Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Underwhelmed....

So, Xbox Live (XBL) is still not working correctly after 31 days. I haven't touched on this subject here, but the short story is that MS didn't communicate from the Xbox Hardware division to the Xbox Live division that they sold a bunch of Xbox 360s during the holidays and that they needed to increase capacity for Live. So when people opened up their new presents, they got a facefull of no online gaming or marketplace. The service had seemed to be getting better, but when hit by the traffic of a 3-day weekend, it again went dead.

If XBL was a free service, this probably wouldn't warrant a post here on B3; we would, in effect, be getting our money's worth. Problem is, XBL ain't free, and going without the service this long, is kind of a hefty f*#kin' fee. Especially when you factor in the hefty fee you have to pay in real money.

To make things right Microsoft have announced they will be giving away...Undertow. You see how I tied that into the title of this post? That's how it seems many people feel about this gratuity.

Sorry to be so picky, but giving us a game that you thought was going to sell, but ended up not selling, is kinda lame. Why not give everyone 800 MS Points? That's how much Undertow would normally set you back, so why not give people 800 MS Points, say "we blew it and we hope this makes you feel a little bit better" and let people do what they want with it. What are they going to do when everyone logs on to XBL at 0200 PST on 1/23/08 and the service dies again? Is that when they'll finally let us have Rez HD or Bionic Commando Rearmed as our free game? That would have been a real apology, giving us a game that people want, not a game that's been out for some time and nobody cares about (even though it uses the Unreal 3 engine).

My own personal XBL subscription is almost up, and I'm not sure that I'm going to rush to renew it. I know that very soon my 360 should get the Red Ring of Death, so why would I waste money on a service, which won't work during all of the time in which I am paying for it, on my system which is going to be dead?

Perhaps I should wait until this free game hits to make a judgement on renewing my XBL subscription (which really, there is no choice but to do so, the 360 is worthless without XBL, and it's specifically designed that way) but certainly MS have let a lot of people down. They took a few weeks to find an XBLA game which wasn't selling, negotiate a deal with the developer team (who had thought they were going to be swimming in money, but ended up not because nobody cared about their game), and then quietly tell people that they had selected the game which would make people feel better about their XBL not working.

I sure wish MS could make a product that worked right.

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