So, I've been thinking a lot since the ban wave about creating an alternative to Xbox Live that essentially acts just the same way. There are still a lot of things I need to look into like whether or not this would breach any contracts or terms of agreement linked to the 360 and if its even possible.
Here's my general idea though.
There are currently two XBL alternatives out there being XLink Kai and XBConnect both of which limit the player to playing only system link via the PC using a program. While that is a pretty nice interface and it does have its benefits being free and all, its still very underused. (There are other VPN options as well but again that limits to just system link)
What I would like to theoretically create is an actual server network much like XBL, which the user would just connect to and play normally without the risk of getting banned (not really the main point) or even have to pay much of a fee (just to support server costs). So people would have those two added benefits of switching over to this network.
Now given all the setting up required I do believe it's possible but it would be quite a lot of work and there are several ideas I have. There may have to be an initial set up phase where the user would connect the 360 to a computer and there would be a program on the computer that would keep updated with the server. The program would have to most likely install a new/modified OS so to speak onto the 360 that makes it so it talks directly with my servers instead of XBL. Once the program has modified the 360 it would be able to connect directly to the internet on its own and would connect to my network.
At first it would be quite limited and features would have to be implemented over time but that first initial phase is the most important in terms of whether or not the whole idea is possible.
I think that in the same way you can download and install the NXE updates, you may be able to reconfigure the 360 with a modified dashboard.
There is even a possibility of contacting people playing XBL in this new network. When you create an XBL account you have to register it to an email and it creates a windows live account/MSN handle. The MSN handle is implemented into XBL and you can chat with your MSN handle over live.
Given that, support for an MSN account could be added to this dashboard allowing users to be able to add/chat to people playing XBL.
While this may seem like a minor detail I think it is extremely important in bringing about this new network as people wont want to switch over to it if it is completely disconnected from the current XBL.
An account importer could also be added to the program that will take a gamer-tag and look up the details on XBL to gather friends lists/games played/any other account specific details and link them to your new tag on the new dashboard. This is not a priority though.
I think that this could be a huge success if it is legit and works out and there is already a hell of a community of people that I'm sure would jump on the bandwagon and switch over were they given the option.
There is even possibility of utilizing P2P instead of relying on servers for connections between people. Many games nowadays do this on the PC. There would still have to be a server that the clients would initially connect to but would then be switched to a P2P connection between the clients. (I believe XBL does this similarly).
Anyways that's my idea so feel free to add/comment on anything or offer other suggestions. Rip it apart if you see a way; I consider it all constructive criticism.