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Phil hints at freeing apps from Pay Wall.

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#31 Andrew

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 18:03

I don't see a problem with MS offering some exclusive apps behind Gold.  I again point to the ESPN app.  there is no equal on any other platform, so you can't claim its an app that is free elsewhere.  It was built from the ground up as an exclusive Xbox experience.  If an app like that were to remain behind Gold, I would be ok with that.

 

So all they need to do is open up the Xbox app store so that developers can publish any app (paid or free) without requiring Gold.  Then MS can still make special partnerships to secure the creation of exclusive apps that they turn around and offer as a perk for Gold.

 

Think of it like they are treating indie games with the ID@Xbox program.  A game developer can choose to make use of that program and not be locked to one console (and they don't have to require Gold if its a SP game and then the exceptions for FTP games, etc) or they can partner up with MS to create an exclusive title.  If MS starts treating regular app developers like game developers, then that seems to solve all the problems.

 

Sure, but that's a very specific case and using 1 app as a defense as to the rest also being kept behind the wall is not a good argument (I know you're not saying that but for justification). How many more apps are exclusive these days or will remain that way? PS4 finally got HBO Go in the last few weeks, I'm sure more are on the way. If/when ESPN goes mutliplatform for whatever devices then it should also join the rest as free access.

 

Does ESPN require a sub or is it just part of your tv service? Did MS even develop the app? Because AFAIK very few are made by MS and a lot of the time platforms outsource the development.




#32 trooper11

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 18:06

Does anyone have an Xbox One without Gold? It seems like a moot issue

 

Honestly, your probably right.  We are not dealing with actually numbers of users affected, but its more about the spirit of the rule.

 

I do think though that the X1 will be considered by media-focused users that may only dabble in gaming once the X1 price comes down a little and the media focused apps become more mature and widespread.  There is a case to be made for the X1 to replace any need for say an HTPC, so that crowed will be interested.

 

I happen to be a big gamer so that is the first reason I would buy any console, but the media features mean a lot to me since I am in that HTPC crowd.   

 

So basically, I think the Gold requirement will be an issue for those that look at the X1 mostly for its media abilities and I also think that is why MS will change and create a proper app store. 



#33 trooper11

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 18:12

Sure, but that's a very specific case and using 1 app as a defense as to the rest also being kept behind the wall is not a good argument (I know you're not saying that but for justification). How many more apps are exclusive these days or will remain that way? PS4 finally got HBO Go in the last few weeks, I'm sure more are on the way. If/when ESPN goes mutliplatform for whatever devices then it should also join the rest as free access.

 

Does ESPN require a sub or is it just part of your tv service? Did MS even develop the app? Because AFAIK very few are made by MS and a lot of the time platforms outsource the development.

 

Like you said, I'm not saying that.

 

I'm telling you a way MS can still offer a handful of apps behind a paywall and justify it.  Nothing to do with what is going on now. Again, MS could offer support to a developer to bring an app tailored to make use of the X1 and then offer that for free to Gold subscribers.  If that app then came out on other platforms,MS could offer it free to everyone.  Part of this is not unprecedented for MS.  Nokia and MS worked together to secure exclusive apps on Nokia WP devices (they either directly helped build them, or contributed something to developers to do it) but then eventually those apps are released to all WP devices, including Nokia's own exclusive apps.

 

As for the ESPN app itself, it is free and only requires that you have participating ISP.  You don't even have to have a particular cable tv service to use it.  Its been a great deal from the 360 to the X1 for sports fans. As far as the development process, I don't know.  All I know is that they have worked closely with ESPN for quite sometime.  I think they collaborated on the app.



#34 +MikeChipshop

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 18:19

I have no issues paying for a Gold sub, it's a minimal outlay BUT i do think MS aren't entirely sure them selves what they're doing with it. It just seems to be all jumbled up and confused. 



#35 Andrew

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 18:21

Like you said, I'm not saying that.

