Well, I've cancelled my membership to Xbox Live.
I enjoyed the journey with the ability to play with others online.
Then an article in the Xbox 360 Official Magazine made me sit back and think.
Really it was a debate on whether or not an Xbox 720 (which, no doubt, will be unveiled at this years E3) was necessary.
Well, the arguement against was that the writer didn't engage my attention by telling me that he wasn't embedded in the stone age. While the guy who was in favour of the new console said that he liked shiny new things and was thinking about buying a new fridge as the one that he had was over eight years old. Sad to say I never found out if he did or not. Nor did he get around to defining why he was in favour of the Xbox 720.
Anyone who has an Xbox 360 can guess at the future. It is no longer just a games console. There is access to music channels, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Sky TV, Netflix and Love Film are there for the asking. And you can play DVDs on them.
The new Kinect system allows you to play hands free games and, with voice control, demand Bing to find you stuff.
Lurking in the background is something new.
First there was 'Arcade' games and then some 'golden oldies' that could be bought and downloaded. Nowadays up to date games can be downloaded straight to the hard drive.
Therein lies part of the future and the arguement for an Xbox 720 with a larger memory makes sense. With a greater memory new games will be downloadable - watch out for those small words in brackets (there is no refund). In other words games companies will have greater control over their games. No more trade ins to stores like Game, CEX or Gamestation. So, when a game like 'Dead Island' turns up full of glitches you won't be able to take it back to the store and get your money back.
Now I don't blame games companies for taking control of their products. Wish authors could do the same. Like books, cds, dvds etc when a game is bought second hand Electronic Arts, Bethesda, Activision and their like see nothing of that money.
So there is a plus side to the creation of an Xbox 720 that has nothing to do with fridges.
My real bother with both this and the current Xbox 360 is something a little deeper.
Games come with Downloadable Content - DLC - and these cost. Some games have a 'Pass' like a loyalty card that allows you to download for free. If you buy the game second hand you can either buy the DLC or a season pass. Cheaper if you buy the game brand new as, originally, the pass came with it. Not all DLC, these days, are cheap - roughly ten pound a pack. Ergo, ten packs can set the gamer back anything up to £90 or £100 a game. So after an initial outlay of say £40 for the game add on the extras and - that's a tad expensive.
This would vary depending on the game and price of DLC. But the above is for a game called 'Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'. However, this expenditure can be avoided by subscribing to the Elite edition of the game. So for £34.99 you get the DLC for free - well, not entirely free. This subscription is annual and, although I can't find anything definitive, is supposed to cover all DLC for subsequent Call Of Duty games.
Another downside is that pressure is put on gamers to download content. THQ who produce the wrestling game 'WWE 12' (which has an atrocious download system) prevents people from playing online unless they have downloaded content. Electronic Arts insist that you sign up to them before you can go online with any of their games.
With 'Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit' they bought out a new download online game that was incompatible with the existing one.
Downloads cost money.
I can forsee a time when every game purchased will carry a subscription charge on the same basis as the current 'Call For Duty'.
The fee to go on to Xbox Live currently stands at £34.99 per annum. If you add in the subscription fee for 'Call Of Duty' then the annual bill, so far, stands at close enough to £70. Add in other downloads and you are taking the annual expenditure into the hundreds.
Faced with a choice of a subscription to 'Call Of Duty' or another game - my choice would be a game or something else like a cd, a book or a video.
Personally, I think that the gaming industry is walking a very thin line. We shall see.
Right now, I favour the Xbox 360. I am returning it to what I bought originally - a games console.
What really needs to be done is for developers to produce bug free games. I can wait a bit longer - all it needs is the same care that was taken with the original games for the PS1 and 2. Not wrong with competition - just so long as it is healthy and bug free.