Golden

So I've been against Xbox Live Gold for a really long time. Not against it as a concept, mind you, but against it as a product. A monetized service. In my opinion, Xbox Live Gold is a ripoff, and that those who choose to defend the service are being tricked and hypnotized by a very carefully executed marketing effort and brand management team. There was a very strong sentiment at first that Xbox Live Gold was "the only way Microsoft could turn a profit" on the Xbox and therefore it was okay, because you were supporting the first baby steps in to online console multiplayer. There are those out there for whom paying for Xbox Live Gold makes them feel good, thinking that the service gives them a perch in which they can look down their noses at the "commoners" stuck with Xbox Live Silver. They see it as buying a ticket in to a special club for the elite few that can afford it. I've spoken to these deranged individuals, often by airing these very complaints. It was surreal, to say the least.
 
All of that stuff sort of made me kind of annoyed. I never really considered myself much of a PC gamer, but here I am with both Steam and Xfire on the PC, two pieces of software that not only match Xbox Live feature-for-feature, but greatly surpass it. Xbox Live Gold has never been exposed as a greater sham as when Microsoft had the great idea of transferring the service to the PC, the very den of these two pieces of software. " Games for Windows Live Gold" offered all of the functionality of its console sibling on the PC for the same subscription fee and it fell flat on its face. Why would you pay for that? You wouldn't, that's why. In light of that, it's hard not to imagine Microsoft is holding Xbox Live hostage and is demanding a ransom in exchange. The only reason anybody started paying for Xbox Live Gold is because there is no Steam. There is no Xfire. There is no choice. And like some sort of stockholm syndrome, now people are starting to think that's okay. They say to themselves, "That's the way it is."
 
So I lived a comfortable life without Xbox Live Gold. I could never justify the cost. Sure, it's only $0.03 a day or whatever, but it's not as though my Xbox 360 has a coin slot on it. You have to play by Microsoft's rules, buy the time in pre-determined chunks. When faced with the opportunity to spend $50 on temporary access to service I should be getting for free or spending $50 on something that's going to last me "a life time", I have always chosen door number 2. Bigger fish to fry, and all of that. Ironically, for a person who was fine not having Xbox Live Gold, I have found myself with a subscription to the service that does not expire until April 2011, acquired legally and free of charge. 
 
It will be interesting to see if, in a year's time, I too will have developed a sympathy towards Xbox Live Gold. In the mean time, I will continue to play the BLUR Multiplayer Beta.

29 Comments
30 Comments
Posted by BlazeHedgehog

So I've been against Xbox Live Gold for a really long time. Not against it as a concept, mind you, but against it as a product. A monetized service. In my opinion, Xbox Live Gold is a ripoff, and that those who choose to defend the service are being tricked and hypnotized by a very carefully executed marketing effort and brand management team. There was a very strong sentiment at first that Xbox Live Gold was "the only way Microsoft could turn a profit" on the Xbox and therefore it was okay, because you were supporting the first baby steps in to online console multiplayer. There are those out there for whom paying for Xbox Live Gold makes them feel good, thinking that the service gives them a perch in which they can look down their noses at the "commoners" stuck with Xbox Live Silver. They see it as buying a ticket in to a special club for the elite few that can afford it. I've spoken to these deranged individuals, often by airing these very complaints. It was surreal, to say the least.
 
All of that stuff sort of made me kind of annoyed. I never really considered myself much of a PC gamer, but here I am with both Steam and Xfire on the PC, two pieces of software that not only match Xbox Live feature-for-feature, but greatly surpass it. Xbox Live Gold has never been exposed as a greater sham as when Microsoft had the great idea of transferring the service to the PC, the very den of these two pieces of software. " Games for Windows Live Gold" offered all of the functionality of its console sibling on the PC for the same subscription fee and it fell flat on its face. Why would you pay for that? You wouldn't, that's why. In light of that, it's hard not to imagine Microsoft is holding Xbox Live hostage and is demanding a ransom in exchange. The only reason anybody started paying for Xbox Live Gold is because there is no Steam. There is no Xfire. There is no choice. And like some sort of stockholm syndrome, now people are starting to think that's okay. They say to themselves, "That's the way it is."
 
