January 13, 2012 4:18 AM GMT
My nephews were cleared to connect to a month-long free trial of XBox Live over the festive period, affording me my first taste of online gaming.
I have to admit to being disappointed. This seems to be a world where you spend five minutes waiting to play the game - while the system finds other players - and constant drop outs due to Wi-Fi interference. Put simply, you spend more time setting up the game than actually playing it.
As someone who remembers sitting for 45 minutes waiting for games to load from cassette, this seems a step backwards and diminishes the whole point of consoles - namely that you plug in and play.
There's a point about the need for consistent broadband in this too. I suspect the most successful online gamers have a cable or fiber connection straight to their console - or a wifi router on top of the thing.
Another point is whether you would drop your TV subscription in favor of console-based variants like XBox Live and PlayStation Network? Again, the consistency of the broadband connection is key - I struggled to show off all the content to my sister on a night of rotten terrestrial TV.