Microsoft has made a few good changes lately. Upping the warranty for the red ring of death to 3 years, finally doing something about the red ring of death, getting several games that used to be Playstation exclusives released on the 360. But there is one glaring problem that until recently I couldn’t put my finger on. I knew it was out there, I just couldn’t vocalize because there was no precedent, there were no other broadband connected consoles to compare to so I figured it just wasn’t to be. I’m talking about user created content on a console.
It’s actually much broader than that, but essentially, at the core of the problem is the fact that xbox live isn’t an open network. Everything is tightly controlled by Microsoft. Remember the Gears of War maps that came out recently? Epic wanted them to be free, it was Microsoft that demanded the maps be premium content. I’d like to blame Microsoft for the Guitar Hero song pack pricing, but seeing as how Red Octane, or Activision, or whoever owns the franchise now hasn’t spoken up, I don’t know where to lay the blame for that one. The point I’m trying to make is that as nice as a global friends list and voice for every game is, it’s not going to make up for the fact that the PS3 is an open system where developers can release add ons and map packs and even user created content on their own without Sony (or in the case of Live, Microsoft) getting in the way demanding this and that must be charged for, this or that has to be released later or earlier or even stating that content can’t be released at all.
This interview is what crystallized the whole situation for me. The fact that Unreal Tournament III can have mods on the PS3 is enough to break me away from the 360 for that game. If more games continue in this trend and Microsoft doesn’t loosen the death grip they have on Xbox Live they will start losing gamers to the more flexible gaming platform.
Come on Microsoft, I prefer your blades to the Sony Media Cross Bar, I prefer the universal friends list to Sony’s patched together mess. I don’t even mind paying $60 a year for an online gaming service. But when you start limiting what publishers can release, or start messing with a publishers pay schedule, forcing them to charge for something that they themselves would like to be free. I’ll leave. I will pack up my bags and head out the door. Don’t make me…