Hvac0120 / Member

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Xbox Live on Xbox 360 is a Scam

I have recently been pushing my belief that Xbox Live Gold is a scam. I have had lots of discussions regarding the issue. Here is a snippet from one of those conversations that briefly explains my position on the matter.

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Why should someone who doesn't play games online be required to have XBL Gold to browse the Internet with Internet Explorer, listen to music on Last.fm, or watch movies on Netlfix?

This is where people are scammed. You don't need XBL Gold to do this stuff. Microsoft forces you to pay if you want to use that functionality on an Xbox 360. This is the ONLY device in the world that charges a toll for accessing the Internet on an already-paid-for Internet connection.

There is a line that should be drawn between XBL services that should require Gold and the rest that should be open to every Xbox owner. Microsoft ignores the line and forces everyone to pay no matter what online features they want to use.

The are a lot of people out there paying for XBL unnecessarily. Who would not otherwise be paying for Live if something as simple as Netlfix ran for Silver members. These people are being scammed.

For those of you who pay for Live and use online multiplayer and chat, you don't see a problem because these look like bonuses to you. Your perception is obscured. There are some real ethical problems with the current structure of XBL and its sad to see so many people continue to support it and even worse to try and justify it.

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GameSpot's Tom McShea seems to agree with me in his article titled Xbox Live: No Longer the Gold Standard (http://www.gamespot.com/features/xbox-live-no-longer-the-gold-standard-6401861/)

My Console is Better Than Yours!

A lot of gaming-related websites that have comments sections and forums fall victim to the "console wars." I see it a lot here on GameSpot.

A lot of gamers are competitive, so it makes sense that some people would apply this to brand loyalty. However, it is inappropriate and inaccurate to claim that one console or service is better than the other.

Justification of Claim:

There are a few factors that govern someone's decisions on their gaming purchases:

  • Life Style
  • Resources
  • Time

Life Style: Life style plays are large role. If you are a very social gamer, you are going to want to use the social features of a console. If you are not social, then you have no need for those social features. If you like having all of the latest and greatest devices and games, then you are likely to have all of the major consoles and several games for each. From these examples, you may be able to get an idea of how life style plays a role in a gamers purchasing decisions and playing habits.

Resources: Resources mostly restrict purchase decisions. Someone on a tight budget might have to decide on a single console for the entire generation of consoles. Once they've made their decision, it may be difficult to switch or even harder to purchase one of the other consoles. This also ties into life style.

Someone who has a social personality and whose friends all have a certain console will strongly be influenced into choosing the console that their friends play on. However, if that person's budget does not allow room for them to purchase said console, they may choose the more affordable console; even if it prevents them from enjoying certain aspects of social gaming. On top of that, if the systems services require a premium to be paid for a subscription to the social features, the person may get the console but stay away from the social services until an opportunity arrives that allows them the ability to pay.

Time: Time influences gamers' decisions as well. If you are young, work minimal hours, and parents pay for your hobbies, then you have plenty of time for yourself and those hobbies. This means that you will play more games and you will use more of the services provided by the consoles. So a service that costs money is not a concern for you because your resources are there and you spend more time using the services so the cost is justified.

A parent has less time than an adolescent. Adolescents have nearly endless amounts of time in a week to spend playing games, even if they have a part-time job and are still in school (I know it doesn't feel that way when you're that young). Parents who are involved in their children's lives and have a strong relationship with the other parent have much less time. Adding school activities, friends, and family activities eliminates a lot of game time. A parent who does not spend as much time on their console is less likely to use certain services provided by a console and will sometimes avoid games that take a long time to beat (for example: an RPG).

Conclusion:

Don't run around the internet, school, work, the gym, et cetera arguing with people about why one console is better than the other. If they are arguing with you it's because they have different life constraints, they have different preferences (most likely influenced by their life constraints), or they don't care much for games.

What you can do is be proud to be a gamer. As long as you are happy with the services, games and hardware that you decide to purchase there is no reason to attempt to invalidate someone else's viewpoint or purchase decisions. If you are in a situation where someone is asking you to provide a recommendation for a console, don't just spit out your favorite console just because you feel you owe some sort of loyalty to the company. Provide a logical answer by investigating and understanding that persons constraints and which console will bring them and their family the most joy. You can use the social services for your interaction with them (a.k.a. if you want to play online with friends) as a bullet point, but don't fabricate or knock the other consoles.

Gaming is an exciting hobby and I am glad to be a part of it through playing the role of a gaming consumer. My current situation has allowed me the resources to own all 3 of the current generation consoles (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii). It has allowed me and my family to experience all that each console has to offer. With the struggling economy I have had some constraints added to my life that have made me nail down my preferences. While this limits my total experience, it has not limited my ability to see that being a gamer is not defined by the consoles you own, the games you play or the services you use.

In my eyes all gamers should celebrate the growth of the gaming industry no matter which console manufacturer comes out on top. To gamers, it's a win no matter what. If you have opinions about how services are charged for, what games are on what console, or any other complaint about a console or it's services, address the manufacturer and make your voice be heard. Just don't take it to the forums where your voice fades as fast as you click "submit."

NOTE: As of July 2011, I no longer own an Xbox 360. I owned the console from Dec 2005 through July 2011 giving me about 5.5 years of experience with the console and it's games and services.