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Author Topic: Free content will now be withheld from Xbox Live Silver accounts for a week  (Read 7430 times)
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TheMissingLink
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« on: December 05, 2007, 01:40:25 AM »

In a truly unbelievable move on Microsoft's part, all free content that will be coming out after the Fall Update will be available exclusively to Gold account Xbox Live members, while gamers with Silver accounts will be able to download the free content one week after it becomes available.

This is from Major Nelson's blog, who writes "This is not done to annoy our Silver members—limited time exclusive access to content is just one of the many benefits of having a Gold Xbox Live account."

What a cheap way of trying to convert people to upgrade to Gold.

I don't pay to play online games, I don't pay for themes, and I don't have to wait a week after content is released on PSN.

Microsoft is making it harder and harder to defend paying for online multiplayer functionality.

They're hurting people who don't necessarily want to pay to play multiplayer games online. 
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2007, 01:45:41 AM »

A good example (beyond "you can download a demo whenever you want, big deal") is for free DLC.  Let's say....the BioShock DLC.  If it were released AFTER the fall update, silver members would be forced to wait a week to download the content.

And, as we all know, BioShock doesn't have online multiplayer.  I see it catering more to the player who doesn't play online games, which means that more of these consumers may just have Silver membership.  And really for no particular reason, they have to wait a week now.
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2007, 01:49:25 AM »

Will this apply to the Rock Band weekly DLC?  I can't imagine that EA would be pleased with something like that.   
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2007, 01:52:14 AM »

If it makes downloading stuff quicker then i'm all for it.
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2007, 01:55:10 AM »

Bandwidth costs money.  Hosting big-ass demos costs lots and lots of money.  If more people pay for gold accounts, more bandwidth can be purchased, ensuring that people can download things quickly.  If the same number of people pay for gold accounts, gold members can download things quickly with the existing bandwidth.  People who are unwilling to pay $5 a month for gold access can, I suspect, wait 7 days to get a demo.
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2007, 01:55:50 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 01:49:25 AM

Will this apply to the Rock Band weekly DLC?  I can't imagine that EA would be pleased with something like that.   

Rock Band content isn't free.
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2007, 01:57:07 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 01:55:10 AM

Bandwidth costs money.  Hosting big-ass demos costs lots and lots of money.  If more people pay for gold accounts, more bandwidth can be purchased, ensuring that people can download things quickly.  If the same number of people pay for gold accounts, gold members can download things quickly with the existing bandwidth.  People who are unwilling to pay $5 a month for gold access can, I suspect, wait 7 days to get a demo.

You may have actually seen the numbers internally but as far as I know MS has never released the Gold/Silver breakdown.  If bandwith cost is truly the driver here then I suspect that there are far more Silver users out there than people think. 
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2007, 01:57:40 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 01:55:50 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 01:49:25 AM

Will this apply to the Rock Band weekly DLC?  I can't imagine that EA would be pleased with something like that.   

Rock Band content isn't free.

Good point.  So would this mean I would have to wait a week to download the free Halo theme for GH3? 
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2007, 01:58:13 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 01:55:10 AM

Bandwidth costs money.  Hosting big-ass demos costs lots and lots of money.  If more people pay for gold accounts, more bandwidth can be purchased, ensuring that people can download things quickly.  If the same number of people pay for gold accounts, gold members can download things quickly with the existing bandwidth.  People who are unwilling to pay $5 a month for gold access can, I suspect, wait 7 days to get a demo.

This makes the assumption that download speeds will go up.  If that is the case, I am all for this.  If there is still the typical 'release day choke', I think it's crap.  In principle, that is.  In practice, I don't give a crap really.

gellar
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2007, 01:59:33 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 01:57:40 AM

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 01:55:50 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 01:49:25 AM

Will this apply to the Rock Band weekly DLC?  I can't imagine that EA would be pleased with something like that.   

Rock Band content isn't free.

Good point.  So would this mean I would have to wait a week to download the free Halo theme for GH3? 

If we went back in time, and changed the course of events such that the Halo theme music was released post 12/4/07, then yes. slywink
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2007, 02:00:55 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 01:59:33 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 01:57:40 AM

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 01:55:50 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 01:49:25 AM

Will this apply to the Rock Band weekly DLC?  I can't imagine that EA would be pleased with something like that.   