 

I'm telling you a way MS can still offer a handful of apps behind a paywall and justify it.  Nothing to do with what is going on now. Again, MS could offer support to a developer to bring an app tailored to make use of the X1 and then offer that for free to Gold subscribers.  If that app then came out on other platforms,MS could offer it free to everyone.  Part of this is not unprecedented for MS.  Nokia and MS worked together to secure exclusive apps on Nokia WP devices (they either directly helped build them, or contributed something to developers to do it) but then eventually those apps are released to all WP devices, including Nokia's own exclusive apps.

 

As for the ESPN app itself, it is free and only requires that you have participating ISP.  You don't even have to have a particular cable tv service to use it.  Its been a great deal from the 360 to the X1 for sports fans. As far as the development process, I don't know.  All I know is that they have worked closely with ESPN for quite sometime.  I think they collaborated on the app.

 

Sure, but only for so long is my guess. The XBL subs paid for that partnership / deal to be made. It won't last forever (re: Netflix NXE update and eventual release on everything). That money also didn't go towards the creation of the app (or at least a sizable chunk didn't). These things don't cost millions to develop, it's just a money maker exclusivity deal.

 

If you were actually getting content on the app that isn't available anywhere else then all the better, keep it behind the paywall, it's justification for subbing to XBL. I've no idea what the app is or what's on it so forgive my ignorance there, but if I can watch all the same content elsewhere, then no, they can't really justify the paywall. What's so special about it that makes it worth the price? If there are reasons then fair enough, but AFAIK it's just another VoD/streamer?

 

And support shouldn't be coming out of our pockets, that's ESPN's duty to pay for that. That's what a sub covers along with the content. If they can't cover their costs then it's their problem and they need to up it. We don't pay XBL to cover that. Same goes for the cheque to make the app. That money has already been paid as part of the deal like I said above. It's not a running cost.

 

Same argument years ago when exclusive DLC popped its head up. Why are you paying for MS to make those deals with devs/pubs with your sub money, but still paying full price for the DLC when it's released. Preposterous..



#36 greenwizard88

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 19:01

Honestly, your probably right.  We are not dealing with actually numbers of users affected, but its more about the spirit of the rule.

 

I do think though that the X1 will be considered by media-focused users that may only dabble in gaming once the X1 price comes down a little and the media focused apps become more mature and widespread.  There is a case to be made for the X1 to replace any need for say an HTPC, so that crowed will be interested.

 

I happen to be a big gamer so that is the first reason I would buy any console, but the media features mean a lot to me since I am in that HTPC crowd.   

 

So basically, I think the Gold requirement will be an issue for those that look at the X1 mostly for its media abilities and I also think that is why MS will change and create a proper app store. 

I specifically bought a PS4 because I didn't need PS+ to use netflix. Sure I was ###### at Microsoft after the XBOne crap they tried to pull, but at the end of the day, after they did all of their backpedaling, they still expected me to pay $15/month for netflix.



#37 trooper11

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 19:24

Sure, but only for so long is my guess. The XBL subs paid for that partnership / deal to be made. It won't last forever (re: Netflix NXE update and eventual release on everything). That money also didn't go towards the creation of the app (or at least a sizable chunk didn't). These things don't cost millions to develop, it's just a money maker exclusivity deal.

 

If you were actually getting content on the app that isn't available anywhere else then all the better, keep it behind the paywall, it's justification for subbing to XBL. I've no idea what the app is or what's on it so forgive my ignorance there, but if I can watch all the same content elsewhere, then no, they can't really justify the paywall. What's so special about it that makes it worth the price? If there are reasons then fair enough, but AFAIK it's just another VoD/streamer?

 

And support shouldn't be coming out of our pockets, that's ESPN's duty to pay for that. That's what a sub covers along with the content. If they can't cover their costs then it's their problem and they need to up it. We don't pay XBL to cover that. Same goes for the cheque to make the app. That money has already been paid as part of the deal like I said above. It's not a running cost.

