What's Wrong with Xbox Live?

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SirCannonFodder:

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.

There are around 19 million people on live.
It's going to take a long time for that server to get blacklisted.

And I was thinking what if it's a server set up for friends.

Like the GOW1 games. Most of the hosts set them up to get friends in to fight randoms.
Then suddenly they start kicking people cause they get pissed off they die.

Give a normal person the power to boot people and he's going to do just that.

Just leave dedicated servers to the PC.

GamesB2:

SirCannonFodder:

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.

There are around 19 million people on live.
It's going to take a long time for that server to get blacklisted.

And I was thinking what if it's a server set up for friends.

Like the GOW1 games. Most of the hosts set them up to get friends in to fight randoms.
Then suddenly they start kicking people cause they get pissed off they die.

Give a normal person the power to boot people and he's going to do just that.

Just leave dedicated servers to the PC.

Just cause you run a server for X or Y game dose not mean you can moderate it,for live moderation would be done via live, X amounts of complaints leads to temp suspensions untill a mod can look it over.

You are running the game server you want more or less but the only thing you have control over are generic game type lists and what not. Moderation should be handled by live.

GamesB2:

Denamic:
See, the thing is, what you're describing is called a "shitty server".
Wait, don't panic! It's okay.
Just put that server on your shitlist and play on another server.

Yeah but I'm surprised at how many PC dedicated servers are like that too.

You must have some shit luck then, cause I have honestly never joined a server where admins are like that.

Hum interesting comment on the potential of distributed server ownership. If consoles games had server version or a private companies that ran them and leased to people and then console connected to them it could lead to some interesting things. I'm not sure that it would be X-box live anymore though. Once we've distributed the costs and the admins/owners then we've effectively lost a centralized service and broke into a distributed system. It allows for differential service (i.e.e environment in servers) but it cannot be monitored by one group. If X-box live were more distributed then it would be impossible to monitor every server (or there would have to be so few servers that it would partially negate the benefits). I doubt if any company, especially Microsoft is going to claim ownership over a network of servers that they can't monitor. So this new system would have to be Non-Microsoft. Now, that not going to happen. Microsoft wants its money and wants to exert some control otherwise we wouldn't be discussing this. It's simply not possible for Microsoft to have the resources to allow distributed control and also maintain control. Microsoft's X-box live is a method of controlling and monitoring and it goes against that to loss that control. A new system might lead to good things (like how TF2 runs like a buttered Swiss pocket watch) but its not going to happen within the framework of X-box live and somehow I doubt if Microsoft is going to let X-box live go so I don't see anything changing any time soon.

The problem with dedicated severs, although they are VASTLY superiour in every way to most gamers, is that x-box live counts on being a close and uniform platform since there are many.... well i don't want to say casual but... Newer players using the service.

Dedicated servers and community servers are the backbone of PC gaming online and make it so cusomisable, tweakable and long-lasting. But in a console setting these extra rules and complexity are a hinderance. A few people in this thread have deonstrated the inability of many to realise they can filter the server lists and end up random-joining onto servers they don't like/want. In a PC gaming setting this is no problem but unfortunatly the consoles are aimed at the lowest common denominator.

It SHOULD happen becuase it's so very much better it WON'T happen because microsoft has a good thing going and this would simply add more headaches for them.

So console multiplayer sucks compared to PC multiplayer. What else is new? PC always was and always will be the best platform for multiplayer. But even PC is suffering these days because developers port games from consoles too PC and they completely neglect the PC version. Just look at MW2. Lobbies? On a PC? Are you fuckin' kiddin' me? Pirated version of MW2 is better that the retail one. That's how serious PC gamers are. We don't allow rich companies to push us around like they do console gamers. PC community can do anything with any game. I'm glad Treyarch is making a CoD game with dedicated servers, and BOTS! Where did bots go all these years? They were possible in the mid 90's and now they are nowhere to be found.

Eh, what's the point of complaining? Not like Micro$oft is gone to listen.

Not to mention that if you're willing to accept paying for small luxuries other people get for free, with a price hike, it's not likely you're gone to abandon Xbox Live 'cause it doesn't plan on giving you freedom.

I laughed when I got my 360 from a Pawn Shop and they wanted me to pay them to change the username. xD Something I could and did do for free on my PS3.

Face it, Micro$oft has you where they want, and they're not gone to let go, unless a large ammount of people stress their complaints and threaten to quit Live and even do so. 'Cause the only way Micro$oft will care is if all of a sudden, Live starts to tank as hundres of Live accounts are canceled after being told why people are quitting untill their demands are met.

