Is MS blowing it with Live?

Live has tons of potential, and we’ve seen some instances where it works great but MS seems to be missing the full opportunity of the service and seems to be stumbling a bit as well.

Some of the ongoing problems as I see them.

Lack of Live Arcade titles. Where are the games? It seems to be taking way too long to ramp up a large selection of Live Arcade games here. We haven’t had a new game since Uno launhed at E3.

Questionable prices for expansion content. This started with the uproar over horse armor, now we have GR:AW with essentially $15 for 4 new maps.

Slow to get demos up on the marketplace. This happened with GR:AW and some others. Now Prey has a PC demo out and no 360 demo despite the 360 demo supposedly having been handed off to MS.

Ongoing bandwidth issues. Downloads still seem to take way way too long, especially the day that new content is released.

I’d say they have room for improvement, but it mostly has to do with content. Though I’ve had some odd connection problems with a new LIVE member recently.

Pricing of DLC is something that’s totally unrelated to LIVE, but worth considering on its own.

Yes they are. XBLA was a large factor in my 360 purchase, and it’s been a barren wasteland for months.

I don’t know whether XBLA was a factor in my purchase, but BJBob’s entirely correct that they aren’t making new content available. I’m willing to buy something new, but they’re a lot better at making announcements than making the games available. At least I’m not carrying any sort of MS point balance.

Once again, it seems that MS is wasting the valuable span of time when it has the next-gen market all to itself.

Amen. I had been meaning to start this thread for awhile, and am glad someone did.

LIVE is the slacker in the back of class with great potential who simply isn’t applying himself.

That said, LIVE is moving in the right direction. The system has gotten better to use, there’s more content than before and better variety. The real problem is the PACE of LIVE. Everything comes… but comes slowly.

So… basically LIVE is an “A” student who is currently getting a “C” because he doesn’t turn in his work in time.

What’s up with the Qt3 trend of acting like we haven’t heard anything regarding the various issues that have been brought up? the xbox live programming guy has been prtty visible the last few weeks, and has given the reasons why you don’t have SFIII yet, the stuff that is coming and when to expect it and many of the issues with getting content up.

prices are set by the publishers, so go to ubisoft on the maps. I didn’t buy em because $15 is too much for something only usable in multiplayer and I can’t be sure all the people I play with will buy.

as far as the other stuff, I can link you to major nelson’s podcast, or we cna wait a week for someone to post a late blog post on all of this and say “microsoft answered”

Agreed. Live is a phenomenal service. Jump in a game, invite my friends to a game, download demos, play a quick Arcade game, etc. But I’ve been really surprised with the lack of new games for Arcade. I thought they would’ve had 3 or 4 new games coming out per month at $5 a pop.

And I also think they should get more involved with the pricing with 3rd party add-ons. I bought the GRAW add-on so I can play it with my friends. And thus I realize I lose credibility to criticise, but it was defiinitely over-priced.

I’m not sure this is true. The first year for any console is always dry for customers, and I don’t see any reason why XLA (for 360) would be inherently immune to that problem.

XLA will be going through Year 2 (generally a fruitful time when lots of in-development titles are finally ready) when Sony is going through its own painful Year 1. That’s when you’ll see the biggest difference. The Sony people will be complaining about not having enough games for their $600 system, while Live is finally coming into its own.

It also wouldn’t surpise me if MS is banking a lot of its XLA titles to release closer to PS3’s launch, to really drive home the Year-2-vs-Year-1 difference.

People were saying the same thing a few months ago. I bet microsoft is holding all their Live Arcade games for E3 so they blow everybody away. Guess what? It didn’t happen.

I don’t care what kind of excuses/explanations/rationalizitions they are offering up for the lack of Live Arcade games. The point is they aren’t fucking there. They have a user base clamoring for games and more than willing to hand over their cash via micropayments for any little thing, only they don’t have any content. In the last couple months we’ve had what? Astro Pop and Uno? Bravo microsoft, excellent planning once again.

Hiro: I might agree with you in general, but the specifics of this situation indicate that MS is not fully executing their own plan. Games are announced for XBLA and are pushed back, resulting in huge gaps between downloadable releases. Demos appear and are yanked, never to be seen again. For a time, month-to-month shipments of 360’s decrease rather than increase.

I know from my perspective that Xbox live still drops during downloads, and just won’t let me connect to certain players. I hope year 2 improves, because that means my $400 will have been better spent.

Honest question - what besides King Kong was yanked?

Lost Planet went up, then came down, then went back up. A few things in the JP market have gone up and then come down the same day. There was something else in the US market that got yanked too I think, but don’t recall what it was or if it made it’s way back online.

Wasn’t the demo for that MMO driving game taken down, too? I don’t care about driving games, so I didn’t pay much attention, but I thought that happened.

Test Drive Unlimited. Apparently it’s back up again, but without the online free roam portion, which is its major selling point…

Wasn’t that its crashing point as well?

I think the complaint is that there’s not a lot of new content on Live, not that Microsoft doesn’t have a bunch of excuses.

Do those of us who’ve purchased the GR:AW expansion, UNO and other content share part of the blame for this flawed system remaining as it is? And who would like to join me in being part of the problem tonight with some new CO-OP missions?

