Xbox Live South Africa : The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

XBLSAGBU

With today’s earlier announcement that Xbox Live South Africa has finally gotten a solid release date, gamers are pretty jubilant.

Now that the unicorns have ridden away on their magic rainbows, and the pixie dust has settled, let’s take a look at the benefits and deficits of local Xbox Live.

The Good

The overwhelmingly positive news is of course, that we’re finally getting Xbox Live; and soon, too. This will help with locale based matchmaking games, ensuring we play with those in relative proximity, ensuring a lag-free, smooth online experience. It also means there will be far more south Africans on Xbox Live, as many people are unwilling to jump through the hoops necessary to connect to Xbox Live at the moment.

Hopefully, this’ll eliminate the multiplayer “bubble” that exists, where multiplayer games remain popular locally for about two weeks, before people default to old stand-bys like Halo, Call of Duty and Gears of War.

Also, with confirmation that gamers will be able to migrate their Xbox Live UK and US accounts to ZA  – keeping their Gamertags, collected gamerscore, MS points and remaining Gold subscriptions in-tact. There is, however, a caveat;

The Bad

At the present time, after migrating your account, you will no longer be able to download games, music etc tied to your account. They are actively working to get around that restriction, so the content you’ve paid for becomes available to you again – but take that as a warning. Until it’s sorted, post migration, if your 360 dies you won’t be able to re-download the content you’ve paid for. Here’s what the official FAQ says on the matter :

Q: Will I be able to re-download purchased content after migration e.g. games, videos, music and apps?

A: Our goal is to allow members to re-download all of their purchased content after migrating accounts, and we’re actively working to address this. However, at this point in time, once you migrate you will no longer be able to re-download content. Members should re-download purchased content to their hard drive or USB flash drive prior to migrating.

The Ugly

And then there’s the pricing. The local retail price for 12 month Gold subscriptions will be a whopping R599 compared to the US price of $49.99 (R345), and UK price of £39.99 (R438). MS Points are a little more reasonable and will retail at R299 for 2100 points, a little more than the UK RRP of £25 (R273). Evopoints, for example, sells their worldwide 12 month subs for R399.

There’s also the fact that for the time being the service may be slightly gimped. Additional services like Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Zune and the like won’t be available for South African accounts at launch, but are expected at some point.

There exists a host of pros and cons, and the decision over whether or not to migrate will require lots of thinking. Still, there’s no reason to dwell on the negative. We finally have Xbox Live – and that’s something to shout about.

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Author:Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Nazcanlines

    Do you guys know if all games will be available ie will we be able to download duke nukem 3d?

  • http://www.lazygamer.co.za Karl Thomson

    Great to hear we are getting XBL. I have no idea why they are charging us _so_ much for the service, but compared to price of other MS products, unsurprising.

  • http://www.qcfdesign.com Aequitas

    The price hike and not being able to re-download things that you *own* are killing my enthusiasm here. What’s the point of migrating and then not being able to get the things you *paid for*.

    The price hike i could get around by just buying the intl time cards from evopoints, or stocking up my live subscription for like 3 years … but the chance of losing the ability to re-download content is too much :/

  • http://www.designwave.co.za Nick de Bruyne

    Yes as far as I know all region blocking content will be available to us now, although that will actually have nothing to do with which type of Live account.

  • Christo Le Grange

    I feel like we’re stranded on the open water on a yacht with irritating Americans & Brits as crew members, and there on the horizon is the ‘SA PAPSKIETER”, with only 1 motor working and the sail is torn, but its heading home to dry land, the PAPSKIETER will get there eventually, but we will have to row our asses of to get somewhere!

    …point is, do we migrate now and receive a dodgy service which is expensive, and lets face it, at launch will be less than stellar…but at least its ours??..
    or do we stay with the current setup which isn’t that great because we dont live in the respective countries,but it is working?

  • WeRRieS ZA

    We be having Xbox LIVE, shout! Now we can get some of you fellows on the Trevor Noah show to go pawn the Daywalker! lol

  • Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    Fuck! I WAS actually looking forward to local xbox live, but the “bad” definitely outweighs the good in this regard. There’s no way in hell, I’m giving up my downloads and paid for content (with the lukewarm promise that they “MIGHT” transfer all my licenses over). Not to mention, that local live will be more expensive (but without the additional content).

