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Author Topic: Questions regarding Xbox, Xbox Live and subscription costs  (Read 857 times)
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« on: December 02, 2004, 06:20:49 PM »

OK, you folks were a great help with my purchase of a PS2, now it's time to seek your help again.

My nephew has been trying to convince me to get an Xbox (he has one) and go online for games like Halo2. With Xmas coming up, my wife picked up on this as a way to get me something other than a gift certificate.

I understand the basics of the Xbox, but I'm a bit confused on the online access and content situation. My nephew said that while you can directly hook up a broadband cable from a modem to the Xbox and use the Xbox Live subscription, he said it's also possible to route the connect through a PC and get online without using Xbox Live.

So, I guess here are my questions:

1) At the most basic, is it really as simple as connecting the Xbox to my router with an RJ45 cable (Ethernet), IE no other hardware to purchase? Or how much other "stuff" do I need? UPDATE: Forgot to mention, I have a TV with only a coax input. Do I need one of those RF Adapter thingees like I got for my PS2?

2) Is my newphew full of it, or is it possible to go online without getting a subscription to Xbox Live? I have a PC, router and modem in the room.

3) My primary interest for going online would be to be able to download new content. Do I need an Xbox Live subscription new content?

4) Finally, I really don't do that much MP anyway, I really perfer solo gaming. Should I be turning the xmas gift hardware purchase to another direction? Will I be disappointed getting an XBox since I already have a PS2 that honestly I don't use that much since I already have a pretty good PC?[/b]
Andrew Mallon
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2004, 06:31:33 PM »

1) Yes. Conceptually, it's that simple as long as you're router can assign the XBox an IP address

2) Yes, there are various program for allowing system link games to be played over the Internet. It basically fools the Xbox into thinking that that Xboxes connected to the Internet are on a LAN. Keep in mind that the game needs to support system link play.

3) You will definitely need an Xbox Live account to download content. You cannot do that via System Link.

4) Honestly, if the PC is your primary gaming platform and you have a high-end PC there is no reason to get an Xbox. Most of the good Xbox games are also on the PC. Halo 2,  Ninja Gaiden, Crimson Skies, and  MechAssault are some of the few good games that don't have PC equivalents. If none of those are must haves for you, stick with the PC.
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2004, 06:41:03 PM »

As far as I know:

1) It really is that simple.  There's an RJ45 jack on the back of the XBox.  I have it sitting connected to my Linksys router right now, for Halo 2 action.  No dongles, no 'accessory kits'.  The only extra hardware I have is the headphones that came with my Live! starter kit, and those are optional.

2) There are third-party options.  In fact, I believe several people in here use them since XBoxes with modded hard drives were banned from Live.  I'm sure one of them will chime in shortly.

3) Yeah, as far as I know, you need the Live subscription for new content; that's one thing that isn't done through the third-party options.  So far, though, I've really not gotten much benefit from third-party options; a few boards for MechAssault (which I never play), a new one for Halo 2 (which I do play), and a couple of Splinter Cell levels, which was nice.

4) I have a decent PC, and will always consider myself a PC gamer first and foremost, but I get a lot of good use out of my XBox.  A lot of it, I admit, is my dorm environment; it's nice to pop in Madden, NHL 2K5, or Burnout 3 and just screw around with roommates for a while.  I play a lot less at home where I don't have other people who play, but I still get get use off of Live there.  Really, it depends on what kind of games you like.  The Box won't give you the depth or breadth of a lot of the PC games out there, but the PC can't approach the XBox on a lot of sports games and racing games.

That said, I don't think there's a much better investment out there for the $150-$200 it will run you right now to pick one up.  I have a pretty decent old machine; it's under the 2 GhZ mark, and my video card is getting up there in time now, but I don't see a pressing need to upgrade anytime in the near future.  I can run pretty much any game from this year's push of quality titles with no problem at high detail, and I don't see anything coming out in the near or medium turn that pushes the hardware any more than Doom 3 or HL2.  UT2K4 is running smoothly on my 700 mhz laptop with a 7000-era Radeon Mobile card.  You figure those engines will be in use for quite a while yet, people will figure out more tricks to get them running smoothly as the engines mature, and your machine will probably suffice as is for well over a year unless something truly revolutionary comes along out of nowhere.  The XBox, with a large library of titles available, a pretty good Platinum Hits collection for cheap, and smooth online play, is a great return-on-investment compared to the play you'd get out of a mid-range video card or the chunk of RAM you'd get for the same price.

/rant off.

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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2004, 10:02:28 PM »

To answer in shorter form :

1 & 1.5) yes it's that easy, and yes RF tvs are ancient, you will need a cable or run it through a VCR that has RCA inputs. slywink

2 & 3 ) you can go online with XBConnect; it's a peer-based and non-MS affiliated connection. No downloads from MS.. sorry. You can tell if an MS game will work with it; look for the "system Link" option for multiplayer.

4) Solo games are great; I like the fact that the Live service does help you even when playing solo. Live-aware titles (letting you log into the network but still be "offline" playing solo) means that you can play solo games and still be there to recieve invites for other online games.

Live can be linked to your MSN Messenger as well, so while you're fartin' around on the net you can see notifications such as :

12/2/2004 9:49:44 PM GMT-UTC
jeffjones66 is playing Prince of Persia: The Sands of.
12/2/2004 9:35:51 PM GMT-UTC
G4M3 0V3R is playing Counter-Strike.

So if I was waiting for jeffjones to play Halo2, I'd know he's online right now (playing a single player game such as Prince of Persia). (I'm -6hrs GMT, so it's 3:49pm or about 10 minutes earlier than this post). Live has some sweet stuff going for it; and I'm a PC gamer.

For reference, I was a hardcore PC player up until about 3-4 years ago; I used to host 30+ person langames on 100Mb back when the 16port switches were upwards of 500US. Hell, I started langames back on Arpnet with Duke3d.

The 16 port switch collects dust now.

"If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners." - Johnny Carson
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2004, 05:23:41 AM »

Quote from: "Purge"

12/2/2004 9:49:44 PM GMT-UTC
jeffjones66 is playing Prince of Persia: The Sands of.
12/2/2004 9:35:51 PM GMT-UTC
G4M3 0V3R is playing Counter-Strike.

So if I was waiting for jeffjones to play Halo2, I'd know he's online right now (playing a single player game such as Prince of Persia).

Obviously, xbox Live is spyware!  slywink

oh, and JZ, if you do end up getting the xbox and Live, be sure to use a freebie 2 month card (there are plenty of them to be had) first, before starting your 12 month Live subscription. Once you start a paid subscription, you can't use the freebie cards anymore.
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