The Problem Of Free: Why Charging For Xbox Live Is Good

"A common complaint about Xbox Live is that Microsoft is charging for something that you get for free on any other platform (PC, PS3, Wii). For many people free is their favorite four-letter word, and it is just a price you cannot beat. The inability to charge for online services of any sort (read: not just gaming) is a major problem though. This isn't just about games, here's why.

1. Money Isn't The Root Of All Evil, It Pays My Mortgage
2. You Don't Get What You Don't Pay For


The article isn't just about Xbox Live or online gaming though. It applies more broadly to Internet services in general and why people don't want to pay.

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Bladestar4353d ago

Yep... people without jobs tend to prefer going to school to get free lunch instead of going to a restaurant and pay for their own food...

anyways... this answer can easily be answer by comparing xbox live to PSN.... let's pretend for a second that both service were completely free... is there any questions that xbox live would be superior?

so, free does not mean superior... it's just a matter of asking... I'm I willing to pay for superiority $4/month?

the fact that PSN is free means... most of the featurs build into the xbox 360 OS will have to be implemented by the developers... which is why the PS3 is missing private voice chat... 1-1.. when the xbox 360 will bring group chat soon...

sorry but I have a job... $4/month does not bother me... I'm currently paying like $15/month + extra just so I can have more bandwidth...

Chuck Norris4353d ago


Ask yourself this and try to answer it as honestly as you can: Where does your $50 go to? Voice chats? Is that it?

The least MS could do is put up dedicated servers but they don't even bother doing this. $50 a year isn't much especially if it improves and maintains the service that you are using. However, this isn't the case with the XBL. Whenever I spend my own money, I always make sure that I know exactly where it goes. I don't want to throw my own money, no matter the amount, down the drain. I want to see results in my investments. Coughing up $50 year after year for a service that hardly improves and offers you nothing significant over the competition is absurd.

In case you still haven't figured it out, that $50 you willingly give to MS year in and year out goes to recoup it's losses occured during last gen when the Xbox flopped horribly and for this gen's RROD repairs. It doesn't trickle down to the XBL consumers per se.

Zerodin4353d ago (Edited 4353d ago )

Cancer, getting raped, and fruitcake.
Still think free is better?
By your logic the free version of Runescape is better then WoW.

Chuck Norris4353d ago


You misunderstood Bangadoshish's statement.

If you were given the choice, would you rather get cancer for free or have to pay in order to get it? Getting raped and then having to pay for it is worse than getting raped randomly.

AllroundGamer4353d ago

Bladestars job is surely defending MS at gamewebsites and forums at all cost :D

juuken4353d ago

C'mon Gamer, it's in his job description! ^-^

JasonPC360PS3Wii4353d ago

Then why is PSN on the losing end?

KBDuB4352d ago

True. Maybe the PS3 should become free. Hey, maybe if they did that, then they might actually have had the lead by now.. -.-

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DaKid4353d ago

Another week, another one of these articles. I could set my watch by it.

ohnoTheRancor4353d ago

and this guy didn't even bother trying to distinguish the two... aside from the link to a Ripten article.

and this Facebook analogy is way out of left field... i guess i missed all the ads on PSN.

Willio4353d ago

yet another week with another article that doesnt explain what services XBOXlive has over any other to justify its prices.

DaKid4353d ago

my point is we see these articals all the time. They offer no new information, and just start flame wars.

As long as people continue to pay for XBOX live, and microsoft continues to see the subscription base rise, and not fall, they will continue to charge for it. Such is life.

Lifendz4353d ago

seems the majority of Live subscribers are just fine paying for the service. The features of live being the reason why. Good for them. My whole thing is I'm happy with the PSN's level of service, the pace at which it has grown, and the fact that it's free is major (means I get roughly 60 bucks more a year to spend on games that I otherwise wouldn't have).

So to each their own. As long as people are willing to pay for Live then I don't see MS making the service free. Especially when they're going to be cutting the price of their hardware to a price that will make a 360 the cheapest console of the three.

jaysquared4353d ago

but one thing I would like is for that $50 would give me the ability to have at least 4 other user names for other people to have their own stats and such. They should have a system like how AOL does it with having multiple screen names. It just sucks having to share one name unless you want to pay another $50!

power of Green 4353d ago (Edited 4353d ago )

This is actually a post that has little to do with PS3. I'm not understanding why so many PS3 fans are being offended. This notion he's talking about, when it comes to free vs payed is common sense and only disputed by Sony loyalist.

FreeMonk4353d ago

For £40 a month, Xbox Live is totally worth the moment. It's the most packaged Online service of all the available consoles.

