XBL - 3 months = 350K

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Microsoft’s Online Game Service Signs Up 350,000 Subscribers

A WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP

REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft Corp. said it has signed up more than 350,000 subscribers to the three-month-old Xbox Live online game service.

Xbox Live, which allows users to play games on Microsoft’s Xbox console against other people over a broadband connection, was launched in the U.S. on Nov. 15. It is also available in Canada and Japan, and on March 14, will be launched in eight European countries, including France, Germany and the U.K.

Xbox live allows game players to find their friends; talk to other players during the games through a headset; and download add-on content, such as game maps and characters, onto their hard drives to keep games fresh.

“With the availability of downloadable content now on Xbox Live, we’re making a big step toward keeping gaming current and adding an additional element to the industry,” said J. Allard, Microsoft’s vice president of Xbox.

To use Xbox Live, game players must have a high-speed “broadband” Internet connection, instead of merely a dial-up connection, and also must buy a $50 set-up kit in addition to the standard Xbox console and games. The kit includes the headset used to talk to other players and a year’s subscription to Microsoft’s gaming network, which is accessible only by using the Xbox connected to a TV.

Fourteen Xbox Live-enabled games are currently available, with 10 more scheduled to come online in the next two months.

Updated March 4, 2003 10:35 a.m. EST
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not a bad showing for what people said would be a failure.

would be interesting to know the PS2 #s.

I don’t know that anyone said it would be a “failure”, however, less than 10% of the US Xbox owning userbase isn’t all that good either, especially when Microsoft kept telling everyone this was the reason people were buying Xbox.

Like I said, for the most part, online gaming on consoles in this generation is a non-starter, only the hardest of hardcore are interested. Given the broadband-only push, it’s only going to remain a non-starter for a long time, simply because a lot of folks that want to do it, still can’t.

–Dave

Those are impressive numbers. I wonder if Xbox Live is driving game sales in a significant way?

You guys that got it when it first came out – you using it much? If it goes to a monthly fee, what will you be willing to pay?

I thinks their pretty impressive numbers too for the short time its been out, and since its broadband only. I think the more important numbers though will be whats retention numbers after the first year is up for people.

During the Christmas break, it rocked. Once my life went back to normal, my XBL usage dropped to zero. Lately, I’ve been making forays back in and I’ve found it’s gotten a lot more juvenile - but the online expansions are cool.

It still needs a more cohesive sense of community IMO, but that will come.

Yeah, if they move from $50 a year to $120 a year ($10 a month), I’d expect to see a significant number of people drop the service. When the cost is raised consumption drops. Of course, MS may not do that. They might just stick with the $50.

How many people have purchased the PS2 network adapter?

I’ve had Xbox Live since Oct. and it was a blast for about 4 months. MechAssault and Moto GP were the only things my roomates and I would play. Then we just stopped using it. Ever since January, the damn thing hasn’t been touched. This makes me wonder just how many people out of that 350,000 are still playing? My main concern with Xbox Live right now is just the lack of content. Sure, MA was fun but nothing near BF1942. Moto GP was great, but the bore factor came up really quick.

I don’t know? It seems Xbox Live is nearing gaming greatness, it just just hasn’t done anything for me longterm yet.

Anyone play Ghost Recon? How is it?

Looking forward to any Xbox Live titles?

How many people have purchased the PS2 network adapter?

I think it’s somewhere around half a million.

–Dave

I’ve had Xbox Live since Oct. and it was a blast for about 4 months. MechAssault and Moto GP were the only things my roomates and I would play. Then we just stopped using it. Ever since January, the damn thing hasn’t been touched. This makes me wonder just how many people out of that 350,000 are still playing? My main concern with Xbox Live right now is just the lack of content. Sure, MA was fun but nothing near BF1942. Moto GP was great, but the bore factor came up really quick.

I am in the same boat as you. I have come to the realization that Multi-Player gaming is far more superior on the PC. While Kudos go to Microsoft for developing and implementing the Live network, it is very doubtful that I will be renewing my subscription in the coming year, not matter how reasonalbe it is.

Both UT and Ghost Recon were released with bugs and fixes and addtional content have been very slow to trickle through. At first I was amazed by the service which is no doubt revolutionary in the console world, but to me there is no justifiable cost to service that offers nothing that cannot be provided for free in the PC world.

For me “Service” implies that something is “offered” beyond a “peer to peer” network with “stats” (which are meanlingless, as it has already be shown that you can cheat them), and a “buddy list”.

I really don’t want to be negative, as many people really enjoy what the service offers and are satisfied; it just isnt for me.

Remember when Dave used to post messages here via his Dreamcast? It’s so cute the way his opinions constantly change based on the capabilities of his pet console-of-the-moment!!

I really don’t want to be negative, as many people really enjoy what the service offers and are satisfied; it just isnt for me.

I definitely agree that online console gaming is inferior to the PC, often shockingly so, and will continue to be so for a long time. What you have to realize is how least common denominator the console audience is… I doubt many of them will be using PC online gaming for comparison.

I guess what I’m saying is that the type of people that can configure their PC for hardcore online gaming and voice chat are not exactly the intended audience for Xbox live…

The developers, on the other hand, have no such excuse for not including basic online ameneties in their games. They really should know better.

It will be interesting to see if this actually translates into a strategic advantage for Microsoft. They have a much higher adoption rate than Sony and are busy learning how to run an online console gaming service, but Sony could always adopt the same tactics.

I was using regularly, but have been too busy lately. I’d pay $10 per month for it.

Star Wars Galaxies (MMORPG) - I don’t know how this is going to work with their PS2 version.

Project Gotham Racing 2 - Screenshots are looking great

HALO 2 - Daddy likey!

Is Project Gotham Racing 2 going to be Live enabled?

It and Halo 2 are the next big ones for me.

I definitely agree that online console gaming is inferior to the PC, often shockingly so, and will continue to be so for a long time. What you have to realize is how least common denominator the console audience is… I doubt many of them will be using PC online gaming for comparison.

People tend to think of PC gaming as the high water mark that consoles need to reach. It’s more likely that consoles will find a niche quite seperate from tradition PC online titles. Including the headset was a great step in that direction. Setting these kinds of standards is one of the console’s unique strengths.

Having delved a little bit into mass market online gaming, I’ll say that the leader board is probably the most powerful and underutilized element of online right now. When we did Toonami Lockdown we couldn’t do real multiplayer, so we just assigned the kids a color, and totaled the scores for everyone in the U.S. The winning color got to see their team kick ass on the TV the next day. Worked like a charm.

If all the Microsoft games just let you rate yourself against all the other players online I bet a lot of the players would be happy. Add some kind of promotion/prize structure in there and you’d really have something. You might even get Pepsi to pay for a few thousand subscriptions.

Your Power Pill

It all depends on the game–just like it does on the PC. NHL 2K3 rules over XBL. Apparently Ghost Recon is pretty awesome, as well…

Yes

“It and Halo 2 are the next big ones for me.”

Its surprising to see that a hyped game like Brute Force won’t have XBL support. A shooter with co-op abilities but not online.