 

Same argument years ago when exclusive DLC popped its head up. Why are you paying for MS to make those deals with devs/pubs with your sub money, but still paying full price for the DLC when it's released. Preposterous..

 

 

If you have no idea what the ESPN app is or what it offers, then there i not much reason to discuss it or try to claim its bad or good.

 

So moving on from that, I'm really not sure what the rest of your point is.  My point was that MS can make deal with an app developer to bring a high quality app to the X1 and then offer that as an incentive for having Gold.  I said nothing about making Gold subscribers pay for deals, etc.  This would be MS paying for something that they then just throw in along with the Gold subscription, not for an additional cost.

 

I can see one issue may be that many people don't place much value on an app itself.  Your arguing that beyond exclusive content, an app cannot offer any other value that might make it a perk for Gold subscribers.  I don't agree with that, but its a personal preference, so not much to debate there.

 

To me, there is value in a 'premium' experience that you cannot get on other platforms.  Sometimes, even if the content is the same, I find value in UI of the app, the performance, the features it offers beyond the basics. I see this when comparing apps across different mobile platforms, etc.  MS could capitalize on that and invest in some apps that might just start off as a perk for Gold and then be pushed to all users a time later.  Or maybe they create an in house app that they offer to Gold subscribers for free while offering it at a cost in the store. 

 

 

 

I specifically bought a PS4 because I didn't need PS+ to use netflix. Sure I was ###### at Microsoft after the XBOne crap they tried to pull, but at the end of the day, after they did all of their backpedaling, they still expected me to pay $15/month for netflix.

 

But that was not your only reason for buying the ps4 though was it?  If it was, then you sir are a willing to put your money where your mouth is :laugh:

 

Regardless, your point is very much true.  MS looks like crap in comparison.



#38 jerzdawg

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 19:42

I guess I am in the wrong that believe most people who have an xbox also have a gold sub... I agree it doesnt make sense for people to basically be paying twice for certain apps but I just dont get how its a big deal.  We spend $60 on games, a few hundred on the console, countless other BS but when it comes to paying $5 a month for gold (thats at $60.. Ive had gold since 2006 and have never paid for retail.. usually pay $35 or $40).  Is it really just principal?  Is just Sony fans who have been spoiled since it is free on ps3/ps4?  Are there just alot of Neowin members who dont have gold?  Obviously I am out of touch since I dont understand the reason behind the complaints..



#39 Andrew

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 19:44

If you have no idea what the ESPN app is or what it offers, then there i not much reason to discuss it or try to claim its bad or good.

 

So moving on from that, I'm really not sure what the rest of your point is.  My point was that MS can make deal with an app developer to bring a high quality app to the X1 and then offer that as an incentive for having Gold.  I said nothing about making Gold subscribers pay for deals, etc.  This would be MS paying for something that they then just throw in along with the Gold subscription, not for an additional cost.

 

I can see one issue may be that many people don't place much value on an app itself.  Your arguing that beyond exclusive content, an app cannot offer any other value that might make it a perk for Gold subscribers.  I don't agree with that, but its a personal preference, so not much to debate there.

 

To me, there is value in a 'premium' experience that you cannot get on other platforms.  Sometimes, even if the content is the same, I find value in UI of the app, the performance, the features it offers beyond the basics. I see this when comparing apps across different mobile platforms, etc.  MS could capitalize on that and invest in some apps that might just start off as a perk for Gold and then be pushed to all users a time later.  Or maybe they create an in house app that they offer to Gold subscribers for free while offering it at a cost in the store. 

 

Well I know what ESPN is but I can't exactly comment on the content on the app itself when it's only available to the US market. I didn't bring it up, you did. So what's the point if you're not willing to discuss it and instead using my admitted ignornace as a get out clause? Make your point and tell me what justifies it being behind a paywall. Or does simply being exclusive make it so?

