What are we paying for with Xbox Live? Has anyone actually answered this question?
There is a network to upkeep, lots of data traveling around. What else? Facebook? Twitter? Those are free if you recall. What about voice chat? That’s free with Silver, so the Gold membership isn’t paying for it. Online multiplayer? Well, that’s peer-to-peer, so that doesn’t cost Microsoft anything.
What’s left that is not covered by the onslaught of ads across the dashboard, free gamerpics sponsored by movie studios, and the small sum Microsoft receives for every purchase across the network? Nothing.
That’s the issue with the price increase Microsoft has announced for Xbox Live here in the states (other countries are luckier). There is an infrastructure at work here, design teams that need paid, and upkeep. Paying something seems fair, but raising the price in the midst of a recession, when you’re third parties are instituting means of not playing online when you purchase used, allowing outrageous prices (and general practices) with DLC, and providing seemingly no real reasons to pay in the first place is baffling.
Keep in mind what you get with a Silver membership. Most of the features you use are available even if you don’t pay.
Raising this price now, with Halo Reach and a new Call of Duty jumping into the fray, makes it obvious why it is happening come November. It also seems to show their minimal faith internally for the Kinect launch. Why are you raising prices if you want the casual gamers to become involved? They don’t want to pay more. They need an entry point, and if you think they’ll pay after dropping $150 on a camera, you have another thing coming.
The same goes for that hardcore base, who may finally be waking up to these stupid, nonsensical, greedy tactics. You’ve certainly lost a customer here.