I have just about had a heart attack, thanks to my new Microsoft Xbox 360 that I finally was about to find in a store last weekend. The problem is Xbox Live. I've spent all morning trying to sign up, and each time I'm near the end of the process, I get a time-out and I'm told to try again later. Okay, I can live with connection troubles like this, but what puts a stake through my heart is that the Xbox doesn't remember ANY of the 20 minutes worth of information I already typed in before it timed out. So, I'm forced, kicking and cursing, to re-type in my GamerTag name, password, address, credit card info, secret question, birth date, favorite ice cream flavor, and a long list of other mind-numbing information.
After doing this four times, I'm defeated. The Xbox wins... I cannot bring myself to type in all of this information again, just to have Microsoft fling it freely into the ether winds, forever lost.
Oh well. Bring on the PS3...
UPDATE: Well, turns out my account went through, but never was I given any indication by my Xbox 360 -- the only indication I ever saw was that of failure, with an Xbox 360 screen that said there were connection problems, and to try again later. But, when I checked my email later, I see that my credit card was charged and I had an account set up. I called customer service and had them cancel my account. They said all I had to do was select the option to recover my GamerTag, but I pointed out that I had been given no indication that there was a GamerTag account to recover, so why would I try that option. The tech support guy admitted to seeing my point. I also pointed out that I did, if fact, begin the process of recovering my GamerTag, but when I saw that I was being asked to enter in a ton of data again, I blew it off. I figured it was a long shot anyway, so the hassle wasn't worth pursuing what I thought was a dead-end, anyway.
I will try one more time when I head home late tonight. If things do not work out, well, I'm putting it up on eBay. I'll have one last update here tomorrow, one way or the other.
UPDATE NEXT DAY: Had a friend come over and finally got it working -- this time it didn't time out and I successfully set up an account: XBSux0r. Yeah, I was in a pissy mood. Especially since the account name I tried to get in the morning (when it showed it was available) was no longer available, even though a call to tech support said it was available. Clearly, there are still kinks in the system.
So, I'm all set up and decide to check out the market place. Here are my first impressions:
o Microsoft, bless their little hearts, hasn't heard of the concept of quantity discounts that been going around for, oh, I don't know.... a few 1000 years maybe. They let you buy credits, that can then be used to buy little arcade games that can be downloaded to your 360's hard drive. You can buy 1000 credits for $6.25, or 10,000 credits for $62.50. Most downloadable games cost under 1000 credits, so why would I ever plop down $62.50? But, had Microsoft been ever so slightly clever, they would have at least discounted 10,000 credits to $58 or so. That would have encouraged more people to buy the larger quantities, and in the end, resulted in more revenues and profits for Xbox Live. As I like to say, it's always the little things that big companies can't quite get right.
o Another little thing: I downloaded a few demos, are was shocked at how little demo time you're given to test most games. Robotron, for example, gave me like 30 seconds. That's it. Marble Madness Ultra, which was a GIANT friggin' download, gave me one level, per difficultly level. That's it. And the hard level was ultra hard, so worthless as a way for me to test play the game. The easy level was too easy. So really, I got to play one short medium level as a way to determine whether I liked this game, and based on that test, I'm still not sure, so I'll just hang onto my credits, thank you.
o Geometry Wars rocks, and the demo was sufficiently long for me to properly come to this conclusion. Sold.
o Finally, for Oblivion players on the 360, there's armor that can be bought for your horse. I have no idea how this impacts gameplay, but I suspect we're on the verge of seeing this type of gameplay upgrade a LOT. And I mean a LOT!!! If this proves profitable, then tons of games will step in line. Heck, when I first saw this last night I was even brainstorming ways to do this for our upcoming game, Prey. Money is money, right? But seriously, I don't know if I like this or not. I think I do, as long as the purchased additions do not alter core gameplay, but merely add minor features or upgrades. In any case, I think it's going to be commonplace soon. It's hard to argue against incremental revenues.