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Gaming With An Opponent Who's 'Over There'?

simoniker posted about 11 years ago | from the boxen-do-the-talkin' dept.

XBox (Games) 40

Thanks to the New York Times for their article discussing the US military's efforts to connect overseas personnel and their families via Xbox Live. This story, which expands on previous coverage of the scheme, notes: "For family members, playing video games with their relatives in the military stationed abroad brings a sense of familiarity to the interaction", and a spokesperson for Xbox Live is quoted as saying: "We're out there making sure that things are working for them... there's nothing better than having a person who can actually experience connecting to Germany or from Kuwait back with his family member or one of their best friends. It's great because they become wonderful advocates for Xbox."

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XBox? (2, Insightful)

Cave Dweller (470644) | about 11 years ago | (#7984223)

Umm, I don't see how playing Halo against your family can replace simply talking to them on the phone (or better, video conferencing -- which would be cheaper than mass-ordering XBoxes).

But then again, what do I know?

Re:XBox? (4, Insightful)

Dark Nexus (172808) | about 11 years ago | (#7984309)

Replace? I don't think it can.

But it can add variety. I mean, talk on the phone with them one day, play a game with them the next day.

Think about what any gamer will do with an old friend they haven't seen in awhile. They'll talk for a bit, then sit down and play *insert current game closest to what you used to play with that friend* with (or against) them (though probably continue chatting while doing it).

It just adds another level of interaction that can be nice when you're already able to talk to them on the phone. I mean, there's only so much catching up and small talk you can do.

Re:XBox? (1)

Cave Dweller (470644) | about 11 years ago | (#7984435)

Yeah, you're probably right. Think of the possibilities -- they can talk _today_ about the games they played _yesterday_. ;)

Re:XBox? (1)

@madeus (24818) | about 11 years ago | (#7984565)

Umm, I don't see how playing Halo against your family can replace simply talking to them on the phone

Well with all Xbox Live games you talk directly to the other players using the rather funky head set you get when you sign up (and the new inbuilt dashboard I gather, which I've not used [I'm not sure if it's been rolled out yet]).

It's actually cheaper to by an xbox do do this too it's just a shame there is not camera for the xbox as there is for the PS2 (at least there isn't as far as I'm aware).

Re:XBox? (1)

@madeus (24818) | about 11 years ago | (#7984586)

* It's actually cheaper to by an xbox to do this too

(By which I mean cheaper than buying a PC for VoIP, and ultimately cheaper than lots of long distance phone calls.)

Re:XBox? (1)

FubarPA (670436) | about 11 years ago | (#7985173)

The chat feature on the dashboard was rolled out in November, if I remember correctly. And, it works pretty nice, and saves on the long distance bills at the same time.

Re:XBox? (0)

NetPoser (266960) | about 11 years ago | (#7984681)

Have you ever priced Video Conferencing? You could buy thousands of Xboxes for what it would cost to even setup 2 video conferencing sites. Now you have to have each family go to the VC center etc.. that adds up...

They could also setup some Teamspeak or Ventrilo servers just for the military and their families. This way all one would need is a mic and an Internet connection.

Re:XBox? (1)

TrueBuckeye (675537) | about 11 years ago | (#7985486)

Sure, talking on the phone is great. But then again interacting with family...doing something recreational with them, is invaluable. Even when you are just separated by a hundred miles, it is great fun. Check out Penny Arcades post on this very thing the other day: http://www.penny-arcade.com/news.php3?date=2004-01 -15

Re:XBox? (1)

donweel (304991) | about 11 years ago | (#7987717)

And why Xbox, can't the same thing be done with the PC that most people have already?

Re:XBox? (2, Informative)

Tralfamadorian (115732) | about 11 years ago | (#7988461)

Then the questions come up, can both partie's computers handle the game, do you have voice communication set up, will the game run reliably on both machines even though one has the VIA chipset with the Radeon card that needs a BIOS update to run well.

... Unless they're both macs, in which case you'll have stable machines but less games.

Re:XBox? (1)

Ayaress (662020) | about 11 years ago | (#7989409)

Why the Xbox? Less equipment to haul around for troops in the field, less potential issues to fix, cheaper. PC's are bigger than Xbox's. Big as an Xbox is, a PC still has more stuff to lug around, which is more of an issue for the troops than their families back home - remember, they'll have to pack the Xbox's up to bring back with the troops, or to relocate to another area of operation with the troops. Also, with the Xbox, you know everybody can run the games, you know they'll be compatible with the online servers, and you don't have to worry about, for example, me having patch 1.11 and you having 1.12 and the game either not working or getting out-of-sync. Lastly, a good gaming PC can cost $500 up to a copule grand. An Xbox is still pretty cheap. For an individual user, it comes down to a preference thing. But we'll say that for 100,000 troops, they have 1,000 systems. A $500 PC means they spend $500,000. A $200 Xbox means they spend $200,000. That's a $300,000 gap in the budget in a time when it's already stretched pretty thin.

Cool Idea (3, Interesting)

fuzzybunny (112938) | about 11 years ago | (#7984255)

...they could play America's Army together.

Seriously though, I've made some good friends through online games (hey, we're coming to xxx, want to get beers?) I noticed that I don't really feel a sense of separation from friends if I have the possibility of using a combination of email, phone, postcards, games, letters, chat, cu-seeme, whatever.

In fact, I enjoy staying in touch with people via short emails more than big massive long letters every odd week--those sort of drive home the point that no, you can't just pop down to the pub with them after work.

That said, something like Xbox live shouldn't replace any means of communication between families, but if they're separated anyway, hey, why not?