So I lived a comfortable life without Xbox Live Gold. I could never justify the cost. Sure, it's only $0.03 a day or whatever, but it's not as though my Xbox 360 has a coin slot on it. You have to play by Microsoft's rules, buy the time in pre-determined chunks. When faced with the opportunity to spend $50 on temporary access to service I should be getting for free or spending $50 on something that's going to last me "a life time", I have always chosen door number 2. Bigger fish to fry, and all of that. Ironically, for a person who was fine not having Xbox Live Gold, I have found myself with a subscription to the service that does not expire until April 2011, acquired legally and free of charge. 
 
It will be interesting to see if, in a year's time, I too will have developed a sympathy towards Xbox Live Gold. In the mean time, I will continue to play the BLUR Multiplayer Beta.

Posted by natetodamax
@BlazeHedgehog said:
 In my opinion, Xbox Live Gold is a ripoff, and that those who choose to defend the service are being tricked and hypnotized by a very carefully executed marketing effort and brand management team

What's wrong with wanting to play awesome games like Bad Company 2 online and chat with friends?
Posted by BlazeHedgehog
@natetodamax said:
" @BlazeHedgehog said:
 In my opinion, Xbox Live Gold is a ripoff, and that those who choose to defend the service are being tricked and hypnotized by a very carefully executed marketing effort and brand management team

What's wrong with wanting to play awesome games like Bad Company 2 online and chat with friends? "
I'd advise you to read the rest of the blog, if you haven't already.
 
Technically, nothing is wrong with wanting that stuff, but having to pay for it is another story, especially when you consider BC2 on the PS3 and PC has voice chat and online multiplayer free of charge.
Posted by AjayRaz
@BlazeHedgehog said:

 
Technically, nothing is wrong with wanting that stuff, but having to pay for it is another story, especially when you consider BC2 on the PS3 and PC has voice chat and online multiplayer free of charge. "
while that's been debated constantly, 50 (or so) dollars per year is not a lot to ask at all considering regular purchases. to add to that you get exclusive add on content before anyone else and exclusive content to xbox live.  
 
while steam and xfire are good at what they do, they're on a PC. you can't use third party programs on an xbox 360 so you're stuck with the default stuff.  
 
that's what i think, anyway. I also don't like paying for xbox live since my PS3 can do that for free, but the amount of fun i have playing online with friends is well worth the 50-60$ a year. 
Posted by JJWeatherman

It's worth it. If you can afford an Xbox, you can afford $50 a year for some bonus fun. In some cases it's not even bonus fun, multiplayer is becoming the main draw to a lot of games.

Posted by MikkaQ

Elite few? What are you retarded? It's 50 bucks a months, fuckin' who's that cheap? It's a good centralized online service that neither Nintendo or Sony can seem to match in quality. You can't compare these services to PC because consoles are a contained experience, there is no competition within a console. The PC is it's own beast, you can't compare something open like that to a console.  
 
For all the good times I've had online with my xbox compared to my wii or my PS3, I'd happily pay for live. It's proven to improve the quality of service, so why not?

Posted by Supermarius
@BlazeHedgehog:   xbox live gold is way better than the alternative. Just look at how online is implemented in many ps3 games or EA games.  Unreliable latency, poor support, individual per-game or per developer logins, regional lockouts, offensively intrusive online drm and worst of all you never know when the company hosting the servers or the matchmaking service will decide to close down and leave you unable to play your game online at all.  Xbox live gold standardizes the online experience and provides stable matchmaking servers which continue to exist even if a game's publisher goes bankrupt.  There is value in this. There is expense associated with this.  Sony is proof of that.  Even though free online multiplayer is one of their greatest gaming selling points over the 360, they are looking for ways to monetize the service. This is because they are losing a ton of money.  If you dont like it, don't get it. But please don't presume that you are smarter than everyone else that pays. You aren't.  You just dont value quality online console multiplayer as much.  That's fine, but it doesn't make you a better person.
Edited by Ashuku
@Supermarius said:

" @BlazeHedgehog:   xbox live gold is way better than the alternative. Just look at how online is implemented in many ps3 games or EA games.  Unreliable latency, poor support, individual per-game or per developer logins, regional lockouts, offensively intrusive online drm and worst of all you never know when the company hosting the servers or the matchmaking service will decide to close down and leave you unable to play your game online at all.  Xbox live gold standardizes the online experience and provides stable matchmaking servers which continue to exist even if a game's publisher goes bankrupt.  There is value in this. There is expense associated with this.  Sony is proof of that.  Even though free online multiplayer is one of their greatest gaming selling points over the 360, they are looking for ways to monetize the service. This is because they are losing a ton of money.  If you dont like it, don't get it. But please don't presume that you are smarter than everyone else that pays. You aren't.  You just dont value quality online console multiplayer as much.  That's fine, but it doesn't make you a better person. "

 
When did he ever imply he's a better person?   
 
