Gamespot:Xbox Live: No Longer the Gold Standard

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Animal-Mother

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#1 Animal-Mother
Member since 2003 • 27362 Posts

Do we really need XBL Gold or subscriptions anymore?

My resolve weakens whenever a new Halo is released. The lure of slaying irascible hunters with three like-minded Spartans by my side trumps the lone supersoldier experience, so I willfully ignore the greedy means that make such a feat possible. But I can no longer run from the harsh truth of reality like so many foolhardy grunts. Xbox Live Gold is an antiquated dinosaur that no longer fits within this industry. It's an exploitive service that takes advantage of people's innate desire to connect with others, charging significant money ($59.99/year, or $9.99/month) for features given away for free on competing platforms. As the next generation approaches, it's time for Microsoft to shelve this nickel-and-diming venture once and for all.

It's a concept that people who are immersed in gaming take for granted, but sounds downright crazy when viewed from a different angle. Shelling out your hard-earned cash for Halo 4 doesn't get you everything; you also need to pony up for a Gold subscription if you want access to the lion's share of content you paid for. The much-heralded multiplayer mode is completely closed off, as is playing through the campaign online with friends. Even Spartan Ops, which can be enjoyed alone if you pay Microsoft's subscription fee, is inexplicably kept away from people who don't part with some extra money. This is a ridiculous barrier that doesn't exist on any other system or in any other medium. Microsoft's ardent desire to force people to pay more money means that you might not get to experience the entire game that you just purchased.

Years ago, Xbox Live Gold offered a novelty well worth its asking price. Although online gaming was widely available (and completely free) on PCs, the ability to play with faraway friends and strangers had yet to enter living rooms. Slowly but surely, consoles began to tap into the online ecosystem. The Dreamcast created a mild ripple with its built-in 56K modem and the peep-smashing joy of Phantasy Star Online. The GameCube and PlayStation 2 had a few online games as well, but because you had to buy a broadband adapter, connectivity became another peripheral failure. It wasn't until the Xbox that online gaming on your television became a viable entertainment option. I didn't think twice about shelling out a few extra dollars each month to engage in the fiery dogfights of Crimson Skies or the kinetic card battles of Phantom Dust.

Microsoft's strong commitment to online gaming continued with the Xbox 360. The console's operating system was designed with connectivity in mind, so with only a few button taps you could view what your friends were playing, invite them to chat, or check out their achievements. Slowly but surely, the Xbox 360 became the go-to system for online-focused games and the streamlined accessibility of the online infrastructure went a long way toward establishing that trend. Microsoft's competition out of the gate lagged far behind. It took years for Sony to upgrade the PlayStation 3's firmware to a level competitive with the Xbox 360, and the tedious friend code system (and outdated visuals) of the Wii made it a weak opponent to the juggernaut in Redmond. When the Xbox 360 became the first device to stream Netflix movies to your television, the extra cost of Gold was a no brainer.

But Microsoft's huge advantages are now distant memories.

Aside from cross-game chatting and invites, the PlayStation 3's online features go toe-to-toe with the Xbox 360's, and just about every other aspect of the premium experience is made redundant by free equivalents on other systems. Non-game applications such as Hulu and Amazon Instant Video offer the same experience on a variety of devices, and Microsoft's apps for such services don't always compare favorably to its competitors. Netflix is not only available on Sony's console, but the PlayStation 3 is now thenumber one source of television streaming. That's a vital piece of information. Even though there are more Xbox 360s out there, more people use the PlayStation 3 as their primary source of Netflix streaming. Could it be because Microsoft banished this service behind a pay wall?

When you dig deeper, you see that Sony has a sizable advantage in some areas. For instance, if you love sports, ESPN has an app on the Xbox 360. But league passes for the NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB are available on the PlayStation 3, which is a major coup. Of course, all of these streaming apps require you to pay extra--it's not as if you can watch Netflix movies on your PlayStation 3 without subscribing to the service--but that's unavoidable. Microsoft is limiting the potential user base of these products by forcing people to dole out money for Gold while paying the cost for these services as well. And to what end? There's no benefit to using the Xbox 360 to watch Netflix over the PlayStation 3, so you're merely paying for the right to give Microsoft more money. It's a ridiculous premise that's ultimately urging people to turn off their Xbox in favor of Microsoft's biggest competitors.

