Sometimes you just have to hand it to Microsoft – this is a hard review to write because quite honestly, Microsoft is about to revolutionize the way you play games online, and this is not hyperbole.
I’ve been beta testing Xbox Live since August with a tens of thousands of other subscribers. I’ve been thoroughly impressed at the lack of lag, the clarity of voice response and the top notch gameplay.
First, let’s take a look at what came with my kit:
Keep in mind that this was a beta kit – your retail kit will look slightly different. Specifically, your retail kit will only have one CD ( a bonus NFL Fever Live Edition
CD was included in the beta) and you won’t have your GamerTag engraved on the headset, nor will you receive the memory card.
Here’s what’s in the retail package:
Xbox Live CD with Moto GP, Whacked and movies of Xbox Live games NFL Fever & MechAssault as well as an Xbox Live movie showing a guy getting his butt kicked in NFL Fever.
The headset plugs into a nifty looking card that fits in your Xbox controller. The nifty looking card has a button and a volume control. The button will make an LED change color from red to green on the nifty card. Red means your voice is muted (no one can hear you online), and green means you’re talking to the world. No other power input is necessary – you’ll be using the Xbox’s electrical power for the headset.
Because I was provided a press account for Xbox live, I didn’t partake in the setup of my account. I am told that you’ll need a credit card and a gamertag of your choosing to sign up. BE CAREFUL when choosing a GamerTag – you’ll be committed to that for life (unless you purchase a new starter kit), so if you’re an idiot and say, choose a GamerTag that has the name of a now defunct website that you ran, you are stuck with it. Oh well.
Even though you did purchase the Xbox Live system for $50 which included one year of service, you’ll still need to enter a valid credit card upon sign up. Sorry, that’s the breaks. Also, you’ll need to enter your Xbox Live subscription code, which is reminiscent of one of those CD Keys and is a real pain to enter when you don’t have a keyboard.
Once you put the disc in the drive and sign up, the Xbox Live beta disc will update your Xbox console adding a new tab on the dashboard, called “Xbox Live” interestingly enough. When you select this tab, you can edit any of your IP settings and make sure that Xbox Live is online and working. Personally, I recommend using a router especially if your PC is next to your Xbox so you aren’t flipping connections back and forth. Router setup is very easy – setting up my Xbox online was a lot easier than setting up my PS2 – at least that’s the way it felt to me.
You can always check the official Xbox site
for additional network setup instructions.
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