XBox Live

september 27, 2004

Just to show that I don’t always complain about all this Microsoft, here is a post about something Microsoft does that is pretty good. There was a free two month trial of Xbox Live included with my copy of Burnout 3: Takedown. So, I decided that I’d give it a try, nothing to lose and I could play online with people for two months. After playing online for a few days, I picked up the Xbox Live Starter Kit (the one that comes with Crimson Skies). The starter kit comes with the game, some manuals, a scratch-off card with a one-year renewal for Xbox Live service, and the infamous headset. The signup process for Xbox Live could be a bit better, but worked flawlessly. During the sign-up process, I was required to enter all sorts of information (like credit card number, name, address, etc). Now this process would not have been so bad if I could hook up a USB keyboard to the Xbox. So I had to type all that information in via the on-screen keyboard, which is pretty painful. But, thank goodness I only had to go through that painful process once. The single central login (also called a Gamertag) is is the part that I like and that I think Microsoft has over Sony when it comes to online gaming. With the central server for all games, Xbox Live has the lead over Sony’s PS2 because with Xbox Live I have one login for all games. With the PS2 I have to create a name for each game publisher’s servers. Outside of the fact that the Xbox Live servers keep all information in one central location for all games, it also coordinates gamers socially. I have a gamertag that all other gamers know me as (look for me, I’m “ultramookie” online). As I add people onto my friends list (and vice versa), I can see if they are online and if they are, what games they are currently playing. I can invite friends to play games with me or they can invite me to play games with them. It works out surprisingly good. The voice feature of Xbox Live works well also, I have not seen it slow up a game yet. I like being able to communicate with other players, it makes playing online so much more different than playing in single player mode -- if you play online without the voice communication, it feels like you’re just playing alone against the computer (though a much smarter computer opponent). So, yes, Xbox Live really rocks. It is pretty easy to setup as long as you got your home network in good working condition. I have my Xbox on the network via a Dlink DWL-810+ wireless bridge, which works pretty good (originally, I used a 100ft piece of CAT5, but that was a mess!) If you’re on Xbox Live add me to your friends list. My gamertag is ultramookie and look for me online. I am playing Burnout 3, Star Wars Battlefront, and Unreal Championship online.