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.