Providing a “resource” that is really nothing more than a sales pitch/press release is nothing new for Microsoft. And it seems they’ve done it again with the launch of XBOX LIVE PIPELINE – sorry, didn’t mean to yell at you. That’s apparently the name of the site. Anyway, I almost shat myself when a friend pointed this out to me earlier today as it could have hindered a project I’m working on. I let out a sigh of relief, followed by a laugh, followed by 5 minutes of screaming at my monitor once I made a few clicks through the various efforts. So what is Xbox Live Pipeline and why am I bitching? Why, it’s “Your one-stop guide to Xbox Live Marketplace”. Actually, it’s not even close. Here’s why…

Finding Out What’s New

If there’s one thing this site should do, it’s tell users what’s recently been added to the marketplace. Or at the very least, let you sort by date so you can find out for yourself. There’s no news section, no “latest additions” and no feed. Seriously – you just launched a website, in late 2006 and there’s no feed? Seriously?

It’s All About The Details

If you’re looking for anything more than how much it costs, 2 screenshots, game ratings and a brief, single paragraph description, you’re in the wrong place. You might as well head to your local game shop and read the back of the games. For the most part, this is all that you’ll find here. When it comes to additional game content, this is useful. Although, not many of them actually have screenshots that are relevant to the new content. But if you’re after a new theme or game pics and want to preview them before you buy, you’re totally out of luck. These sections provide no more than an alphabetical list of themes/pics available. Even Xbox.com does a better job in this department.

We’ve Seen This All Before

Most importantly, all of this information and more is already available at Xbox.com in the Marketplace section. So why another site dedicated to producing an even worse resource for Xbox Live Marketplace content? Perhaps it’s still in its infant stage and not fully complete? But then again, we shouldn’t be seeing it if that were the case. Whatever the case may be, MS has launched another project so far from complete it only infuriates and disappoints the people it’s targeted towards.

Where to Look

The obvious answer would be – in the Marketplace via your Xbox 360 or the ads on your Xbox 360 Dashboard. But if you’re like me, they don’t work so well. I randomly get new ads – usually once every few weeks a new banner will pop up and I’ll be seeing it for weeks to come. Apparently, this is a known issue and was reported way back during beta testing of the Dashboard, but it’s yet to be resolved. In turn, I have to manually click through all of the Marketplace sections to see if there’s new content. Well, that’s what I used to do. Now, I just check in with Major Nelson to see what’s new. The Xbox.com site does have a feed for this sort of thing, but it rarely gets updated – as of now, October 1 (10 days ago) was the last new piece of content mentioned in the feed. Major Nelson normally posts every bit of content that gets added to the Marketplace. Everything from game demos, to movie trailers, to themes and gamer pics. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have previews of the themes or pics and for the most part, it takes a few days for them to show up on Xbox.com.

“Man, You’re Fuckin’ Bitter!”

You know what? I really am. It seems that just about everything tied to the Xbox 360 has been half-assed to this point. Sure, things get corrected and finished once they’re out there for a while. But, how about taking the time to get it right and finish it before it’s placed in the consumers’ hands? I guess in the land of Microsoft, hitting a deadline is more important than delivering a quality product. It’s unfortunate really. So many things have showed great potential but have fallen short. It looks like Sony is headed down the same path with the PS3, so be prepared for lots more complaining from gaming enthusiasts in the coming months.

I’m not one to voice my opinion of something unless I have a solution. And while I don’t have a solution for an alternate Xbox Live Marketplace content resource, I do have something up my sleeve that will bridge the gap in one area. It’s speeding along at a rapid pace and will be online before you know it. As you might have guessed, I have someone else working on it as well – otherwise, it would be sitting stagnant with every other great idea I’ve come up with. 😛

7 Comments

Bill Gates prides himself on being able to "ship" products on time. Having those products work is another story entirely.

And while I don’t have a solution for an alternate Xbox Live Marketplace content resource, I do have something up my sleeve that will bridge the gap in one area. It’s speeding along at a rapid pace and will be online before you know it. As you might have guessed, I have someone else working on it as well – otherwise, it would be sitting stagnant with every other great idea I’ve come up with. 😛

I’d love to know more. 😉

Finally someone that is making online gaming personal. While I really enjoy playing some of the games that are currently out for the 360 and look forward to the ones to come, so many issues have been arising.

I believe Nintendo are headed in the right direction if they live up to the hype.

Major Nelson does a stellar job, I’m not sure how us 360 enthusiasts would survive without his up to the minute news.

Looking forward to seeing what you’re up to… sounds intruiging.

Glad I’ve piqued your interest with mention of my new project. It’s coming along quite nicely and I’m totally getting excited about it!

On a related note, I was listening to the latest Major Nelson podcast and he mentioned the Xbox Live Pipeline. "…a lot of the information that’s on there is late, inaccurate or just plain wrong." Made my smile, to say the least. 🙂

[…] Oh, a clever one you are! No, time is not the only factor here. This site has always sat kind of awkwardly with me. As much as I’m proud of the work I’ve done and the service Andrew and I have brought to the community, I’ve always had this negativity surrounding the whole ordeal. Think of why we built this site to begin with. Because Microsoft has a store with invisible products that you can’t return if you don’t like them. The fact that we’re nearing the two year anniversary of the Xbox 360 and there’s still no way to preview themes on the Marketplace makes me fucking irate! Where else is this sort of scheme acceptable? It’s bad enough that we have to pay for what is essentially desktop wallpaper which is freely available on every other platform that makes use of them, but we can’t even see what we’re buying until it’s paid for. And finally – there’s absolutely no refunds for dissatisfied customers. Now that’s a great commerce model. Yes, I am bitter – we’ve been through this. […]

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