Monday, November 21, 2005

Why I am not getting an Xbox 360 (or renewing my Xbox Live subscription)

Microsoft's great hardware, software and services hope, the Xbox 360, as just about everyone remotely interested knows launches tomorrow. I will not be getting one for a number of reasons. Sure, Wow's Impact has something to do with it, but it's not the whole story. I have gone back to the Xbox recently to give Star Wars Battlefront II a run through and I am totally enjoying it. The most startling aspect, load times are quick compared to my summer of PSP loading hell, and I don't think I can deal with the PSP load times at all anymore, since completing my Madden 2006 season (a total non-event, not even a trophy ceremony) I haven't touched the PSP. Back to the 360, here are my reasons for not wanting this box:
  • Too Expensive. MS knows the $400 price point is too much, so they offer the $300 version, which you can't even save to or play previous Xbox titles because you have no storage. The cost/benefit it heavily in favor of the $400 version, and that is too much.
  • Not backward compatible enough. I know, 215 titles, but no Battlefront I or II, the game I am playing, and something smells funny
  • No Must Have Game. I am really disappointed that all the games are just re-treads of previous versions or sports titles, and the only thing being upgraded is the graphics. Maybe I am getting old on this, but I expect the graphics upgrade, there is no surprise, the gameplay hasn't changed, so I am disappointed.
  • Need a TV upgrade SDTV has a fixed resolution, the 360 graphics can only get so good. The Xbox Classic already looks pretty good, so to really see the 360 outclass the Xbox, I need an HDTV, bringing the price for gaming nirvana into the thousands. Ah, no thanks.
  • None of my friends are actually playing Xbox Live. This is the main reason I am not renewing my Live subscription. Everytime I boot the Xbox to watch a movie or play some Battlefront II, no one I know is playing anything. Most of them are hard-core into WoW or won't play on Live because they are hardcore mouse and keyboard control freaks. I like the Xbox controller, but I appreciate the mouse and keyboard precision.
  • I am tired of subscriptions. Here is another reason I am not renewing Live, I am really done with the whole subscription model. I feel this need to try and use whatever I am subscribing to as much as possible so that I feel like if I run the breakeven analysis, I am paying a fair price. I know, Live is only $4.16583333 a month, but if I don't use it that month, I get nothing for something, and that doesn't sit well with me. A subscription is always constantly on the mental To-Do list somewhere, and I just don't need anymore of those.
  • I am waiting for all next-gen consoles to ship. Sorry MS, but I saw this story before and believed the hype of the last great white hope, the Sega Dreamcast. Unlike the 360 though, the Dreamcast actually had extremelly compelling games that I wanted to play, like NFL 2K, which redefined video game football. Sorry, Madden 2006 Another Console Edition, is not on my buying list. Plus, you never know if Sony can pull off greatness in the PS3 or if Nintendo redefines console caming with Revolution.
  • I am holding out for all the next Apple gear. This one is much much lower, cause I could make new Apple gear happen if I wanted to in the 2006 and get a 360, but the coming Intel Mac's are really affecting my buying decisions.
  • I am not repeating the Sony PSP. Same kind of games were out at launch (seasonal sports titles adjusted) for the PSP as 360, and then nothing forever. Call me crazy, but I suspect this is the best MS and partners could do for now and we won't see anything truly new until say March or maybe next fall (Halo 360?). Sure, some stuff will trickle out that will be decent, but I haven't heard of a true system seller yet (Gears of War?).
To anyone getting a 360, I hope you enjoy the system and feel like your getting your moneys worth. I saw a demo of King Kong attached to a Samsung HDTV, it did look good.