I had a relatively simple question about my Xbox Live account, earlier today, but the answer just wasn’t clear to me. So I hopped on the online and asked the support rep. I had an answer within minutes and was on to the next thing. Mark was a big help. But it got me thinking… I’ve contact Microsoft’s support team a few times in the last few years, and every time they’ve been a huge help. All too often when I call one company or another for support, they find a scape goat. “It must be your internet connection,” they’ll say, or “have you replaced the batteries?” I’ve been asked. Whether it’s for a few hundred dollars in a game console, or thousands of dollars on an enterprise server, I have to work with tech support all the time, and the Xbox Support team continues to deliver the best experience. Continue reading “Xbox Support Sets the Standard”
My head just hurts, sometimes. Whether it was this weekend’s Belicheck’s Bad Decision, or problems in the video games industry, I just want to lock my doors and hide sometimes. Infinity Ward Community Manager Robert Bowling says that the Playstation Network collapsed under too many players in Modern Warfare 2. He explained in multiple Tweets that they had to bring more servers online, supporting 20,000 users at a time. Even Glenn & Mark over at PS Nation Podcast spent more than a couple of minutes venting about the problems. My biggest complaint is that the folks at Sony clearly had no idea this was coming.
Even Sony is so used to their attachment rate being so low that the glorified BluRay player stigma has even reached into the depths of their PlayStation Network operations center.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s people were on hand and watching the numbers climb, they were prepared, and they set the record of 2 million concurrent users on Xbox Live. Two million people using one unified service at one time. Meanwhile, the PlayStation network experienced so many problems that they had to start enabling extra servers. Go green as much as you want, but you didn’t think that maybe you should have had those servers online in preparation for such an event, then toned down the extras later?
Sony just proves, time and time again, that they are racing to play catch up with Microsoft’s Xbox Live service. Just weeks after announcing the Netflix Disc, Sony has confirmed that t heir next Firmware update will include a standalone Facebook program. Great, they get to mimic one of Xbox 360’s least demanded features, good for them. Oh, I’m sorry, when was the feature demanded since the 2007 launch, cross-game chat, coming to the PS3? Oh, right, it’s still not. It is even to a point where, even as a PlayStation 3 owner, I’m genuinely disgusted with their service. I don’t care how tired this argument is, I’m going to state the simple fact again. If it would make it better, CHARGE ME FOR IT! People are ready to take that hit, it’s obvious.
Sony passes up a gigantic revenue stream in favor of trying to look like Mr. Nice Guy. While Xbox Live costs $50 annually, and games like World of Warcraft end up costing their players a minimum of $150 each year, Sony insists that they should remain free, but it is obvious that this budget minded plan is only hurting them, and if they want to be taken seriously as anything more than my BluRay player, Sony is undoubtedly going to have to step things up in 2010, or pack in the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Network and start laying all new groundwork to make the PlayStation 4 regain the pride the the Sony PlayStation name once carried.
Xbox owning Americans have been thrilled to enjoy the benefits of Netflix on the Xbox 360’s. Soon we’ll get some streaming music with the Last.fm service, as well as lots of social networking addons this fall. Still, we’ve seen a lot of jealousy when it comes to Sky TV in the United Kingdom.
While we have no clue as of a timeline, it’s clear that, for about a year now, Microsoft has been working with AT&T in North America to look at the possibility of bringing AT&T’s U-Verse TV to the Xbox 360. Why do I say it’s been in the works for a year? Because nobody at Microsoft would even MENTION it if it was supposed to be a super-secret. If they’re talking about it, it must be coming along. So, even though we haven’t heard anything like “we’ll see it this holiday season,” like we expect to see the other social networking addons, this was clearly far enough along that Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment &Devices Division, felt comfortable enough to talk about it clear back in April of 2009.
Well, there you have it. Nothing to worry about, right!? We’ll have TV streaming to our Xbox 360, perhaps as early as 2010! I’ve never used the AT&T U-Verse TV service, I don’t know how much of my television it can provide for me, but it sounds like a start! A lot of people still believe that a Hulu player, with no additional subscription fee, would be a great addition to the Xbox 360, and I agree. But until then, at least we can recover from the thought that we would never have anything to compete with Sky TV. Microsoft’s next secret weapon to make the Xbox 360 everyone’s “home entertainment device” of choice is clearly being worked on, and will hopefully be available by this time next year!
Awesome? Yes. Xbox Operations Center? No.
Yeah it’s old news, but I figured now was a good time for a reminder.
On Tuesday, June 16th from 7:01AM UTC (12:01 AM PST) for up to 24 hours, Xbox Live will be offline for maintenance. As a result, Xbox LIVE and the ‘My Xbox’ section of Xbox.com will be unavailable, and the Xbox forums will be in read only mode (you won’t be able to post.)
The remainder of Xbox.com will be available with limited interruptions.
This service maintenance is to prepare for some of the recently announced features that will be available later this year.
Let me reiterate: When the service returns, you will not have any new functions or features. This is for scheduled maintenance only.