If you own an Xbox 360 you no doubt have an Xbox live account. If not a paid subscription, at the very least a freebie silver edition. If you don’t, then go sign up for a freebie silver edition account.
Now, I am not saying the service is great. It’s fun and it’s handy, and it’s fairly inexpensive. However here’s my thought process. Most of the games, like Call of Duty and such allow for online playing FREE of charge. Not the Xbox however! The same games you could play head to head with real players for free on the PC, requires a PAID subscription to play on the Xbox. So, considering that? I would say the cost is a tad high..no matter how cheap it is..when compared to the free alternative? It’s a bit high.
Next is the subject of media! Xbox Live allows you to download movies to your Xbox system that you hav bought through your Xbox live account. The movies are actually reasonably priced, and there are many new releases from a huge variety of genres! You can also purchase TV shows through this same process. This is where the pricing becomes a little skewed. TV shows cost roughly all the same. So, you can spend the same ammount on a 23 min episode of “Family Guy” as you would on an 11 minute episiode of “Robot chicken”. That’s a tad bit extreme in my opinion. On top of that, they also charge that ammount for “shorts” from Atom Films, that you can watch on their bloody website for free!
Now, about downloadable content. I think this is the numbero uno reason to have an xbox live account. You can get extra maps and levels for your favorite games, or even new characters or items…or new quest lines to expand your favorite RPG…heck, even an expansion pack! The thing is, most of these items are going to cost you. You pay for the new content on top of your xbox live account, which just seems a bit iffy to me. On the original xbox live you weren’t charged for new content, and on the PC in most cases you aren’t charged for new levels and things. I can understand the expansion packs, but the rest is just silly.
Not everything about the Xbox live account is bad though. They do allow you to connect to your MSN account, so you can still keep in contact with your non-xbox live friends on your MSN contact list. Though this is a bit tedious at best. You see, unless you spend 30 bucks on the keyboard/gamepad combo yer gonna have to type to them using your gamepad and a pointer on an on-screen keypad…which means it’s going to take you an hour to say “Hello! How are you!”. It would be nice if they allowed you to call your MSN contacts through Xbox Live, but they don’t so your only option is spend an hour getting one message out, or plunk down an extra 30 bucks for the special keyboard.
Xbox Live also has released a new feature! Some may have seen this, others might not have. What it allows is you to purchase and download original XBOX titles on your 360 console. Games Like Halo and Fable…as well as a handful of other titles(Though more apparently will be added in the future). The games are priced about equal to what you would expect to pay and Best Buy or EBGames. However, you could get the titles cheaper getting them used or in a discount bin. However that’s not really the point. Here’s the thing though. When you purchase and download the game to your console, you don’t get a case or manual. I like those items myself. On top of that, the downloaded game takes up precious room on your Hard drive, and if you have a lot of games, and use a lot of the xbox live features…your Hard Drive room is extremely valuable. I would say buy the damn game and save your hard drive space.
So, what it boils down to is, the Xbox live service for the 360 is a very mediocre service at best, and they charge for every little thing. It’s no secret that Microsoft is money hungry. It’s that same hunger for constant flow of money that caused them to release Vista years before it was actually finished and ready for release..Or what made them release the xbox 360 originally with so many over heating bugs that resulted in so many people having to return their console to get it fixed.
The service however wouldn’t be so bad if at the very least they had some sort of stipend happening..where each month you recieved a couple of microsoft points(The currency you have to buy so you can spend on their service) for being a paid subscriber.