10 Years of Xbox Live: How Microsoft Created The Ultimate Console Gaming Network

OXM Staff:

A lot of fingers were crossed when Xbox Live took its tenuous first steps. Back in late 2002, the gaming landscape was very different: digital distribution was in its infancy and console multiplayer came in two flavours - split-screen or system link. It was a far cry from today's always connected, always plugged-in world. Microsoft took a serious gamble - one that paid off by ushering in a whole new era for online gaming and multimedia on consoles. Ten years on, it's remarkable how far we've come.

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Belking1910d ago (Edited 1910d ago )

I haven't been there since day 1 on Live but the time that i have has been awesome. It's a good service that keeps getting better. Very smart of MS to make this move by creating this service. My opinion of course. I'm sure some will disagree like usual.

MikeMyers1910d ago

Of course some will disagree but what is it they are disagreeing with?

It seems like the biggest issue is price. Some may have a problem with it out of value, out of principal or out of not offering any free alternative that allows online play. What they fail to mention is just how easy the service is to use and how seamless and unified it is. Everything runs within. So if you get an invite, want to chat, send messages, go from game to game, it's all done while being connected. It's also the only service that has Achievements for all games and allows voice chat for all games and that has the ability to listen to your own music for any game.

My issue with it are a few things.

1. Support of dedicated servers
2. No free way of playing online
3. Friends list is still capped at 100
4. The different classes simply don't work. Most people jump lump themselves in recreation.
5. A paid service should excel in weeding out the idiots online and make them more accountable.
6. No mod support
7. Cross play was a failure (Microsoft tried to expand the service to PC but failed)
8. Party chat has its downfall since some prefer to always talk privately which takes away team based games and communicating with one another.
9. No MMO games. We heard about some but they never came (Huxley for example)
10. The patch process is expensive, games like Fez need a fix but the price to devs are too high.

Belking1910d ago

1. Support of dedicated servers (and for good reasons)
2. No free way of playing online (not true and if you can't afford to pay a few dollars amonth then you probably shouldn't be spending money on games anyway)
3. Friends list is still capped at 100 (and for good reasons...720 will take care of that and who the hell need more than 100 friends anyway?)
4. The different classes simply don't work. Most people jump lump themselves in recreation. (again not true)
5. A paid service should excel in weeding out the idiots online and make them more accountable. ( that's what the mute option is for)
6. No mod support( and for good reasons i'm sure...xbox720)
7. Cross play was a failure (Microsoft tried to expand the service to PC but failed) (Not true)
8. Party chat has its downfall since some prefer to always talk privately which takes away team based games and communicating with one another.(but you still have it...better than not)
9. No MMO games. We heard about some but they never came (Huxley for example)(xbox 720 will)
10. The patch process is expensive, games like Fez need a fix but the price to devs are too high.(that's bs...devs need to get their crap right the first time and their would be no need..not MS fault)

