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What the hell is taking Live so long (or: what you wish Live would have)


Josh
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This could also go for Sony's new network, which will probably be even more bare-bones, but here's my rant...

 

I just got ANOTHER reminder that I owe then another $50 for another year of Live. I'm reticent to pay. I think I'm getting ripped off.

 

What the hell is wrong with the product managers at MS who are handling Live? While the downloadable marketing material to get us to buy more crap is all well and good, throwing up videos and what-not is getting really old. Great, we get it. Thanks for hyping up more games that will probably suck.

 

How about spending some time working on the infrastructure rather than posting music videos, movie trailers, and trying to pimp a $39 USB webcam for more than it's worth?

 

How about creating things we actually want in the infrastructure, like:

 

A calendaring system for invites. Why can't I try to schedule a game for, say, Saturday afternoon at 4pm, and invite some people to it? When they log in, they get the invite, and if they're online, they get an automatic invite for the game and a reminder a few minutes before hand that it's going to happen. You seem to have figured all that out tenfold with Outlook.

 

A ladder / tournament system. Why can't I create a tournament, invite people to it, and have it track the results? You have achievements, scores, and even records figured out. Surely this isn't the toughest challenge ever. Or is it that you don't want people playing the same game for longer than two weeks and would rather have us buy the new one and forget about the old one?

 

A consolidated Live interface for ALL games. Also, a normalized nomenclature for games' Live functions. Why does every single game treat Live in an almost entirely different fashion? Can't we just have one interface and the same general features for each? Why does getting in an online match in one game need to be so different than the next? I thought you guys were consolidating all of this.

 

I don't want your videos that I can get elsewhere. I don't want your TV show and movie spam. I get enough of that elsewhere, thanks. I thought I was paying for the infrastructure; how about you get to work on that?

 

Signed,

 

Josh.

 

*Disclaimer: Yes, XBLA is all cool and what-not, and, yes, there are some good things about XBL. This thread isn't meant to stroke the great things you love about it. I think the service is lacking for what was promised and what we're paying. Come here to gripe only. Defenders, you have your own orgy over there.

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I just got ANOTHER reminder that I owe then another $50 for another year of Live. I'm reticent to pay. I think I'm getting ripped off.

I think there is room for improvment as you say but keep in mind many millions of people pay $13 a month to play Everquest, Star Wars, World of Warcraft etc w/o reservation and I also considered that to be a deal considering how much gameplay I got out of it.

 

So $50 a year for Live is a downright steal. I'm not the only one who feels this way either.

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So $50 a year for Live is a downright steal. I'm not the only one who feels this way either.

 

This isn't about the cost, really. It's about how the service could and should be so much better. WoW, for instance, has guilds, guild chat, redundant servers, regular patches, and a focus on one game only. If MS were actually hosting the games I might understand. But they're not. They're providing matching and friend management services. Everything else (XBLA, for instance) we pay extra for.

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While true but Wow is charging a $156 a year for those extras.

 

I would think if Microsoft charged a similar price we'd get similar features but how many subscribers would they have? I don't think many gamers are willing to pony up that much for an annual subscription to live even with newly enhanced features.

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Ya I guess I've never really expected much out of live considering it is only $50 a year. When a game supports it well (ie: Halo2) it is a great service and well worth the $4 a month I pay. I'll be conservative and guess I play on XBL an avg of 8hrs a week. So I'm paying $4 a month for 32 hrs of entertainment. I have a hard time complaining about the service when I look at it that way. :)

 

Ya I wish XBL had those things you mentioned but at $50 a year...I aint complaining one bit.

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Screw that, I just want ROOMS that we can hang out in and chat before launching games. Should be a pretty basic component for an online games service these days IMO.

The removal of group chat was one of the most boneheaded decisions Microsoft made with Live on the Xbox 360.:td It's something I do hope is added back into the service very soon.

 

I think Xbox Live does a lot of things just right and regardless of whether the content available is to my liking holds little bearing on my opinion of the service (which is generally good). The spring update added some really nice features to the mix and the next big update should add more. That said, you mentioned somethings that are, in my opinion, essential. The most important one being:

 

A consolidated Live interface for ALL games. Also, a normalized nomenclature for games' Live functions. Why does every single game treat Live in an almost entirely different fashion? Can't we just have one interface and the same general features for each? Why does getting in an online match in one game need to be so different than the next? I thought you guys were consolidating all of this.

It's so very frustrating to deal with the online quirks of individual titles due to such a wide range of interface options and the varying degrees of options available. Consolidating into one generalized interface that works would be wonderful. I would be ecstatic if we could pop in a disc and go to a stock Live interface that's fully functional and works despite the title. It's a great dream, and one that won't happen. Not while developers like EA use thier own online services to deal with the consumer in thier own titles. Nor while Live opens up to future titles like MMO's that are not tied to the Live servers in general.

