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On Xbox Live's Past, Present, Future 32

Thanks to TeamXbox for its interview with Andre Vrignaud from Microsoft's Xbox Live Platform Strategy Team, in which he discusses topics including user numbers (they're "on track" for 1 million subscribers by now, and "on average people are playing three hours a day (which is up from the 2.5 hours we saw a year ago), and the average number of people on Friends lists continues to climb - it's a little over 13 right now."), as well as the Xbox Live alerts through MSN Messenger ("In fact, you can look at these as being the first pieces of Xbox Live on Windows. If anything, people are pushing us to release more of Live on Windows as quickly as possible - and we're working on it!")
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On Xbox Live's Past, Present, Future

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  • They should make live a type system so those of us with a copy of pandora tomorrow on our computer can play people who bought the xbox version. There's a ton of multiplayer games that are on both the xbox and pc, would it really be that hard to set up the games to play between platforms? They all connect to this same intarweb thing here and it's the same people making both games, so did someone just not mention "double the user base" to the xbox live team?
    • This is one of these things in the works with XNA []. Hold on to your pants!
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I don't think it's such a good idea. You have huge differences of HCI (Human Computer Interface) between consoles and PC, which will definitely lead to conflict for people cross-platform gameplay.

        Ask Sega Dreamcast users to see if they enjoyed playing Quake3 against their PC counterpart with that ridiculous joypad configuration of theirs. That is, unless the DC players also used the keyboard and mouse, which could be acquired for an extra fee.

        The only way to make such play good is if the interface differe
    • by djohnsto ( 133220 ) <dan.e.johnston@gmail . c om> on Monday July 05, 2004 @02:52PM (#9614815) Homepage
      This is done on purpose. Even when XNA is launched, I doubt you'll see many games that support online games working cross-platform. The main reason is the control interface. People on the PC using keyboard + mouse would completely own anyone playing on an Xbox in any type of FPS game (including Pandora Tomorrow). A secondary reason is cheats. Until it can be completely proven that a PC online game can't be hacked, I don't want any PC's connected to Xbox Live.

      After MS releases Live for Windows, that's probably what you'll have: Xbox Live and Windows Live. There may be some crossover functionality (sharing friends lists, common accounts, etc.), but having the same game work online for both console and PC users wouldn't work out too well. The one thing that may change this sooner is if MS starts selling Xbox controllers for PC users. Games that work online between Xbox and PC would have to require using the Xbox controller on the PC.
      • Games that work online between Xbox and PC would have to require using the Xbox controller on the PC.

        Wouldn't it be easy to make a keyboard/program that sends its input as a controller does? IE: make the game think you're using a controller while you get the benefit of mouse sensitivity, key bindings, etc.
      • Microsoft has already announced that the second generation Xbox would have PC Compatible controllers. Guess you'll have to wait until then. I personally don't want any non-DRM-protected (hey! a good use for DRM!) games on Live! at all, period, but since home PCs are going to be fully DRM-equipped soon enough, that seems like a reasonable restriction.
  • by u-238 ( 515248 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @02:42PM (#9614738) Homepage
    It's already been done - at least somewhat.

    Programs like XBConnect [] give you a friends list as well as chatrooms where likeminded people can meet and organize a game.

    It takes advantage of the xbox LAN connectivity (all xbox's have ethernet adapters included by default, and can be connected via hub/switch for large multiplayer battles) and emulates the packet structure, fooling the xbox into thinking traffic that is sent through the internet is legitimate and is taking place on a LAN. Most games that support LAN play work with it already; there is no need for an xbox live subscription at all.

    Take a look for yourself []
    • Programs like XBConnect give you a friends list as well as chatrooms where likeminded people can meet and organize a game.

      Which is absolutely nothing like the MSN Messenger support. What the messenger integration gives you is alerts [] based on the various XBox Live events -- a friends is playing a game, someone sent you a friend request, someone sent you a game invite, etc. This is completely different from chatrooms where you can organize games.

      Most games that support LAN play work with it already

  • by superultra ( 670002 ) on Monday July 05, 2004 @04:21PM (#9615568) Homepage
    An increase of 2.5 hours to 3 is only because the number of dimwits has increased and it takes that much longer to find decent people to play with. Most people swear too much more than is either funny, meaningful, or than they would in conversations in the "real world." Very few demonstrate any kind of patience with newbies even though everyone starts out that way. They drop out when they start losing and are poor losers.

    I've found that Live is much more fun during the summer afternoons when the 8-5 30 year old assholes are at work and the only people playing are kids, who are usually much nicer, polite, and patient.

    Live's most necessary feature is not so much Windows integration, it's some fair means of warning me when I'm getting into a game with someone who demonstrates poor sportsmanship. the primary question for MS-Xbox shouldn't be, "How can windows users know when people are online?" it should be, "How can people fairly rate the sportsmanship of other players?"
    • HAHAHAHAHAHA Have you ever played an online game, anywhere? It's not just Xbox Live. There will be asshats no matter where you go. You just learn to filter them out, find better servers, go outside, whatever.
    • That is the main complaint I have heard over and over concerning XBox Live. I'm sure it can't be much worse than your run of the mill counter-strike server, but understandbly it would become annoying for EVERY GAME to be like that.

      America's Army has a good (imho) system that gives a player a rank, and then subtracts honor points for tk'ing or ta'ing, and grants honor points based on the kills or objectives completed. It works very well and there are honor-only servers for more serious players. It would
  • Live for Windows? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by satoshi1 ( 794000 ) <satoshi&sugardeath,net> on Monday July 05, 2004 @06:44PM (#9616439) Homepage Journal
    Live for Windows won't (if released) do very well, at least I don't think it will. There's a ton of online games that don't require one to pay to use the online functions. There are three (or four) main situations that may happen: 1) Live is released, developers don't make games that support Live because they don't want to lose money from people not buying the game (users won't buy the game if they have to pay to play online most likely). 2) Live is released, developers DO make games that support Live AND still allow the user to go online for free and all is well (sorta). 3) Live is released, devs make games that support Live, but they don't sell well because people don't want to play online (affirmation of option 1). Or 4) Live isn't released for Windows, all is well. I want the computer online gaming scene to stay as free as possible (not counting the cost to buy the game, of course), Live for Windows may (or may not) hurt that. I also don't want the next version of Windows (or the one after Longhorn) to have Live built in. Then again, XP may be my last Windows OS.

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