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January 21, 2006



you couldn't offend me if you tried, jamie.

but yeah, the xbox live thing is inane. it just feels like someone "didn't get it", in the proverbial way, in marketing, and i imagine engineers rolling their eyes and smacking their foreheads while some marketroid told them "no, but see, there's this GREAT SYNERGY if we make people buy live accounts from retailers, we're totally getting karma with best buy if we do this. i know you already have it trivially set up so you can make new accounts online, but we need you to add *more* code to make it harder." way to go.

the griefing thing, sure. but does that affect that many people that this was a worthwhile solution? doubtful. there have to be better griefing deterrants that aren't also colossally idiotic.


Actually, it's just because MS never got all the dashboard UI and server backend implemented for the first Xbox. In the initial Xbox Live billing model, there was only one type of user account and a lapsed account's identity was removed from the global namespace pool for life.

That's changed for Xbox 360. The default paid Live account is a "Gold" subscription. Upon expiring, the account stays active and is just downgraded to free "Silver" status (can't play online multiplayer games).

So no, it wasn't malice. Just a limited feature set chosen at launch that was improved over time as more client UI and backend server support was developed.


Forgot to mention in my last post:

You can create Xbox Live accounts on Xbox 360 without a subscription code.

When you create a free silver account now, you get a free gold month. After that, you can just renew online.

William van der Sterren

> Just a limited feature set chosen at launch that was improved over time as more client UI and backend server support was developed.

Probably those improvements stopped just when they were about to add the capability to change your country in the account info. If you happen to move to another country and want to update your account accordingly, you either have to drop your old gamertag and get a new one, or stick with the old info. With the arrival of the 360, changing countries is more important since the country in your account (billing) info determines which downloads and (localized) material you can download via the dashboard. For example, German accounts don't have the Quake IV demo. Note that it does not matter what you country you define in your Passport or dashboard; it's the billing info that matters.
(I am aware that I can get that material using a silver account and free gold month.)


William correctly notes the importance placed on billing info.

Xbox Live (and other pay services at MS, like MSN) use and depend on an internal billing service.

Many of the Xbox Live features or improvements have actually been due to limitations in this billing system finally getting removed.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game