MikeMyers1910d ago

1. Because it's peer to peer we still have games like Halo 4 capped at 16 players.
2. It's not about being able to afford it. The fact is nobody else charges for basic service. Microsoft should offer a free alternative. Most games now have some form of online attached to it. So it's a shame they want consumers to pay for the hardware, then pay for the software, then pay for their internet access and then on top of that pay to unlock the online multiplayer they already purchased when they bought the game. It's like a car dealership wanting to charge to unlock the window key so that you can roll down the windows. Online has become a basic need now since most games include it.
3. Some do. In fact some people probably have over 1,000 Facebook friends.
4. No, they don't work. You cannot force Pro gamers to go into the Pro category. You also cannot force those who use a lot of foul language to go into Underground. Most go into Recreation because it makes it easier to join a game due to a larger number of people. This is where the limit of friends comes in. Why not be able to have 50 people in Recreation class, 50 in Pro, 50 in Underground and 50 in Family for example? It's poorly designed and it does a poor job at weeding out the morons who like to go online and ruin the fun for others.
5. The Mute button works to an extent. Muting doesn't prevent people from team killing. It doesn't prevent people hosting and not kicking players out for no reason or taking their sweet ass time in the lobby. Far too many people play loud music just to be an idiot. Maybe if there are enough complaints the system should notify that user to let them know. If they still persist then block their microphone so that everyone doesn't have to mute that person. Why should Live players who pay money have to do all the work for Microsoft? There simply needs to be more accountability, especially for a paid service.
6. The reasons are simply, Microsoft wants it to be a closed-off environment but they can still offer it to those who wish to play on different servers.
7. It is true. Why wasn't Portal 2 offered to play with Steam players but it was on the PS3? Where are all the cross-platforms games you speak of? Shadowrun and....
8. Yes, you still have it but there is a downside to it as well, that's all I'm saying.
9. You keep saying Xbox 720. The Xbox 360 is the second attempt and still Live hasn't evolved in many areas.
10. Poor excuse. Stop defending dumb practices that are mostly relevant to Live. Microsoft has far too many restrictions and limitations. They won't even allow developers to offer more than one free DLC for example. They also capped XBLA game sizes that they had to increase. The people who made Oddworld have also voiced their frustrations. This isn't something that is vaporware.

DigitalRaptor1910d ago (Edited 1910d ago )

@ MikeMyers

You're talking sense to someone who just can't see it. I've said all that's necessary in the past, but you've said it better.

XBL = amazing service

Problem = lack of choice to play every game you own for free, on what is basic peer to peer connectivity. It's something that works everywhere else outside the Xbox eco-system. When a choice like that is revoked everything else that is easily meritable such as the unified nature of XBL goes out the window, cause I'm not going to be subscribing to a service that holds half the games I own for ransom.

Solution = free online gaming for all users. Advanced features come with a paid subscription and Microsoft can easily afford for this to happen, keep the same standard of service, and you all know it. Whether or not it is feasible for MS and their shareholders to drop this easy money maker is not relevant. It's something they should have done a long time ago.

MikeMyers1909d ago (Edited 1909d ago )

DigitalRaptor, I'm not sure if Microsoft could offer a free alternative. The whole system is webbed together to work in unison. That means they need to just drop the fee all-together and do something like Sony has done with Playstation Plus. That is offering a secondary service that shows where the value is coming from, but keep the online multiplayer separated and not have a fee attached. Most people just expect to play online with their friends or make new friends and not be charged for it. EA is not a very liked company but even they don't charge to play online and their servers are actually run by EA on Live servers. EA refused to support Xbox Live unless they had control of their own games. That's why you see EA games taken down from time to time..

If they want to integrate the service with Kinect for example then showcase how it works and try and sell the idea to consumers and get them to buy Kinect. Don't hold all Xbox 360 gamers as hostage and say 'well we have motion controlled search and voice control search, so that's one selling feature.' Or ESPN and other things that are attached to Live. One thing I always hated was how cable companies bundle their packages when a lot of people just want certain channels. That's the great thing when buying music off of services like itunes and amazon, you can now just buy one song if you like. So in essence what Microsoft has done is the same thing, they have taken the online multiplayer and shrouded it with other things to make it appear like there is added value to it.

Back in 2002 that value was much higher than it is today and that is due to other companies evolving. Difference is they have done it all while still giving consumers the ability to play online for free.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1909d ago
NiteX1910d ago

Oh look the blades UI. I actually really like that one.

IAMERROR1910d ago

Great service but Online gaming needs to be free for all members.

Janitor1910d ago

But, you pay for internet...shouldn't Netflix be free? You paid for your car....shouldn't gas be free?

Janitor1910d ago (Edited 1910d ago )

Yeah that's my point, people think they buy the game every thing else should be free, but most things in life aren't like that is all I'm saying.

IAMERROR- or you could, I don't know, just ignore the ads. But then what would you complain about?

