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Author name (Administrator) #1
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Microsoft's Xbox 360: A rant.
One of the things I've noticed about Microsoft's Xbox 360 is that it's kind of expensive to run on an ongoing basis.  Eighty bucks a year for the privelege of playing online?  OMFG! 

Fifteen bucks each for downloadable games, which you can only purchase with 'MS points', kind of the modern equivalent of buying non-refundable tokens at an arcade...  And they only sell points in increments of 1500, and they've priced each game at 800 points - so you'll never, ever quite have enough to spend all your points.  At least, not on top-tier content.  You can get B-list titles for less, but who cares?

Anyway, it's occasionally worth it.  PacMan CE is awesome, Geometry Wars 2 is brilliant, but then I start to wonder about the longevity of it all: Downloading games offers convenience, but the cost is impermanence: 360s are prone to failure, and it took MS three years to work out a mechanism for transferring your legitimate paid-for content from your dead system to the replacement.  Looking into the future, it's not hard to imagine a time when Microsoft has finally grown tired of all the crap and stops transferring your games...  And you'll end up with a situation like the Super NES where, years after Nintendo cancelled the Satellaview download service, memory cards are sold in auctions for crazy amounts so archivists (ie: pirates) can rip the content and preserve it.

The bottom line is, I don't trust Microsoft to have my interests in mind, ever.  Everything I buy on their download service is a long-term rental: all the titles I'm paying for will cease to exist much sooner than I'd prefer.  There will be no used-game market for Xbox 360 downloads - the idea of a garage sale full of downloaded games, in the way we'd sell old Super NES games, is laughable.

Every time I buy a 360 download I feel dirty, I feel as if I've failed to make a wise purchasing decision, but I am weak.  I'm REALLY weak - I bought the points and I've bought one game so far. 

Happily my PacMan CE is on a disc.  It will never expire, and I can take it to a friend's house and play it there.  All these other games are ephemeral, mere rentals, and every time I play them I'm unable to fully enjoy it 'cause I can't help wonder how much longer I'll have it, and if I'll ever really believe it was money well spent.

While not totally relevent, this quote from Penny Arcade is good:

Quote by Penny Arcade:
This is all according to Microsoft's Zoroastrian Magic Calendar, which states the nested laws of the Marketplace thusly:

1. Content can never be free.

2. Content can be free, if you wait long enough.

3. Content is always free if it is available for free elsewhere.

[...] But these rules express a kind of thorny philosophy, where the content that makes the system most unique is universally barbed with costs. All it does is reinforce the sense that the platform is fraught with toll gates, which is, um... true.
Author name #2
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
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I was caught up in the frenzy at first. I bought the Horse Armor. I bought some games online. But nothing was endlessly satisfying like Pac Man CE, and none of the games I bought on disks were multiplayer.

Also, I cheated a bit. I bought original orange-and-black Xbox Live starter kits at discount, knowing that Microsoft reused the same hash to generate valid Xbox Live subscription codes for both the old and new service. I ended up with three years of Xbox Live for about $45 that expires in 2009. I will, however, not be renewing at the end of my term because I simply don't use it enough.
Author name #3
User title: Nao Oikawa says, "Time for a wank!"
Member since May 2008 · 4 posts · Location: Washington, US
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I've given up my gold privileges, but I have no problem dropping $5, $10, or $15 on titles for the system.  In fact, that's all I do with it.  I can't remember the last disc-based game I bought for it.  I will be severely disappointed if MS doesn't implement some backwards compatibility for the XBLA titles into the next-gen console, though I have a hard time believing they wouldn't.  I don't really have anything to back that up, but the infrastructure to make it happen is there.
Author name #4
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
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This is my problem with digital downloads. Whoever is supplying the downloads wants to make money now, and therefore wants you to buy new things now. Backward compatibility doesn't benefit the seller unless you're buying old games.

I don't have a lot of faith that XBLA downloads will work on the next iteration of MS game hardware. Remember that the original Xbox had the Live Arcade in its earliest form, which loaded off of a disk rather than being incorporated into the dashboard. Therefore, I've got a licensed copy of Ms. Pac Man that I can't run on the Xbox 360 because the disk isn't on the compatibility list.

Bottom line? No company gets to tell me what I can play or when I can play it.
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