We all love our games, and we certainly love being able to talk about gaming experiences with our friends. Microsoft brings these two and many more great features together in a single online connectivity service, and this, is Xbox Live.
Originally debuting back in 2002, a year after the launch of the original Xbox home gaming console, Xbox Live officially went online. Better known under the nickname, XBL, this Microsoft-run online feature brought together multiplayer features, social networking, online achievements, media downloads and so much more in a single location. Within days of its launch, gamers scrambled to log in, create their own Gamertags and become part of the quickly growing community.
Today, XBL is mostly accessed by Xbox 360 users which currently account for the largest portion of the XBL community. They are joined by users of the older Xbox system, PCs and new users of Windows Phone 7 mobile devices. All in all, the XBL community currently plays host to over 30 million users (as opposed to over 70 million for the PSN). This has made Microsoft’s online community a strong, self-sustaining, online industry for many developers and game publishers.
One of the main functions that XBL provides is the Gamerscore count. This is basically a numerical tally of in-game achievements accomplished by players. While the Gamerscore count cannot be used or consumed in any manner, many players often use this as a basis of comparison of their skill and progress as compared to others on their friends list. In order to ensure that the Gamerscore is not tampered with, Microsoft employs several undisclosed tracking methods in order to seek out cheating players. When found, those caught manipulating Gamerscore data are stripped of points and are publicly labeled as cheaters.
When it comes to skill comparison however, Microsoft has a much better tracking alternative: the TrueSkill match finder system. This little feature allows Xbox Live to keep track of a player’s in-game performance and ranks players according to their actual skill level. This allows the system to create match ups of players of similar skills levels in order to balance the game difficultly. While there are some known exploits in the system, many players often prefer TrueSkill’s ranked matches as a way to gauge their own playing levels.
Aside from providing players with bragging rights, the XBL service also provides plenty of content for players to download. Netflix, Hulu and other media sites can instantly be accessed with the XBL account for video content (some media services are restricted depending on the region of the player). Other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also incorporated into the service as well. More importantly, the XBL service also provides additional game related media and content. Trailers, downloadable demo versions and expansion packs are all available on the XBL service (though some will require payment).
With the Xbox Live service, Microsoft has been able to provide a comprehensive gaming experience for players on the Xbox 360, Windows PC and WP7 smart phone users with its great library of media channels, game add-ons and online community. If you own one of the above mentioned systems and have yet to make your own account, you should create one immediately and catch up on all the great content that you have been missing out on. Tip: if your a constant gamer, you might want to try this all natural supplement to help you concentrate, called listol focus formula. This will give you an edge against your opponent.