS which won't require Gold though. Also XBLG costs $79.95 a year here, a total rip off!

Posted by FuzzYLemoN

All this shit is such a waste of time. As long as it plays games, I'm good.

Posted by radioactivez0r

I have AT&T internet, but we don't do TV or anything and I don't believe we actually use U-Verse...so none of this affects me. Which is, I suppose, a bummer in itself.

Posted by CandiBunni

I find it pretty stupid that you have to be a Gold member to be able to access parties. That's just ridiculous.

Posted by Wandrecanada

I'm glad the Gold membership I continue to pay the same price for continues to have less and less value because Microsoft has no interest in brokering deals that extend beyond the US.

Globalization my ass...

Posted by FiestaUnicorn

Will there be additional fees on top of having a gold subscription?
Posted by McShank

@RobertOrri: It is probably because the US is the majority of the entire Xbox community, so most other places wont get it or it will take a while to get it everywhere. Same for the PS3, Japan gets everything months before the US ever sees it. At least that is what I would assume is the reason behind what happens.

Posted by PK_Koopa

I find this all to be pretty silly since all I really want to do is play video games. I pretty much always have a gold membership to play games online (and to occasionally buy a game that's been discounted), so I guess this wouldn't effect me either way. I guess it sucks that they're limiting silver users even more, but I don't really see anyone using that stuff anyway, so I don't see much of a reason to make a huge fuss over it (though I guess that's more based on my personal experiences than anything).

Posted by Kordesh

@Wandrecanada said:

I'm glad the Gold membership I continue to pay the same price for continues to have less and less value because Microsoft has no interest in brokering deals that extend beyond the US.

Globalization my ass...

That's ok, all the gamers in the US who don't use any of this crap they keep piling on and just want to play multiplayer, but still need to keep paying the ever increasing price to the troll at the gate to the internet, feel your pain.

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

Will I need to pay for Gold and another subscription fee for the services?

Posted by shadystx

I use my xbox 360 to mainly play games but the introduction of sky player in the U.K was a god send, I had been thinking about paying £10 p/m extra for multi-room as the women in this household do not wish to watch football on the weekend and since sky player came to 360 me and my pals can relax in the gaming room on the weekend and watch all the games on the big screen in peace then play some games afterwards.

Yeah it would be great if XBL was free but I have paid the same yearly price of £35 since launch and it has added value over the last six years so I am pretty happy with my gold subscription, I would have to pay £120 extra per year for sky multi-room but included in my gold subscription of £35 per year I get 40+ live channels of sky and thousands of on demand movies, tv shows and sports and plus everything else XBL offers so for me paying for a gold subscription is costing quite a bit less than what I would have paid for multi-room.

Posted by Xeirus

@DudeOlav said:

I hope I'm not stealing this.

edit: I think i dun did it.

Anyway, being a dirty European, most of this is of no consequence to me.

Thanks for sharing, that's amazing

Posted by shadystx

U.K XBL members are getting quite a bit new stuff also.

http://www.xbox.com/en-gb/LIVE/partners?uid=101609230&tid=9134

Lovefilm

4OD

Demand 5

Youtube

MSN player

Dailymotion

muzu.tv

screenrush

crackle

vevo

I do not know what will be free for all or gold members only but if your a gold member and love film member like myself we shall be getting quite a bit of new content to enjoy.

As a u.k customer I think MS have done good by us u.k subscribers with the extra content they add to xbl.

Posted by tourgen

man, I'm just going to see what I see when they roll out the changes. Either it's useful or it's not.

Edited by DonPixel

Pay a subscription to being able to pay for stuff that let you subscribe to other stuff... a yeah and a lot of ads, There is the Xbox live experience for you gents.

Posted by awe_stuck

Ya. I love paying money for a premium service. As for ads, I dont really see any. If I did I'm sure I'd be mad. XBL Silver with ads? Hell Yes.

Seriously, what ads? I think Hulu is supposed to, but its free anyway.

Posted by Dustpan

I subscribed to HBO because of this.

Posted by StingerMK2

am i to understand the UK is FINALLY getting the BBC iplayer? i fucking hope so,

Posted by Th3_James

Another way to fuck the consumer. Good thing I don't use my console or cable.

Posted by bricewgilbert

All of this just feels really useless at this point if Microsoft isn't more open. Could Whiskeymedia put an application on the Xbox? Not that Sony is really any better, but they need to cultivate this developer community or iOS, Apple TV, Google TV and whatever else could take over.

Posted by Manatassi

*shrug* I can't Imagine having a 360 and not having a Gold subscription. Its such a big part of the experience and costs next to nothing, never did get people who make a fuss about Xbox live gold costing a couple of $/£/€ a month.

Posted by ultraman324

Wow I do so love having to pay money to access content I am already paying money to access. Thanks Microsoft.

Edited by GaspoweR

That boiler plate response at the end sounds like Captain Obvious was the one replying to Patrick... -__-

Posted by Corvak

I think it really hurts these secondary providers more than anyone else, and it does make the Xbox 360 a games-only system. If i'm not an avid gamer, I can pick up a PS3 or a Wii, and get added Netflix. If I have an Xbox 360, and don't play games online or use Xbox Live Party, I'm basically paying double for Netflix, or my other secondary services. Instead of everyone with an Xbox being tempted to subscribe to these services, it's just the people with Gold.

