Columns & Blogs

My big E3 wish: Xbox Live a free service

The epicenter of gaming moves to Los Angeles beginning Tuesday with the industry’s biggest event.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo is unquestionably video gaming’s Super Bowl.

It’s where huge announcements are made and many of the biggest holiday releases are unveiled.

While there are a number of big reveals that will come out of E3, I’d really like to see three announcements.

The first — and easily most unlikely — is that Microsoft announces Xbox Live will become a free service. Sony provides its PlayStation Network for free and — while it’s not nearly as efficient as Xbox Live — gives its consumers an opportunity to utilize the full function of its games for free. With Xbox games, users must pay for the service to be able to play against friends and other gamers. Some of the Xbox’s downloadable content also requires a subscription.

During a time when a lot of people have had to cut back financially, Microsoft could adjust accordingly. There is a chance Microsoft might drop the cost of its service in the future, but it will probably never be free because of the revenue stream it provides.

Speaking of the rising cost of gaming, I hope that none of the big companies uses E3 to announce any new consoles.

Many gamers are just settling into this current generation of consoles. I’ve had my Xbox 360 since 2005 and a PlayStation 3 for more than a year. Game developers are just starting to tap into the power of the current generation of consoles, and the winners have been gamers who get a chance to play games like “Fallout 3,” “Resident Evil 5,” “Gears of War 2,” and “Grand Theft Auto IV.”

An announcement of a new console would push developers into the advancement of software for the new hardware. Let gamers and developers have a few more years with these consoles.

Finally, I’d like to see the announcement of some big-time sequels that haven’t already been unveiled.

After scaling down the scope of E3 the past few years, this year’s conference is expected to return to the way it was a few years back, when between 30,000-40,000 fans attended. So with the return of the huge crowds, what better time than E3 to announce a “Halo 4” or a new “Grand Theft Auto” or another “Metal Gear.”

These are some of the most beloved franchises in the industry because their creators continuously develop standout games. Here’s hoping that one of the franchises will get extended, and the announcement will come at E3.