Rock Band content isn't free.

Good point.  So would this mean I would have to wait a week to download the free Halo theme for GH3? 

If we went back in time, and changed the course of events such that the Halo theme music was released post 12/4/07, then yes. slywink

Yeah, mentally insert a "had" after have icon_wink 
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2007, 02:03:08 AM »

Quote from: gellar on December 05, 2007, 01:58:13 AM

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 01:55:10 AM

Bandwidth costs money.  Hosting big-ass demos costs lots and lots of money.  If more people pay for gold accounts, more bandwidth can be purchased, ensuring that people can download things quickly.  If the same number of people pay for gold accounts, gold members can download things quickly with the existing bandwidth.  People who are unwilling to pay $5 a month for gold access can, I suspect, wait 7 days to get a demo.

This makes the assumption that download speeds will go up.  If that is the case, I am all for this.  If there is still the typical 'release day choke', I think it's crap.  In principle, that is.  In practice, I don't give a crap really.

We can't make any real predictions without knowing what the peak # of gold users (and the total throughput of all of the pipes into the XOC) is.  Common sense would indicate that there will be more throughput per person available on release day because there are fewer gold than gold+silver members, but if gold alone saturates things, then yes, that's a problem.
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2007, 02:03:44 AM »

Major Nelson writes that it affects "free content on the the [sic] Marketplace"

So yeah, Silver members would have to wait a week to get the GH Halo theme.

It's just ridiculous that Microsoft decides that to make more Gold membership more desirable, they gimp Silver that much more.  Make me want Gold for extra perks, not because I want the ability to download a demo day one.  So uncreative.
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2007, 02:10:05 AM »

Hm, thinking about it, it seems like the Bioshock DLC would be a sticky issue.  Correct me if I'm wrong but, in addition to the free content, it also serves as a patch too?  Withholding additional free content is one thing but holding back patches for a week?  That's crap. Hopefully MS would mandate that any such packages in the future would have the patch segregated from the DLC. 
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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2007, 02:10:51 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 02:10:05 AM

Hm, thinking about it, it seems like the Bioshock DLC would be a sticky issue.  Correct me if I'm wrong but, in addition to the free content, it also serves as a patch too?  Withholding additional free content is one thing but holding back patches for a week?  That's crap. Hopefully MS would mandate that any such packages in the future would have the patch segregated from the DLC. 

Title updates are separate from downloadable content.  If you re-read 2k's press release, you'll see that they've released two things for the 360: a title update (which is installed when you boot the game while logged into xbox live), and a downloadable content pack that has the plasmids, etc.
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2007, 02:11:45 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 02:10:51 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 02:10:05 AM

Hm, thinking about it, it seems like the Bioshock DLC would be a sticky issue.  Correct me if I'm wrong but, in addition to the free content, it also serves as a patch too?  Withholding additional free content is one thing but holding back patches for a week?  That's crap. Hopefully MS would mandate that any such packages in the future would have the patch segregated from the DLC. 

Title updates are separate from downloadable content.

So the Bioshock DLC was two separate "downloads"? 
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2007, 02:12:20 AM »

Ezactly.  (See belatedly edited post above)
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« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2007, 02:12:57 AM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on December 05, 2007, 02:03:44 AM

Major Nelson writes that it affects "free content on the the [sic] Marketplace"

So yeah, Silver members would have to wait a week to get the GH Halo theme.

It's just ridiculous that Microsoft decides that to make more Gold membership more desirable, they gimp Silver that much more.  Make me want Gold for extra perks, not because I want the ability to download a demo day one.  So uncreative.