Contrast Microsoft's approach with Gold to Sony's premium plan. PlayStation Plus requires a yearly fee of $50 ($10 less than MS' plan), but offers a much different package. Sony doesn't erect a nonsensical barrier for those who would rather avoid a costly subscription fee. Rather than charge extra for features that should be standard, such as online gaming and useful apps, Plus makes the PlayStation 3 and Vita's wide assortment of games more readily accessible. Downloadable games sometimes become available earlier or cheaper for those who pay for the extra service, and certain games are completely free. Now you're rewarded with a copy of Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Final Fantasy Tactics for no charge, or get to play Journey a week before everyone else. It's a system built on giving rather than withholding. Plus nurtures the gaming audience while Gold segregates it.

The reason why Microsoft insists on using this draconian pricing method is clear: They make money from it. But it's time that customers take precedence over coins. Cordoning off entire sections of a game from people who paid good money for that product is indefensible, and Microsoft is only hurting itself by forcing people to go through pay hoops to access non-gaming apps. Although my resolve weakens whenever a new Halo is released, I recognize that Gold is an exploitive business practice that should disappear into the ether when the next generation arrives. TomMcshea


What do you guys think?

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XaosII

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#2 XaosII
Member since 2003 • 16705 Posts

You need XBL subscriptions because MS says you do (for online gaming).

Part of the downsides of purchasing a closed system, like a console, is that you are subjected to *their* terms and decisions. Don't like it? Change it or move on to another product.

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Zen_Light

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#3 Zen_Light
Member since 2010 • 2143 Posts

Tom McShea is spot on.

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freedomfreak

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#4 freedomfreak
Member since 2004 • 52452 Posts
I agree with it. What was new back then was worth paying for, but it quickly became the industry standard, for free. Good read.
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EPaul

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#5 EPaul
Member since 2006 • 9917 Posts

They should at least make online multiplayer free next gen

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Chris_Williams

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#6 Chris_Williams
Member since 2009 • 14882 Posts

it amazed me you need gold to access things like internet explorer and netflix on the 360, why are you paying to play the same games that are free online on other platforms?

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Rocker6

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#7 Rocker6
Member since 2009 • 13358 Posts

Nice, this thread has potential for greatness! ;)

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Renevent42

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#8 Renevent42
Member since 2010 • 6654 Posts

Amen. Seriously, if XBox 720 continues the XBox Live/Gold shenanigans I'll personally be purchasing a different system.

it amazed me you need gold to access things like internet explorer and netflix on the 360, why are you paying to play the same games that are free online on other platforms?

Chris_Williams

This too...the service is clearly a rip-off when they are charging you for using your own damn bandwidth lol.

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superclocked

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#9 superclocked
Member since 2009 • 5864 Posts
XBox Live Gold atleast needs a hefty price drop. A standard price of $39.99 would still be expensive for what's free on every other platform.. I haven't gone Gold since they lost my first Live account, but I would consider going gold again if the price was right. I definitely wouldn't pay more than $30 a year though, and it would probably have to be $20 or less tbh...
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DrTrafalgarLaw

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#10 DrTrafalgarLaw
Member since 2011 • 4487 Posts

They should at least make online multiplayer free next gen

EPaul
They won't. Too many fools buying into XBLG.
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Chutebox

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#11 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 50764 Posts

So happy the wrote this. I love this exerpt: "Xbox Live Gold is an antiquated dinosaur that no longer fits within this industry. It's an exploitive service that takes advantage of people's innate desire to connect with others, charging significant money ($59.99/year, or $9.99/month) for features given away for free on competing platforms. As the next generation approaches, it's time for Microsoft to shelve this nickel-and-diming venture once and for all. "

MS won't care, but it's one of the main reasons I don't have the console.

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Ly_the_Fairy

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#12 Ly_the_Fairy
Member since 2011 • 8541 Posts

Xbox Live doesn't seem like exploitation to me.