Very good article. Probably wont happen though, and I dont really care as all the multiplayer games I want to play are on PC anyway.

The few multiplayer games I play on console I play with a buddy or 3 in the couch next to me. I really dont get how people can use consoles for online play.

Asuka Soryu:
Eh, what's the point of complaining? Not like Micro$oft is gone to listen.

Not to mention that if you're willing to accept paying for small luxuries other people get for free, with a price hike, it's not likely you're gone to abandon Xbox Live 'cause it doesn't plan on giving you freedom.

I laughed when I got my 360 from a Pawn Shop and they wanted me to pay them to change the username. xD Something I could and did do for free on my PS3.

Face it, Micro$oft has you where they want, and they're not gone to let go, unless a large ammount of people stress their complaints and threaten to quit Live and even do so. 'Cause the only way Micro$oft will care is if all of a sudden, Live starts to tank as hundres of Live accounts are canceled after being told why people are quitting untill their demands are met.

That's not how economy works. There is an absence of a competitor on the xbox platform itself, so these online features get muddled up with console exclusives, graphics quality, expenses etc. in the battle for the customer. That Microsoft is losing people because of these problems is undeniable, the question for them is of course how much this hurts them financially and if it is worth it for them to invest in the things that will get these people to play. Microsoft obviously says no and they are probably right in the short term.
What they are forgetting is that they are also saying "fuck you", since the customer knows these things are available for free and better on different platforms, but they are just stuck with it. It helps reinforce the appearance of Microsoft as an incorporate bad guy and further reduces their image, which already isn't that of a game loving, technically savvy, company.
Now try telling Blizzard, Bioware and Valve that such an image is economically useless...

This might turn out to be a PR nightmare, while PR was what won this console wars for the Wii.

My point is, a smart company would already have listened; the hidden value in having the best online space is immense. Google exists just for this reason (it was just a search engine for crying out loud).

ranger19:

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.

oh that is minor the stuff you can do on a\n open platform is immense put it this way this video is a heavily modded half life 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW_-k4i_fsI
or another half life 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAR3NBbn-9I

this modding spawns totally new games as well counter strike, team fortress, Gmod all started as mods

And that's just from half life one series consoles cant do this because Microsoft and Sony wont let it happen.

I actually do believe that dedicated servers is possible for consoles. Star Wars Battlefront 2 had community servers on the PS2. MGO has dedicated servers as well(in a sense). Its not impossible and it would be a little different.

If you remember, Nintendo in the past did nearly the exact same thing, but with their cartridges about 10 years ago. This made developers look at the Playstation as a far better solution than what Nintendo was offering.
Now today a company (Valve) who was backing Microsoft is now giving its product to Sony. (Deja-vu?) Than it would be too late for Microsoft to explain how much better LIVE is over PSN when Sony has The Orange Box up to speed and LIVE doesn't.

And millions of people still pay, and Microsoft still makes million upon millions. So for them there's no incentive to make such an enormous and risky change, at all.

I don't blame them, really. Makes absolutely zero sense to do what you're suggesting, from a business stand point I mean. I'd personally love that but it's not going to happen.

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

Very very well thought out post, Sir. I would simply like to add for the people who're splitting hairs, having the ability to server browse/sponsor a server would give Xbox gamers a serious bastion of good gaming. It also promotes social networking, as you _will_ find a server to your liking, one that you go back to every day, constantly. And eventually befriend allot of people, who you'll constantly play with daily.

I used to run with After-Hourz, a community of gamers who weren't really a clan, but got together weekly to play on their servers. Servers were constantly monitored, and Admins were easily accessible through teamspeak, should there be a problem. Some of the best gaming of my life happened with those folks. Seals, Gung-Ho, PK*, Aviendha, Innocent Bystander, a ton of folks who were _really_ into their community, who got the support of their community constantly. If you've ever played CoD:UO on PC, and played the multiplayer map 'Barbarosa', those guys made it, and I helped playtest it. It wouldn't have been the same without dedicated servers, and a team of people who were really into keeping the multiplayer experience solid, douchebag free and fun. I seriously loved that place, and if I hadn't stopped playing CoDUO for as long as I did, I'd still be there everyday.

..except.. of course.. that most games you will play online on xbl don't actually have servers run or paid for by Microsoft. It's either p2p, or associated companies providing dedicated stats-servers, etc. So.. you're not paying for anything except access.

..

And I'm just curious - how does someone covering games for a living not know that..?

Personally the idea of having dedicated servers on live seem more like an unnecessary hassle that a blessing. I would need an unbiased list of the pros and cons of both platforms before I could say that swing one way or the other. Granted I say this as someone who mostly played single player console games,barely touches multilayer and the only thing PC related I play is WoW,on a Mac.