This isn't new. They've just done a better job of implementing it. There were several demos that I had to wait for with my Silver account, I fortunately have a prepaid Gold account that I don't use that I pull up to get demos etc. It's not really a big deal. It's a week, and to be frank, they need to create some kind of incentive to get folks to upgrade to Gold.
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« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2007, 02:14:26 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 02:12:20 AM

Ezactly.  (See belatedly edited post above)

Ah, thanks for the clarification. 
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« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2007, 02:17:12 AM »

Not sure I'll reupp my Live subscription when it comes time to renew - I can download (and create) free themes on the PS3 as well as download demos when they come out... not a week afterward.
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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2007, 02:20:28 AM »

  I have to agree that this seems to be punishing Silver accounts more than rewarding Gold accounts.  Which is not good practice IMHO. Will people really upgrade to Gold just to get free content a week early?  To me gold always has been and will continue to be about playing multiplayer. 
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« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2007, 02:24:16 AM »

Quote
This is not done to annoy our Silver members—limited time exclusive access to content is just one of the many benefits of having a Gold Xbox Live account.
Riiiight.  I'm sure there were tons of Gold subscribers threatening to cancel if they didn't get demos a week earlier.  This is just an attempt to get people who don't play multiplayer to pay for Gold.  The demos I can live with, but I really hope this doesn't extend to XBLA trials.
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« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2007, 02:24:40 AM »

Quote from: depward on December 05, 2007, 02:17:12 AM

Not sure I'll reupp my Live subscription when it comes time to renew - I can download (and create) free themes on the PS3 as well as download demos when they come out... not a week afterward.

Honestly I couldn't care less about themes.  And PSN has no where close to the content that the marketplace has.  At least so far. 

I will say that it's this kind of nickle and dime shit may start to sour people on Live if Microsoft keeps going in this direction.
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« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2007, 02:24:57 AM »

Quote from: denoginizer on December 05, 2007, 02:20:28 AM

  I have to agree that this seems to be punishing Silver accounts more than rewarding Gold accounts.  Which is not good practice IMHO. Will people really upgrade to Gold just to get free content a week early?  To me gold always has been and will continue to be about playing multiplayer. 

Or... it could be less about rewarding gold members or punishing silver members, and just be about defraying costs, which is something that Sony'd have to think about doing if they had a substantive number of people on their network.
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« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2007, 02:26:29 AM »

Quote from: denoginizer on December 05, 2007, 02:20:28 AM

  I have to agree that this seems to be punishing Silver accounts more than rewarding Gold accounts.  Which is not good practice IMHO. Will people really upgrade to Gold just to get free content a week early?  To me gold always has been and will continue to be about playing multiplayer. 

yeah, Gold's about the MP.  That said, I don't even notice the XBL charges on my CC anymore, so I doubt I'll do anything like boycott MS or XBL Gold.
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« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2007, 02:27:10 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 02:24:57 AM

Quote from: denoginizer on December 05, 2007, 02:20:28 AM

  I have to agree that this seems to be punishing Silver accounts more than rewarding Gold accounts.  Which is not good practice IMHO. Will people really upgrade to Gold just to get free content a week early?  To me gold always has been and will continue to be about playing multiplayer. 

Or... it could be less about rewarding gold members or punishing silver members, and just be about defraying costs, which is something that Sony'd have to think about doing if they had a substantive number of people on their network.

oh snap!  Tongue
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« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2007, 02:27:39 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 02:24:57 AM

Quote from: denoginizer on December 05, 2007, 02:20:28 AM

  I have to agree that this seems to be punishing Silver accounts more than rewarding Gold accounts.  Which is not good practice IMHO. Will people really upgrade to Gold just to get free content a week early?  To me gold always has been and will continue to be about playing multiplayer. 

Or... it could be less about rewarding gold members or punishing silver members, and just be about defraying costs, which is something that Sony'd have to think about doing if they had a substantive number of people on their network.

Perception is reality.  I guess we'll have to see how it is received.  I love my 360s and I love Xbox Live.  But the last thing I as a consumer want to hear about is Microsoft cutting cost. And right now I perceive that I can get things free on PSN that I would have to wait a week for on Live unless I pay for a subscription.  I'm willing to play for a smooth, closed, cohesive  multiplayer gaming environment.  But no way would I pay to get free stuff a week earlier.
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« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2007, 03:03:15 AM »

I didn't mind paying for a Gold subscription when I was actually playing games online, I'm willing to pay for a good online gaming service. However, when your talking about simply communicating with people on my friend's list and downloading a few demos and themes here and there, that's far from worth it to pay $5 a month for. If MS is having bandwidth issues then let the companies host their own downloads which I'm sure they would be happy to do.
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« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2007, 03:46:23 AM »

Pony up the <3.00 per month cheapskates!   retard

Live is a privilege not a right!

