Imx Fix in my experience
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October 30, 2003 9:17 AM

Metcalf's Law states that...
The usefulness, or utility, of a network equals the square of the number of users.
Online videogames are the ultimate proof of that law, which leads to purchasing decisons when considering which version of a game you will buy. For example, XIII is due to be released in the coming weeks, and will have an online component to it. Experience tells me that the Xbox, PC and Gamecube versions will not be online compatible (for any one of several reasons, such as code differences and unfair advantages for keyboard and mouse based players, Xbox/MSFT meddling). If my assumption is wrong, this application of that law is moot, but it's fun to prattle on about it, so...

XboxMicrosoft's Xbox seems to have pulled ahead of Nintendo's Gamecube in terms of total units sold. Moreover, the Xbox is meant to be an online gaming machine (ethernet on-board) and the Gamecube is not (broadband adapter sold separately). Don't take my word for it, just listen to what Nintendo said when it announced an online gaming deal with AOL...

The company reaffirmed that as of yet it is not developing any online games for GameCube. It stated: "To be clear, this does not indicate the unveiling of a new online gaming approach from Nintendo. Nor does it signify that we have changed our position on the current business viability in the online console gaming field."
Being a long time network gamer, I find that to be a truly unbelievable statement (why announce something like that without the huevos/games/business-model to back it up). More empiracle evidence hardens my position where the online component of Crimson Skies (which I bought mere hours after posting a question about which game to buy) shows you how many Crimson Skies purchasers have played it online. As of today, it was over 20,000 and seems to grow by 1,000 a day.

Nintendo Gamecube ControllerNintendo wasn't completly honest when they said that the deal with AOL did not represent an "unveiling of a new online gaming approach from Nintendo", because there are changes afoot. Kirby Air Ride, 1080 Snowboarding and Mario Kart: Double Dash all support LAN based multiplayer gaming. Better yet, some folks are working on moving that over to the Internet much the same way Halo internet play was enabled a year ago. This fact will probably make me buy the Nintendo Broadband Adapter and get it hooked up to my home network, but how many other people out there will buy the broadband adapter and Mario Kart and set-up Warp Pipe and be online when I am. One guy I work with will satisfy all of those conditons.

I have already made my XIII purchasing decision though. The value and power of the Xbox Live system will make XIII online play more viable/possible/enjoyable. I can't hazzard a guess as to how many more/less people will go for the PC version, and if that pool of players will be more valuable a gaming resource á la Metcalf's Law, but you can be damn sure that more Xbox owners will pick up XIII than Gamecube owners making that pool of players exponentially more valueable when it comes time to find a game of CTF.