What's Wrong with Xbox Live?

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So...

I get PSN for free (Plus is fairly pointless imo), which, on any given game, has far less teen-aged fuckwads than XBL.

I have Steam, also for free, and accounts for my PC games where my friends and I can pick a server and get to playing with whomever we like.

So the idea of spending the equivalent of two beers at the pub each month to get the same/a worse service appears supremely silly to me.

ben---neb:
Ah, not to worry, according to some experts there won't be another console generation just PC gaming. Problem solved.

Ok, I made up the above fact.

If I get my way, it will be fact... I have an epic idea that could change the face of gaming. I'd work with Valve, and call it project ICE.

It's too top secret, obvious and amazing to let anyone know about - there's one issue I can think of, but bypass that, and... well. Let's just say you could play Crysis 5 on Windows 98.

Hopefully the next Xbox will let Microsoft get their act together.

They really SHOULD let you run the servers, Shamus. Fund this man's ideas!

Straying Bullet:
In all honesty, if they proposed a tier system where you can get services depending how much you are willing to pay, I'd opt for the online only and just play with my friends. Not interested in all the other services or whatever, I want to pay accordingly to the services I use. Not something general.

My feelings exactly, I've not touched the twitter and face book stuff. Not interested. It's the same with Zune and lastfm. Just let me play online and download content. Charge the other clowns who want it extra.

If you are a UK xbl user you will have seen those 2 arse holes (with their stupid hair cuts) who post the "sentuamessage" video, each week, answering questions. I've messaged them a few times asking why the valve content is free on PC but not on the 360. Strangely they have never answered. Instead they prefer to answer questions that anyone with access to google can answer...

"1337pwner69 asks; When is generic shooter X out and will their be frisbees in it"

I do miss that feeling of having a local server where I can play with the same people. Having said that I've not done it this decade. I've not played a PC shooter since Action Quake II.

SilverUchiha:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Shamus Young:

Everything would be much better if Xbox would just let us run its servers.

Good luck Shamus, prepare for the Valve hate.

Not entirely sure what that's supposed to mean.

OT: I never realized that Xbox Live had so many problems. I'm actually kind of glad I haven't wasted money on buying it. I like my Left 4 Dead experience the way it is. Getting the xbox version would sorta kill that.

It doesn't. People are freaking out because it's Valve and everyone loves Valve.

Cousin_IT:

Equally, it's hardly all roses & icecream with dedicated servers. The last game I played online regularly which used them, COD2, was a navigational nightmare full of servers that were empty, locked, playing a map I didn't like, or servers that seemed open but then after 10minutes of loading informed me that it was infact full.

You know, PC games usually come with a filter system for their online part. Do you want to display full/empty/password protected/playing map ABC? |Yes|/|No| Just check/uncheck the right box and everything is all right. But if even that is too much to ask from a current generation console gamer...Then i'm at a loss for words. Really.

Citing Newell's bullshit (the Left 4 Dead series makes his statement sound like a bunch of crap, unless he'd like to speak up and offer some clarity as to why he can manage to keep those games updated, but not Team Fortress 2) doesn't really make any case against Xbox Live. I found that entire part of the article to be pretty worthless honestly.

As for the part about servers... If they wanted to do something like that as an extra for those who want to use it, fine. I'd rather not be assed though, just being able to go to the MP menu and picking Quick Play works fine for me. So maybe they can expand but keep the current system there as well for people who don't want to deal with it. Of course it would probably only work for Microsoft published games. I don't think any amount of money tossed at Microsoft is going to stop EA from pulling the plugs on game servers faster than Gabe Newell can make statements that make him look stupid (and not just the ones about Xbox Live, remember when he was hating on the PS3? How's that foot taste, Gabe?).

bjj hero:
If you are a UK xbl user you will have seen those 2 arse holes (with their stupid hair cuts) who post the "sentuamessage" video, each week, answering questions.

Oh man, why would you ever remind anyone that those guys exist? Never remind anyone that those guys exist (sadly we get them in the US as well).

What Im trying to figure out is why Microsoft is increasing the price of Live Gold but I can't block people from msging me w/o signing off of live. Sometimes I want to slay online in silence and privacy. also I can't download a demo and play a game at the same time? what gives. But i can browse face book from my 360 whoppeee!!! (soo sarcastic)

Blazenwizard:
What Im trying to figure out is why Microsoft is increasing the price of Live Gold but I can't block people from msging me w/o signing off of live. Sometimes I want to slay online in silence and privacy. also I can't download a demo and play a game at the same time? what gives. But i can browse face book from my 360 whoppeee!!! (soo sarcastic)

That's not hard at all. Either turn your notifications off, or set your status to "appear offline".