Anyway, none of what you said matters. At the end of the day, it all comes down to justifying the purchase, and weighing any other options.  
 
For a lot of people, they and their friends only have 360's. So the purchase is automatically justified when little Jimmy plays the Halos for 5 hours a night with his bros from the boyscout troop.  
 
But what if you don't have time to play the Halos for 5 hours a night? Or what if you own a multiple consoles, and you don't really care for the Halos?   
 
I've asked myself that question for over a year now. "Why would I spend an extra $50 on Gold to play the Modern Warfares, if I can just get it for my PS3 and play online for free?" or, "I don't really have time to play the Modern Warfares online, but if I ever want to, it's free because I got it on my PS3!". Any multiplatform release that I planned to play online, I bought on the PS3 or PC, simply to not have to spend an extra $50 to play the multiplayer. But that's just the decision I made based on my playing habits and budget. I know that with most games I would easily be fine without playing any multiplayer. But if I have the option to play it at no additional cost, I'll go for that version of the game.  
 
But most of the people defending Gold on here probably don't have that luxury, and they play online a ton.  But these same people probably don't work 40+ hours a week and probably don't have to pay all (if any) of their bills, and rent on their own dime. 
 
Like I said, it just depends on if you can justify it. 
Posted by thegoldencat7

You rang? 
 
Oh, never mind.
Edited by Supermarius
@Ashuku: well, he implied he was a better person when he describes paying for xbox live gold as irrational and something that many xbox console owners have deluded themselves into thinking is positive.  Presumably, as the OP sees himself as able to percieve the xbox live scam that many console owners cannot, he sees himself as smarter than those who have been "duped".
 
But i totally agree there is nothing wrong with not getting it because you don't play multiplayer very much. But that doesn't make paying for gold, if you do play multi alot, a scam.
Posted by TooWalrus

I know more people who spend the monthly fee on cigarettes EVERY DAY. I know what a ripoff is... and Xbox Live isn't a ripoff.

Posted by Willy105
@natetodamax said:
" What's wrong with wanting to play awesome games like Bad Company 2 online and chat with friends? "
Having to pay to do it.
Posted by MAN_FLANNEL

I bet the additional electricity your PC consumes over a Xbox 360 or PS3 ends up costing you over $50 a year. 

Posted by Willy105
@MAN_FLANNEL said:
" I bet the additional electricity your PC consumes over a Xbox 360 or PS3 ends up costing you over $50 a year.  "
And add $50 on top of that for Xbox Live...and it's more money.
Posted by StarFoxA

Hate to break it to you, but... you don't deserve anything. If Microsoft wants to charge for their service, they have that right. It's just up to you whether or not you find that it's worth it. Many people have found that $50 a year is completely reasonable.

Edited by Ashuku
@Supermarius: The thing is I DO play a lot of multiplayer. And I don't pay for it on my PC or PS3, which is exactly why I haven't bought a Gold subscription since February of 2008.  
 
Why pay for something when I can get the same service for free elsewhere? I don't care if Xbox Live is a "better service". Free is free.
 
But like I said, most people don't have the luxury of owning a PS3, 360, and a gaming PC. Most people just have a 360, and because of that they're more or less forced to pay. 
 
Edit: I realized I kind of contradicted myself about my playing habits. I don't play console games online much, but I play a ton of PC games online. 
Posted by Famov


Online gaming is a service, not a right. It's also an absurdly inexpensive service which amounts to about four bucks a month on the Xbox 360.

XBL is not a scam for the people who, for one reason or another, only have access to Xbox online gaming. Gaming on modern PCs is far and away a more expensive venture than on the Xbox. Yes, you can social network much better on a PC. We all know this, but not everyone has the know how or the money to play that way. But they might have the money for Xbox gaming. 
 
That many multiplatform games sell better on the Xbox than the PS3 also makes a huge difference. Who gives a flying you-know-what about an extra 50 bucks spent a year when none of your friends bought Battlefield for the Playstation? No one, that's who. 
 
Now I have several PC games through Steam. It requires that I play L4D on very low resolution settings because my computer has the factory standard graphics card. I'm not willing to shell out the money for an upgrade, so I deal with the low resolution and I don't care. But pretty much everyone I know in a similar situation would just go for a console version instead. And many Valve games, as great as they all are, do not see the light of day on the PS3.
 