PC isn't "free" online. I know because I pay roughly $20 a month to run a Killing Floor and Minecraft server. The community thrives because of donations, and it's just fortunate to everyone that some people pay more than enough.

I also know that both XBL and PSN cost hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain. The only reason Sony made theirs free was out of competition with Xbox Live, and look where that got them.

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jimmypsn

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#13 jimmypsn
Member since 2010 • 4425 Posts

Does everyone forget that Sony is losing money on PSN. Sony is deep in the red and this is one reason of many.

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Badosh

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#14 Badosh
Member since 2011 • 12774 Posts
Totally agree with Tom. XBL should be free.
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Sphire

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#15 Sphire
Member since 2004 • 2081 Posts
A lot of people will still most likely migrate from the 360 to the newer console simply because they've got an ID tied to the xbox brand and so do their mates. If MS is banking on that, they probably won't drop a cash flow as good as Gold. On the flip side though, alienated customers will likely stay away. My likelihood of getting the next xbox increases dramatically if online gaming becomes free. If it doesn't I'll likely not bother at all.
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Zen_Light

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#16 Zen_Light
Member since 2010 • 2143 Posts

It does need a hefty price drop to a standard price of $39.99 or lower. I haven't gone Gold since they lost my first Live account, but I would consider going gold again. I definitely wouldn't pay more than $30 a year though, and probably not even that much tbh...superclocked
It should be free, period.

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clyde46

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#18 clyde46
Member since 2005 • 49061 Posts

[QUOTE="superclocked"]It does need a hefty price drop to a standard price of $39.99 or lower. I haven't gone Gold since they lost my first Live account, but I would consider going gold again. I definitely wouldn't pay more than $30 a year though, and probably not even that much tbh...Zen_Light

It should be free, period.

if its riddled with ads then yes I agree.
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DarkLink77

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#19 DarkLink77
Member since 2004 • 32731 Posts

I'd love it to be free or a little cheaper (though I can't remember the last time I payed more than $40 for Gold), but realistically, it's not going to happen.

LIVE costs money to maintain and people are more than willing to pay top dollar for it. Unless that changes, they'll continue to charge as much as they can.

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RyanShazam

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#20 RyanShazam
Member since 2006 • 6498 Posts
"Aside from cross-game chatting and invites, the PlayStation 3's online features go toe-to-toe with the Xbox 360's, and just about every other aspect of the premium experience is made redundant by free equivalents on other systems. Non-game applications such as Hulu and Amazon Instant Video offer the same experience on a variety of devices, and Microsoft's apps for such services don't always compare favorably to its competitors. Netflix is not only available on Sony's console, but the PlayStation 3 is now thenumber one source of television streaming. That's a vital piece of information. Even though there are more Xbox 360s out there, more people use the PlayStation 3 as their primary source of Netflix streaming. Could it be because Microsoft banished this service behind a pay wall?" Most people on my PS3 are usually on Netflix. Most of my 360 friends are usually playing a game on XBL. I personally buy game console to play games, not watch Netflix.
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tryagainlater

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#21 tryagainlater
Member since 2005 • 7446 Posts

I agree with something Tom McShea says? Wha...what?

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Chris_Williams

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#22 Chris_Williams
Member since 2009 • 14882 Posts

Xbox Live doesn't seem like exploitation to me.

PC isn't "free" online. I know because I pay roughly $20 a month to run a Killing Floor and Minecraft server. The community thrives because of donations, and it's just fortunate to everyone that some people pay more than enough.

I also know that both XBL and PSN cost hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain. The only reason Sony made theirs free was in competition with Xbox Live, and look where that got them.

Ly_the_Fairy
individual game servers are vastly different then having to pay to access online for every game you buy for your 360. Also how isn't it exploitation? Why do I need live to use my netflix? Which you are also paying a subscription fee for? What sense does that make? Hell you can't even use the internet browser without having live?
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lundy86_4

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#23 lundy86_4
Member since 2003 • 61564 Posts

Nothing I really disagree with. Pretty much nailed it.

I pay for Live because the 360 is the system I seem to utilize most. It can be a pain, but it's a necessity for online play with the 360.