Unless someone knows otherwise, you either won't get notified of any messages (you know - out of sight, out of mind), or you'll have virtually dropped off the face of the planet. Kaboom yo, now you can frag, kill, and maim in the privacy of your own room. :)

I find it disappointing that there exist people who believe moderation by Microsoft in any major form is positive. You do not need Microsoft's help or assistance if you had dedicated servers. Make games work using the same general system of Left 4 Dead 2 for the PC. You have a "Quick Game" button that just chooses a pseudo-random vanilla server, a "Custom Game" button that let's you specify conditions for the server, and a server browser for advanced users to find exactly what they want. Give people the option to search for servers with vanilla content instead of policing what servers can allow. Modded servers simply don't have a "vanilla" tag. Even better, give admins the ability to make their own tags to describe how the server works. "Casual," "DM_only," "XTREEM_MODZ," and "j3i9zM3," are all valid tags, and people will easily be able to judge the general feel of a server by reading them.

Will people make stupid servers where anyone who kills the host is kicked? Yes. Will they have servers that severely gimp non-admins? Yes. Will there be servers with ludicrously stupid gameplay changes? Yes. All players are free to go or not to go to these servers. They'll have the ability to favorite or blacklist any servers that they want. They can even choose to just use the "Quick Game" and ignore all the previously mentioned things. The important thing is that they, the gamers, would have the choice. They do not need Microsoft to guide them. They can guide themselves and be better off for doing it.

Now we just have to somehow convey this to Microsoft.

I agree consoles are money sinks

Maybe slightly off topic, but I really had to comment on the whole "Let us run private servers!" angle.

Personally I much prefer the world of the 360's matchmaking than I do the PC-style "Server Browser". Bad Company 2 on the PC spelled this out for me - while trying to play with 3 friends we either had the choice of joining half-dead servers (whose lag you couldn't gauge until they finally fixed the browser), or trying to join a server with 4/5 spots (which pretty much meant 3 of you get in, one doesn't and the whole cycle starts again - again this is now fixed by allowing you to queue, but that took months). It takes at least three times as long to find a game (and that's excluding the "Oh, this server is set to some stupid game rules" or "Hmm, they've turned feature X off, which we want") as it does on any of the matchmaking systems of the console world.

As far as I'm concerned, I want to form a group and join a game. On XBOX Live (Halo being the first game that comes to mind) this is simple and quick. Yeah, you occasionally end up with jerks, but it's only for one game and you can set the system to avoid them in future (and you can just as easily run into jerks on PC games - just 'cos then CAN be moderated doesn't mean they are, server admins have to sleep).

That said, some PC games have embraced matchmaking to good effect. StarCraft 2 nails the system for me. Pick players, game type, some basic options and let StarCraft do the rest. Game in 3 minutes or less, against appropriately skilled players. Go Blizzard.

Simply put - please don't bring the dreaded server browser to my more casual multiplayer console - I don't want to spend 15 minutes finding a server each time I want a game, I just want to push a button and have the system find me a match that's roughly to my liking.

Being mainly a console gamer, I have a question to ask: the dedicated servers idea certainly seems to have merit, even if I'm not sure I'd want it over what Xbox Live is currently.

But who would pay $20 a month to run their own servers? I mean, it sounds like you pay to run a server but it's free to join other servers. Wouldn't everyone want to join servers, and only a few care enough to pay the cost? Because that sounds expensive. And then how would you play online if there were not enough servers?

I agree, I ran my own game server for a while and it was great. All the people I enjoyed playing with showed up and if idiots dropping n-bombs and swearing all the time showed up I could just ban and remove them, so everyone else's game didn't get disrupted. This is a serious problem too, like everytime I fire up mw2 now, the very first thing i do is mute everybody, instead of checking my weapon loadouts. It's like you said, it's better if you can choose your own bar, and your own game server.

ranger19:

But who would pay $20 a month to run their own servers? I mean, it sounds like you pay to run a server but it's free to join other servers. Wouldn't everyone want to join servers, and only a few care enough to pay the cost? Because that sounds expensive. And then how would you play online if there were not enough servers?

I'll break this answer into two parts, for both questions you asked.