So what are we left with? Xbox Live is successful because multiplatform games sell better for it and it has the best actual service of the consoles. And then, playing on the PC requires a good computer, where a good graphics card can cost the same as a few years worth of XBL gaming! People argue all the time about Xbox vs PS3 and Xbox vs PC in terms of dollar value, but only in relative terms. In absolute terms, Microsoft's system was inarguably the lowest in price for several years as it built an install base. That's what really matters in this business.
 
Silver Account Commoners that cannot afford XBL cannot afford the competition. Why do you think that XBL is infamous for its younger audience? Because XBL is accessible and affordable.

Posted by Skald

Because Microsoft has the system locked down. That's literally all there is to it. As long as they can profit off it, they will.

Posted by Evilsbane
@BlazeHedgehog: You talk about the other services like they are equal, they aren't (Aside from the PC) I am sorry but I own both consoles and PSN doesn't hold a candle to XBL, now true Microsoft is starting to piss me off a little bit with the Ads (which I should NOT HAVE as a gold member) but I still am WAY more willing to play a game online with my Box than my Playset. and really dude its 4 bucks a month who cares, if they jack it up than I will complain but right now I find the price fair.
Posted by Supermarius
@Ashuku:  i can see that argument. Im maybe on a different side idealogically.  For instance i used to download alot of music with kazaa lite and soulseek.  It was annoying to hunt for the correct song, wade through the mislabelled songs and the corrupted fakes and worrying about viruses or that i might face prosecution.  It was free, but it was a pain in the ass.  When Real came out with their rhapsody service that was 12 dollars a month and you could download all the music you wanted to your portable player from a very large database, I was totally down with that. It cost money but it simplified everything and made the process faster and more robust.  12 bucks is alot more money than free, but im willing to pay for convenience and peace of mind.  With live gold im paying to just have multi work without me doing anything more than buying the game disk and hooking the console to my router.  Im not saying my position is better, but i dont think people should begrudge someone who is willing to pay a premium for a premium online experience. It doesnt make them a sucker.
Posted by BlazeHedgehog
@Supermarius said:

" @BlazeHedgehog:   xbox live gold is way better than the alternative. Just look at how online is implemented in many ps3 games or EA games.  Unreliable latency, poor support, individual per-game or per developer logins, regional lockouts, offensively intrusive online drm and worst of all you never know when the company hosting the servers or the matchmaking service will decide to close down and leave you unable to play your game online at all. 

Steam is the solution to all of this. More and more games are adopting "Steamworks" - that is, one universal Steam login. Steam acts as its own (rather unobtrusive) DRM. I've had more problems with lag in Xbox Live than I have had in most online games I've played over Steam, too - you just have to look for servers with a low ping. As for companies closing down matchmaking services, well, that's an issue on Xbox Live, too. Go back and try and play some of the early Madden games online today - I bet you can't. Meanwhile, on the PC, any developer worth its salt can release a patch to remove online DRM or fans themselves can. There are communities out there for PC games that their developers abandoned years ago that run the authentication servers themselves. Recently EA released Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun for free on the PC. EA no longer runs matchmaking servers for that - but a Command & Conquer community called Strike-Team.net does, and the game is patched (by EA!) to use Strike-team servers. You won't get that on a console.
 
@MAN_FLANNEL said:

" I bet the additional electricity your PC consumes over a Xbox 360 or PS3 ends up costing you over $50 a year.  "


What a weird defense.
 
@StarFoxA said:

" Hate to break it to you, but... you don't deserve anything. If Microsoft wants to charge for their service, they have that right. It's just up to you whether or not you find that it's worth it. Many people have found that $50 a year is completely reasonable. "


There are also people out there who enjoy being punched in the testicles.
 
@Famov said: 

XBL is not a scam for the people who, for one reason or another, only have access to Xbox online gaming. Gaming on modern PCs is far and away a more expensive venture than on the Xbox. Yes, you can social network much better on a PC. We all know this, but not everyone has the know how or the money to play that way. But they might have the money for Xbox gaming.
 


Figure you paid, what? At least $300-$400 for your Xbox 360. That's about the same cost it would take to maintain a gaming PC, if you upgrade once every four years. A not-quite-bleeding-edge-but-still-awesome graphics card will run you about $150-$200. Processors run about the same. RAM has been dirt cheap for a while. And you don't even have to upgrade all at once, either. One year, it's a new graphics card. The next, maybe you buy more RAM. A year after that, a new processor.  A lot of PCs nowadays have HDTV hookups, too, so if playing on your couch is an issue...
 
