**** Let me start off by saying that I do not own any shares of ERTS, and that I have been an avid EA Sports gamer since the first Madden game on the Sega Genesis. ****
I picked up my copy of NCAA 2005 for the Xbox yesterday thinking that I was about to play my best friend in Florida on Xbox live. Keep in mind that I have had no problems whatsoever with any Xbox live games in the past. I fired up NCAA 2005, and chose the "Play Online" option. This is not an exaggeration, the first 10 times I tried to connect to the EA servers I received an error message stating that I could not be connected. I decided to call my friend in Florida, and he was having the same issue. He finally got connected, and then I did as well about 5 minutes later (30 minutes for my first connection). I went to the Online Lobby where he was, and as soon as I connected to the Lobby the server booted me! I received a message saying that I had been disconnected from the server. I went through this same process again many times only to be booted when I tried to get to the Lobby.
2 hours later now......I connect to the server, I connect to the Lobby. I couldn't believe it I'm actually in the freaking Lobby where my friend is. Now I'm excited, because I can challenge him to play a game of NCAA. Well my excitement died away quickly. I attempted to challenge him and each time we would receive a message saying that the challenge had timed out, or that one of us was busy playing someone else. The Lobby enables you to chat with other users in the same Lobby, so I wasn't surprised when I started reading a lot of messages from fellow Xbox Live users complaining that they couldn't play anyone.
I'm hoping that EA has their act cleaned up by the time I get home today. You would think they would have Beta tested their servers hardcore considering this is their first title for Xbox Live. This has left a really bad taste in my mouth from my first Xbox Live experience with EA as I'm sure it has with other Xbox Live users.
My $50 purchase yesterday ended up being nothing more than a glorified way for me to chat with other Xbox Live users. I would expect a couple of minor bugs with their first release, but these were major bugs to the point you couldn't even play a game with someone.
If any of these problems exist when Madden is released you're going to see a lot of Xbox Live users turning to $20 ESPN NFL 2K5.
Some around here are, but not super busy so it's fine actually.
It's not scary exactly, just unnerving. I always have options, but i'd have to stir them up if I got laid off. Not worried really :)
And that $19.99 ESPN game will be in less than a week which means that this server downtime came at a perfect time for them. EA's mistake could be Sega's gain on the XBOX.
"If Sega was real smart, they'd provide a controller option that mimics the way the Madden controllers operate."
I see what you're saying. However, that is kind of the "pepsi dilemma". Most people think that Coca Cola tastes better than Pepsi, and they have thought so for years. Back in the day, Coke had their special recipe held secret accept for a few select executives/employees. Through the years, some of these execs were actually hired by Pepsi. They had the recipe to make coke.
However, had they changed their recipe they would have alienated their own consumers. Who cares right? They could get half of Coke's customers which would be more than they already had right? Not a chance. Pepsi could not compete with Coke on price (or distribution) and had they changed their formula, Coke would have buried them.
The same could occur with EA/Sega. Changing their controls would actually change the gameplay of Sega's football game and that could spell doom for the NFL 2k series.