When I upgraded my SBC / Yahoo DSL service a while ago, I received a free Xbox Live Starter Kit, including a one-year subscription. I finally signed up for the Xbox Live service last week.

Overall, I have to admit that Xbox Live is pretty neat. Signing into the service is very easy from any game I’ve tried. Once signed in, many games (such as MechAssault) offer downloadable content such as new maps, new mechs (in this case), etc. Finding and joining an appropriate Xbox Live game session is easy using the Quickmatch and Optimatch features, and very similar to the experience of multiplayer games on the PC.

The included headset, while fairly basic, also manages to fulfill its job and definitely has the potential of adding to the experience. The only annoying thing is that most online games appear to be populated by demented nerds, who keep swearing about how other players are cheating whenever they get killed, etc. This gets old after a while…

I suppose finding a good server to play on is kind of hit and miss, but overall I think that Xbox Live is a pretty nice feature.

Of course, the experience still depends on the actual games. For example, while the Xbox Live nicely solves the multiplayer aspect of first person shooters, I still feel that this type of game is much more playable on a PC using mouse and keyboard. Other games (MechWarrior 1 and 2 are good examples) are surprisingly playable on the console.