@Famov said:

That many multiplatform games sell better on the Xbox than the PS3 also makes a huge difference. Who gives a flying you-know-what about an extra 50 bucks spent a year when none of your friends bought Battlefield for the Playstation? No one, that's who.


This is going to sound a lot nastier than I mean it to, but sheep mentality is not something to be trumpeting. "My friends are doing it, so I have to do it too!" is a road that can potentially lead to many bad destinations.
 
@Evilsbane said:
" @BlazeHedgehog: You talk about the other services like they are equal, they aren't (Aside from the PC) I am sorry but I own both consoles and PSN doesn't hold a candle to XBL, now true Microsoft is starting to piss me off a little bit with the Ads (which I should NOT HAVE as a gold member) but I still am WAY more willing to play a game online with my Box than my Playset. and really dude its 4 bucks a month who cares, if they jack it up than I will complain but right now I find the price fair. "

The thing is, PSN has adopted the features that matter. If you play Modern Warfare 2 on the PS3, it has the exact same lobby as it does on the 360. Sure, it may not have Microsoft's "TrueSkill" Matchmaking, but it's hard to define in tangible terms what "TrueSkill" even does beyond nebulous and vague claims. And what important features PSN lacks compared to XBL are most likely going to be added in the near future - Sony has said as much. 
Posted by Evilsbane
@BlazeHedgehog said: d:
 
@Evilsbane said:
" @BlazeHedgehog: You talk about the other services like they are equal, they aren't (Aside from the PC) I am sorry but I own both consoles and PSN doesn't hold a candle to XBL, now true Microsoft is starting to piss me off a little bit with the Ads (which I should NOT HAVE as a gold member) but I still am WAY more willing to play a game online with my Box than my Playset. and really dude its 4 bucks a month who cares, if they jack it up than I will complain but right now I find the price fair. "
The thing is, PSN has adopted the features that matter. If you play Modern Warfare 2 on the PS3, it has the exact same lobby as it does on the 360. Sure, it may not have Microsoft's "TrueSkill" Matchmaking, but it's hard to define in tangible terms what "TrueSkill" even does beyond nebulous and vague claims. And what important features PSN lacks compared to XBL are most likely going to be added in the near future - Sony has said as much.  "
I am not going to argue the specifics but I play games online on Both systems and I have a better experience with my Xbox, what Sony Is or Isn't going to add is no concern of mine, until they match them feature for feature I will continue to favor playing my Modern Warfares and Battlefields on Live.
Edited by Ashuku
@Supermarius:  
I can see the point you're trying to make... But it doesn't make any sense at all. Playing a game online on PS3 is exactly the same as playing it on 360. You go to the multiplayer menu, hit play, and it puts you in a game. There is no difference when it comes to the bones of it. 
 
I think you have a serious misconception about how PSN and PC game's multiplayer systems work.
Edited by Famov

 @BlazeHedgehog said:

Figure you paid, what? At least $300-$400 for your Xbox 360. That's about the same cost it would take to maintain a gaming PC, if you upgrade once every four years. A not-quite-bleeding-edge-but-still-awesome graphics card will run you about $150-$200. Processors run about the same. RAM has been dirt cheap for a while. And you don't even have to upgrade all at once, either. One year, it's a new graphics card. The next, maybe you buy more RAM. A year after that, a new processor.  A lot of PCs nowadays have HDTV hookups, too, so if playing on your couch is an issue...
 

 

I've heard all of these arguments before. There's no way you're getting around the higher expense of the personal computer. In absolute terms, you will spend more money on a gaming capable PC than an Xbox over any period of time. It is a necessity for the perks that come with it. And there is a significant threshold of people who have enough for the Xbox, but not a gaming capable PC. These people will buy Xbox live and still save money. A $150 graphics card is three years of XBL. I'm not one of those people who's going trying to prove the superiority of any platform, but in entirely objective terms the computer costs more money. The computer is also less user friendly than a console. Again, this is not necessarily bad, but it does justify why some people would not use it for games over an easier to use alternative.
 

This is going to sound a lot nastier than I mean it to, but sheep mentality is not something to be trumpeting. "My friends are doing it, so I have to do it too!" is a road that can potentially lead to many bad destinations. 


