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Tycho / on Fri, Mar 16 2007 at 12:21 am

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Unfair Business Practices

We were hungry, and that usually affects the strip, but the Girl Scout in the comic is a real person who probably has her troop or squad or whatever set up for life.  The other girls should probably just go home - I think Jenny’s got them covered this year.

I’ve been meaning to write about Games for Windows Live since GDC, and since then they have made an official announcement that hasn’t done anything to clear it up.  I’m really glad it isn’t my job to sell this to people, because it’s going to be like juggling greased piglets.

In null gravity.

I’ve read the press release like five times, and I still have no idea what they’re talking about.  I haven’t invested myself deeply in parsing that thing, because as a subscriber to Live on the 360 there’s no additional cost to me - I’m already "subscribed" to it, technically, and the service isn’t even available.  But just as a mental exercise, I don’t "get" it.

They’re having a hard enough time convincing people that their Gold membership on the console has value, and along they come with a premium service that can only be interpreted as shenanigans.  There are classes of behavior that are and are not "taxed," and some of the distinctions strike me as lawyerly in their application.  It doesn’t matter where the toll gates are placed: they are toll gates. And the wild men who make the PC platform their home have come to expect and even appreciate that untamed wilderness.

"Games For Windows Live" and "Xbox Live" are the same service, going by different names, the way a mythical hydra is a single reptilian horror but the heads individually might be called "Philip" or "The Deceiver."  Indeed, "Live" is really the umbrella term for every connected Microsoft service.  So when Live comes out for mobile, and it certainly will, I doubt very seriously there’ll be another charge for that service just like the PC variant doesn’t warrant one of its own. 

I believe I’m (statistically speaking) an edge case - I’m invested in three of their platforms, and so this initiative stands to bring me a lot of value.  For the tens of millions of PC gamers who don’t own an end to end chain of Microsoft products, you’re looking at a tough sell.   

Windows machines need a way to authenticate into the Live service, and there are a number of reasons why, but getting a framework in place for authorized dedicated servers is critical.  All their offerings unified into a kind of metaplatform around a gaming theme is something I want -  I’d love to cue up downloads for my Xbox while I’m at work, or respond to messages via my cell.  But they aren’t talking about the platform as a whole,  they’re mentioning specific pieces, because that’s all they’re ready to discuss.  Without a greater context, the idea of Live for Windows is almost completely incoherent.      

(CW)TB out. 

some things unname you

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