 

A calendaring system for invites. Why can't I try to schedule a game for, say, Saturday afternoon at 4pm, and invite some people to it? When they log in, they get the invite, and if they're online, they get an automatic invite for the game and a reminder a few minutes before hand that it's going to happen. You seem to have figured all that out tenfold with Outlook.

Agreed. That would make scheduling so much easier.

 

A ladder / tournament system. Why can't I create a tournament, invite people to it, and have it track the results? You have achievements, scores, and even records figured out. Surely this isn't the toughest challenge ever. Or is it that you don't want people playing the same game for longer than two weeks and would rather have us buy the new one and forget about the old one?

It would be a great addition, but I think Microsoft faces a challenge in trying to normalize that across thier entire Live library. Again, you have powerhouse developers like EA wanting to implement thier own solutions to said problems and what is Microsoft to do? Tell them to play ball or go away? That's not going to happen. At the very least I would like to see something of the like implement in first pary titles at the least. That would be a great start.

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I do not agree with Stencil's sentiment at all. But I do agree with his suggestions. In fact, I have suggested those exact things several times before and feel a bit dirty that once again I am agreeing with Stencil.

 

edit: Romier covered this...

 

My suggestion... friggin friends list categorization damn it! Let me sort by friends who own BURNOUT, for example, to know who the hell I should send an invite to. You should be able to sort and group your friends list in a variety of ways - it is borderline ridiculous how it works now considering the precident set by popular IM clients.

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Oh, one more thing. And this is more important than anything anyone will come up with. This is TOP OF THE LIST!

 

A network troubleshooter built into to each game that allows you to test all the network requirements for each individual game, which then alerts you to your specific problems (if any). This would solve all the friggin EA problems people have by telling them exactly what's wrong. (this of course assumes the problem is on the user's end)

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I don't really have such a negative view on the service as a whole. It has it's problems, but it's reliable and it's cheap in my eyes.

 

If MS hosted servers for all the games we'd be paying a hell of a lot more than $4 per month. The servers and the staff required to maintain them are a big chunk of a MMO fee. Also there would be downtime. Server maintenance, random outages, all of these things plague MMO's. Live is just always up and they take it off twice a year for dashboard updates basically.

 

Also don't pretend all the bandwidth is free either. All of those 1GB demos, 200MB video files, etc. surely add up. The problem is Silver members can download these for free as well, without a fee. You would think it would be the other way around....free matchmaking, but a small fee for all the downloads.

 

If Sony launches a successful free online service that's comparable to Live, I can see Microsoft following that and making matchmaking free and making the Gold service into something else entirely (which I would prefer...maybe a universal discount on all microtransactions and other features)

 

I would like the marketplace to be organized better, and also have a search function. I am sure there will be several improvements in the fall 1080p update.

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My suggestion... friggin friends list categorization damn it! Let me sort by friends who own BURNOUT, for example, to know who the hell I should send an invite to. You should be able to sort and group your friends list in a variety of ways - it is borderline ridiculous how it works now considering the precident set by popular IM clients.

 

Brilliant. It should add a game to my "owned" list (I can manage that, of course, if it's a rental or I sell it back) and tell me who of my online friends have that game. Half the time I get "don't have it anymore" back from people I invite. Good one.

 

Damn you Keith, making sense and agreeing with me. You're killing my image.

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$50 is a bargin. Although I haven't paid $50 since the service first went live (i.e.: $14 for the old 12 mo. LIVE kits from the radio shack sale, etc...).

 

I'm sure the Xbox LIVE team has already considered and generated a list of every conceivable improvement to LIVE. In time they will be implemented based on the degree of improvement to the LIVE service, demand and most importantly, cost/time to develop/implement.

 

Hopefully we will some of the great suggestions in the fall update. Once competing services get up to speed, I bet we will see more frequent updates to the LIVE dashboard/service.

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I felt ripped off paying $50 for XBL with my original Xbox (especially having been mostly a PC gamer where everything was free). But that's not the case anymore. MS has made *huge* improvements and from what I've seen so far, they will continue to do so. XBL isn't perfect now, but it's way more than I expected at this stage of the game.

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Apparently, none of you read the disclaimer, so I quote myself (or is it Keith?) again:

 

*Disclaimer: Yes, XBLA is all cool and what-not, and, yes, there are some good things about XBL. This thread isn't meant to stroke the great things you love about it. I think the service is lacking for what was promised and what we're paying. Come here to gripe only. Defenders, you have your own orgy over there.
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Ok - I'll play along. How about a 'games I want to play' feature where you check off the games in your played list that you want to play online? Otherwise you could get folks sending you invites for games you played and no longer have or are tired of.

 

Nice - could just be a function of editing your "have" list - you could just turn off one of the ones you have anyway. The question is, then, would the system allow you to invite people if it says you don't have a game? I suppose you'd still need the "don't want to play" item.

 

Would also be nice to ignore certain users for certain games. Not sure why someone would want to to do this, but I suppose it's possible that, say, Keith is a total dick when playing Halo but fun to have in a couple rounds of Uno.

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