Yes, Sony's and Nintendo's are free, but compared to Xbox Live, they feel very clunky and undeveloped.

This will change though, especially with Sony's introduction of Home, which should bring the whole Sony Online Community together and in a neater package.

That will be the time that Microsoft will have to jusify it's £40 a year fee for Xbox Live.

If Sony can offer the same experience that Xbox Live offers for Free with there Home package, MS will have no choice but to drop the price completly, just like they did with Live for Windows.

Somehow though, I don't think Nintedo will cause much of a threat. As long as they use Friend Codes, the online service will not match MS or Sony at all.

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Raoh4353d ago

Price of console


Price of live (you cant play online competitively without live gold)

equals total price. so the 360 is actually more expensive than they let on.

why is this important? its only a few dollars a month as many have said.

if thats the case. with all the money Microsoft spends on timed exclusivity, contract breaching, research, patents. your telling me they couldnt just pay for their own servers?

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Willio4353d ago

If you meant Play Online from Squarenix's FF11, then yes but its charged from the company, not MS. You would have to pay an extra $15 or so per month.

deadpreacher4353d ago (Edited 4353d ago )

Games that charge you, you can play online with a Silver account since you paying the game makers to use there servers since you don't have to be Gold to play online. Yet just to be fair here since almost everyone is Gold anyways. They should make it half price at least for people that are already Gold and the Silvers pay full price.

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SaiyanFury4353d ago (Edited 4353d ago )

This article talks about why it's 'good' to charge for Xbox Live. Well the simple fact of the matter is that MS is only charging so they can make more money back on the 360. You can't tell me that it's 'good' to charge 100 dollars for the 360 wireless ethernet adapter can you? A 30 dollar piece of technology selling for 100 dollars. The PS3 and even the Wii comes with standard G-band Wi-Fi for crying out loud. Why does Microsoft charge 100 dollars for something that the 250 dollar Wii comes with?? When talking about a company that has a long history of worshiping the almighty dollar, that is Microsoft, you'll never get me to concede that charging for a service is better.

Oh yeah and I'm also wirelessly connected to the internet on my 360. And it didn't cost me 100 dollars; it cost me 35.

Dareaver14353d ago

it's a multi-band unit. I have an AG router, and i keep my 360 on the A bandwidth. It's on a 5ghz frequency range which is less cluttered and i don't ever half to worry about slow downs and lag from my end because it has faster speeds then the G bandwidth.

but in essence, the price of the receiver is affected by it's multi-bandwidth capabilities.

SaiyanFury4353d ago

Fair enough, Dareaver I can see your point on the a-band, but I still won't pay 100 dollars for the 360 wireless receiver. I simply cannot justify paying 100 dollars for a 30 dollar piece of technology. No matter how you cut it, it's fiscally not worth it. I use a wireless b-band ethernet adapter on my 360. Sure, it may not have the same connectivity speed that you might enjoy, but I don't game online anyways. Nor does it interfere with any other wireless device in my home. I only use it to stay connected with my friends that own 360s and to browse Xbox Live.

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josh143994353d ago

it is a fuking ripoff fullstop. i hate having to pay my yearly live subscription because i could buy a game with that. im canceling my live subscription till gears2 comes out. if sony can make a three service with dedicated servers (makes lagless online better than my 360) so can msoft. msoft is a richer company (then again charging for everything is why the are richer.

xSHROOMZx4353d ago

Hey josh, seriously now... you hate paying for your subscription to live huh? and your going to cancel it until Gears 2 comes out huh?

Ok, so.... mommy and daddy dont want to pay for it no more. Why would you want to wait until Gears 2 comes out to get another year of live, makes no sense.. gears comes out in what?? 3 months?

Sony's online is crap, I let my wifes brother borrow my 360 for 2 weeks, its been about 5 days now.... I have touched my PS3, even modded my controller to have tha 360 joysticks on it..... but PSN sux, I just feel like online im playing against bots. Nobody has headsets, and if they do, they dont talk. I have CoD4 for 360 and PS3... and 360 is far superior. I just cant see myself playing games on my PS3 until LBP comes out, and tha games they have on tha store suck. Pixel Junk Eden... is F-ing retarded. They have too many puzzle games on there, stupid puzzle games. Or games like flow..... wow, pointless!

My point is... tha community itself , tha people on PSN are different from those on live. Live, everyone has a headset, comes with tha system, everyone talks.... communication is a big plus! PSN, headsets dont come with tha system, people wont buy blu-tooth headsets cuz theyre too expensive, so nobody talks. Can you see why someone who has both systems online, and plays both online.... would feel more comfortable with Live? Since you apparently have both systems josh... you should be able to answer this??? And dont try to say Im lying, cuz I have friends on PSN who only own PS3's and they even say, people dont talk enough.