 
Sheep follow without a reason to. Paying for an online service so that you can play with your friends, as opposed to using a different (free) service that they are not using because they do not have that particular platform or any games for it, is an entirely reasonable notion. Playing multiplayer with random people is not as fun as playing with friends. I am willing to put up with low res L4D on my computer because that's what my friends got it for. In fact, I only got Left 4 Dead period because my friends got it. I wanted to play with them explicitly, and I didn't really care about the game otherwise. 
 
EDIT: quoting format is so unintuitive

Posted by Supermarius
@Ashuku: but it's not quite the same though. There are more games on the ps3 that have regional lockout (is people in the us might not be able to play people in oceania) more of them are hosted by publishers (like MGO) and there is no cross-game chat/party support.  These are important issues.  There are many games that have multiplayer issues specific to their ps3 version, such as borderlands, and this is in part due to the lack of standardization of online, a standardization that microsoft provides. Further, microsoft has more aggressively gone after "modders" who cheat in competitive online games banning massive numbers of accounts and systems. Sony has been less dilligent and this is likely in part due to the associated expense. This issue was most recently noted with MW2.
 
Further, while sony is providing free online support, its an anchor around their neck.  It costs them money they cant recoup and that is why they are scrambling to find ways to charge for aspects of the online.  Have you seen the blog articles about premium psn services like the proposed cross game chat? Or how they charge for Qore.  I have a PS3 myself.  Their free model seems like its not sustainable.  I do want them to succeed.
However, PSN is pretty good. I'm more comparing pc online to xbla.  Man, there are alot of pc games which i would like to play more online but their matching services have closed down, like the old westwood rtses.  I think xbox live is noticeable nicer than the standard free pc online.  Its only a little bit better than psn. At least psn as it works now. It was a bit dodgy there for awhile until sony had to more closely match the 360 online featureset.
Posted by BlazeHedgehog
@Famov said:

I've heard all of these arguments before. There's no way you're getting around the higher expense of the personal computer. In absolute terms, you will spend more money on a gaming capable PC than an Xbox over any period of time. It is a necessity for the perks that come with it. And there is a significant threshold of people who have enough for the Xbox, but not a gaming capable PC. These people will buy Xbox live and still save money. A $150 graphics card is three years of XBL. I'm not one of those people who's going trying to prove the superiority of any platform, but in entirely objective terms the computer costs more money. The computer is also less user friendly than a console. Again, this is not necessarily bad, but it does justify why some people would not use it for games over an easier to use alternative. 


I am getting around the high expense of a personal computer, though. They're only expensive if you buy them pre-built. A top of the line, pre-built gaming PC will typically run you over $1,000 when you could custom-build the same setup yourself for $400-$500 - the same price as a game console. Do you understand what I am saying, here? For the same price as the Xbox Hardware, you could have PC Hardware with all the same features (and more). And it's not like doing car repairs, either, where you have 10,000 moving parts. Pretty much every PC component has a very specially-shaped slot that it plugs in to. It's almost impossible to "hook it up wrong", especially if you follow the instructions. Keeping a gaming PC up to date from then on actually ends up being less expensive than a gaming console overall, too, because when everybody else is dropping $500 on the third Xbox, you're dropping $200 on a new video card. So not only are you saving the cost of Xbox Live Gold, but you're saving on the cost of the hardware itself.
 
As for being "less user friendly", that's a pretty bad excuse. If you want to choose to be ignorant, that's fine, I guess, but it's not difficult to use a computer. You don't have to be a genius to know how to troubleshoot a problem. There's definitely a benefit to being able to just stick the disc in the tray and go, but it's hardly what should be considered a "deal breaker". I could flip it around and say that there are certain elements of console interfaces that are a little too simple.
 
@Famov said: 

Sheep follow without a reason to. Paying for an online service so that you can play with your friends, as opposed to using a different (free) service that they are not using because they do not have that particular platform or any games for it, is an entirely reasonable notion.


Maybe, but again, this touches on what my blog said - about not having a choice. The decision was already made for you. Doesn't that suck? Doesn't it bother you that you have no control over the situation? You have to pay XBL Gold, because everybody pays, and "that's the way it is". It's like a river running down a mountain. I've been "voting with my dollars" for years, and it doesn't matter. You think of the movie industry, and how many bad movies come out of it every year - and people go see them, because they get swept up in the marketing zeitgeist. You cannot watch a movie trailer these days and be absolutely certain that the movie they're trying to sell you is the same movie you'll see in theaters. The populace at large is easily fooled - and before you know it, there's nothing you can do to change your course. The river is already flowing, and nobody wants to go against the current.
 