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.

Yes, an admin has the power to be a complete dick. The trouble is, if that person wants people to stick around, they're going to have to cater to someone's taste in gaming.

Being the king dick of an empty kingdom is hardly something people routinely choose to pay perfectly good money for.

Xbox Live is terrible.

Microsoft doesn't lose any of the money it receives. Except for the very small costs of matchmaking.

aka Dedicated Server Arguement.

I don't think dedicated servers on Xbox live is a very good idea at all.

How do you run worldwide leaderboards across multiple servers?

It complicates a service that's intended to be simple, accessible and completely connected.

Shamus is being way too lenient on XBL. 60 bucks to play on servers that Microsoft doesn't even own? They give you absolutely nothing of worth for such a premium, other than online play, which you shouldn't even be paying for. Essentially, you're paying Microsoft for the right to use your Username and Password. I quit my 360 (which I never bought LIVE for) and bought a PS3. Other than the lack of in-game user music, and some pretty shitty menus, PSN does everything XBL does, for free.

Also, I've been playing online games on the PC for 10 years and I've never been booted for killing an admin one too many times. I HAVE been votekicked for "hacking," and I have been booted for breaking rules, but I simply join one of the other 10000 dedicated servers out there. Like Shamus said, a server is like a bar, or a business. If you do something like booting people who simply piss you off, you lose customers.

Asparagus Brown:
I don't think dedicated servers on Xbox live is a very good idea at all.

How do you run worldwide leaderboards across multiple servers?

It complicates a service that's intended to be simple, accessible and completely connected.

The Dedicated Server system actually organizes connections and makes it less guess work, I don't think it needs to be said much more since you can read through the rest of the comments here, but on consoles you spend a lot of time throwing your connection into the air and hoping that it gets connected to a match that doesn't collapse mid-game. And then you repeat that process to continue play. Dedicated Servers allow you to continuously play on a trustworthy connection however you want to play.

I think that this is a brilliant idea that you'd think Microsoft would quickly jump on since it involves Microsoft doing less work to make more money - but Microsoft is not one to think very far ahead as far as consoles are concerned and the Xbox continually gets shafted due to their lack of communication. But here is for hoping, Xbox Live is a strong service that I'll be joining soon and I feel like we all deserve to see it brought to its fullest potential.

I'm perfectly happy with XBox 360 Silver. I can download Braid, watch new episodes of the Guild, watch little trailers for upcoming games, and when I need an online multiplayer experience, I just turn on my PS3. I can't afford a fancy shmancy computer on a college student budget, so I buy single player games to use with my XBox and its superior controller, and multiplayer games to use on my PS3 with its superior price for live.

I also system-link games of Gears of War. A LOT.

Remember how all the PC gamers went nuts over Modern Warfare 2 not having dedicated servers. well this is why. Dedicated servers are one of the best part of PC gaming

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

Only it's worse than that as Xbox doesn't even use "servers" in any familiar sense.

They have controller servers but they are just running authorisation and stat-tracking. The actual games are almost universally (all the Halo games, all COD games, all GoW games) peer-2-peer online including Halo 2. You have Literally already paid for these servers as the host of the game their console acts as the server, the ISP they pay to connect to the internet and their power bill is the runnign costs. XBL SHOULD be free!

Halo 2 was shut down because the underlying code of XBL used with original Xbox had a limit of how many friends you could have, It was some number over 100 but it increase that limit ALL original-xbox multiplayer games had to be shut down. yeah, what's more important Halo 2 multiplayer or having over 100 facebook "friends" most you don't even know?

Online multiplayer for Halo 1 and 2 are still going strong online on their PC releases. I know Halo 3 will see the same fate on 360 soon, here's hoping for a belated PC release.

Asparagus Brown:
I don't think dedicated servers on Xbox live is a very good idea at all.

How do you run worldwide leaderboards across multiple servers?

It complicates a service that's intended to be simple, accessible and completely connected.

I think you have been misled on or misunderstood how online gaming works.

We are talking about Game HOSTING. That is the heavy processing and high server load of running the game and sharing out the millions of data packets to each player in their home with low latency.

With dedicated servers (as usual on PC), you rent a specialised super-computer (or portion of one) that is positioned deep in the networks of the internet with the lowest possible latency for all, and enterprise level reliability.

With consoles most of the time it is just peer-to-peer where most of the work is STILL done by the users. There are algorithms to find groups of consoles trying to connect that decide which is best to serve as the "host". The host (person at home with their Xbox connected online) functions just the same as a dedicated server only:
-higher latency
-host advantage
-lower reliability
-poor control
-poor organisation
-inflexible
-basically all bad.

