Xbox Live: The State of the System Addressed

How Much Longer can Live live…

While the state of Xbox Live is not nearly as dire as they make it out to be, Team Xbox has created their own issue of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Most of their arguments are quite sound. Listed below are their five main points and my own commentary and advice on the situation.

Server-Based Online Multiplayer

Paying for peer-to-peer online gameplay is a scam. If we are paying to play online, the least we deserve is a server-based system where matches are hosted on a server provided by Microsoft.

Clan and Party System

So, how about also throwing in there a Clan and Party system that lets you play every Xbox 360 game on Xbox Live like in Halo 2? Bungie (which is owned by Microsoft) has already developed the technology, so it shouldn’t be a big issue for Microsoft’s Xbox division to implement this technology across the entire platform.

Dedicated Download Servers

Have you tried to download a big file from Xbox Live? You can leave the Xbox 360 on, go to have breakfast, lunch and dinner, then read “War and Peace” and maybe the download will be completed.

Microsoft Points Program

I think Xbox Live needs a “Microsoft Points Program,” something similar to credit-card services or airline-mileage programs, in which loyalty to a service rewards you for buying content. Obviously, only Gold subscribers should be eligible to enter the program—and it could be an addition to the Xbox Live Diamond Card.

No Ads

If you are paying for your online-game service, why do you have to see ads on those Xbox 360 blades?

Excerpt from Here is a link to the full article as done by TeamXbox.

Our commentary on the issue

Paying To Play?

Server based online multiplayer would eliminate the severe host advantage we have all grown to love (it is always nice to be able to have shotgun that works like a sniper) and hate (well that is unless that shotgun-sniper is in your enemy’s hands). Also, it would eliminate the form of cheating known as bridging, which became well know during the prime of the Halo 2 era.

Where’d the party go?

Speaking of Halo 2, there was a game that revolutionized gaming, or at least should have. It is widely recognized for excellence in the area of matchmaking and online performance, despite its inherently large flaws: the inability to search for a custom match, and the easy propensity for users to manipulate it, in simple terms: cheating. Of course, the cheating may have been magnified by the games shear magnitude of users. Why would so many people play this game for so long? In my opinion it is rather simple: a coherent and easy to use system with match-made parties that allow friends to play together, which was the reason many purchased live to begin with. The integrated clan system was shear brilliance by Bungie.

Title is still downloading… please wait…

Downloads take an extremely long time. Personally, I leave it on while I’m out of the house; however, there is nothing more frustrating than finding out that it is still not finished when I get back, or that it somehow signed me out of Xbox Live. If we are going to be charged, why not speed up the time and give us a benefit for all that hard earned cash we spend

What’s so golden about it?

Xbox Gold and Xbox Silver have only two true differences: the ability to play online and a color. And with Ps3 presenting free online services to all users, that presents a dilemma. As discussed earlier paying to play between users is just wrong, unless there is another service that makes it worth it (Above, dedicated servers were suggested). However, the fact that content costs are the same for both user groups is an entirely different debate. Why should I, who pays my yearly dues, get the exact same service when it comes to content downloads as someone who pays nothing. We need to find a way to correct this disparity, either by presenting slightly lowers costs, or maybe some kind of rewards program.

Please Pardon my advertising

Personally, the desktop ads do not grace my screen. And for that, I am thankful. Extra advertisements with no tangible benefits for the subscriber become annoying and irksome; however, I would love to see things sponsored by companies to drive content cost down.

Other Possible Improvements

Up The Friends List Capacity:

Only 100 people. Normally that would seem like a large number. But what if I told you can only meet 100 people in your life, or that your diet could only consist of 100 different ingredients to make your meals. Such a limited number would not culminate into the best possible experience. In the same way, the online experience is fully dependant on what ingredients are put in; in this case it is people.

Help us organize or friends list:

Windows messenger and AOL Instant Messenger, both allow for you to create groups to place people in. So it stands to reason, that this could be integrated into the Xbox live friends list. This would allow for an easier experience for all gamers, when it comes to finding specific people.

No web browser still?

To many of us, this isn’t even an issue. To others, it is the only issue. Both the Wii and Ps3 have options allowing internet surfing. Why should the Xbox not attempt to catch up with them?

Author: John Laster