I own all three major consoles, and I subscribe to Gold - but the people that might buy a 360, they're invariably the less-active gamer, who is less likely to get his $60 worth of online play in a year. I think the added service for online, and the party chat are worth it, however I have suffered several dropped games in recent months, and my dropped game record is about equal on the Playstation Network. PSN does not have a Party Chat system, but my friends and I manage to use Skype to fill that void.

Basically, it removes these features as selling points, and makes them added bonuses if i'm going to invest my $60 each year. They arent really a selling point for Gold, or the console itself, unless you already subscribe to the secondary service.

To people who don't play many games online, i'd have to reccomend the PS3 at this point, as it provides blu-ray movies, and many of these secondary services for no cost above and beyond their own subscription fee. The 360 does have more services (Hulu Plus in the United States, and these TV partnerships, for example) but for a non-gamer, this might not be worth it.

Microsoft won't change their ways about Gold though, so it's rather a pointless endeavour to even complain about it. Heck, even with Gold, I still get ads for banks and stuff in my dashboard. (Again, kudos to giant bomb for removing those when we buy a year of premium service...) but Xbox Live Gold isn't really to cover it's own costs - it's a profit earner for them, and they've trained their users to just pay it. It's worked well for them this long, because neither of their competitors seem to know how to build a good online service.

(If you're curious, PSN supports itself by charging publishers for the number of trial versions downloaded from the service, a pretty standard advertising model, along with the typical % of each transaction in the store. This is why Sony cannot force all games to have a trial like XBLA and Microsoft can.)

Posted by Corvak

@Wandrecanada: Same here. Rogers and Telus (I didn't even know they did TV) are the only major canadian providers covered. Switching to Rogers would mean getting capped internet, so no, not an option. Also check out the cost of points vs. what they pay in the US. Ours are significantly more expensive, and the codes are blocked by country, something I discovered after sending a gift to a family member down in the US. We used to only worry about Japan/North America/Europe....Microsoft is taking region locking to whole new extremes. Globalization indeed.

Posted by Norusdog

and this is why I'll NEVER renew my gold LIVE sub...fuck you M$. Shit economy so you bend over the already slim pickings for non-subs? blow me.

Posted by WilliamHenry

@Norusdog said:

and this is why I'll NEVER renew my gold LIVE sub...fuck you M$. Shit economy so you bend over the already slim pickings for non-subs? blow me.

I don't get your complaint. They are adding new features that only apply to gold members, not taking away old features and putting them behind a pay wall. Are you actually pissed that they are adding new features?

Posted by sins_of_mosin

QQ

Posted by bluezy

As a U-verse tech support guy, I look forward to taking all of the calls about this.

Edited by MindChamber

@WilliamHenry: @WilliamHenry said:

I don't get your complaint. They are adding new features that only apply to gold members, not taking away old features and putting them behind a pay wall. Are you actually pissed that they are adding new features?

"It appears some services that were once on the Silver side will be brought over to Gold, as well. One Giant Bomb reader passed along an image from AT&T that confirmed its U-verse service will be making the transition to Gold before the end of the year."~Patrick Klepek

R.I.F.

Posted by Deathpooky

Bah, another reason to wish I could get FIOS where I am. Also I'm guessing the HBO service will require an HBO cable subscription, which continues to suck. Allow me to pay separately for HBOGO on computer/Xbox and I'll do it HBO.

Posted by Gerhabio

I'm done with subscription for playing online. Next generation I'm going going to whatever console has free online play (if there is one)

Posted by George_Hukas

@WilliamHenry said:

@Norusdog said:

and this is why I'll NEVER renew my gold LIVE sub...fuck you M$. Shit economy so you bend over the already slim pickings for non-subs? blow me.

I don't get your complaint. They are adding new features that only apply to gold members, not taking away old features and putting them behind a pay wall. Are you actually pissed that they are adding new features?

What part of "It appears some services that were once on the Silver side will be brought over to Gold" don't you understand?

Really though, I'll never understand the appeal of these types of services that get tacked onto Live. One of the bullet points for U-verse is "Switch seamlessly from playing games to watching TV". Pretty sure I can do that with my remote, and without stopping my game. Who pays for cable but doesn't put a DVR on all your TVs?

Posted by Xpgamer7

I love how the answer barely is even an answer.

Posted by KarateKid

@patrickklepek Is any of this going to be available in Europe?

I realise most people here are american, but a small notice on what if anything will be available in europe for the euro part of the community would be nice =)

Edited by TheKbob

Yo dawg, we heard you like pay walls, so we put pay walls behind a pay wall so you can to pay to pay!

Seriously, folks, you pay Microsoft $40~60/yr to still see ads and for services that are free on any other platform... and better (not talking about PS3, stop getting panties in a bunch. Try something like Steam, Mumble, Ventriollo, Skype, Raptr, etc. on PC and you'll know). You're paying for Peer-to-Peer. It's complete nonsense that most people will barbecue me for with a notion of "you get what you pay for" or "it's the best service ever!". I used it from Halo 2 release to Gears 2 release. I have lived without it since.

