In Which Microsoft Ruins XBLA

My life has always been one of jewel cases, DVD boxes, and shrink wrap. Multiple generations of gamers have inadvertently mastered obscure arts such as “removing adhesive security tags”, “shredding shrink wrap”, and “raising the CaseLogic stock price”.

Physical media has remained the primary distribution method for video games since the inception of home consoles. But with the current slew of platforms, digital distribution is finally not merely a possibility but a reality. The channels come in many forms: from the [Xbox Live Arcade]( and the [Playstation Store](, to Nintendo’s [Virtual Console]( and recently launched [WiiWare](, to the hugely popular [Steam]( platform run by Valve for Windows.

A lot of gamers still love having discs for a variety of reasons. But there’s a growing movement of gamers and publishers pressing towards digital distribution. Gamers gain quicker access to games, less fiddling with discs, and the ability to reinstall their purchases at a later point. Publishers can create smaller, more innovative titles that wouldn’t survive at retail, keep a smaller budget, and not worry about fighting for shelf space in a brick-and-mortar store.

Or so we all thought.

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To be fair, my name is only inappropriate when I want to show it to other 360 owners – it’s completely allowable when I want to give Microsoft money for, say, my Xbox Live Gold yearly fee, or to buy points.

Totally reasonable.

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Breaking The Trinity

Seth Jayson of The Motley Fool wrote a piece today called “Microsoft’s Xbotch“:

As an investor, I can’t help but worry that my experience with Microsoft consumer products is not out of the ordinary. Not only are repairs an expensive waste of shareholder capital, but they risk alienating potential customers and crimping future growth. In effect, it doesn’t matter if the rate of Xbotch failure is as low as Microsoft reportedly contends, because the perceived rate of failure is what matters to consumers. People trust what they hear. And if they hear enough from irate Xbotch or Zune customers, they aren’t going to open up the wallet.

This is the conclusion of the story of one irate Xbox customer.