Or do you prefer communism you commies?!
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« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2007, 03:52:46 AM »

If communism means not paying for things you were already getting (and still will get) for free, then sign me up  icon_biggrin
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« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2007, 03:54:05 AM »

The reason Xbox Live is a smoothly run service (occasional hiccups notwithstanding) is the huge amount of resources thrown at it.  Datacenters all around the world, huge pipes provided by limelight, etc, etc.  I'm actually suggesting it's both about cost control and user experience.  Demand spikes for any of these demos on day one, but when you're building out your infrastructure, you don't expect to be offering up the GTA IV demo every day of every week.  However, when you do release the GTA IV demo, you want your customers to have a smooth experience when attempting to download it, regardless of the number of people attempting to grab it simultaneously.

So... what do you do?  Making free demos a gold-only feature for just a single week reduces your peak load, so you can guarantee that your paying customers have a great experience.  There'll probably be another sharp peak (maybe even sharper) 7 days after the initial release when the silver users go to download it.  If a bunch of people sign up for gold service, you scale up your bandwidth proportionately, and the cost which wouldn't be sustainable with a lower percentage of gold users becomes reasonable because it's offset by the fees.  Gold subscribers win because they'll have no trouble downloading content.  Silver subscribers still get the content - they just have to wait a week.

This is a totally different situation with paid downloadable content, where some percentage of the cost of the content goes to MSFT, so there's a built-in offset.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the playstation network if their subscriber base ever gets as big as Xbox Live's.  And by interesting, I mean "shit will no longer be entirely free."
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2007, 04:07:16 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 03:54:05 AM

It will be interesting to see what happens with the playstation network if their subscriber base ever gets as big as Xbox Live's.  And by interesting, I mean "shit will no longer be entirely free."

I don't ever see Sony charging us to play multiplayer games online.  If by some ridiculous reasoning they decide to follow Xbox Live's scheme of charging people to play games online, I certainly don't see them putting plans in place to hurt those that decide not to pay for the service.

My question is, why has Microsoft decided to hurt the consumer that doesn't wish to play games online?  Simply put, people who don't care to play games online are being hurt by losing out on "free" content for a week.  End of the world?  Not really.  Spitting in the face of those who are most likely on their 2nd or 3rd 360 already, and don't pay to play games online?  Definitely.
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« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2007, 04:22:12 AM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on December 05, 2007, 04:07:16 AM

I don't ever see Sony charging us to play multiplayer games online.  If by some ridiculous reasoning they decide to follow Xbox Live's scheme of charging people to play games online, I certainly don't see them putting plans in place to hurt those that decide not to pay for the service.

Careful with that.  Last year at this time would you have expected Sony to be selling a PS3 with zero backwards compatability given all they had said up to then?  I think the free online play has more to do with Sony having nothing in place to provide matchmaking and force developers to comply, than some altruistic goodwill on their part.

Right now with PSN Sony couldn't charge for online multiplayer even if they wanted to.

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« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2007, 04:28:25 AM »

Quote from: denoginizer on December 05, 2007, 04:22:12 AM

Quote from: TheMissingLink on December 05, 2007, 04:07:16 AM

I don't ever see Sony charging us to play multiplayer games online.  If by some ridiculous reasoning they decide to follow Xbox Live's scheme of charging people to play games online, I certainly don't see them putting plans in place to hurt those that decide not to pay for the service.

Careful with that.  Last year at this time would you have expected Sony to be selling a PS3 with zero backwards compatability given all they had said up to then?  I think the free online play has more to do with Sony having nothing in place to provide matchmaking and force developers to comply, than some altruistic goodwill.


Of course not-Sony is perfect, MS is the evil empire, and Sony and the fantastically successful PS3 is simply misunderstood. No matter that the PSN is so slow it borders on absurd. No matter that the voice chat is almost completely broken. No matter that they mandate only ONE DAY PER WEEK to release new content, and that its much less in both demos and content than what you get on Live. It's free, ergo it must be superior. And it's not evil MS, who took that whole billion dollar loss because they wanted all our consoles to break.