 

MS use the sub money to pay for things like the ESPN deal, just as they do when Netflix was an exclusive app and for timed exclusive DLC. Common knowledge and they've given many interviews about it. The sub for XBL only partially goes towards multiplayer costs. So my point is that the content should then be reflective of that deal. It should be exclusive. The app should be special. If all that money bought was the deal then no, it's not a great incentive for it being behind a paywall because I could access it from any other device and not pay for the privilege. The quality of the app has no bearing on being behind a pay wall, the quality of the app is covered by the cost that MS paid them when the deal is made. It didn't come free and it probably has little to do with MS either in most cases. If you can't offer examples of what makes the app special then I'll have to assume there isn't any and doesn't deserve to be behind a paywall.

 

If you want to break it down to "you get what you pay for" (sounds like what you're getting at), so be it, but it's not going to justify the paywall and it will continue to hurt them nor will people live with it.

 

 

 

I guess I am in the wrong that believe most people who have an xbox also have a gold sub... I agree it doesnt make sense for people to basically be paying twice for certain apps but I just dont get how its a big deal.  We spend $60 on games, a few hundred on the console, countless other BS but when it comes to paying $5 a month for gold (thats at $60.. Ive had gold since 2006 and have never paid for retail.. usually pay $35 or $40).  Is it really just principal?  Is just Sony fans who have been spoiled since it is free on ps3/ps4?  Are there just alot of Neowin members who dont have gold?  Obviously I am out of touch since I dont understand the reason behind the complaints..

 

It's a lot to do with principle but it's also about an outdated model that doesn't work or been relevant for a very long time. I've had XBL for years and the apps being behind a paywall doesn't directly effect me but that doesn't mean what they use to sell it is actually reflective of the price. None of the sub money goes towards the content, you're not getting anything extra from apps that you can't elsewhere, so why hide it behind the sub in the first place. If its a moot issue to those that say "everyone has XBL Gold", then why wouldn't you be asking I want more for my $/£ in real content, not something I can get anywhere for free. Why do you care about keeping it behind the paywall if it's a non-issue? Give it to everyone.



#40 George P

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 20:15

They'll free up apps once two things happen, IMO, one they add more gamer related features that will be behind gold for sure, like sharing digital games for example.  Then the need to have things like Netflix behind gold is less and less because you're making up for it by adding something that will probably draw in even more users and won't be limited to only people in markets that actually gets things like Netflix or hulu and so on.  

 

Second once they have the "app store" going, getting a cut from apps sold means less of a need to keep them behind gold as well.

 

Till then they might do some minor changes for now, like for example things like IE, don't get why IE has to be behind Gold.   Either way I bet it will be a slow progression of changes but if anyone expects them to drop out things like multiplayer then dream on.



#41 trooper11

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 20:35

Well I know what ESPN is but I can't exactly comment on the content on the app itself when it's only available to the US market. I didn't bring it up, you did. So what's the point if you're not willing to discuss it and instead using my admitted ignornace as a get out clause? Make your point and tell me what justifies it being behind a paywall. Or does simply being exclusive make it so?


You already thought you knew what it was, just the same VOD that you can get from the website.

Its not. The content itself includes everything you can get on the espn 3 website, plus the stuff that is behind their own paywall in the form of a plus subscription. Then the app itself is tailored for the Xbox both in the UI being very comfortable on a TV and making use of features such as snap, kinect (voice and gestures), and smartglass. Its just a generally well made app from a usability and performance stand point. I have yet to run into issues watching content in HD via that app versus trying to view games via the webpage where I have run into playback issues a few times.

Set aside your feeling about Gold, the app itself is a good one, so we can set aside that point unless you have other questions about how the app works, which I'm glad to share.

The only reason I brought it up was to say that if MS were to offer a couple apps that were high quality and offered something people wanted, then it could add value to Gold. This has nothing to do with the general app store, which must be completely opened and not held behind the paywall.

