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stu140103
17-12-2003, 02:58 PM
from Computerworld

Xbox Live could provide new year bill shock

Paul Brislen, Auckland

Anyone receiving Xbox Live for Christmas could have an unhappy new year if the Australian experience is anything to go by.

Xbox Live, launched in time for the pre-Christmas shopping rush, allows users of Microsoft's Xbox gaming console to play against other users online.

However the Australian experience is that broadband traffic charges will limit demand for the service.

Xbox Live requires at least a 256Kbit/s service - Telecom's new JetStream Home service is aimed at just such a user, however Telecom's billing regime charges users for both upload and download traffic.

In Australia gamers have discovered this can be a costly business. According to posters to Telstra's BigPond gamer forum, traffic downloaded during games range from 7MB per hour for the simplest games, such as MotoGP, while the more popular first person shooters (FPS) like Return to Castle Wolfenstein (RTCW) have been clocked at up to 21MB per hour.

One Sydney user, who has been playing for up to six months, says uploading to multiple users can churn through traffic at a great rate of knots.

"When I host 16 player RTCW on my Telstra uncapped cable I consume about 90MB download and 210MB upload per hour (thats 300MB/hour in total)."

On Telecom's basic JetStream Home package, with a traffic cap of 500MB, the user would end up paying excess charges before the second hour was over. From there on, Telecom charges 20 cents per megabyte even for domestic traffic.

However, that's only the download side of the game - uploading uses traffic as well. Xbox Live in New Zealand is run as a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. That means one player will host a game, and others will log on to play. The host player will be uploading traffic to the other players during the course of the game.

If a game has 10 players that means the upload traffic is increased tenfold, for example. A game with 10 players, each using 10MB an hour of uploaded traffic will cost the host player 100MB an hour, plus their own traffic usage. This would reduce their playing time from 23 hours a month to less than five hours a month.

Xbox Live also includes a headset so players can talk to each other during the game. This voice service will also use traffic, although players are less sure how much this will cost.

Telstra has recently dropped its traffic caps in Australia, relying instead on a soft cap at 10GB of traffic a month, followed by a reduction in the speed of the user's connection. In response, Optus, the number two telco in Australia, has introduced new caps for its cable service ahead of a complete revamp of the service next year. The new plans include an increase in traffic levels from 550MB per month to 3GB per month.

PC gamers can play without incurring traffic charges at all. Telecom introduced its JetStream Games realm several years ago and players who log on to servers within the realm aren't charged for traffic. No such facility is available for Xbox players.

Microsoft did not return Computerworld Online calls.

--------------

Hmmm, it will be interesting to see what happens in the New Year ;)

I wonder if telecom gets a wake up call....!

metla
17-12-2003, 03:07 PM
a wake up call?

more likely a fat load of cash.

telecom wont care.

stu140103
17-12-2003, 03:16 PM
> more likely a fat load of cash.
>
> telecom wont care.

Na, it will be more like a whole help of unhappy & out of pocked parents!

ugh1
17-12-2003, 03:20 PM
Easy solution, find something else to do instead of sitting in front of the brian killer... Lots of books to read, bikes to ride, skate boards to ride etc..

Perhapes parents will finally see the light or debt collectors...

CYaBro
17-12-2003, 03:27 PM
Who's Brian?? :D

ugh1
17-12-2003, 03:34 PM
> Who's Brian?? :D


Should be brain, already it kills mine!

csinclair83
17-12-2003, 04:02 PM
telecom should make a new plan for xbox users...
more expensive yes but likie 50gig upload and 50gig download for $100 or so a month?
I know some ppl would rather use this on the net for downloads but is there a way of limiting it to only use on xbox, meaning if u try and connect to the internet on the computer using that plan then you wont have any luck...

i know its more money for telecom but i rather see telecom make money than more homeless people after spending all their wages/pocketmoney/salary on xbox live....and having excess mbs to pay for..

i also wonder since these are expensive, and if the lines go "free" as at the moment they are in telecom's hands...would microsoft set up a ISP to cater for xbox live? and would Sony set upa ISP to cater for Playstation live if that comes out?

zminos
17-12-2003, 07:43 PM
I doubt telecom would give xbox users a 50gig up/download account at any price, considering what the businesses pay for a 1gig accoung :)

I do think that telecom and microsoft should come together and address an all in one package for Live! users though... with clear statements about cost etc and have a reliable way of checking usage in real time ( which narrow/broadband pc users would appreciate ) to the benefit especially of parents.