IAMERROR1910d ago (Edited 1910d ago )

You're blowing my comment out of proportion with a ridiculous analogy, every other major gaming service is Free. Doesn't help that the dashboard is plastered with ads everywhere, just saying M$ is making enough money keep all the gold only features MS but make online gaming available for everyone.

The X-bot in you is strong, your xbox damage control is quite funny. I'm an Xbox guy which makes this all the more funny. My complaint wasn't about the ads it was about Online gaming not being free for silver members with only a side remark about the ADS on the dashhboard... even for paying customers! haha let me post some sticky notes on my TV over the ads. In all honestly they don't bother me just making a point that MS would still make revenue even if online gaming was free.

Diver1910d ago

bad analogy dude. no gas shouldn't be free just like electricity to power the Xbox isn't free. but I shouldn't have to pay the car manufacturer if I want my friends to drive their cars with me to a ball game.

Hicken1910d ago

That's a fail, Janitor.


Netflix provides you with content you can't get elsewhere(legally) without paying.

As for gas, there aren't cars out there that come with free gas for the life of the car. More to the point, that's not a standard practice throughout the industry.

Free online is a standard industry practice... except when it comes to Microsoft's console.

There's no spinning that in a good way.


Stop trying.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1910d ago
caseh1910d ago

Have to say I agree about the gaming side of it. You pay for the game which includes the online aspect which is mainly p2p on consoles.

All PC and PS3 games have hosted servers or p2p, you only pay for subscription based games.

Its not like XBL does the gaming aspect any better to justify the fee.

IAMERROR1910d ago (Edited 1910d ago )

MS even knows this! Hence why they made games for Windows live free.

SnakeCQC1910d ago

next article should be how sony created the ultimate gaming network with zero cost to the user ohh yh the official xbox magazine would never do that

hazardman1910d ago

dude if it wasnt for xbl there would be no PSN and to truly take advantage of PSN you have to upgrade to plus..which means you have to pay. I pay for xbl and psn+ i have no problem my ps3 games collection has grown significantly since i started paying for plus...nowadays you have to pay for everything.

caseh1910d ago

'dude if it wasnt for xbl there would be no PSN'

That comment makes no sense, online gaming has been around for about 15 years. MS didn't invent online gaming with the introduction of the Xbox it was just a natural progression. Dreamcast and PS2 both had online capabilities but trying to push those at a time when 56k ruled the world was limiting.

The upgrade to PSN+ is a major boost over what XBL offers. I voluntarily pay £30 a year for a service which offers about £200 of free software, exclusive offers and discounts. You pay that with XBL without any of the advantages I mentioned unless something has changed since I moved on from the Xbox360.

hazardman1910d ago (Edited 1910d ago )

ok im talking this gen of online network. i know dreamcast/ps2/xbox1 had online i owned them all. even then xbox live was still the best service! halo 2/crimson skies/forza/pgr2...every online console game was better on xbl back in the days.... oh and ps2 wasnt online ready from the get go like dreamcast and xbox you had to get the online kit you hook up in back of ps2 fat, i remember it came with the final fantasy game bundle/ wasnt til slim that it came with built in ethernet if im not going off memory/not research so i could be wrong. 34yr old gamer and ive owned almost every console to date.

ALLWRONG1910d ago

^^^ see how Sony fanboys always bring up PSN first in Xbox news? Now go try a comment like that in a PSN article and see how fast it gets removed for trolling, followed by PM's from stalkers.

SnakeCQC1910d ago

im no fan boy i have an awesome pc a 360 and a ps3. Only on the 360 do i have to pay for online for pretty much a similar service

Lvl_up_gamer1910d ago

@ Erudito87

Similar...but not the same.

When PSN becomes less similar and more the same, then you have an argument why it's better to play on a free service. Until then, you are not playing or experiencing the best online service for multiplayer games on a console.

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