Gaming Rants: Xbox 360’s DRM, Patches and Fake PCs

I’m annoyed.

You see for the past 14 and a half weeks I’ve been laid up with a broken foot, meaning it’s most convenient for me to simply stay downstairs for the majority of the day and just shuffle (in the most undignified way possible!) up the stairs at night to go to bed. The broken foot matter isn’t actually why I’m annoyed at the moment (well it is, but that’s a different blog post for another time), instead it’s the restrictions that my Xbox 360 places on my gaming sessions.

My 360 which resides in my room is online and hooked up to Xbox Live. However thanks to the lack of a wireless network adaptor the 360 that is downstairs (my Mum’s) isn’t online and there’s no way of changing this unless hooked up to the nearest ethernet cable which is upstairs. Throw in my broken foot, my Mum’s disability and the fact I can’t afford a wireless network adaptor, this 360 is stuck offline no matter how inconvenient it is.

It’s inconvenient because it cuts down my options hugely for what I can play. For example, I can’t play any of the Fallout 3 expansion packs, any Rock Band DLC, nor any Arcade games, all because I want to play these things on the same account name as I purchased them on, but on a different Xbox 360 and one that is offline.

License migration is no use to solve this due to the problems of getting the 360 online at all. Similar problems stop me bringing the original 360 downstairs temporarily so that the license comes with the console. So I’m stuck. Sure, I can play my Scene It: Box Office Smash and Trivial Pursuit DLC, Rock Band DLC and Arcade games upstairs but when it’s seriously impractical to do so, it’s a rare occurrence.

I guess in the grand scheme of things this is all just a small irritation but it does get more and more annoying. It certainly makes me extremely grateful that my Wii and PS3 can go online out of the box so at least I can go online there. I renewed my Xbox Live Gold Membership in July, about a week before I broke my foot. With some hindsight, I wouldn’t have rushed down the stairs that day….but also I wouldn’t have bothered renewing it as it’s completely pointless right now except for sessions late at night (which are very infrequent) or in the morning for an hour or so (again pretty rare).

So yes, it’s very, very annoying.

While I’m in a ranting mood I have some slightly more irrational complaints to make.

Since when did playing a game on a console become so difficult to do? It feels like every time I load a game up while online, there’s a patch to download. Of course the PS3 is the worst offender with the first time I wanted to play Little Big Planet requiring an hour’s worth of patching, but the 360 seems to be catching up fast with seemingly every big new release needing a patch of some kind within a few days of release. Why? Why can’t the developers just get the damn game right the first time? I entirely understand why patches need to be made a few weeks after release, such as when it’s suddenly realised there’s a huge bug in the multiplayer code, but within the first weekend of release? Really?

I’ve no doubt it’s because publishers are getting pushier and demanding results faster, meaning something has to give but it’s a really irritating niggle!

On another current generation note, why are all the consoles trying so hard to be something they’re not? The Xbox 360 doesn’t just want to be a games console now, it desperately wants you to rent films through it, to Twitter on it, to check Facebook, to use MSN. It’s surely not long till you can even order pizza through it.

The PS3 wants to sit proudly in your living room as an all singing, all dancing media unit. It implores you to load up Vidzone whenever you’ve got a party going on, to transfer all your converted films to its hard drive for convenience, watch BBC TV shows on the iPlayer and to explore the internet through its browser.

The Wii….well actually it has limited capabilities excluding its internet browser and photo browser. But strangely enough this makes it the purest gaming device of the three. It’s just a pity it has such a poor reputation due to its plethora of shovelware which disguises its many great games.

And yeah I know you can just ignore all the non-gaming capabilities of the three systems and this is a sound counter argument but then again I can come up with a counter argument for mostly everything I’ve just said. I’m annoying like that.

After all this, I guess I’d best go load up my Commodore 64 and stay in the dark ages. 🙂