I think it’s moderately dissapointing.

It works ok, but games have connectivity issues (graw) and there isnt a standard interface for game browsing or lobbies, which is needed IMO, because everyone wants everything to be as easy to setup as halo2 and almost nothing is. None of the lobby shit is hard either IMO, it’s just taking some care with it and making sure it works.

XBLA imo, is a joke compared to what I expected. I was hoping for a shitty version of mame that worked on live, plus a bunch of indie things. What we got was 40% puzzlers and 50% robotron clones, and practically NOTHING else. Where is Darius? Where are the Capcom and Konami 4 player beat 'em ups? Or hell, any arcade games that arent robotron?

I have 5 goddamned gradius games on my psp, where are the ones I can play on my TV?

Pricing also sucks, if those 5 gradius titles were on XBLA they’d be $20 each instead of $20 for all 5. Compare sf2 with the sf compilation disks. You do get live multi, but you lose what? like 5 other SF games, a box and a disk?

Demos I like and think they need more of. But I cant complain there, the fight night demo is better than the game, so the demo saved me $60.

I feel like they trickle stuff out, when I expect a flood of stuff, especially for XBLA. I expected XBLA titles to soften the first year lack of games. Though if most 07 titles are announced already, year 2 will be pretty slim for disks based games AND xbla titles.

e3 didnt bust out much news on new stuff for the 360 IMO. Luckily for MS sony is retarded so they had jack shit too.

I do like the system, but hey, I loved my DC.

There have been some recent interviews about this. A few factors. First, major publishers weren’t immediately on-board with Live Arcade. Instert your favorite conspiracy theory (mine is that bean counters have to be dragged kicking and screaming into new business models unless there are some serious dollar signs flashed in front of their faces.

Second, a couple games are taking longer than they thought. Street Fighter 2 is hard for them to get working well over Live, being that it’s a port of a non-network-aware arcade game (there’s actual arcade code and emulation in there). The free sponsored Texas Hold’em had a sponsorship problem, which I think they just about have worked out but the lawyers need to dot Is and cross Ts.

Third, it’s just bigger and better than MS anticipated, and it’s taking some time to catch up. They honestly expected a relatively small number of Arcade games at first because they didn’t anticipate the hardcore would love 'em so much, and the 360 is still a hardcore item until the price drops more. Turns out the hardcore loves Arcade, trial-to-full conversions are higher than predicted, etc.

So now major publishers want to make Arcade games, they want to put their old classics on Arcade, and independants are beating down the doors. Microsoft doesn’t just want a flood of direct 20-year-old arcade ports, though. They want updated graphics, global leaderboards, online play, etc. Ala Gauntlet. This stuff can take 6-9 months to make, albeit with a smaller team than a full boxed AAA title.

So I think more Arcade games are definitely coming, it’s just we’re in a 6-month lag between everyone realizing how awesome it is and starting up Arcade projects, and their eventual release. The guys in charge have said that the “floodgates will open soon.” Hope so! I want my Lumines!

Questionable prices for expansion content. This started with the uproar over horse armor, now we have GR:AW with essentially $15 for 4 new maps.

And some Oblivion add-ons of dubious quality. Yeah. This sucks. Microsoft actually doesn’t set the price for the content. I don’t know what their cut is (maybe it’s variable depending on who hosts the file, if publishers are capable of hosting it themselves). I think it’s critically important in these early months of Marketplace that gamers set a precedant and show publishers that we won’t pay these rates. If a $15 map pack bombs, they won’t charge $15 next time. Unfortunately, I think gamers are griping and saying it’s a rip-off and then buying it anyway. :(

Slow to get demos up on the marketplace. This happened with GR:AW and some others. Now Prey has a PC demo out and no 360 demo despite the 360 demo supposedly having been handed off to MS.

Agreed. The testing is taking too long. I know part of it is that they have to test a bunch of languages and locations, then seed the file to the distribution servers around the world, and stuff like that. But this stuff needs to be better coordinated between the publishers and Microsoft, so they have time to test and put out the demo more quickly.

Ongoing bandwidth issues. Downloads still seem to take way way too long, especially the day that new content is released.

Agreed. This is hit and miss - sometimes on a “big” day people will have their download go fast, and others will have it go slow. They certainly haven’t solved this spotty intermittant problem, and with the size of and demand for demos, and the growing size of add-on content, it’s going to be more important.

Not to mention that the 360 userbase will double worldwide by the end of the year. Demand is going to go up on all fronts - more content to be had, bigger content, and more people to get it. Microsoft is capable of solving this problem, perhaps more than any other company (Windows Update is fast as hell all the time). They need to get on it and do it before September when better games start coming out and sales go up.

Of course, it just goes to show that this kind of thing is tremendously hard. I really am curious to see how well it goes with Sony and Nintendo, two companies that have less experience in the whole “major online network” thing. Will they nail it and shame Microsoft at their own game?

What is frustrating is the post not too long ago by the guy working on Armada for PC (the Dreamcast game) and how Microsoft told them they’re booked up for Live Arcade so they can’t get in… yet the games don’t come out!