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Backtalk

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You’d think Microsoft would have put some more thought into just how much the average reclusive gamer wants to chat with some transient competitor halfway across the country; yet they included a headset/microphone device with their Xbox Live service starter kit. Yes, I know; you can turn the voice feature off: but it’s there and I feel somehow discourteous if I don’t use it. What, really, do I have in common with these people? Besides zooming through a quick match of ESPN Hockey or Crimson Skies, am I likely to discover a random, unique commonality between us?

Frankly, you’d think Microsoft would have put some more thought into games before they launched Xbox Live. I’ve owned four or five: two virtually unplayable on Live; one unplayable on Live or all by my lonesome. I’m not sure what they were thinking, but I wish they’d been thinking the world isn’t quite ready for a networked console gaming system.

Console games provide a nice, swift break from writing; it’s a complete change of context and I suppose neurobiologists would say that the disparate activities stimulate different parts of my brain. However, via Xbox Live and the sheer scope of some of their game titles, it seems that Microsoft is attempting to reinvent video games as a sort of thoroughly engrossing endeavor akin to avid reading.

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About Martin Blank

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Sanford. Sandord. Sanford. The success of MMORPGs has likely led the industry to see game playing as a communal activity. There are players of EverQuest who are closer to their team mates than to their moms. And, consider the economics. People who wax communicative are more likely to attract new business. The XBox extras may do double duty.

  • http://www.templestark.com/blog Temple A. Stark

    Um, it says Sanford. And safe to say he doesn’t like Xbox. The only question is why he didn’t realize that before purchase. How does the voice come across? Just like a telephone or what?

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    Temple: It’s not so much the Xbox, but the Live service. And I didn’t realize it before the purchase because sometimes I speak with my wallet before my brain is fully engaged!

    And to Mac Diva, I just don’t “get” the success of persistent games like EverQuest. Games to me have always been pleasant distractions, not commitments.

    And, yeah, Temple, it sounds more or less like a bad telephone connection. Not even bad, really, just with perhaps less fidelity.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    computer…games?

    there are games you play on your computer?

    hmmm…maybe i’ll check them out someday.