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youpieceopoo

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#24 youpieceopoo
Member since 2013 • 301 Posts
psn still blows chunks compared to xbox live
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clyde46

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#25 clyde46
Member since 2005 • 49061 Posts
Until recently, MS and the BBC had a huge falling out over the BBC iPlayer. Its free on both the PS3 and the Wii but MS wanted to make it accessable for Gold members only. This goes against the way BBC operate.
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youpieceopoo

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#26 youpieceopoo
Member since 2013 • 301 Posts
microsoft had like sale for xbox live gold 39$ reason i got it again lol
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youpieceopoo

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#27 youpieceopoo
Member since 2013 • 301 Posts
keep it 39 **** for a year
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DrTrafalgarLaw

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#28 DrTrafalgarLaw
Member since 2011 • 4487 Posts
microsoft had like sale for xbox live gold 39$ reason i got it again lol youpieceopoo
That's $39 that could have gone to birth control for the likes of you :(
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DaBrainz

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#29 DaBrainz
Member since 2007 • 7959 Posts
How can I get a job at gamespot where I can get paid for writing articles that state the obvious?
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Zen_Light

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#30 Zen_Light
Member since 2010 • 2143 Posts

[QUOTE="Zen_Light"]

[QUOTE="superclocked"]It does need a hefty price drop to a standard price of $39.99 or lower. I haven't gone Gold since they lost my first Live account, but I would consider going gold again. I definitely wouldn't pay more than $30 a year though, and probably not even that much tbh...clyde46

It should be free, period.

if its riddled with ads then yes I agree.

Which it is. Adds all over the interface. Who the hell in their right minds are going to pay $400-$500 or more plus $60 a year just to play console games on the 720? Only a fool.

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Chutebox

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#31 Chutebox
Member since 2007 • 50764 Posts
[QUOTE="youpieceopoo"]microsoft had like sale for xbox live gold 39$ reason i got it again lol DrTrafalgarLaw
That's $39 that could have gone to birth control for the likes of you :(

ha!
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clyde46

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#32 clyde46
Member since 2005 • 49061 Posts

[QUOTE="clyde46"][QUOTE="Zen_Light"]It should be free, period.

Zen_Light

if its riddled with ads then yes I agree.

Which it is. Adds all over the interface. Who the hell in their right minds are going to pay $400-$500 or more plus $60 a year just to play console games on the 720? Only a fool.

Which is why unless there is some killer games for the 720, I'm not going to be buying one.
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youpieceopoo

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#33 youpieceopoo
Member since 2013 • 301 Posts
[QUOTE="youpieceopoo"]microsoft had like sale for xbox live gold 39$ reason i got it again lol DrTrafalgarLaw
That's $39 that could have gone to birth control for the likes of you :(

**** raised price from 49$ xbox live starter kits in 2002 came with a game whacked and online demo for moto gp and headset and year of xbox live gold. lol lame rip off now
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locopatho

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#34 locopatho
Member since 2003 • 24259 Posts
I think the next Playstation along with WiiU will have much better online then their average to horrible predecessors. At that point there'll be no need to pay for XBL. Unless you really need Halo.
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DoomZaW

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#35 DoomZaW
Member since 2007 • 6475 Posts

it amazed me you need gold to access things like internet explorer

Chris_Williams

Indeed. Im amazed they aren't trying to bribe people into using that sh!t

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deactivated-5e0e425ee91d8

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#36 deactivated-5e0e425ee91d8
Member since 2007 • 22399 Posts
I feel bad at all the mudslinging Tom is going to get for this, but I think he is completly right. It's not like Microsoft dosn't pull in enough revenue that they could slash the price in half and still get a huge profit margin.
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youpieceopoo

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#37 youpieceopoo
Member since 2013 • 301 Posts
starter kit came with mic because no original xbox shipped with a mic but not all xbox360s come with mic so wtf lol
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jimmypsn

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#38 jimmypsn
Member since 2010 • 4425 Posts

I also Have live because I don't wanna get hacked on PSN. Plus Sony lost 170 million on PSN hack and it resulted in a 3.2 billion dollar loss for their company.

