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Default Games for Windows Live Drops Fees

July 28th, 2008, 15:41
Strategy Informer has a brief article stating that Microsoft has dropped it's PC subscriber model for exclusive online game components and quotes Microsoft's Keven Unangst in an interview with PC tech website Ars Technica:
Microsoft has decided to drop membership fees for premium online components to PC games. The much controversial subscription system is getting dumped.

Kevin Unangst of Microsoft has said they will be "offering refunds" to members as they acknowledge "multiplayer is a baseline expectation on Windows." It's about dang time.

Speaking with Ars Technica, Unangst noted that gamers "liked achievements, automatic updates, friends lists, and so on." He went on to admit that "for the gamers, multiplayer is a baseline expectation on Windows. So we decided to make the decision now for free Games for Windows Live."

"Proactively, we will be offering refunds for those with Windows-specific Gold subscriptions. Customer service has already begun to get communications prepared," he announced.
You can read the full interview here.
More information.

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July 28th, 2008, 15:41
One comment I read that echoes my thoughts is "OK, so it goes from the worst 'for pay' match system to the worst 'free' match system … where is the part where I start to care'?

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July 28th, 2008, 15:44
Obviously, if people cared(enough) they could charge them for it so….I'd say you were not in the minority.

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July 28th, 2008, 15:44
Good for the Halo players I guess - if they bring out Halo 3 on PC.
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July 28th, 2008, 15:55
I think Windows Live goes a little beyond just Halo 3. It have no experience with Live on Windows, but it works well enough on Xbox 360. Now they need to drop the free on that, like Sony offers free multi-player for the PS3. If it's stupid to pay for it on PC, it's stupid to pay for it on consoles.
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July 28th, 2008, 16:02
Very few games use it, Halo 2, Gears of War, a few others. They even have Fallout 3 listed in the very small list of games that use LIVE on Windows and that's single player.
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July 28th, 2008, 16:14
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
If it's stupid to pay for it on PC, it's stupid to pay for it on consoles.
The XBOX360 is a closed, proprietary system with no 'hooks' for external developers. Live is the only game in town, and will always be so. Live for Windows was seen for what it was - a Trojan Horse to sell more XBOX units to PC gamers. It is the worst system out there, and anywhere that I have had an option (things like Universe at War: Earth Assault or Sins of a Solar Empire can use more than just Live) I have used something else.

But on the console it works very well and seems to provide an excellent service. As for the cost, I dunno.

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July 28th, 2008, 22:15
But why can Sony offer free multi-player and Microsoft not? I realize that Microsoft provides servers and easy integration for developers, but the same is true for individual PC developers who make multi-player games. True, that's not a solution that works for all games like Live is, but Microsoft is a much bigger player with a higher stake in the platform. It seems to work great for Steam and such— they do have multi-player matchmaking, friend lists, etc. don't they?
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July 28th, 2008, 22:25
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
But why can Sony offer free multi-player and Microsoft not?
Because Microsoft already had an established service and found that people would pay for it … whereas Sony is lagging in every possible way. I really don't know how Microsoft had the stones to start charging to begin with, but they offered a unique service at the time and had Halo to go with it …

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July 29th, 2008, 04:29
whereas Sony is lagging in every possible way
What do you mean by this?

Here in Japan, the Playstation 3 is a monster of profitability for Sony thus they can offer free multiplayer like Blizzard does with Battle Net.
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July 29th, 2008, 05:28
Originally Posted by Reyla View Post
What do you mean by this?

Here in Japan, the Playstation 3 is a monster of profitability for Sony thus they can offer free multiplayer like Blizzard does with Battle Net.
Yeah, but only in Japan. The rest of the world really doesn't care that much about the PS3. At least not compared to the X360.
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July 29th, 2008, 11:14
Originally Posted by Reyla View Post
What do you mean by this?

Here in Japan, the Playstation 3 is a monster of profitability for Sony thus they can offer free multiplayer like Blizzard does with Battle Net.
Huh? In Japan the PS3 is the #2 console, outsold 3:1 by the Wii. In the rest of the world it is #3. Does anyone *not* acknowledge that Sony is in last place in this console round? (certainly the game media know this worldwide, but don't count Sony out yet)

But the 'Live' thing is more than profit - it is the style of play. In Japan not having true online modes isn't a big deal, you can have 'local wireless' like Monster Hunter for the PSP and it is acceptable. In the US you need internet play. The PS2 & PS3 have *much* weaker online components that are still getting up to speed compared to Microsoft's offering. The PSN isn't *worth* paying for at this point.

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July 29th, 2008, 18:57
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Huh? In Japan the PS3 is the #2 console, outsold 3:1 by the Wii. In the rest of the world it is #3. Does anyone *not* acknowledge that Sony is in last place in this console round? (certainly the game media know this worldwide, but don't count Sony out yet)
In absolute numbers yes, but Sony is clearly gaining momentum while MS is stalled. ATM the PS3 sells more than the XB360. So the fight for the 2nd place isnīt over yet.
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July 29th, 2008, 23:23
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
In absolute numbers yes, but Sony is clearly gaining momentum while MS is stalled. ATM the PS3 sells more than the XB360. So the fight for the 2nd place isnīt over yet.
Absolutely agree - but my initial focus was on the whole XBOX Live thing, I only veered to sales based on an assertion that Sony's massive PS3 profits (actually, this was the first profitable quarter since launch, and I think that was mostly due to good PSP sales) allow them to offer free internet multiplayer. My opinion is that their solution has been so sadly inferior to Microsofts that even Sony didn't have the arrogance to charge. Their solution is clearly the best so far, and makes multiplayer painless to the point that people are willing to pay.

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