But the stat-tracking, leaderboards, authorisation and achievement tracking is not done by either the Dedicated server OR the host console, that is a LOW DATA VOLUME task run by a few low-power servers owned and operated by the parent company, it basically stands over that and takes a note of everything that happens. It works like for Steam, where the overwhelming majority of games are on dedicated servers but all the time Valve's Steam client-software (much like XBL) is offering support, tracking and assisting but not actually running much at all.

Once again Seamus you kick ass.

Xbox Live is the reason I have never and will never buy an Xbox. I can get the same thing they charge you for, for free on a PC. Never made sense that I had to pay for it (and a more restrictive version for that matter) on an Xbox.

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

We'll thanks for putting my thoughts on Xbox live under a your more read, and I'll guess respected colum than my random forum rant.

Paying is fine, but what I'm getting for the money is questionable. I'd gleefuly fork over that 60 dollars if they would implement some of the features you mentioned. I wouldn't likely run my own server, depending on how deep i get into Reach's forge. But having been an avid PC gamer as well I'll say your pub analogy is a good one, and something that would do the creative tools of forge alot more justice than they'll ever see on live as is.

Treblaine:

Asparagus Brown:
I don't think dedicated servers on Xbox live is a very good idea at all.

How do you run worldwide leaderboards across multiple servers?

It complicates a service that's intended to be simple, accessible and completely connected.

I think you have been misled on or misunderstood how online gaming works.

We are talking about Game HOSTING. That is the heavy processing and high server load of running the game and sharing out the millions of data packets to each player in their home with low latency.

With dedicated servers (as usual on PC), you rent a specialised super-computer (or portion of one) that is positioned deep in the networks of the internet with the lowest possible latency for all, and enterprise level reliability.

With consoles most of the time it is just peer-to-peer where most of the work is STILL done by the users. There are algorithms to find groups of consoles trying to connect that decide which is best to serve as the "host". The host (person at home with their Xbox connected online) functions just the same as a dedicated server only:
-higher latency
-host advantage
-lower reliability
-poor control
-poor organisation
-inflexible
-basically all bad.

But the stat-tracking, leaderboards, authorisation and achievement tracking is not done by either the Dedicated server OR the host console, that is a LOW DATA VOLUME task run by a few low-power servers owned and operated by the parent company, it basically stands over that and takes a note of everything that happens. It works like for Steam, where the overwhelming majority of games are on dedicated servers but all the time Valve's Steam client-software (much like XBL) is offering support, tracking and assisting but not actually running much at all.

"If you just want a six-person server with your friends, it might run you something like $8 a month." I imagine it'd be difficult to rank these people against the rest of the world.

You're right, though: I don't know a whole heap about how online gaming works, which is in part why the whole Xbox Live thing appeals to me. It means I can throw in a disc and jump into a game and it's as simple as that. I realise there are large downsides to the Live model in regards to performance and moderation, but I think that fracturing it into user-run moderated servers isn't the best in terms of accessibility, which seems to be one of Microsoft's main goals with the service.

Anyway, feel free to inform/correct me on that if there's anything I've said that doesn't add up.

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.

which is why most of those hosts servers are going to be empty, theres a sort of natural selection that happens with player run servers, the good serveres are busy and the bad ones aren't.

this is why companies like valve and blizzard will one day rule the market and eventually the world, and companies like EA and microsoft will go bust

edit: okay, maybe MS wont go bust but you get the idea

Honestly I think it should be free!

GamesB2:

Denamic:
See, the thing is, what you're describing is called a "shitty server".
Wait, don't panic! It's okay.
Just put that server on your shitlist and play on another server.

Yeah but I'm surprised at how many PC dedicated servers are like that too.

And anyway Microsoft wouldn't want people boosting achievements and stuff.

I can just see MS outright saying no and I can't blame them... Live is more of a guided service than an open platform.

We here in the PC world call them rankup servers, but yeah what you said :)

So, xbox's problem is that it's not PC gaming?

First off, I honestly doubt that a great number of people would fork over the cash for a dedicated server to run, at least not in the numbers that PC gamers would have. I find this to be true mainly because of the different kind of gamer that is the Xbox 360 player. Many, if not most, don't even know how to run a server. They're the college kid, Madden, Halo, and COD player that's majoring in buisness or sports management. Console gaming in general is better suited to the less technologically adept (not that they are totally inept at using technology, it's just that I doubt any of them have ever built a computer or anything like that).

Secondly, on a less serious note, moderators on internet forums does not always mean civilized, mature discussion, just look at 4chan. lol

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