    I think I’ll still create a dummy account on xbox live SA (which will eventually become a silver), just to represent, but my real account will remain UK based.

    Screw you Microsoft! You suck! You really can’t get it right can you? :x

  • Uberutang

    My account wills stay UK until 2011/02 at what point it will expire and I will not bother with Live again this generation.

  • AC!D

    Every move these guys are making as of late from Kinect to X-box live to delaying complete games just really make me think they are the most arrogant gaming company to ever grace the console idustry. You know if you go and convert the price from rands and post the actual dollar figure for this subscription fee or just the price of Kinect alone in a Yank or Pom forum they freaking laugh their asses off at you.

  • Ezee-T

    All the con/negatives mentioned are for people who already have Xbox-Live, and isn’t R600 the price of 1 new game?? I understand all the other negatives but to complain about R600 for a 12 month contract is just stupid………..

    Lets not complain for the sake of complaining!!!

  • Ezee-T

    Wow, really??? It’s only R600 dude!!!

  • Ezee-T

    Do yall know that it’s R600 for a 12 month subsrciption?? And let’s be honest with each other, if you can afford the bandwidth costs of using Netflix and downloading every new game on LIVE then you shouldn’t be compaining about R600…………

  • Smeagal

    Its about time..been fighting for this as long as I can remember.Im not going to complain just happy we have it..

  • Bobby Kotick for Dummies Pissed Off edition

    “OMG dude, like it’s only R600, dude, like wow dude, like wow.”

    Easy there tiger, don’t bust a nut. We’re not upset that it’s R600, but that in comparison to other countries we’ll be paying a premium, regardless that the Rand is stronger than ever, and a straight conversion of $60 is actually R412.35 (so why exactly are we paying almost R200 more?).

    By the way, skippy, if it launched at R700 and the rest of the world paid R700 too, it wouldn’t be a problem. In addition, if we got the same features as the US then it wouldn’t be a big deal either. I’m sure those in EU territories, grumble about this as well (the whole bullshit about $1 = 1Euro when the truth is the Euro holds more value, and Microsoft is actually raping the wallets of everyone in the EU), but at least, their xbox live will still be at a lower price point than ours.

    If you’re happy to pay MORE than other countries for a service that’ll most likely launch with the bare minimum of features, then be my guest. If you’re actually from the US, then FUCK OFF, because you have no idea, what we’re taking about, and never will. If you’re actually Aussious and trolling… ;) Fuck off too :P

  • AC!D

    And R400 everywhere else in the world so what part of MS screwing us up the ass didnt you comprehend?

    The rest of the world pays R400 for features we arent getting. So essentially we are paying R600 for a feature that is free on PC and PS3. Then we have to pay more than everyone else in the world for MS points also. Again what part of that didnt you comprehend?

    Oh and yes R600 is alot it means i have 10 less games in my collection by the end of the 360′s life cycle.

  • salvoza

    I think its worth it, especially the locale stuff that will allow you to play multiplayer games with fellow South Africans!!

  • Baron Von Awesome

    Reading these comments just makes me a little more happier that it’s coming to SA. At least we can swear at each other in good ol’ South African.

    My only peeve is not with xbox but with the interweb providers. They can’t handle the load now, what are they gonna do when every tom, dick, harry jump on. We shall see.

    Later Biatches

  • Toutjies

    Will we at least have the facility for DLC? R600 is a tad rough, but hey, at least now we can see South Africa is advancing in the right direction, console wise…

  • Ezee-T

    I couldn’t stop laughing at “Aussious and trolling”……. Touche sir, touche indeed!!!!

    “Is there an economist in the house……..??”.

    The first problem you have is that you think Microsoft and other big companies, that provide subscription services to countries outside their home border, use direct currency conversions to come up with the price points that they charge people for their services. There are so many factors to consider like market size, market geographics, the gaming culture of the country and many more factors I couldn’t possibly begin to name without boring you more than I already have…….

  • Slassher

    This tauted “improved local matchmaking” is a bunch of bull. It will only work in the following scenarios.

    1: There is a “massive” increase in user signup of PNC’s (previously not connected) so that there are more players to search. I personally connect to games through my friends list and VERY seldom do a cold game search.

    2:You have a game so unpopular that non of your current friends have it or play it. But then ask this: Will there be that many other locals who play it as well and why aren’t they already on your friends list.