 
 

MS use the sub money to pay for things like the ESPN deal, just as they do when Netflix was an exclusive app and for timed exclusive DLC. Common knowledge and they've given many interviews about it. The sub for XBL only partially goes towards multiplayer costs. So my point is that the content should then be reflective of that deal. It should be exclusive. The app should be special. If all that money bought was the deal then no, it's not a great incentive for it being behind a paywall because I could access it from any other device and not pay for the privilege. The quality of the app has no bearing on being behind a pay wall, the quality of the app is covered by the cost that MS paid them when the deal is made. It didn't come free and it probably has little to do with MS either in most cases. If you can't offer examples of what makes the app special then I'll have to assume there isn't any and doesn't deserve to be behind a paywall.



Well in the case of the ESPN app, it is special. It would qualify as an app your describing. The content itself (i.e. sports games) is not exclusive, but the experience is.

If you feel that a special experience does not warrant any value to be offered to Gold users, then fine, agree to disagree.

I'll repeat this: This has no barring on the idea that the general app store should not be locked to Gold. I'm talking special cases where MS might offer something special.

 

If you want to break it down to "you get what you pay for" (sounds like what you're getting at), so be it, but it's not going to justify the paywall and it will continue to hurt them nor will people live with it.



After you said I wasn't making this point and I agreed with you, you still want to wrap this all up as defending the status quo. Look, I know you have a very clear position on this and you want to point that out, but I am not making the point above.

So again: I am not saying that MS is justified in offering most apps stuck behind the paywall. 99% of the current apps are not special or unique enough to warrant even considering that they be offered behind a paywall. All of those apps need to pushed like any app store outside of Gold.

I made an attempt to illustrate how MS could offer a couple special apps that might add value while at the same time opening the app store as it must be. Maybe I went too far, who knows.

#42 Andrew

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 20:54

You already thought you knew what it was, just the same VOD that you can get from the website.

Its not. The content itself includes everything you can get on the espn 3 website, plus the stuff that is behind their own paywall in the form of a plus subscription. Then the app itself is tailored for the Xbox both in the UI being very comfortable on a TV and making use of features such as snap, kinect (voice and gestures), and smartglass. Its just a generally well made app from a usability and performance stand point. I have yet to run into issues watching content in HD via that app versus trying to view games via the webpage where I have run into playback issues a few times.

Set aside your feeling about Gold, the app itself is a good one, so we can set aside that point unless you have other questions about how the app works, which I'm glad to share.

The only reason I brought it up was to say that if MS were to offer a couple apps that were high quality and offered something people wanted, then it could add value to Gold. This has nothing to do with the general app store, which must be completely opened and not held behind the paywall.

Well in the case of the ESPN app, it is special. It would qualify as an app your describing. The content itself (i.e. sports games) is not exclusive, but the experience is.

If you feel that a special experience does not warrant any value to be offered to Gold users, then fine, agree to disagree.

I'll repeat this: This has no barring on the idea that the general app store should not be locked to Gold. I'm talking special cases where MS might offer something special.

 
I pretty much came to the conclusion there is nothing special about the app when you backed away from discussing the details. You've confirmed those thoughts though, because AFAIK everything you've described is part of every app as part of the essentials list. It's what's delaying iPlayer in the UK remember. If you think that counts as value then yes we will agree to disagree. From what I know of the NFL app, that actually offers something special other apps don't through the fantasy football features. That is a better example than what you've explained about ESPN. If the ESPN app does something similar then great, adds value just like I said above. No exclusive content = you're double dipping customers. Doesn't matter how they spin it or how fancy the app is (even when it's just standard UI integration). As for W8 app store, we can't comment on that properly til it comes along. My comment on quality was about who is spending the money to make it, it has nothing to do with the paywall because that's not where it's being spent. But moving on.
 

 

After you said I wasn't making this point and I agreed with you, you still want to wrap this all up as defending the status quo. Look, I know you have a very clear position on this and you want to point that out, but I am not making the point above.

So again: I am not saying that MS is justified in offering most apps stuck behind the paywall. 99% of the current apps are not special or unique enough to warrant even considering that they be offered behind a paywall. All of those apps need to pushed like any app store outside of Gold.

