For the second day in a row, and eighth (February 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, yesterday and today) time in a month, Xbox Live has gone down for many of its users. Yesterday, as the Inquisitr previously reported, the online service for Microsoft’s console was down for most of the day, affecting everything from the console’s Blu Ray player to being able to play games consumers already owned. It seems today’s issues stem from buying new digital goods across Xbox One and it’s supporting apps, as well as using EA Access, which gives Xbox One players a chance to preview new EA titles days before the official launch.
However, with all of these issues the past month — and over the life of the console itself — many consumers are starting to question as to why they even pay for the service? Xbox Live costs $60 a year to maintain, and at first glance that may not seem like a lot — people often spend more on Netflix a year than Xbox Live — it is still money being spent on the promise of a stable network. Xbox Live is the most recent example, but Sony’s PlayStation Plus service has seen its fair share of issues through the PlayStation 4’s short life. Additionally, games are releasing consistently with unstable multiplayer, the most recent example being Street Fighter V, so it all raises the question: why do fans spend their money to receive a broken service?
In the glory days of the Xbox 360, Xbox Live rarely had issues. PlayStation Plus had the month-long nightmare where their entire network crashed and burned, but in large part people truly felt like they were getting their money’s worth. Since the launch of the new consoles in 2013, things have been drastically different from their predecessors. It seems every month or two there is some downtime on both services, or a game with a heavy multiplayer component is releasing with a shaky start. Consumers are not blind to these issues, with many venting their frustration on Twitter.
Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft’s Xbox Division, took to Twitter himself to apologize for the continued issues.
The major crux of the issue here is that when Xbox Live goes down, the console is effectively rendered useless. Most apps will not work unless the consumer goes into offline mode, and even then the Digital Rights Management of a downloaded game may or may not allow the game to launch. Couple this with the fact that people pay money for the service — not everyone does, but millions of people do — and there is a real issue of Xbox Live not being the stable service it should be. Contrast this to the other platforms, which much like Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus has had its fair share of issues, and the PC, which players don’t pay extra for multiplayer. And while Steam, the largest digital marketplace on PC, may go down, it doesn’t render the PC ineffective, as there are other platforms to play games, such as GOG, Origin, and UPlay.
For such unstable services like Xbox Live, fans are starting to ask why they spend their money on an unstable service. It’s not likely Xbox users will have to stop paying for Xbox Live anytime soon, but the seed is sown for consumers to start asking for a better alternative. Microsoft, and Sony, need to boost the stability of their services. If these consoles are to truly be “always online,” whether the maker still touts that or not, then their own services cannot be the constant reason as to why the platforms are not working.
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[Image via Xbox]