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youpieceopoo

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#39 youpieceopoo
Member since 2013 • 301 Posts
i could always use a few extra mics. hell the later xbox live starter kits came with a game and a mic 1 year of xbox live gold.
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clyde46

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#40 clyde46
Member since 2005 • 49061 Posts

I also Have live because I don't wanna get hacked on PSN. Plus Sony lost 170 million on PSN hack and it resulted in a 3.2 billion dollar loss for their company.

jimmypsn
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Rocker6

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#41 Rocker6
Member since 2009 • 13358 Posts

I'd love it to be free or a little cheaper (though I can't remember the last time I payed more than $40 for Gold), but realistically, it's not going to happen.

LIVE costs money to maintain and people are more that willing to pay top dollar for it. Unless that changes, they'll continue to charge as much as they can for it.

DarkLink77

I agree, gamers accepted XBL with very little complaints and are willing to pay for it, so MS made a lot of money...

They don't really have any reasons to drop a successful business model. In fact, I'd even say there's a good chance Sony will try to create their own paying on-line network, to make some money on that front...

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Clock-w0rk

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#42 Clock-w0rk
Member since 2012 • 3378 Posts

[QUOTE="youpieceopoo"]microsoft had like sale for xbox live gold 39$ reason i got it again lol DrTrafalgarLaw
That's $39 that could have gone to birth control for the likes of you :(

:lol:

Seriously though Live will never be free cause there are always people out there who love to be scammed.

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youpieceopoo

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#43 youpieceopoo
Member since 2013 • 301 Posts
xbox live pissed all over ps2 online last gen so it was worth it. hell it still pisses on ps3 online so i guess it's worth 49$ not the 60 dollars they're charging now
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Blazerdt47

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#44 Blazerdt47
Member since 2004 • 5671 Posts

Is it not obvious? It doesn't take a genius to see that compared to PSN and PC's online features.

Only lemmings will deny this.

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percuvius2

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#45 percuvius2
Member since 2004 • 1982 Posts

XBOX LIVE is clearly the gold standard. Nothing to see here folks, false article, move on.

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FragTycoon

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#46 FragTycoon
Member since 2008 • 6430 Posts

I also Have live because I don't wanna get hacked on PSN. Plus Sony lost 170 million on PSN hack and it resulted in a 3.2 billion dollar loss for their company.

jimmypsn

Do you know of anyone who actually claimed losses due to the attack on Sony servers? The answer is no. Because while it was a simple attack Sony did the right thing when they SUSPECTED information was compromised and took down the servers.

Now oddly enough there are claims against Microsoft for accounts that have been hacked.

Shocker, I know

So lets move past the safer network claim because it simply isnt so.

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locopatho

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#47 locopatho
Member since 2003 • 24259 Posts

[QUOTE="DarkLink77"]

I'd love it to be free or a little cheaper (though I can't remember the last time I payed more than $40 for Gold), but realistically, it's not going to happen.

LIVE costs money to maintain and people are more that willing to pay top dollar for it. Unless that changes, they'll continue to charge as much as they can for it.

Rocker6

I agree, gamers accepted XBL with very little complaints and are willing to pay for it, so MS made a lot of money...

They don't really have any reasons to drop a successful business model. In fact, I'd even say there's a good chance Sony will try to create their own paying on-line network, to make some money on that front...

Gamers accepted it because it was so much better then the crappy Wii and PS3 online. I don't know if MS will get away with charging next gen, if Sony and/or Nintendo can steo up their online for free.
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youpieceopoo

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#48 youpieceopoo
Member since 2013 • 301 Posts
psn does suck compared to xbox live though
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Shinobishyguy

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#49 Shinobishyguy
Member since 2006 • 22928 Posts

I don't even bother to renew that sh*t anymore. Most of the games I play on the 360 are singleplayer anyway.

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deactivated-5e0e425ee91d8

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#50 deactivated-5e0e425ee91d8
Member since 2007 • 22399 Posts
psn does suck compared to xbox live though youpieceopoo
Except it dosn't, so shut the hell up.