Saturday, January 23, 2010

Digging for Gold

Two weeks ago I purchased a year long membership to Xbox Live Gold. Truth be told, I did it because the package included a chat pad, a headset and a game for a price I really couldn't say no to.

And I like some of the perks (though have used few of them). For instance, I can now get demos and videos of games I probably won't buy a week before I used to. And I can use the crippled and nearly useless Facebook and Twitter social apps. And I can play online (with all of the 5 other friends who don't have any of the same games and are rarely on at the same time).

Actually, looking at it now, the only thing I've really enjoyed about being a Gold member is getting to play 1 vs 100. Even that is not without technical hiccups. It may not hold my interest past the end of January. We'll have to see.

So what is all the fuss about? Do I have to be a hardcore FPS gamer (which I am NOT) to really appreciate and get my money's worth from the service? Is there a reason for a casual gamer like me to have a Live Gold subscription or will it go unused for the next 11 months and then lapse into forgotten-ness?

The biggest disappointment has actually been trying to play online with other people and failing to find anyone. I'm a board game fan. I'd been holding off of purchasing Carcassonne on XBLA because I actually own the game (with more expansions than were released on the arcade), and without Gold I'd only be able to play multiplayer locally. So when I upgraded to Gold I also bought Carcassonne with the hopes I could hop into the occasional pick-up game. Not so easily done. It seems to be rare that anyone else is even playing. The game seems to be all but dead. Am I too late and all the players have moved on to greener pastures?

Do I just not have the right game? Is there something I should be playing that I'm not? You can check out my gamer tag at the side of the blog. See the games I've got (and played recently). Drop me a line or send me a friend request. Suggest a game. Chat me up the next time I'm online. I'm looking for a reason to like Gold, but there doesn't seem to be a draw for anyone who isn't playing Modern Warefare 2 (or whatever shooter is the flavour of the week). Is Silver all the casual gamer really needs?

It seems like Microsoft is ignoring a perfectly good demographic (again).

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