Americas Army (1)

Zevets (728720) | about 11 years ago | (#7985913)

Actually, you are completely right. Americas Army just signed a contract with some server farm to host european AA games. AA is extremely popular with the troops, as they can enjoy combat, and as an avid player of AA, are quite good at it.

America's Army is only on the PC (1)

orthancstone (665890) | about 11 years ago | (#7987348)

but it would be a fitting idea...

Voice (-1)

Mr804 (12397) | about 11 years ago | (#7984357)

I wonder how many people just use the XBOX voice to voice chat from the dashboard and don't even bother with playing a game.

just remember kids... (3, Funny)

ajagci (737734) | about 11 years ago | (#7984364)

The family that frags together, stays together.

And remember: Uncle Sam is telling you that only a genuine Microsoft Xbox will do.

Re:just remember kids... (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | about 11 years ago | (#7984891)

Everything else is UnAmerican!

Gaming With An Opponent Who's 'Over There'? (0)

quintessent (197518) | about 11 years ago | (#7984470)

Why should it make a difference what someone's sexual preference is?

Oh, wait...

I can imagine the slogan... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7984474)

"Iraq - It's good to slay together"

At least they admit it (1)

brianlmoon (322719) | about 11 years ago | (#7985109)

It's great because they become wonderful advocates for Xbox.

How un-Redmond of them to admit in the statement that their interest is in making these people Xbox buyers.

Re:At least they admit it (1)

gamgee5273 (410326) | about 11 years ago | (#7994526)

Yet an amazingly...poor choice of words, don't you think?

I know it's a marketing scheme (nothing MS does isn't), but when a spokesman says "It's great because they become wonderful advocates for Xbox" when he could be talking about the next American casualaty and his or her family it borders on being chilling, or almost...callous. I realize the quote may be out of context, but, damn, it sounds like they are more concerned with selling units than actually using the technology they have put in these folks' hands.

This type of press does not make me want to rush out and buy an Xbox...

I'm a US Army Soldier headed to Korea (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | about 11 years ago | (#7985640)

And while this would be great for me, I've already hacked my Xbox. :p

Re:I'm a US Army Soldier headed to Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7991680)

Im in the Air Farce in korea. its loads of fun... well... kinda... well.. sometimes.

Me, the usual lamer

Re:I'm a US Army Soldier headed to Korea (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 11 years ago | (#7995003)

Good luck, dude. Keep your head down.

-USAF Ret.

Great Idea (1)

inkless1 (1269) | about 11 years ago | (#7985765)

Hey, the connection between online shooters and a 3D IRC has been there since Quake.

My brother and I used to save on long distance calls by meeting up on Phantasy Star Online.

Speed of light could be an issue. (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 11 years ago | (#7986444)

Certain games may not work so well because of ping/latency issues.

It'd be nightmare (-1)

News for nerds (448130) | about 11 years ago | (#7986822)

for soldiers to play games of guns and fire even in family talk where there supposed to be escape from tough environment, like killing each other with friends and families. Playing with families with Nitendo game made for families, that's nice, but Xbox? It's too harsh for soldiers.

A shame then... (0, Offtopic)

orthancstone (665890) | about 11 years ago | (#7987397)

...that Nintendo has absolutely no method with which families seperated by miles can play against each other with!

Why oh why...just give us online Nintendo!

C'mon MODS!!! (1)

orthancstone (665890) | about 11 years ago | (#7995259)

Read the damn parent of the post before modding it off-topic...I just knew that was gonna happen :|

Re:It'd be nightmare (1)

Samhaine (726003) | about 11 years ago | (#7988221)

Oh, my. I must've missed the part where there were RACING GAMES and TETRIS available for play on Live.

Re:It'd be nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7990407)

There are several veterans from Desert Storm and Kosovo in my family, and they aren't in the same state many Vietnam veterans came home in. They don't wake up screaming in the middle of the night, and aren't at all bothered playing Quake with me.

Maybe... (1, Troll)

gothrus (706341) | about 11 years ago | (#7986970)

Next time our soldiers should stay home and play Halo against the Iraqi soldiers "over there" and the loser of the tournament has to pay Haliburton and the other defense contractors 87 billions dollars. Then no one dies and the corporations who push for these wars get the money they so desperately need.

Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7988244)

Nothing like hearing "You Suck, Noob" from your friends and family back home.

How very Hallmark(tm) (1)

Parsec (1702) | about 11 years ago | (#7989968)

"When you care enough to frag your family."
"I missile you."

Lag (1)

David_Bloom (578245) | about 11 years ago | (#7991439)

Wouldn't lag be a problem for the gaming aspect of this? Iraq is pretty far away from the US...

Re:Lag (1)

iainl (136759) | about 11 years ago | (#7996610)

It might be a problem on some games, but I've been playing Midtown Madness 3 and Project Gotham 2 against US people from here in the UK, while chatting with them over the voice feature (probably the most important part of the whole exercise, in any case) without any big problems.

Re:Lag (1)

David_Bloom (578245) | about 11 years ago | (#8002053)

Yeah, but there's still a hard line to the UK. Is there a wired internet connection to Iraq, or is it a sattelite connection? I know someone who's on a sattelite connection in Tanzania, and they have about 5 seconds of lag from my computer.

Counter-Strike, anyone (1)

ooby (729259) | about 11 years ago | (#7991560)

I wonder if they play Counter-Strike, and if so, who are the terrorists?

Wow! MS being honest! (1)

Beolach (518512) | about 11 years ago | (#7991891)

It's great because they become wonderful advocates for Xbox.
Isn't it nice of M$ to admit the reason they think it's great is because it get's more marketing for the Xbox?

hah.. (2, Insightful)

Suppafly (179830) | about 11 years ago | (#7992668)

So you get to kill your loved in iraq using your xbox just days before finding out they were really killed in iraq
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