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Teleidoscope

Teleidoscope

1/8/2013 6:15:17 AM
You know, I noticed something when I signed into Xbox LIVE today that hit me like a brick - I had barely talked to any of my online friends in months. And there's a reason why it saddened me... Going back to the "golden age" of online gaming (referring to Xbox LIVE), say, 2003 - 2008, I realized that I was in regular contact with nearly everyone on my LIVE friends list, whether it was in-game or using the dashboard. It seemed like every night, there were at least a handful of people online whom I was in touch with consistently, and in a matter of minutes I could be in a game, having a blast with my friends, both from real life and online. (Moreover, for perspective, I'm currently 21) To me, Halo 2 had the perfect formula. You could quickly interact with your friends, as well as other gamers, and communicate efficiently via the simple user interface provided in-game. It meant no fussing, hassling, or waiting. And I remember days in Halo 2 when everyone had a mic plugged in, ready to dish out strategy (or insults) to their teammates (or opponents). So what's changed? It seems that since the demise of Halo 2, Microsoft just hasn't gotten it right. Since the introduction of the NXE, the clunky interface of the friends system is slow, lacks innovation, and is just plain annoying to use. You're severely limited when it comes to communication, and interacting with your friends is a nightmare while in a game. To be fair, newer versions of games like CoD and Halo 4 seem to be getting the idea, by including the ability to quickly access your friends list in-game. But it stops there. You can't do much besides invite them to a game or look at their stats. So what's the answer? I think the winning formula here is a seamlessly integrated approach. We more than likely won't be seeing this on the current 360. Maybe I'm just nostalgic, and perhaps this issue just doesn't matter much to people anymore. But there is no excuse for the next generation Xbox console to not have friends tightly integrated into the overall gaming experience - something it has been lacking for years. [Edited on 01.07.2013 10:17 PM PST]

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