1) Who would pay for servers? A lot of people, in fact! $20, while not insignificant, is not much money to host a social network over which you are basically God. It is your server, no one else's. You can do whatever you want. Want custom textures, sound files, entire new game modes? You have the power to do that, and you can bring your friends along to play it, and their friends and those friends' friends.

2) How would you play online if there weren't enough servers? The principles of economics apply to this. The number of servers will naturally fluctuate with the number of active players. This is guided by the invisible hand that governs supply and demand. If there are not enough servers, people will make them, for the aforementioned reasons. If there are too many servers, then many will simply be empty, which may cause the server owners to shut them down. The entire thing is self-regulating and shouldn't be a major concern.

That line about how Xbox owners don't say anything because people are too busy yelling and filling the room with bile sums up my Xbox life. Whenever someone sees that I have a mic, they instantly go "Hey, say something. Say something. Come on man, can't you talk? Say something." I'll say "Hi" maybe, but that's it. I don't want to take part in a conversation that makes my skin crawl.

If player-run servers were to become the secondary standard, they could lessen the price of Xbox Live Gold, and simply add on an additional price for the matchmaking service.

You know, Sony has been looking for a way to get in line with MS's online console service. This may be their gateway. Allowing 3rd party mods and player-run server support (a la counterstrike 1.6 model, where all additional mods were auto-installed before you entered the server), they could bring a whole new group of gamers to their system. That, combined with a new streamlined, integrated and standardized multiplayer support, could make them as a new power in multiplayer.

Edit: At first, I thought Microsoft had nothing but contempt for the PC. Now I think they have nothing but contempt for their consumers.

Woodsey:
Especially when the justification is that they have shit like Facebook and whatnot; so either stuff I can get free on my PC, or stuff that you have to pay for already on the PC which you then pay more for to use on XBL.

This was exactly my issue. I don't mind Xbox raising its prices, but don't try to pretend you are offering some grand set of services, because you aren't.

Earthbound:

ranger19:

But who would pay $20 a month to run their own servers? I mean, it sounds like you pay to run a server but it's free to join other servers. Wouldn't everyone want to join servers, and only a few care enough to pay the cost? Because that sounds expensive. And then how would you play online if there were not enough servers?

I'll break this answer into two parts, for both questions you asked.

1) Who would pay for servers? A lot of people, in fact! $20, while not insignificant, is not much money to host a social network over which you are basically God. It is your server, no one else's. You can do whatever you want. Want custom textures, sound files, entire new game modes? You have the power to do that, and you can bring your friends along to play it, and their friends and those friends' friends.

2) How would you play online if there weren't enough servers? The principles of economics apply to this. The number of servers will naturally fluctuate with the number of active players. This is guided by the invisible hand that governs supply and demand. If there are not enough servers, people will make them, for the aforementioned reasons. If there are too many servers, then many will simply be empty, which may cause the server owners to shut them down. The entire thing is self-regulating and shouldn't be a major concern.

Cool, thanks for the (fast!) response. First - whoa - I did not know you could do so much with dedicated servers! I thought it would just be a matter of, say, turning off the grenade launcher or stopping MLC classes in MW2, but.. wow and changing textures means you could make the game look even better, right?

The second part I get it a bit of economics. I guess this struck me as one of those times where free trade would break down - I can't think of a perfect example, but imagine if it were cheaper (and legal) for a company to dump their sewage into a river than get it treated for proper disposal, almost all companies would dump it. But then in the long run the river would get all polluted and maybe become too toxic for the factories to stay there. So it's best for everybody if nobody dumps in the river, but everyone will. (If that makes sense.)

I just thought that it would be like that for dedicated servers - like, I was expecting there to be a part about how the guy who buys the server charges people like $1 a month to join or something. Obviously the system does work because it exists.. I guess I was a bit surprise at it is all. Thanks again for the explanation though.

Irridium:
And this is also why the PC version of Halo 2 and even Halo 1 is still up. The community runs the servers.

I can proudly state that there are more people playing Halo 1 online than there are people playing Halo 2 online.

ranger19:

Cool, thanks for the (fast!) response. First - whoa - I did not know you could do so much with dedicated servers! I thought it would just be a matter of, say, turning off the grenade launcher or stopping MLC classes in MW2, but.. wow and changing textures means you could make the game look even better, right?

Yes, you can make the game look better, but there is so much more than that available to modders. Take this clip of Modern Warfare 2, for example:

That's a hacked MW2 server for the PC. It is, in fact, completely batshit. Yes, game balance has been thrown out the window and realism is crying a grey and brown puddle in the corner, but doesn't that just look fun? Now imagine all the players sped up with five times the health. The gameplay is completely changed! They could play on a map that was made by someone in the community! The possibilities, while not technically endless, are vast and extraordinary.

