Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

How Xbox LIVE Games on Demand can improve

I’m here to offer some constructive criticism on how I think the Games on Demand service can improve itself. A new Dashboard update was rolled out to the public yesterday (August 11) and, among some other trivial tweaks, Microsoft introduced a new ‘Games on Demand’ service, where you can download full Xbox 360 games right to your HDD without the need for physical media.

GoD

There’s a few issues with the service though. I’m going to address a few of these, and offer my suggestions as to what they can do to improve them.

Firstly, they need to do something about the pricing structure. Games such as Assassin’s Creed are on the Marketplace for £19.99. In fact, all Xbox 360 games on the Marketplace are this price. Even worse, the US prices are $19.99, meaning they’re paying roughly £12, which is STILL more expensive than a physical copy of the game! (game deal provided by Frugal Gaming)

I’m happy that they haven’t gone with the ridiculous points system for the games, as they do on the Arcade, Add-On and Avatar marketplaces because I don’t have to pay more than I have to, and then have a silly amount of points that I can’t get anything with — but they really need to think about the pricing structure. Nobody’s going to pay double the price for a DRM copy of a game that you can’t sell or trade in once you’re done with it. Want to take it round to your friend’s house to show him what he’s missing? Sorry, you’re either going to have to take your 360 along for the ride or he’s going to have to buy it. (well, he could come visit you too I suppose…) What I’m trying to get to is: variable pricing structure – it’s ridiculous to think that a flat-level price is a good idea.

My next issue is with the size of these games. These games are on DVD, output in 720p/1080i HD. I tried installing Halo 3 onto my HDD to make my 360 run a little bit quieter (most of the noise comes from the disc drive spinning). I can’t really say that I was surprised when I discovered it would take up 6.3GB – needless to say, my 20GB HDD just didn’t have enough space on it. I assume that all the other game downloads are of equivalent size, which means that unless you have the 120GB HDD that made its début with the Elite, you’re going to run out of free space very quickly. Considering most games have add-ons, map packs, etc. and can take up around 2GB without even being installed on the HDD makes this even worse.

Microsoft require you to use proprietary storage mediums on their system – to store game data and the like you need to have either an HDD or a Memory Unit (akin to the PlayStation’s memory cards)

360HDD

The largest HDD you can get is the aforementioned 120GB model. The Xbox 360’s main (and only) ‘rival’ in this generation, the PlayStation 3, uses standard 2.5″ SATA HDD. So theoretically you can get as much storage as is available at the time – 500GB onwards if you so desire. The prices for Microsoft’s proprietary HDD are also atrocious — for less than the price of a 120GB Microsoft HDD, you could have 500GB in your PS3. Until they allow us to use external data storage, I can’t see their Games on Demand service being a big hit – because at this moment in time, all you’re doing by purchasing content from it is crippling both your wallet and your 360. And that’s not good for anybody!

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Are we seeing the return of Horse Armour?

The date is April 3, 2006; Bethesda have released some new Xbox 360 Downloadable Content for their latest best-selling title in the Elder Scrolls series: Oblivion. Only it’s not as exciting as you may think – the content in question? A now infamous little “mod” called Horse Armour.

“What does it add?” I hear you asking in wonder.

In 8 words, It’s a couple of new textures. For your horse.

horse-armor

“Oh, that’s alright, I suppose. I’m guessing it’s free then?”

Well, see for yourself!

HOW MUCH

200 Microsoft Points (roughly £1.50, although you can’t really tell because of Microsoft’s stupid Points system), for a couple of textures that have no other effect in-game other than aesthetically. That screengrab has just been taken, so Bethesda haven’t even bothered to make this DLC gratis, even after 3 years! There’s not been many debacles like this on the Marketplace since, and that can only be a good thing, right?

Well, I’m a pretty big fan of the RPG genre, I’m not stuck to liking JRPG but I consider them to be one of my favourites (Final Fantasy X, in my opinion, is one of the five greatest games ever made)

Over a week ago I ordered Tales of Vesperia (despite it taking just over a week to actually get to my house – cheers, Tesco!). It’s a solid title in its own right, but I was wondering if it had followed the same vein as (another Bethesda title) Fallout 3, drip-feeding DLC expansions for players who wanted something fresh to do in the game. So I decided to take a look on the Marketplace, where I promptly had my retinas burned in bewilderment:

Tales

There are 35 of such DLC, all of which contain this handy message in the “More Details” tab:

WTF

Oh, well thanks for that. I could spend (I have worked out) 6,000 Microsoft Points (roughly £51.00! ) on items for my game, or I could just, y’know, fucking play the game and earn them that way, for free.

I truly don’t feel sorry for anyone who had the stupidity to throw away money on these pointless downloads.

Windows 7 Beta To Go Public Today

There are rumours abound that Windows 7 will be released as Public Beta later today (Jan 9th). Download will most likely be large, but press members already using the OS say that it’s very stable.

If I manage to install it later today, I’ll put a Hands-On up and maybe a First Opinion.