It's almost 2 months now since I deactivated my X-Box LIVE Gold subscription and I am nowhere close to subscribing to it again. I do however want to play some online Super Street Fighter IV - why did I get the X-Box 360 version again? Oh, the graphics - but that will be remedied once Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition hits the Personal Computer later this year. There was one moment several weeks ago when I almost did resubscribe to that darn LIVE Gold because I found a local gamer - whom I met via a gaming forum - and before I decide to hang out with anybody in the real, I sure want to play with him or her online first to get to know that person better. I wasn't able to do that however and I explained to him that I just unsubscribe to the service but I may get back on it in the future (a little white lie?) to keep the connection alive since I don't have any local gaming friends at all and the guy only plays on the 360. Since we are not playing any games online and that I hardly ever log-on to LIVE these days, the interaction has been kept to a minimum with us sending a message or two to each other every so often. This morning, I decided to visit the X-Box website to reply to a message he sent me last night that I didn't get a chance to reply back to and then I saw something horrible:
Is that why the Message Center banner is gold-colored?
Apparently, without X-Box LIVE Gold, you can't send messages to others using the website. I just found this to be too ironic because I can play online games for free using LIVE on the PC. No Microsoft, I will not pay for a subscription just to get the privilege of using the Message Center to send messages to people when I can just quickly launch Fallout 3 and sign in to LIVE from there. Hopefully, 360 gamers will realize one day that online gaming should be a free service - we have paid more than enough for the hardware and the software, people - and that Microsoft should loosen things up on the console like they did with the more savvy PC community.