Disappointing Xbox Live Conversations

It was around this time last week that I was disappointed with the Skype video call quality in a KKM online meet but tonight it was the turn of Xbox live, yet again.

I had previously tried the whole ‘Live’ experience with a month’s free trial in January and I let it expire after playing just one or two rounds of Pro Evolution 6 online. I decided to give it another bash earlier tonight, this time testing WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007. Now, while connections with players overseas seemed to work well enough gamewise (France, Germany, US), the audio quality and hideous latency and echoes struck again which really does hinder the in-game banter. This was noticed playing locally, moreso than across foreign waters.

Out of four local games (as in connecting to someone literally a two minute drive up the road), the first game ended in a draw and signed the other player out of Xbox Live, the second game sent him back to the menu and crashed my console, the third game experienced some mild lags in gameplay while the gameplay was fine for the fourth but for the almost complete lack of audio for conversation.

Does anyone get much enjoyment or pleasure out of Xbox Live? While it is a good service, there are some things I do like to do face to face with someone and console gaming is included in those things. I shelled out 20 quid to renew the subscription earlier this evening but on the back of taking a while to get started, battling through the incessant ‘button bashers’ I’d question whether I’ll do it again in three months, or even get the full use out of the 20 quid.

Mind you, you could have sold a house full of tickets for the final match we had when it finally took off. I’d consider myself a wrestling fan, more along the lines of the late 80s, early 90s before TV really took over but when myself and this particular player get together you can be promised an electric game. Single match clock counter ran to 33 minutes before we finally got a winner but after that I was done.

I can tolerate a small lag in a network game when played online (you would be used to it after years of Championship Manager and Football Manager) but it is the audio part that really annoyed me. In the end I resorted to the mobile phone as I at least knew the phone would carry a conversation. Maybe its just the game in particular, maybe its just me but I’ll give it one more go during the week. Bad enough that the games cost an arm and a leg and you still have to pay up to sixty quid a year for access to the online gaming environment but its worse still when the games lag (even on a 3mb connection) and the audio is unbearable.

Any Chorus 360 gamers around or NTL 360 gamers around with any tips?

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