Reproduced with permission from Doobiwan
As de facto designated 360 fanboy I really think I know more about Microsoft’s business than they do and as such they need to listen to me if they plan on taking over the world. Trust me , I’ve been trying to do it for over a decade and they can learn from my failures 😉
No seriously, I mean it! Stop laughing! Okay fine . . .
It’s easy to sit back and tell Companies what they need to do when you’re a consumer. Simple, you want everything for free, you want it now and you want it with bonus features just because your such a swell person for not buying someone else’s product. I guess that’s what makes Google so successful, they manage to deliver on that sort of promise and hide the reality of things like costs from the user reasonably well. It’s also why Microsoft is struggling to compete with them. I believe the same mind shift needed to stand against Google, is the same mind shift needed to be dominant in the console market.
Microsoft’s corporate philosophy seems to always have been, charge a fair price for great product and any reasonable person will buy it. And it’s worked. IBM bought it on behalf of all PC consumers, we all bought it for the Office bundle over more expensive standalone products, and it’s seen Microsoft enterprise products like SQL, Windows Server and Exchange become leading players in their respective fields. Unfortunately for Microsoft, on the Internet, and in the home consumers are not “reasonable”, but they are vital. What’s more, when there’s competition, “reasonable” isn’t good enough. At least they learned that with the RRoD debacle.
So to my point I’d like to put in boldface because I want to:
Xbox Live needs to have a free multiplayer component
See what I did there? 😉 Unlike many it’s not just a case of “has to be free”.
3 Million happy users @ $5 a months adds up to a lot of coconuts. Declaring Live a free and happy tree hugging utopia seems like a waste of a good $180 million dollars a year, but at the same time things have changed. A victim of its own success, console multiplayer is no longer a privilege it’s an accepted right, especially as consoles tread closer and closer to PC territory. Which is my subtle shuffle to bring up Games for windows Live! Lets be honest, it bombed because PC gamers get it for free with every game released. But one interesting thing that did arise out of that was that GFWL users were still allowed to play multiplayer versus PC for free. So why can’t we do the same for 360 users, it’s the same Live! platform. Double standards for the win.
So as I started, Microsoft? Sit down grab a pen and take notes:
Live! is gold, but without a bit more inspiration, innovation and risk you’ll be sitting with another Hotmail. The answer is pretty simple and completely implementable with things as they are, you barely need to change a thing. Keep Silver and Gold, but add free ‘custom game only’ playability to Silver. Ranked servers, Matchmaking and online achievements would only be available to Gold members. Players will be restricted to playing with friends of friends, which is actually a great thing from a parents perspective. You already do this for MMO’s. (yes I know they’re paid for but you don’t need Live! Gold)
In addition, do more for Gold members – add gold only competitions, gold only Gamerpics and themes. Make the Live Arcade discount bin Gold only. Harden other restrictions, ie 1 week delay on all downloadable content for Silver members: Arcade, Originals, demo’s, movies – everything. Then there’s always the classic “introduce more 3rd party adverts in the dash to Silver users and keep Gold ad free.”
It’d basically grant “free” players the same level of game access as PC or the console competitors but still offering enough incentive for people to want to pay for gold.
It also answers another big issue – non official Live regions. At least there’d be a legal way of playing online until full Live can be rolled out in all regions.
There, it’s as simple as that. Your online player base grows from 3 Million to 8 million without a drop of extra bandwidth or effort on Microsoft’s part. “Liberty vs captivity” is also a very different argument to “average vs superior”. It introduces a whole new level of snobbishness that’s sure to drive Gold adoption. 😉
Last Updated: January 4, 2008