But that doesn't make it right.
 
@Supermarius said:

Further, while sony is providing free online support, its an anchor around their neck.  It costs them money they cant recoup and that is why they are scrambling to find ways to charge for aspects of the online.
It probably doesn't cost them as much money as you think it does. It probably costs the developers who make games that use PSN more than it does Sony themselves - outside of the R&D needed to develop features like voice chat and friends lists. The bandwidth required to run a friends list is next to nothing, and there are ways to alleviate server constraints on full-game downloads (torrent technology, for instance, something a number of PC games put to good use).



Posted by Ashuku
@Supermarius said:
" @Ashuku: I'm more comparing pc online to xbla.  Man, there are alot of pc games which i would like to play more online but their matching services have closed down, like the old westwood rtses. 


This is kinda playing a trump card, but I don't think you can complain that Westood games aren't playable online anymore (even though they are, www.strike-team.net), and praise XBL when Microsoft is shutting down all online service for original Xbox games.   
 
(I'd respond more indepth, but I'm at work and can't stay on the site for long)
Edited by Supermarius
@Ashuku: well westwood might not be the best choice to talk about but as far as i know there is no legal (ie accepted by EA) solution. Can you play Nox?  
 
 Actually I dont think its hypocritical to praise microsoft's online service when they are shutting down original xbox live service.  The reasons behind the shutdown are pretty well-known and its not a money-saving move or a crass attempt to get people to upgrade their games.  The problem was that old xbox games and new 360 games were using the same online infrastructure.  Moicrosoft could not make certain improvements to live because it would break original xbox compatibility.  They held out a long time until the active user base of original xbox games was small and now finally are moving ahead with improvements to live which unavoidably will break the play of originals.  I think there is no reason to believe that they were intentionally choosing to break compatibility when they could otherwise avoid so I dont believe it was their choice to shut down those games, they simply had no choice.
 
@BlazeHedgehog:  i am aware of many EA games that are no longer playable over xbox live. They are actually the exception that proves the rule. EA refused to put its games on the xbox live servers. They held out and microsoft gave in.  They allowed EA to host its xbox and xbox 360 games on external servers.  Even though these gave have online they are NOT using xbox' service. So rather than reflect badly of xbox live gold, they show what can quickly go wrong when servers are left to individual publishers.  Also im aware of the the hacked solutions for old westwood games, but im pretty sure that those are not gereally allowed by ea so im wary to get too into them.
Edited by Ashuku
@Supermarius said:

 Also im aware of the the hacked solutions for old westwood games, but im pretty sure that those are not gereally allowed by ea so im wary to get too into them. "


(Another quickie reply from work) 
 
As Blaze mentioned in one of his replies, the "hacked solutions" are actually patched in by EA in the recently released free versions of C&C95, Tiberian Sun, and Red Alert. 
 

I think the main difference for a lot of people with xbox live is a generational gap . Not generalizing too much, but kids these days only know xbox live. I played PC games online for close to a decade before ever playing on xbox live. It's not like that anymore.

Posted by Famov
@BlazeHedgehog said:
" @Famov said:

I've heard all of these arguments before. There's no way you're getting around the higher expense of the personal computer. In absolute terms, you will spend more money on a gaming capable PC than an Xbox over any period of time. It is a necessity for the perks that come with it. And there is a significant threshold of people who have enough for the Xbox, but not a gaming capable PC. These people will buy Xbox live and still save money. A $150 graphics card is three years of XBL. I'm not one of those people who's going trying to prove the superiority of any platform, but in entirely objective terms the computer costs more money. The computer is also less user friendly than a console. Again, this is not necessarily bad, but it does justify why some people would not use it for games over an easier to use alternative. 


I am getting around the high expense of a personal computer, though. They're only expensive if you buy them pre-built. A top of the line, pre-built gaming PC will typically run you over $1,000 when you could custom-build the same setup yourself for $400-$500 - the same price as a game console. Do you understand what I am saying, here? For the same price as the Xbox Hardware, you could have PC Hardware with all the same features (and more). And it's not like doing car repairs, either, where you have 10,000 moving parts. Pretty much every PC component has a very specially-shaped slot that it plugs in to. It's almost impossible to "hook it up wrong", especially if you follow the instructions. Keeping a gaming PC up to date from then on actually ends up being less expensive than a gaming console overall, too, because when everybody else is dropping $500 on the third Xbox, you're dropping $200 on a new video card. So not only are you saving the cost of Xbox Live Gold, but you're saving on the cost of the hardware itself.
 