Murray P
17-12-2003, 09:25 PM
> I do think that telecom and microsoft should come
> together and address an all in one package for Live!
> users though... with clear statements about cost etc
> and have a reliable way of checking usage in real
> time ( which narrow/broadband pc users would
> appreciate ) to the benefit especially of parents.

I would be surprised if they have not already discussed this. A fly on the wall may have heard something along these lines:

Some time ago in never never land a telephone rings

MS: Hi ya Teresa how's it hanging, oh yeah! sorry bout that. *Idle chit chat*. Hey anyway we've got the new X Box coming out towards the end of this year or early 04. It will be capable of connecting multiple users onlne for gaming sessions and the upside is that it requires a 256K internet connection.

Teresa: Well now, that's very interesting. I'll have to get the marketing crew onto a strategy to migrate our dialup users to a more lucrative...ah, I mean efficient and desirable internet plan. Hmm, I wonder if we can persuade our Jetstarter users to move too, lets see, if we screw down their usage caps by, say half, they just might see the chance of a faster connection as being viable.

MS: Cool, I thought you would be pleased. The next version after that is going to be even better. It will need a 512K connection and man, oh sorry again, anyway it'll chew up usage like you'll never believe. The one after that we'll make so that it can only run through our special P2P servers and the ISP must be one of our Trusted Computing Partners. It will have a "Secure" from the user of course, interface with credit card swipe access so we can start charging as soon as the connection is made with the server. Huh? Whats that, you would prefer to charge our fees through your accounts. Ok, that could work, we'll supply the softawre of course, I'll have a truck deliver the draft EULA next week.

Teresa: Thinking to herself. Hmm, this guys got it all planned, sneaky little so & so. Will have to watch him or he'll be screwing the life out of our Teleserfs before we can. I can see a pay rise coming earlyish 2004.

The End

Cheers Murray ;P

and a very Merry xmas to you all ;)

zminos
17-12-2003, 09:44 PM
lol well dun muzza.... :D

I can now imagine the phonecall was something like that...

oh yeah and happy christmas one and all.

:)

Baldy
17-12-2003, 11:06 PM
The first rule of a successful business (believe it or not) is to find ways of increasing the market share of your business and making BIGGER profits.

Telecom is not the Salvation Army

Murray P
18-12-2003, 12:36 AM
> The first rule of a successful business (believe it
> or not) is to find ways of increasing the market
> share of your business and making BIGGER profits.
>
> Telecom is not the Salvation Army

:O Baldy! What a novel idea ;).

Now how does that work in language I can understand. Let me see.....

Advance apologies to any vehicle distribution specialists in the audience.

"Hey Mr car shark, how much is that old banger in the back corner over there" "Hey that's my c.." hmmm... " Kiddo have I got a deal for you, hows about you give me $100,000.00 for that there vehicle" "Gee, I don't know, is it worth that much?" "Sure it is kiddo, and I'll tell you what, I'll even throw in the cost of the tow truck to get it to your place and I can put in a good word with the tire shop next door as well. Now what's your pin number kiddo?" "1234 Sir"

Little Johnny new he was getting a fair deal because many years ago, when the family could afford an internet connection, he used to like playing online games with his pal's. One day a truck delivered their monthly bill from Telecom and when Johnny sneaked a peak at the bottom line he almost fainted with fright. But his dear old dad told him it was only fair as Telecom had many mouths to feed and their main mission amd very highest priority was to ensure that the people who had invested in Telecom made a fair return on their investment and the executive bonuses needed to come from somewhere as well. Now this struck little Johnny as being perfectly reasonable and he never forgot it. Which of course made him very popular in the business community.

The moral of the story is that most business' has as it's primary purpose, to make a profit. Given the opportunity and the right conditions they will maximise that profit to the hilt. If they have to tread on a few people on the way they will if there is no resistance or regulatory control that says otherwise. There are exceptions and most small businesses can't operate in this way.

