Publishers discontent with Xbox Live

Most retailers appear to still have stock of the Live kit, although major online e-tailer Amazon is thought to have sold out and is awaiting a restock, but the universal consensus is that the first weekend on sale has been a success for Xbox Live.

However, Electronic Arts and Eidos have rained on the bonfire by choosing this opportune moment to point out their continuing stance of not developing titles for Xbox Live due to their inability to reach mutually acceptable terms with Microsoft over the conditions of the service.

The loss of Electronic Arts is a major blow to Xbox Live, and has prompted unwanted comparisons with the ill-fated Dreamcast – a system whose miserable commercial failure is often attributed to EA’s decision not to support it. Eidos’ dissention is a rather less painful strike for Microsoft, but it does prove that this isn’t just a solitary decision by EA, and hints that other publishers may also follow suit.

The reasons behind EA’s decision not to support Live haven’t been elaborated upon publicly by the publisher, but it’s safe to say that it all boils down to a matter of control. Microsoft wants to keep as much of the marketing, branding, billing and hosting of Xbox Live under its control as possible; EA, however, wants to be able to change all of these aspects around in order to suit itself.

Microsoft’s argument would be that this would potentially be detrimental to the quality of the Xbox Live service to end users. They’re not wrong, either; sources have indicated to that one of EA’s demands is that they should be allowed to turn off servers for old versions of games as soon as they release new versions. So, for example, your copy of FIFA 2003 would stop working on Xbox Live as soon as FIFA 2004 showed up – a handy way to force punters to upgrade for EA, but not a great reflection on the Xbox Live service as a whole.

None of this is particularly new, however. The fact that EA isn’t going to develop for Live has been known for some time, although the reasons behind it are only gradually coming to light. Why has this story suddenly resurfaced at the crucial point when Microsoft launches Xbox Live into Europe?

Step forward Sony, architects of this little launch spoiler campaign. The Sony PR machine has had little to do over the last year or so other than watch Nintendo and Microsoft savage each other, and they’ve descended on this current battle over online services like a pack of hungry wolves. Quoted in an official Sony release a couple of days ago, EA’s John Riccitiello is effusive in his praise for the PS2 online plans; the same release reaffirmed, in case we’d all forgotten, that PS2 online is by far the biggest console online service in the world.

My installed base is bigger than yours

Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.

Console wars are so last-gen. Check out all the games that support crossplay

Crossplay is still in its infancy, but a growing number of games support online multiplayer between competing platforms. Here's a list of all games that support console crossplay.

Want to trick out your PlayStation 4? These themes will get you started

Personalize your gaming experience with some of our favorite themes for the PlayStation 4, including free, paid, static, and dynamic options.

‘Mortal Kombat 11’ is even gorier and crazier than we expected

NetherRealm Studios unveiled Mortal Kombat 11 on January 17 and the game looks to be just as gory and over the top as fans have come to expect. Former MMA fighter Ronda Rousey will appear as Sonya Blade.

Play your games whenever you want with a MicroSD card for your Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridge-based games, but its internal storage may fill up quicker than you would think. Here's what you should consider when picking out a MicroSD card to expand your Switch's storage capacity.

Get your pilot skills up to snuff for this week's 'Fortnite' challenge guide

The Fortnite season 7, week 7 challenges are now available. The major challenge this week requires you to visit all the Fortnite expedition outposts in the game and we walk you through how to get to each.

Get extra life with our tips and tricks for 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a much more difficult game than you'd believe based on its adorable art style and 2D perspective. Here's how you can master the game's toughest challenges.

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has two distinct Mario experiences in one package. In this guide, we'll show you how to find all of the secret exits in New Super Mario Bros. U, that lead to hidden levels and let you skip worlds.

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Luigi U Deluxe'

Just like all other 2D Mario games, New Super Mario Bros. Deluxe includes secret exits and world skips. In this guide, we'll show you how to get to all 12 secret exits in New Super Luigi U.

For Netflix, ‘Fortnite’ on YouTube is a bigger threat than HBO

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix explained that it views the video game Fortnite as bigger competition than HBO, with YouTube videos of the game drawing viewers away from the streaming platform.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.