Free Service = Crap.

Xbox Live as of late has been cannon fodder for pissed off and irate online gamers. Its service has been inconsistent recently with a highly publicized Live server issue a few months back making its customers wonder why are they paying $50 for a crappy service when they could get a similar service for no cost at all on the Wii and PS3 -- Giving an on the spot onus to Microsoft to justify to its customers the Xbox Live membership fee they charge every year.

I undertstand and even sympathize for the cry of the majority for Microsoft to create a free service that Sony and Nintendo pushes for, but what the majority don’t see is the holistic quality of service Live has when its pitted against its online rivals. Where does that $50 dollars go to - well, it pays for the quality and experience. What’s in the experience? Intuitive interface, vast amount of content, stable performance -- true, service bogged down, but there was a reason and there was a resolution.

Would it be even rational to say that Nintendo and Sony would maintain the same degree of service for something they’re not compensated for directly? They may have other business models but if those don’t work, what’s next? Leave the whole service unchecked?

I’m talking about a centralized approach to which gaming experience is standardized and objectified. Folks, thats what Live offers. It offers you a complete package, rich in service and quality. Making each activity/transaction as smooth and as simple as possible.

Perhaps if majority of consumers see it in a broader perspective, the value Live offers becomes apparent.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, how can people think they can get a service like that for free

Adrian said...

costs have their trade offs. Similar to what e-games offer with their Play-4-Free service. They don't charge for the game, but buy some of their cards for topping up, we get bonus in-game cash for buying items earlier, and earlier buying of items mean, it's earlier to get to the harder parts of the game.

And System Downtimes are part of an operation. It's just how great the publicity (via media) it makes which make it significant.