I just thought that it would be like that for dedicated servers - like, I was expecting there to be a part about how the guy who buys the server charges people like $1 a month to join or something. Obviously the system does work because it exists.. I guess I was a bit surprise at it is all. Thanks again for the explanation though.

The server owner has every right to charge players money to play on his or her server, but with equivalent or better servers available, who would pay? The owner would be metaphorically shooting themselves in the foot by doing that. They can offer benefits to people who donate, like increased health or god weapons, but, again, why would a non-donator play on the server then? What I've seen used is either strictly vanity or non-gameplay affecting benefits of donating to a server. Donators get to feel and look special (and have the knowledge that they're keeping a good server alive), the owner gets money, and the regular players just get a server to play on. "Cooperation without coercion."

AxCx:

Irridium:
And this is also why the PC version of Halo 2 and even Halo 1 is still up. The community runs the servers.

I can proudly state that there are more people playing Halo 1 online than there are people playing Halo 2 online.

Oh trust me I know. I too am a proud player of Halo 1 on the PC.

I love servers. Anyone here play on the TF2 Fugworld Servers? That place is buckets of fun!

Irridium:

AxCx:

Irridium:
And this is also why the PC version of Halo 2 and even Halo 1 is still up. The community runs the servers.

I can proudly state that there are more people playing Halo 1 online than there are people playing Halo 2 online.

Oh trust me I know. I too am a proud player of Halo 1 on the PC.

High 5! Halo 1 blood gulch snipers no shields FTW! :D

I didn't know much about the Xbox 360 being a bit of a PS3 fanboy, but i figured it had a few nice features even if i wasn't big on the exclusives.

After reading this i'm thinking... does the 360 really have any redeeming features?
So far the only thing that i prefer to PS3 is the cute avatar things that waggle their head when you move the analog stick, everything else on there seems immensely stupid.

AxCx:

Irridium:

AxCx:

Irridium:
And this is also why the PC version of Halo 2 and even Halo 1 is still up. The community runs the servers.

I can proudly state that there are more people playing Halo 1 online than there are people playing Halo 2 online.

Oh trust me I know. I too am a proud player of Halo 1 on the PC.

High 5! Halo 1 blood gulch snipers no shields FTW! :D

Indeed! Along with Wizard and unlimited plasma grenades! Sticky-Match FTW!

Interestingly Shamus didn't mention that there are xbox live moderators. They are however rare and psychotic, you think being booted from a server because you killed the host is bad well try a ban on for size. Also a number of the ones that my friends have run into have been extraordinarily racist/nationalist/idiots in that with a server almost full of american 13 year olds swearing their little mouths of they ban the Australian the one time swears.

I've been playing online games on xbox live pretty heavily and I am yet to personally see one of these mods at work so one easy fix would be to:
a) make sure the mods aren't axe crazy
b) get more of them
c) make the complaint system do something, if the mods were automatically put into matches that had been getting an escalating number of complaints then some of the worst players would be dealt with pretty quickly.

That all said servers of some kind would be nice, what would be nicer is if there was an easier way to get all of your friends into a game. I am so sick of the words "we'll just drop out and pick him up", due to the necessity of leaving a game lobby in CoD:MW2 and joining an in-game party if you want your friend to be on your team.

Why does Microsoft pull this shit? Because they want control.
That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Consider these little nuggets of information:

-They gather your usage time.
-They track your gaming habits. They sell this marketing info, or use it to refine targeted advertising campaigns. Personal info is a big business.
-They advertise on the system you are already paying to maintain; alluding back to what made the original point of Cable TV fail.

And, again, YOU ARE STILL PAYING FOR THIS.

All of that, and ZERO, I mean ZERO fucking accountability.
I've sat around for an hour waiting to start a basic match of Bad Company 2 (on a FIOS connection no less, so it isn't on my end). What am I paying for during that one hour again?
Surely it isn't access to Twitter, or Facebook, or Netflix, because I can access those From a fucking public library! Or any other internet-enabled computer on the face of the planet!
The only people I've ever seen them go after are hackers (obviously).
Oh, and the infamous 14 year old racist? Those exist. It isn't just an Urban Legend. The best thing players can do is mute the voice+chat and then brace for impact. Or play with friends-only (which is what I do now).

