Saturday, June 23, 2012

How much of Xbox Live do we pay for?

First off let me say that I love Xbox Live. The services that Xbox Live offers are a wonderful given the fact that some people can't afford to own separate streaming devices or only have 1 PC in a home, but can still access services such as Facebook, Twitter, Netflix & others right from their game console.  XBL offers one of the most cost effective options for XBL Gold members such as their "Family Plan" which offers 1 yr of XBL Gold service for up to 4 accounts with membership pricing decreasing each year of renewal not to mention some other nice perk features. However not everyone has a need for 4 accounts much less 2 and while Netflix, HuluPlus, Zune, Facebook, Twitter, etc can all be found offering great services I only use XBL for multiplayer gaming so what happens when some people don't use 95% of the services we pay for.

Since the birth of  XBL many complained about "Free To Play" multiplayer gaming claiming that the system & game costs were enough already going from a $50 price point to $60 amongst most systems for new game titles. While in 2006 I couldn't agree completely with the "Free To Play" when you consider the cost of server maintenance, hardware upkeep, & programming , but in 2012 the stage has changed. With more & more devices having the ability to stream content over cell & home networks I feel the once powerful 360 Media hub is slowly forgetting it's roots in the hands of gamers and turning into another stream box that can also play games. While many gamers enjoy the extra options of a XBL Gold membership what about gamer who doesn't use Netflix or social media on thier 360 & still have to help pay for what John Q uses down the streets cause he needs ESPN on demand?

Xbox Live as turned into a service , a service that was built by Microsoft founded on us the gamers. If gamers who only use the Xbox360 for gaming paid half the cost of a gold membership but were limited to multiplayer & marketplace & not access streaming content I wonder how many more current silver accounts would go gold.

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