And no, I don't care about this as long as patches aren't included.
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« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2007, 04:29:26 AM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on December 05, 2007, 04:07:16 AM

My question is, why has Microsoft decided to hurt the consumer that doesn't wish to play games online?  Simply put, people who don't care to play games online are being hurt by losing out on "free" content for a week.  End of the world?  Not really.  Spitting in the face of those who are most likely on their 2nd or 3rd 360 already, and don't pay to play games online?  Definitely.

jeez, chill the F out.  if you don't have Gold, then you're already not paying a cent for anything...and yes, all the demos and stuff are still completely free, so there's no need to put it in quotation marks whatsoever.  one week, big f'in whoop

with no Gold subscription to cancel or anything, what are you going to do in protest, sell your entire 360?  lol
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« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2007, 04:34:39 AM »

Quote from: Calvin on December 05, 2007, 04:28:25 AM

Quote from: denoginizer on December 05, 2007, 04:22:12 AM

Quote from: TheMissingLink on December 05, 2007, 04:07:16 AM

I don't ever see Sony charging us to play multiplayer games online.  If by some ridiculous reasoning they decide to follow Xbox Live's scheme of charging people to play games online, I certainly don't see them putting plans in place to hurt those that decide not to pay for the service.

Careful with that.  Last year at this time would you have expected Sony to be selling a PS3 with zero backwards compatability given all they had said up to then?  I think the free online play has more to do with Sony having nothing in place to provide matchmaking and force developers to comply, than some altruistic goodwill.


Of course not-Sony is perfect, MS is the evil empire, and Sony and the fantastically successful PS3 is simply misunderstood. No matter that the PSN is so slow it borders on absurd. No matter that the voice chat is almost completely broken. No matter that they mandate only ONE DAY PER WEEK to release new content, and that its much less in both demos and content than what you get on Live. It's free, ergo it must be superior. And it's not evil MS, who took that whole billion dollar loss because they wanted all our consoles to break

haha, you are one sarcastic jackass, but I completely agree with the point of your post 100%

to think that Sony doesn't charge for their lackluster PSN right now because of goodwill, is laughable
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« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2007, 04:44:37 AM »

I pay $50 for XBL and I am now happy to know that I will now be treated like I am traveling in first class. Remember Bioshock? Well if it was this way the whole time, maybe I would not have had to wait for 21 hours for it to download due to the bottleneck.
I would also stand a better chance of getting in on a beta (just an example) hell I am a paying customer.
for $50 a year, $4.16 a month its a very small price to pay for the service provided by live.
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« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2007, 04:48:29 AM »

I will say that I find all of the "what's one week?  Big deal!" comments humorous considering how much gamers bitch if they have to wait an additional day to get their hands on a hot game.  After all of the cries of agony about the unfairness of street dates with the leaked released of Bioshock and Mass Effect, I have to say that we gamers aren't exactly a patient lot....
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KePoW
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« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2007, 04:56:19 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 05, 2007, 04:48:29 AM

I will say that I find all of the "what's one week?  Big deal!" comments humorous considering how much gamers bitch if they have to wait an additional day to get their hands on a hot game.  After all of the cries of agony about the unfairness of street dates with the leaked released of Bioshock and Mass Effect, I have to say that we gamers aren't exactly a patient lot....

problem with that analogy is that you're comparing a demo to a full retail game, which is very different IMO.  most demos these days literally last only like 10-15 minutes, so I really couldn't care less about them.  I mean I'll download one every now and then if I randomly come across it in the Marketplace or PSN Store, but I sure as hell don't wait on any the second they come out
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« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2007, 05:10:49 AM »

Quote from: Brendan on December 05, 2007, 01:55:10 AM

People who are unwilling to pay $5 a month for gold access can, I suspect, wait 7 days to get a demo.

It could also be said that people who are dumb enough to pay for online content will....be content to know that they're getting something for their money?  Hmm that didn't come out the way it sounded in my head smile
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