Opinion: Microsoft needs to drop Xbox Live Subscriptions on Durango

Xbox Live Logo

Microsoft revolutionized the way gamer’s are able to connect.  The original Xbox burst onto the scene back in 2001 with a ton of new features, updated graphics, and some pretty great hardware for the time.  It wasn’t until November 2002 that things in the Gaming Industry really changed with the introduction of a little thing called Xbox Live.


Xbox live connected gamer’s over the interwebs and allowed them to play games like Halo: Combat Evolved not just locally but, with gamers from all over the world. This seems like an archaic concept nowadays when every home console, computer, tablet, smart phone, etc. is constantly connected to the internet. For the time Xbox Live was an enormous logistical and technological accomplishment. For years I was completely fine paying the Xbox Live Subscription to play games like Call of Duty with a full squad of buddies online, but as of late the concept of paying for this service is what seems archaic and let me tell you why:

First off there’s this thing called the PSN or Playstation Network (I know it was hacked and user information was compromised). That whole debacle was before I even owned a PS3 so I don’t have the same disdain for the PSN that some Sony gamer’s do. The obvious pro here is that the PSN is free of charge. If offers the same service as Xbox Live save the now $59.99 yearly subscription. On the PSN you have the online store, Netflix, Hulu plus, online gaming, etc. all the things that made Xbox Live worth paying for. Sure, there’s scheduled maintenance and on a few occasions I did experience some slow download times for titles. Here’s what deters me from complaining, I’m not paying for a service. Sony felt generous enough to offer me all of these features for free. I think we’re seeing a small shift in home console momentum here at the end of this generation. The PS3 is selling very well this far into the consoles life cycle. To be sure it’s a combination of factors that are pushing units at this point. Sony has a stable of first party developers that create fantastic games you aren’t able to experience anywhere else. The built in Blu-Ray player is cause for action in many cases. Finally the fact you don’t have to pony up the dough to play with your friends online is also a large deciding factor in our economic climate.

At this point Nintendo is offering the same type of situation but, let’s face it the online community just isn’t as rampant on Nintendo as it is elsewhere. Core gamer’s tend to shy away from the Nintendo scene for the most part. Nintendo is working feverishly to cement it’s online presence with the Wii U. However, at the moment I don’t think they’re really part of the argument as they just don’t attract the same amount of gamer’s that play online competitively as Sony and Microsoft.

Valve is also aggressively working on plans to get it’s “Steam Box” into your living room in the next year or two, and you better believe the online component won’t come at a price.

So to finally wrap up my rant. It’s my belief that if Microsoft chooses to pursue the paid online subscription in the next generation of home consoles, they won’t only be doing gamer’s a disservice, they’ll be putting their ability to stay atop the home console heap at risk. My hope is that Microsoft opens up and offers free Xbox Live features on Durango. Xbox Live is no longer the new kid on the block and I don’t see the reason for the price tag anymore as online stores, apps, and multiplayer are standard fare no matter what box you plop in your living room. In closing I don’t want to pay to use my internet to game anymore.

Addition:  Amazon is offering Xbox LIVE 12 Month Gold Membership at a great discount!

Dylan Zellmer

I split time between games journalism and making video games. My love of it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), fitness and my family define me otherwise.
  • Deimos

    I agree with your sentiments completely. The issue is, this is Microsoft we’re talking about. The company that to this day and age still charges an arm and a leg for their proprietary 360 hard drives. They’re all about getting the last buck from gamers.

    • Hopefully we can look forward to immediate competition for Microsoft Next Gen. That may cause them to reconsider their stance on the online subscription fees. I’ll bet my last dollar Sony and Valve won’t be charging consumers to game online, so that may be motivation enough to opt out of the Xbox Live Gold scheme.

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