I've struggled with this for quite some time, and I've been trying to factor this out logically and I just keep coming up empty.
When Xbox Live started back on the original Xbox in 2002, I was intrigued by the idea and since I already played a few games online I understood the pay-to-play model, in fact it seemed common with a few PC titles at the time. All I knew was that with dial-up I'll not be able to use Xbox Live anytime soon. It was shortly after that we were able to get broadband at the house for a decent price, and things were good for a while.
Xbox live did well, generated a bunch of needed income to help boost up the infrastructure of Xbox Live and everyone was happy to pay for a service that they just could not get anywhere else and play with their friends online.
Then this generation of consoles blasted onto the scene, and I'm having a bit of trouble when the other consoles give you a free service and I'm presented again with this pay-to-play model.
Sure you can argue that they are not the same, and you would be right, they are different systems and they are supposed to be different afterall. What troubles me is that they all allow you to play games online with friends(some much harder than others but the option is there) but they don't all require you to pay-to-play which has me pausing to think once more...
Yes, I understand that some of my peers and fellow gamers believe they are getting more with Xbox Live and believe that it is worth the money, but when do we say enough is enough as a community?
With the increased costs of Xbox Live titles, and the new ads that Microsoft will have happily added to my dashboard to generate even more revenue for them while still charging a fee to the users is really starting to bother me.
Now don't get me wrong, the PSN is also guilty for increasing their prices as well for some games(I'm looking at you FF7 and Resident Evil), as well as adding ads to their games and in Home(I really never go there although it is getting better from what I have been seeing) I'm not sure about the Wii since the last game I downloaded on that was Punch-out.
The point being is that I don't mind the increase costs in the games on the PSN or Wii really because 1) I'm a cheap bastard and get the points discounted or free (Thanks Sony Rewards Program) and 2) the online is free if I want to use it.
I suppose if #2 was a constant across all consoles I wouldn't have a problem at all.
So it all boils down to being either I'm just too damn cheap really when it comes down to it, and just do not want to pay for something that was a last gen idea that has become such an accepted part of the gaming community. Or that I am missing the point and for some reason I should be quite happy with this pay-to-play model and should continue to throw my money at the Gold Membership service that Xbox Live provides and should be jumping for joy at the service it provides for the money.
With that being said, for those of you who took the time to read this mess of jumbled thoughts I thank you and I'd value your thoughts on the matter.