Thursday, May 10

Reading microsoft the wrong way?

So Microsoft are launching live for windows. This idea is that gamers on windows vista will have the same access that gamers on the xbox360 have (incidently i own one :)). However, lots and lots of people are reading this totally the wrong way.

The PC market is expanding, constantly expanding updating and changing. The problem for consoles is, after each new generation, a gamer may decide that the new console from a different company, such as sony or nintendo, is far better than the current offering they are sitting with. So how do you hold gamers for the time it takes them to switch over for the next generation, keeping them thinking within your mind set?

Easy: you give them something which makes them feel powerful, clever, better, strong. You give them a identity which they can show off to friends and rivials. This identity is your Gamer Tag and Gamer Score. Together, they identify you as you play online via Microsofts xbox360.

So now Microsoft are expanding this to include PC gaming, and in doing so they have caused some uproar about how they are expecting gamers to pay for something they have had for free for so long. They are expecting games to pay for the ability to earn online achievements, to have online match making and other various things which PC gamers have had for so long.

ExtemeTech has written about this fact, but I think they totally missed the point. The point is Microsoft now have a way for them to stop supporting the xbox360 (in a few years from now) but their customers might decide they dont want the next console in the line. Many people skip console generations for various reasons, cost being a large one, or sometimes wanting to wait to see which console will reign supreme.

A good example of this is the xbox360 and Sonys own Playstation 3. Many people at first waited before buying a xbox360 up to a point until Sony released the news that the PS3 was running late. However, what if Sony had some online system, where gamers could keep their reputation, continue to expand in their gaming persona, which then would still exist, when the new console finally came out?

Microsoft have already seen how people who gained friends and fame on the xbox (1) were pleased to be able to carry this gaming persona onto the xbox360, and now they are offering the chance to carry it onto PC gaming too.

So, some might think Microsoft have gone crazy, trying to charge for something which has been free for so many gamers before them, but anyone with a Gold account on a xbox360, is also a gold account for live on windows. Any xbox360 gamer can already access all of this, and maybe some PC gamers will even consider buying a xbox 360 seeing how this amazing online system works?
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