Xbox In The Cloud Sorry A Error Occurred

People question whether they can trust that their digital purchases for will be available 10 years from now. Phil Spencer:

“I think if you look at the stability of Xbox Live and your ability to log in and get your content, the team’s done a nice job running that service. We’re committed to Xbox One customers over the long run,” he stated. “I get that you think we should state a policy around how that’s actually going to work a decade from now, and I’m actually taking the feedback, I’ve had a couple of people ask for that.”

Given that you can barely cancel an Xbox Live gold account without going through 20 minutes of phone calls1 I think people are right to be suspicious of how reliable the platform is going to be for purchases and disputes.

  1. Not an exaggeration, I’ve been there, and it still didn’t work. Ended up putting a gift credit card with low balance on the Live account and forcing it to cancel itself. 

My PS3 Renaissance

250GB PS31

I haven’t been playing a lot this year, but all it took was me ordering another HDMI cable from Monoprice.

That’s how it started – me using my PS3 about 1000% more in the past week than I have in the past year. I only had two HDMI cables – one dedicated for the 360, another for the PS3. Then I got an AppleTV and used the PS3’s cable for that. I rarely used my PS3 after that.

But then Kevin sent me Uncharted 2 and suggested I get Playstation Plus, Sony’s version of XBOX Live, but you don’t need it to play online. It’s like buying in to Playstation Store sales and getting free games for the length of your subscription. Now I own almost every Resident Evil game. Now I can play Demon’s Souls, which I hear is good. But that stuff is on hold, because I’m still working through a backlog. Point is that I never not have something to play.

I know to many PS3 owners all this stuff is old news. It’s easy to see how much Sony is courting game players compared to Microsoft. Where Microsoft nickel and dimes you (MS points, ads on the dashboard, proprietary HDD), Sony doesn’t.

For example, here’s a quick table I came up with.

Xbox Live vs PSN
Feature Xbox Live Sony PSN
Dashboard covered with ads in yearly subscription Yes No
You can upgrade storage with standard 2.5 HDD No Yes
Free online play (that I never use) No Yes
Indie Game Selection Big Bigger

Sony, I believe, has realized its mistakes with the PS3. That’s why they’re going with X86 architecture with the PS4. That’s why they’re actively courting indie game developers.

But Playstation Plus put it over the top for me. Downloading gigs and gigs of stuff has been the main reason my PS3 has been on almost constantly since subscribing.

I still have a bunch of games I want to play on my 360, but I’m now catching up on the PS3 exclusives I missed. They’re good enough to overlook my complaints about the Dual Shock. And yes, the D-Pad is better on the Dual Shock than it is on the 360.

  1. Photo by pseudogil 

Gaming Bigots

Of course few people want to mix politics with their fun but sadly I don’t think those of us who feel such behaviour is repulsive can continue to turn a blind eye to it. I’ve done it. I’ve found myself playing online with homophobic assholes and simply muted them…when unchallenged these attitudes fester like cancer. When those who object don’t act, those who behave this way are validated and encouraged to continue acting like pricks. In short, I and others who feel the same about this but do nothing have been ceding ground to these people and that is a big problem.

Bigotry and sexism is a part of gaming culture, not because people who play games are bigoted and sexist, but because gaming culture is largely made up of stupid teenage boys, and stupid teenage boys are bigoted and sexist. They’re validated not when they’re ignored, but when they get a rise out of people.

Some battles aren’t worth fighting, and trying to convince someone who’s bigoted and sexist that they should not be bigoted and sexist, while you’re sitting in your living room wearing a headset and holding a controller, is one of them.

It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you wiser since have better things to do than argue with dumb teenagers you met online.

The Lazy Tax

Good points on Games on Demand on Xbox Live. Games served on demand always cost more than the physical disc, and installing them requires hard drives that you can’t just buy OEM—all just so you don’t have to move your ass and to prop up retail.

I actually prefer having the physical disc, not just because they’re cheaper but because I have the ability to resell it, lend it out, or get rid of it somehow after I’m done with it.1 All stuff that isn’t in the best interest of Microsoft or game developers.

  1. By the way, I HIGHLY recommend to do this kind of stuff. Before the winter break I picked up Alan Wake and Fallout New Vegas used for $10 each. Each of these came out at $60 last year. As of this writing Fallout New Vegas is $40 on demand and Alan Wake is $30 on demand. I don’t think I’ve played a single game that is worth paying the $60 launch price. 

“The Making of the Xbox” by Dean Takahashi

When Peter Moore, former president of Sega of America, arrived as a top Xbox executive, he sat in a meeting with CEO Steve Ballmer, who went into one of his classic shouting routines. Noting that Xbox Live was Microsoft’s ace, he shouted, “Xbox Live!” and pounded the table. He did it over and over. “Xbox Live! Xbox Live! Xbox Live!” Then he slammed into the Polycom conference phone with his fist, breaking it. He looked sheepish. Ed Fries turned to the astonished Moore and said, “Welcome to Microsoft.”

It’s a two parter that I’ve still got to read.

Takahashi is also the author of The Xbox 360 Uncloaked, but I assume this story on Venturebeat has the juiciest bits.

How Do I Unsubscribe From Xbox Live?

From a Gamespot forum:

call them to cancel 18004myxbox

Expect to have a difficult time with customer service… make sure to write down the person’s name that is talking to you on the phone. When you are finished with the phone call, call back and double-check that they have actually cancelled your service. After they tell you they have not cancelled your service ask them again to cancel the service. Write down the person’s name again and reference number of the phone call.

…Check your credit card statement in a month and when you find that M$ is still charging you, call customer service and continue to try and cancel the service.

This could be a good example of a dark pattern, but so many people have this problem I wonder if fraud is a more appropriate word.

Other suggestions are to change your payment method to an invalid credit card number. That’s how bad it is.

Microsoft Unveils Xbox LIVE Labs

All this engineering talent at Microsoft dedicated to improving customer experience and service, but they still can’t figure out how to let people unsubscribe from Xbox LIVE Gold.1

  1. I called the number back in December to turn off auto-renewal. But this month I got an email saying I’m all set for another year when my auto-renew occurs. Go figure.