And despite all of this, Microsoft would NEVER permit players, or non-Microsoft entities to host their own servers, even on their terms. Why? Because once you give away the Golden Goose, those eggs lose their value.
Or put more bluntly: Someone will hack/copy the platform, and suddenly Microsoft isn't in control anymore.
Yet it seems Steam doesn't have any of these problems...or if they do, its impact is minimal.

In my opinion, Microsoft has hidden under the cover of "We are providing a service" for too long.
It's true in a technical sense, yes, but you really aren't getting your money's worth anymore, and the only reason they get away with this shit is because it's their monopoly on their system.
Sound off and call that last line stupid or obvious if it will make you feel good, but Xbox Live is a microcosm of what happens in a monopoly: Prices hike, service/product value falls. They know they will make money because you don't have any other choice in the matter. There are no negotiation, and few incentives to do better.

And if that interests you, fine. It's your time and money, not mine.

I like how you said WHEN the vegetarian server will turn to crap, not IF.
Without strict moderation everything is apparently expected to turn into another 4chan. Weird how the world works.

Atmos Duality:

Oh, and the infamous 14 year old racist? Those exist. It isn't just an Urban Legend. The best thing players can do is mute the voice+chat and then brace for impact. Or play with friends-only (which is what I do now).

And they breed like rabbits. (Well, more accurately, their ideas do. I doubt they'll be doing any breeding now, or ever in their lifetimes.)

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: What's Wrong with Xbox Live?

Everything would be much better if Xbox would just let us run its servers.

Read Full Article

Why do you always have such awesome ideas? Seriously, you come up with the best solutions to a myriad of problems plaguing the gaming industry, ideas which I would give anything to be actually implemented. Why the hell aren't you some big-wig gaming consultant pulling six figures a year? What the hell are you doing HERE?!?!

Also, I loved Free Radical. Read it in two sittings, and thats only because I had to go to class.

There's no way MS would do that, because it would undermine their pricing schemes:
MS has been pushing the paid DLC like a crack dealer hanging outside a playground, bribing passersby to say its great!
If a studio suddenly started giving the DLC away, it would set a bad precedent.
Also, this is a backstep away from their plan to make us pay for EVERYTHING regardless of whether they could give it away or not.

SirBryghtside:

ben---neb:
Ah, not to worry, according to some experts there won't be another console generation just PC gaming. Problem solved.

Ok, I made up the above fact.

If I get my way, it will be fact...

Yeah, over Nintendo's bankrupt remains.

GamesB2:

Denamic:
Either you didn't read the article or you're completely oblivious of how player run dedicated servers work.

Well yes I did skim the article originally.

Then I read the article in depth.

Then you get an instance of a game where you have all the admin powers. You can set the maps and the game mode and boot or mute at will.

So yeah my original point still stands.

Readin comprehension, ur doin it wrong.

If you're a jerk, nobody will visit and you'll be paying to hang out on an empty server alone.

If you constantly act like a dick, then enjoy paying $8-$20 a month to have people joining and then leaving 5 seconds later, followed by them blacklisting your server so they never have to play with you again.

Cousin_IT:

Equally, it's hardly all roses & icecream with dedicated servers. The last game I played online regularly which used them, COD2, was a navigational nightmare full of servers that were empty, locked, playing a map I didn't like, or servers that seemed open but then after 10minutes of loading informed me that it was infact full. As a casual player who really doesn't care who I play with, dedicated servers are more of a hassle than they're worth when one can just select ones preferences & let the game do the rest*.

You can usually set the server browser to only display servers which aren't full/empty/password protected, as well as searching for servers with particular maps/game types (most games have the game type in the map name, eg CTF-Wasteland, or DM-Warehouse, so if you just type in CTF or DM in the map search it'll show all the servers running that game-type) and setting the maximum number of players you want(eg, if you want a quiet server, you can look for 10 max players, or a hectic 32/64 max players)

Ya live needs 3 things to be awesome, 1 let you run your own servers by using live DRM and tieing the serer to a live account you can have a infinite number of servers the down side its one server per unit the upside you can do a server for all your games, it switch to the game you are playing on live and if you wonder tot hat server you get hit with a lower ping that averages out to what others have. Or you can just set it for X games and it may can run 2 or 3 game servers at once.

Bans would ban all units if cheating occurs.

Next would be free live you get the gold version IE multi player,voice chat,ect but all purchases are 25% more. If you pay the monthly its 35% less on purchases.

Another thing...use most windows XP/7 compatible usb wireless network devices already....

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