XBox 360 and Netflix

Well, I’ve been awaiting this announcement for a while, about Netflix on-demand movies being available via the XBox 360. Thing is, you have to be an XBox Live Gold subscriber to do it.

What a rip-off! I have to pay Microsoft money to watch movies from Netflix on their console? You would think they’d want to sell consoles by offering this, instead of trying to squeeze more money out of console owners. They already nickel and dime people for almost everything you can download from Live, including silly things like skins (which change the way your basic interface looks) and gamer pics (which you can use as your avatar on XBox Live). This is just another stupid grab for money.

If I actually played games on XBox Live, it might be different, but the only game I really play regularly on the XBox is “Rock Band”. Looks like I’ll have to start thinking about setting up that living room beige box PC again.

Wii and X-Box 360 — Like Chips and Dip?

There’s an interesting snippet of an article over at Gamasutra about the Wii and X-Box 360. It’s an interview with the Director of Product Management for the XBox 360 and Live, where he posits a couple of things:

  • Wii users as casual gamers might want to upgrade to the XBox
  • A lot of Wii users break it out as a party game
  • There’s no need for a Wii2, because casual gamers don’t care about horsepower

They’re interesting points that I mostly agree with. I’m actually one of those gamers that bought a Wii first because it was a “novelty” as he says. Thing about the novelty of it is, for the games that really make use of the Wii controller, they are still fun to go back and play again because of the visceral nature of the experience.

I wasn’t really interested in a next-generation game console for a long time because, as I get older, I find I have less interest in shooters and scrolling games that are just a bunch of button-mashing. What finally made me buy a 360 was Rock Band. Again, it was the visceral nature of the experience that made me break out the bucks. And Rock Band is still the main game I play on the console. As far as the party game aspect, well, I think the more visceral and physical an experience is, the more it becomes the kind of experience that is better shared. Sports, dancing, playing music, even sex, human social experiences tend to be not so much intellectual as physical.

I’m not so sure I agree about the Wii2. And I’m not so sure I think that Microsoft agrees either, as I’ve heard rumors on the net of a Microsoft Wii-like controller. I’ve had my moments with the Wii where I realize the movement tracking isn’t quite what it should be, and that I could really play the game by flicking my wrist. Hopefully, if we do get a Wii2 or XBox motion controller, it will be more sensitive and allow players to use more and subtler adjustments of motion to play games. (Be a bitch to program for, I’d imagine.) Of course, that almost has to make the games more hardcore, so maybe they’re right….