In a move sure to piss off the entire Internet, Microsoft has decided to raise prices on their Xbox Live Gold subscriptions starting November 1. Yearly subscriptions have gone up $10, to $59.99. All the other subscriptions have been adjusted accordingly:
– 1-Month Gold Subscription – $9.99 (was $7.99)
– 3-Month Gold Subscription – $24.99 (was $19.99)
– 12-Month Gold Subscription – $59.99 (was $49.99)
Microsoft is quick to point out all the awesome services provided by Live Gold, including:
– Video Kinect (video chat with Kinect)
– Hulu Plus
All of which are not exactly great selling points for me, personally, as I don’t use any of them. I already have a computer connected to the T.V. allowing most of those features, I don’t plan on getting Kinect because the last thing I want to do is move around while playing games, etc. I’m not really sure why it should cost me $60 just to connect to other Xbox 360 users to play games, I honestly don’t even feel like $50 is a fair price, $40 is more reasonable. I think at this point Microsoft should introduce tiered pricing because I really only want to play games online and cross-game chat with friends.
On top of all that, I can’t use any of the services right now because my Xbox broke, AGAIN. It’s the same issue I had the first time, the three red lights error (“red ring of death”) that has caused so many problems for so many other Xbox 360 users. It honestly has to be one of the worst feelings in the world to come home on a Friday night ready to play games and having your console break on you.
It started off innocently enough with the Xbox freezing while like through a list of arcade games. I get up and hit the power button to restart the console, everything appears to be working fine for the first second or two…until the start up video freezes. I look down to see the dreaded red ring of death, those three red lights blinking back a big “Fuck you, Mike.” I try unplugging the power cord from both the console and the wall and plugging them back in again hoping it’s a problem with the power supply or something. That doesn’t work, I still see the same error. I try a few more times before finally settling on the fact that I’m screwed, there’s nothing more I can do, my Xbox 360 is officially broke.
Great, so now instead of relaxing I’m running around the house trying to find a box that will fit the Xbox 360 (we happened to have one, I don’t know why), bubble wrap (we also had some of that), packaging tape (Liz hid it in the car), printing out shipping labels through the Microsoft website (the “My Xbox broke and I need to send it in” process is amazingly streamlined by Microsoft, which makes me feel a little bit better) and figure out where the closest UPS Store is in Brooklyn that’s still open. Awesome start to a weekend.
The whole thing upsets me even more considering Halo Reach, one of the few Xbox 360 exclusives I’m interested in, is coming out in a few weeks and I’m worried I won’t get the console back in time to play it. If not for Reach I might have just been done with Xbox 360 completely.
Additionally, since my console is now out of warranty I had to pay to get it repaired. I sent it in once a while ago (maybe two years ago) with 3 red lights and got it “fixed” for free. That was nice of them, “repairing” it for free. Unfortunately, now that their “fix” didn’t work I have to pay them to fix it again, which makes zero sense to me. Why not just make me pay the first time and actually fix the problem once and for all instead of doing a half-assed job and wasting my time?
It’s just something I shouldn’t have to worry about on a daily basis, “Is my Xbox going to break today?” I now understand that it’s true that “The things you own end up owning you.” For comparisons sake I decided to list all the other consoles I have owned (starting the Christmas of 1986 or 87, I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I got my first console, the NES) and how many times they’ve broken down and needed repair. To me this really brings out how atypical a console breaking should be, in my opinion, and how unacceptable it is that this is happening.
NES – 0
Gameboy – 0
Super Nintendo – 0
Sega Genesis – 0
Sega CD – 0
Playstation – 0
Sega Saturn – 0
Nintendo 64 – 0
Gameboy Color – 0
Dreamcast – 0
Playstation 2 – 0
Gameboy Advance – 0
Gamecube – 0
Xbox – 0
Gameboy Advance SP x 2 – 0
Gameboy Micro – 0
Nintendo DS – 0
PSP x 2 – 0
Wii – 0
Nintendo DSi – 0
So 20 other systems, I’m probably missing a few, and a grand total of zero needing repair. Ever. In around 24 years of gaming. They all still work, to this day (as far as I know, I don’t play all of them every day, but I know for a fact the NES, the oldest one, still works completely fine) and my Xbox 360 breaks twice already within the life cycle of the product. It’s not like it’s 20 years down the road and I want to go back and play my Xbox 360…it’s still a current system.
Knowing what I know now, I don’t think I would have bought an Xbox 360, even given all it’s exclusives. I’d rather have gotten the PS3 and (hopefully) never have had to deal with the annoyance of shipping a broken console in for repairs.
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