Cheers Murray P

csinclair83
18-12-2003, 12:43 AM
if xbox sells pretty well telecom would be making profits if they made a dedicated xbox plan...

if 50gig a month is too much maybe they should charge like a $1 every 500-600mb or something they would be making a bit of money that way too...

ihug has these plans that if u go on it and u exceed it then they have a $ limit on excess time used...

so if they did $5 every 1gig used...and a cap of $100-200 a month so that kids/parents can know that the bill at the end of the month would be $200 or under...

telecom doesnt have to be the salvation army, they just need to realise the rate of technology these days and try and cater for it...
better adsl, and also have something for xbox live and ps2 if that comes out....they just need to improve everything basically, they are just damn lucky the lines all belong to telecom or they mite just as well be out of business now....coz i;m sure telstraclear, along with other isps would surely have some plans around...

metla
18-12-2003, 12:50 AM
Telecom doesnt have to do or provide any of those things,they dont have to provide a fair deal,they dont have to care about there customers.

They own the market,and the money is flowing there way in huge amounts.

All they do is look at the cost of something,add whatever there profit is onto it and make it available.If people want that service badly enogh they will pay for it,if not,then tough,Telecom wont lower there profit margin.

sam m
18-12-2003, 08:56 AM
> Telecom doesnt have to do or provide any of those
> things,they dont have to provide a fair deal,they
> dont have to care about there customers.
>
> They own the market,and the money is flowing there
> way in huge amounts.
>
> All they do is look at the cost of something,add
> whatever there profit is onto it and make it
> available.If people want that service badly enogh
> they will pay for it,if not,then tough,Telecom wont
> lower there profit margin.

there/their........(just a pet hate ex teacher talking)

I guess the question is as an individual owning a business and also a monopoly then we wouldnt do the same thing as we know in the deep recesses of our nature we would never stoop to making a profit to the maximum, but then again we may never know as monopolies are hard to come by.

As a corporation which is governed by the shareholders who would demand maximum return for their investments then questions would be asked if the most profit was not obtained.

However these shareholders are individuals who are also consumers who use such products. Are they not then members of the society that are being so blatantly being victimised by the evil corporations of the world.

Therefore we are screwing ourselves.

Dolby Digital
18-12-2003, 09:29 AM
>>Telecom is not the Salvation Army
I thought everything is a business these days... user pays and all that stuff.

Chilling_Silently
18-12-2003, 09:53 AM
Baldy's got a very good point.

If you own the market, why not bend and stretch your customers to get some extra dosh outa them. Its not like there's much alternative for most.

So they get a little hate-mail evey now and then, but who's made it big in this world and has the support of eveybody?

We're really just guinea pigs...

flyer590
18-12-2003, 06:39 PM
Sure Telecom can screw New Zealanders out of every last cent now, but when a little bit of competition comes along do you think anyone will still want to be with them?

agent
19-12-2003, 12:00 AM
I'm wondering if anyone else watched Home Truths on TV3 tonight.

Teresa whatsername, CEO of Telecom, said they were in the tech sector.

*Cough* Yeah right, Teresa; Telecom is in the utility sector. They're no better than Mercury Energy, or other such utility companies.

Laura
19-12-2003, 01:19 AM
I have no axes to grind here & no allegiances - and yes, I find the Telecom monopoly irksome.

But we have in NZ an agreement (since the old Post Office days ) that constrains Telecom from charging for local calling. That is something people in most countries have to pay for & we take for granted.

When that agreement was made, the Internet. its users & its bandwidths was a miniscule aspect of its operations, which were mainly to provide telephone voice links.

Nowadays,it's a completely different ballgame.
I suspect Telecom may be forced to make concessions on its monopoly in future, but that may well mean that we are charged for local calls from our home phones.
If it comes to that sort of trade-off, computer-users may have to consider carefully how important playing games is compared with Grandma being able to afford her phone calls.

Something to think about....

zminos
19-12-2003, 01:24 AM
MS & Telecm are so similar that its not funny.

PC users have wanted "real time" updates of their cap usage, and what do you get with Live!?

nothing

There is NO way to work out your usage ( guess why you need a credit card ) so you just get billed.

Happy christmas to those un-infomed parents who think "keep my kids happy" till about febuary... and then realise that they ( the parents for example ) get the bill!!

Then they realise they can't re-sell the Live! pack because it is "registerd" to their own xbox.

Think before you buy

well do the research anyway.

:)