There is no good reason that many services are behind XBL Gold, such as netflix. It's free on $90 devices w/ no subscription outside of the $8/month. The 360, from my understanding of the other game consoles and set top boxes, is the only one you have to pay again to access it. This is a service?

And I'm not an angry MS anti-fan, either. I love my Zune and have had one since the original 30GB brown. I have my $15/month Zune sub. I use Windows. I actually like the 360 and would still have one if mine hadn't bit the dust. Controller is still the best one ever made. However Xbox Live is a joke.

Edited by PenguinDust

If Microsoft is adding all this premium content to XBox Live Gold, maybe they should make playing games online free. I mean, if you're interesting in all these added services, Gold makes a lot of sense, but if you just want to play games then it seems like a more money for things you'll never use. I think XBL Gold is an attractive enough package to subscribers with these new media options without having to necessitate it for online play.

Posted by Vorbis

Glad to see the BBC won and got their way, Microsoft were trying to force them onto Gold but as the UK already pays for the BBC it was not legal.

Posted by masterpaperlink

Man im sick of paying for xbox live, i don't want all this other crap i just want to play online, a feature i should have earnt through paying for the damn game. Somebody needs to challenge Microsoft (properly) on this front.

Edited by darkjester74

@Manatassi said:

*shrug* I can't Imagine having a 360 and not having a Gold subscription. Its such a big part of the experience and costs next to nothing, never did get people who make a fuss about Xbox live gold costing a couple of $/£/€ a month.

Couldnt agree more. Besides if you shop smartly you can find Live sub cards on Amazon for half the cost, dont think Ive paid more than $30 a year for Live, whats the big deal?

I'm more interested to find out what the fees and requirements for these various services are going to be. I can see this being a hodge podge of different subscriptions and requirements if they arent careful.

Posted by ChrisInCali

I don't pay for Live, and never will. Silver is a joke, they might as well just say no membership.

Posted by shadystx

@KarateKid: I do not know what other European countries are getting but the U.K is getting several new services/apps.

I think a new and improved sky app is coming but am not sure on this one, If you are already a sky TV subscriber then sky being added to XBL was the best new app in my opinion as it basically means you can have multi-room at no added costs(if you already subscribe to sky and XBL gold), It only offers 45+ live channels but it has most of the best channels, several movie channels, all sky sports channels, espn, sky1, sky Atlantic, discovery, Thousands of on demand programs.

Lovefilm is also coming so if like me you subscribe to love film XBL will offer thousands more films, documentary's and TV shows to stream, PSN already has a love film app but it's not that good, it's serviceable but I am hoping the xbox app will be better.

4OD, Demand 5, Youtube app, MSN video player, Dailymotion, MUZU.TV, Screenrush, Crackle and Vevo are the rest of the new applications coming to XBL for U.K members, I do not know what is coming as part of a gold subscription and what will be free but I imagine most will be for gold members only.

BBCi player is coming to all xbl members, I remember BBC saying a year or so back it would only allow the BBCi player if it was free to everybody as they already charge every TV owner a yearly fee which i hate as I only watch match of the day and would happily change to football first on sky and goals on Sunday if it meant I did not have to pay for a TV license, I do not listen to any bbc radio stations either so I pay £130 per year to watch match of the day.

I am very happy with my gold subscription, Yeah it would be great if it was free and I agree they should offer multi-player gaming for free or at least offer a cheaper package to those that only want to play on-line and not use any of the other features, But for the price of £30 per year I am very happy as every year they add extra content.

Posted by UsbCable

I have FIos with HBO and use some of those other services here and there so I'm fucking excited to try this out. With the 360 now being an extra limited tuner basically hopefully, I can record 2 shows for later and watch a third in the mean time (3 shows I like come on at 9pm one day out of the week)... :p

I have Gold for online gaming and lucked out by having the services that made deals with Live so I'm happy but I am a bit fearful of the Gold price getting jacked again and I know lots of people will never use all these things being tacked onto Gold.

Posted by awe_stuck

For the price of a single videogame every year I get good software. Making the xbox open source is a bad idea due to security. Also, I'm paying for them to make the shit on the box. Its $60. IDC. You that poor you cant work for 4 hrs?

Posted by awe_stuck

Oh, and another thing. The advertising as far as I know is for Hulu, though I'm not sure if Hulu is coming out in the fall and they were just talkin about introducing ads for free services.

Seeing ads on Youtube. Dont care.

Seeing ads on free Hulu. Dont care.

You already see ads for that. Seeing ads on Bing. Dont care.

These arent ads added because you pay. These are ads added because your not paying XBL to pay for premium service use from Youtube, Hulu. They could remove the ads from Bing, but until I get my update I'm not gonna complain about it. Pretty sure if you pay the ads on Hulu go away. As for youtube I have no idea.

I dont see ads now other then alerting me to super cheap movies and games and those are in the menus, they are supposed to be. 90 MS points to rent X-Men First Class. Not gonna complain about advertising for that.

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