As for being "less user friendly", that's a pretty bad excuse. If you want to choose to be ignorant, that's fine, I guess, but it's not difficult to use a computer. You don't have to be a genius to know how to troubleshoot a problem. There's definitely a benefit to being able to just stick the disc in the tray and go, but it's hardly what should be considered a "deal breaker". I could flip it around and say that there are certain elements of console interfaces that are a little too simple.
 
@Famov said: 

Sheep follow without a reason to. Paying for an online service so that you can play with your friends, as opposed to using a different (free) service that they are not using because they do not have that particular platform or any games for it, is an entirely reasonable notion.


Maybe, but again, this touches on what my blog said - about not having a choice. The decision was already made for you. Doesn't that suck? Doesn't it bother you that you have no control over the situation? You have to pay XBL Gold, because everybody pays, and "that's the way it is". It's like a river running down a mountain. I've been "voting with my dollars" for years, and it doesn't matter. You think of the movie industry, and how many bad movies come out of it every year - and people go see them, because they get swept up in the marketing zeitgeist. You cannot watch a movie trailer these days and be absolutely certain that the movie they're trying to sell you is the same movie you'll see in theaters. The populace at large is easily fooled - and before you know it, there's nothing you can do to change your course. The river is already flowing, and nobody wants to go against the current.
 
But that doesn't make it right. 

"

God, I really hate the GB quote system. Let's hope I did this right. 
 
The first thing I wish to make clear here is that I am not describing myself when I'm making these arguments. I am describing the motivations of people who purchase XBL and why it is entirely reasonable for them to do so. 
 
A custom built gaming capable PC for 400-500 dollars total? That's a bold claim. It also seems, to me, to contradict your previous numbers. Did you not claim that, using your lower bound numbers, a processor and graphics card can cost 150 dollars each? Do you really wish to claim that  the rest of the computer will cost only 100-200 more dollars? And this isn't even getting into the possibility that a monitor and mouse/keyboard may need to be purchased. These numbers do not add up, when the lowest cost Xbox costs 200 dollars. An elite will cost 300 dollars. Even with an elite and three years of XBL, you spent 450 dollars. If you can convince me that a PC will cost around that much in that time frame, I will be very impressed. But I wouldn't be surprised if the lowest reasonable price would be anywhere from 50-100 percent higher than the numbers you gave.
 
Furthermore, my comment about user friendliness is entirely valid. It is easy for people who are tech savvy to misunderstand just how little most people know about computers. Were my sister, for example, to be a prospective buyer of a gaming machine, how would she ever learn how to put a computer together? She doesn't understand why the computer has internet access. She doesn't understand where programs are on a computer. She got duped by a virus to let it 'scan' the old family computer for viruses. (Where she was to pick up something like that is another question.) Unless she pays the Geek Squad ($$$) or something, she's never getting a custom computer together. Even I would need some help (I bookmarked Geno's recent thread for the future possibility that I may want access to it). You are correct in asserting that simplicity and a streamlined interface has its own downfalls. By design, the 360 environment is less powerful than the PC. That's the nature of simplicity vs customization.
 
Lastly, there is a choice. If their friends have one platform and not the other, that will likely be a factor of their decision making process. 
 
My entire point is that there is a completely reasonable justification for playing an Xbox over a PC, depending entirely on the circumstances of each situation. This is the real reason why there is no objective best platform: the answer changes due to a huge range of factors. Whether it be the game library, the price of the platform, the online service, the customizability of the platform, etc. And then there are more personal reasons: Individual knowledge of technology, what the potential buyer's friends have, whether the buyer has an HDTV, whether the buyer has an internet connection at all, etc.

 
My rabid Nintendo fanboyism/brand loyalty can even be justified. If I want Nintendo games, which I do, how can I play them? On the current Nintendo platform. It doesn't much matter what I think of the console's latest gimmick, as my purchase is justified by my desire to play quality Nintendo games, and this is my only opportunity to play those games. There may have been videogame consoles in the past where it would require extraordinary circumstances to justify their purchase (3D0, CDI), but I do not believe that this applies to the personal computer or any of the currently available consoles.