    I just ask one favor of the community:

    When we go Live! in SA can someone please check if the 3rd party codes (Live subs and points) work on the SA profile. If yes then we can all happily stick our thumbs between our 1st and middle fingers and wave it at Microsoft’s SA pricing policy.

  • Ezee-T

    Agreed. I wonder if Iburst will provide a dedicated service for console gamers with LIVE accounts like the one they already have for PC gamers.

  • Slassher

    Just had a thought.

    Maybe we are being overly harsh at MS.

    What if its our own crappy government/tax orrificers that are responsible for the huge markup on the cost. Perhaps we are the victim again of some ‘hand in the cookie jar’ middleman who want his stukkie?

  • Ezee-T

    Xbox-Live didn’t debut with Netflix, Facebook and Twitter, people were paying $50 since the beginning……….

  • Ezee-T

    My point exactly……….

  • PsyM0nkey

    Would we be able to migrate to an SA account, but still buy subs and points from overseas ditros? And will they work?

  • ReAVeR

    I don’t see any mention of the fact that the R600 price tag is in keeping with price hike that is happening everywhere else as from 1 Nov.

  • Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    @Aussious aka Ezee-T: You’re point about market size would have been valid had it not been for the fact that the product in question is globally recognised (and in fact an ONLINE service), which is actually requiring different territories to pay very different prices (mostly higher than their American counterparts but with much less features).

    You could argue that we’re probably going to pay extra for launching in Africa and thus the infrastructure involved, but then that amount should have been covered elsewhere, be it through hardware or software sales (Which is odd because for the last 4.5 years we have been paying more for our games as well – Occam’s Razor applies: The simplest answer is Microsoft is just greedy and wants to rape our wallets as hard as possible, because xbots and their money are easily parted).

  • Ezee-T

    Shit!!!! I completely forgot about that………..

  • Ezee-T

    @Bobby Kotick for Dummies: I completely forgot about the price-hike thats gonna be in effect from 1 Nov……….. I’m such an idiot!!!!

    I guess Microsoft weren’t trying to rape your wallets after all.

  • Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    @Aussious:

    LOL! You try to hard.

    If you’ll notice my currency conversion takes into account the price increase (i.e. xbox live annual subscription increases from $50 to $60 = which if converted to rands is R412.35, not.. R600), which incidentally only affects the US* (for now).

    *Oh and presumably us as well!

  • Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    ReAVer, you need to check what the Rand-Dollar exchange is:

    $60 = R412.539 (and not R600). lol!

    http://www.x-rates.com/calculator.html

  • Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    BULLSHIT! You’re honestly blaming government for our Live being more expensive? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  • car

    Portugal the same shit 60 euros for 12 months

  • Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    and what’s worse… $60 does not equal 60 Euros. I wonder whether the Russians will also get screwed over.

  • Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    and what’s worse… $60 do not equal 60 Euros. I wonder whether the Russians will also get screwed over.

  • AC!D

    This give and take thing from MS is really annoying. We get empty promises for four years and finally when they cede we end up paying over the odds and still we lose out on all the great services the rest of the world is privy too. The services which were used i might add as an excuse for the Live price hike just a few weeks ago.

    I guess ill be sticking to my free Xbox Live trial cards till MS decide to see the light. It just takes one action e.g evryone not renewing their subscriptions for one year and then multiplayer would be free. Gamers Union for the win!!!

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  • Aussious aka Remember the 4th November

    Ey I give up I wasn’t even on this post but poeple are sending responses to me…

  • monstarr

    Yeaahhh….I think I’ll stick to the worldwide subscription. I think it’s better than not having any xbox live support in SA at all. But why pay more when you can pay less and get more?

    I reckon there’s going to be some cool development around kinect on xbox arcade etc. So I don’t want to get locked into not having access to that.

    Don’t hate on kinect haha!

  • xboxer

    what is the minimum connection speed required to play a game like modern warfare on xbox live?

  • http://www.lazygamer.net Gavin Mannion

    I used to play on a 384k line,… it wasn’t perfect but it was playable..

    But I would strongly recommend getting a 4Mb line and an unshaped ISP account for the best experience.

  • http://iafrica.com Hadlee

    I still play on a 384Kb line, it’s definitely playable. The only exceptions are beat ‘em up titles, with UFC being a slideshow for example.

    Now if only Telkom would stop lying and just give me my 4Mb upgrade…

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