I made an attempt to illustrate how MS could offer a couple special apps that might add value while at the same time opening the app store as it must be. Maybe I went too far, who knows.

 
My "get what you pay for comment" was in relation to this:
 
 

Sometimes, even if the content is the same, I find value in UI of the app, the performance, the features it offers beyond the basics. I see this when comparing apps across different mobile platforms, etc.  MS could capitalize on that and invest in some apps that might just start off as a perk for Gold and then be pushed to all users a time later.

 

Not my comment about using 1 app as defense for paywalling the others. It sounds like you're saying the paywall ensures a better app which would be free elsewhere. Not interested in going down that road of the discussion because it's getting away from the topic at hand and the content which is what matters.



#43 trooper11

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 21:43

I pretty much came to the conclusion there is nothing special about the app when you backed away from discussing the details. You've confirmed those thoughts though, because AFAIK everything you've described is part of every app as part of the essentials list. It's what's delaying iPlayer in the UK remember. If you think that counts as value then yes we will agree to disagree. From what I know of the NFL app, that actually offers something special other apps don't through the fantasy football features. That is a better example than what you've explained about ESPN. If the ESPN app does something similar then great, adds value just like I said above. No exclusive content = you're double dipping customers. Doesn't matter how they spin it or how fancy the app is (even when it's just standard UI integration). As for W8 app store, we can't comment on that properly til it comes along. My comment on quality was about who is spending the money to make it, it has nothing to do with the paywall because that's not where it's being spent. But moving on.


Alright fair enough, you make a good point. I just found it to be a good app, but putting it that way shows that the truth is, its not really doing anything special on the Xbox.

So in fact my point now has no weight to it :laugh:

Well then I have no examples and am just left with a premise.

MS could provide an app that offered exclusive content and that would have value that they could offer to Gold subscribers for free. No app currently exists, but that doesn't mean they couldn't come up with one. Until then, all apps should be pushed to a regular app store with no restrictions.


Not my comment about using 1 app as defense for paywalling the others. It sounds like you're saying the paywall ensures a better app which would be free elsewhere. Not interested in going down that road of the discussion because it's getting away from the topic at hand and the content which is what matters.


That's actually not what I'm saying, but if your not interested in hearing what I meant, that's cool. I'll gladly move on.

#44 trooper11

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 18:27

So back to the topic here,as I said above, I think MS could come up with some special cases of offering an app to Gold users that offers value.

Andy brought up a good example of the NFL app and then there is my more controversial ESPN suggestion, but maybe just having a special experience is not enough. Maybe offering exclusive content is a must as well. I think this is going to vary from person to person.

Personally, I value an app that has an advantage in accessibility or just ease of use to get to content, but that's clearly not the only opinion out there.

So maybe a better example of something MS could do to add value is offer a free or discounted xbox music pass, or maybe free xbox video rentals/purchases.

Like Nokia has done successfully with the smartphones, being able to offer apps/content in a way that is not possible elsewhere has its value, but its not easy to pull off. I don't have any doubt that MS is working towards an open xbox app store that works like Windows or WP. The question is when it happens, not if. If MS wants to offer more value to Gold, then they need to make sure whatever they offer feels like a deal and not just a waste of resources.

#45 Andrew

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 21:11

I just think they need to pass on the savings for DLC and the like if they use our subs to pay for them. It doesn't have to be free content, it would be nice if it was but we're dreaming they'd ever do it.

 

They're getting pretty serious about TV programmes too so it'd be nice if those were free for Gold members to watch. The quality has to improve though; Forward Unto Dawn was ok as far as Halo fanservice goes, but the acting and action were just a step above drama school (kind of to be expected with child actors). They've had better MC suits at trade shows than what they used though.

 

And the big one that we always come back to, improving GwG / matching PS+. Use the money to get more pubs/devs on board and more releases. Spending sub money on timed exclusive CV "wins battles not wars" when it comes to competing with Sony. It certainly doesn't help when it comes down to the same 2 IPs with timed exclusive DLC either...