This person who wrote this article... hit it right on tha nose with tha MMO point.... MMO's are what like 10-15 dollars a month to play online, but god forbid $3.64 a month, or 50 dollars a year for a console.

spunnups4353d ago

on top of that, Sony's first party games have dedicated servers (Resistance and Warhawk come to mind). also, is burnout dedicated or is that PnP? Regardless, Criterion has blessed the PSN with great servers as well. XBL is great and all, with it's bells and whistles, but in the end, there's extra stuff on XBL i could do without. PSN has come a long way since launch, and it's constantly evolving and getting better. HOME is the Ace in the Hole for Sony.

TOSgamer4353d ago

Anyone bothering to read your garbage knows your bias. What the heck does the games on xbla vs psn store have to do with MS charging for Live Gold? Stay on topic if you want to be taken seriously. BTW just because someone doesn't want to pay for something (they think should be free) means that mommy and daddy use to pay for it? I can assume something similar about you. Since mommy and daddy pay for your Live Gold what do you care about an annual fee? Assumption is the mother of all fu*# ups son.

You are correct that there is less talking on PSN. But your excuse that bluetooth headsets are too expensive? You can buy a decent headset for half the price of 1 year of Live Gold. And guess what? Some people like the silence that PSN offers. I get sick of little kids blaming their teammates because they do stupid stuff and die or singing into the mic because they are bored. Quit spreading your preferences like they are gospel.

Adamalicious4353d ago

Oh shut up. I've played plenty on XBL and PSN, and yes more people talk on XBL. But so what? PSN stinks because people don't want to talk to you? Don't you have like, friends you can talk to? I have a headset and sometimes I don't feel like using it. I certainly know I never felt like listening to all the racist, idiot, 12 year olds on XBL. I'm more than willing to accept the trade off.

And don't even talk about Eden. Eden is pure gaming Win. XBL has absolutely NOTHING that competes with it. Echochrome, PJM, Warhawk - where are the XBL answers to those?

RememberThe3574353d ago

I'd much rather take silence over the squeaky high voice of a twelve year old boy who is just now learning how to swear.

player9114353d ago

Just turn off the voice chat audio. You can switch the voice chat to either play through your TV speakers (headset free), to play through your headset, or none at all.

If you don't like high pitched kids laughing at you cause you suck, then turn if off.

You can't honestly say that the lack of voice chatters on PSN is a benefit. The 360 comes with a wired headset out of the box, so EVERYONE can chat instantly. Plus with the bigger install base, its no wonder why there are more players on XBL (that voice chat).

I'm not knocking PSN, I'm knocking your way of thinking. Thats like saying an Atari is better then a PS3 because Atari doesn't have voice chat.

It all comes down to Live. If Live was free, I'd be cool with it. But it's not. Do you get what you pay for? Yes. Is it worth $50 a year? Yes. Ok.

I'm sure most people would pay for the features XBL has that other console's don't. If Nintendo made a pay service that took down the handicap sticker... I'd prolly get that too.

Price vs Features = worth it.

RememberThe3574352d ago

A lot of words but nothing said.

TheExecutive4352d ago

Dude, I enjoy not listening to adolescent sh*theads. The PSN has a more mature crowd in it and its nice. Anyway, as far as downloadable games, PSN blows MS out of the water.

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Chuck Norris4353d ago

"The money really goes to pay people (regular ones, just like you and I) that work to create the hands-down easiest, most seamless, integrated, and arguably best online gaming experience available."

What a load of BS. So you're telling me that people should still pay for the development costs of XBL even though it launched, 6 years ago, in 2002? Did it really cost that much that MS is charging people for a service that should have been for free in the first place?

The author shouldn't have brought up the crapload advertisements that you get when you're using a free service. XBL has more spam adverts than the PSN for crying out loud.

ReBurn4353d ago

Who pays the cost of maintenance after launch? That's where the money's going.

Adamalicious4353d ago (Edited 4353d ago )

There are what like, 10 million XBL Gold subscribers paying about $50 a year right? Do you really think Microsoft needs, or spends, $500,000,000 dollars annually for "maintenance" - no freaking way.

No, the money is going into propping up Microsoft's gaming division revenue. Even with it the division is still billions of dollars in the hole.

NowGen4352d ago

its not like sony fans have to pay for online. its an xbox thing, so stop sweating it. maybe if sony charged a little something for their online, HOME would be out already. anyway, why do sony fans hate so much on the things that xbox has that sony fans see as inferior? if you feel that way, F it! move on to some thing else.