Sony PlayStation Network vs MS Xbox Live
Major consoles' online offerings rated
Head-to-Head The online functionality of games consoles has come a long way. Unrecognisable from the 14.4Kb/s modem sideshow curios on the SNES and Megadrive, and a quantum leap over Sega's iconoclastic Dreamcast, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3's online services can alone inform purchasing decisions. So if you're contemplating buying either for Christmas - or if you're daring to swap allegiance - here's a handy guide to their respective offerings.
Xbox Live (XBL) and the Playstation Network (PSN) are historically and philosophically chalk and cheese. A keystone of Microsoft's Xbox business model, Xbox Live is characterised by heavy standardisation, tight development control and unified services. The Playstation Network, on the other hand, is a far more decentralised, open system model.
The past year has seen PSN close the gap on XBL, with the launches of VidZone, Mubi and Lovefilm joining the BBC iPlayer and PlayStation Store in offering free and paid-for streaming and downloadable content. PSN also has a built in web-browser and PlayStation Home - a Second Life-style virtual world. But despite an ever-growing library of games demos, minis, PSOne and PSP titles, Xbox Live still has the edge in gaming content.
XBL has more games demos, add-ons, arcade-style games and independent games, as well as its Games on Demand service, where buyers can download full 360 and original Xbox games. XBL also has Sky Player, bringing streaming and on-demand services of popular Sky channels to current subscribers and monthly pay-as-you-watch punters.
Last.fm and Zune Pass offer free streaming and paid-for downloadable music. But with no sign of an additional US Netflix-style service, Xbox Live's movie offering is fast looking paltry in comparison to PSN's.
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...but I'd never ever buy a console for which I have to pay for on-line gaming! That to me is absolutely mental and I'm not sure if it factors enough in the review. Then again, there are millions of people' with XBL accouints, so I might just be Captain Skinflint McTightarse.
Miss Hilton 'coz she's got a tigh.... actually no, I won't.
I think it's just plain cheeky.
Paying for multiplayer gaming? It seems wrong to me somehow. I appreciate the efforts to make the online experience better but at least let me play online for free to some extent. I am not interested in tournaments or chat rooms or any of that crap, i just want to turn a game on, go to the online bit and have a blast with other players.
I got rid of my xbox ages ago because it was gathering dust. I can't live without my ps3 though. It is such a good media machine now as well. I watch a lot of TV and films, and have it streaming from my server so it is as much used as sky is these days.
Let the flames commence!
I own both a 360 and PS3. I refuse to pay for XBL out of principle, ultimately I get no real value. I don't get dedicated servers to play on for the most part it's p2p. Why should I be paying for something that is free everywhere else?
Any cross platform games that have multiplayer are bought on the PS3 and frankly, the last time I even powered up the 360 was to play Mass Effect 2. (buying ME3 on the pc next time, planet scanning can die in a fire.. at least pc users can use a trainer to give themselves the minerals etc rather than the monotony of repeatedly slowly moving a cursor around a rotating ball)
I think Sony's strategy of free online play (at least for me) is resulting in more sales on Sonys platform.
M$ milk the cash cow too much
I got rid of my 360 in the end, Microsoft just screw you for every penny. Want a bluetooth headset to use online? That'll be £35 please. What do you mean you want to use the bluetooth headset you already own from your mobile? Don't be silly, we can't let you do that...
Want your wireless controllers to be rechargeable? Oh, we have just the thing for you, an add on pack with battery packs and a charger....
Want to play online with your mates? £40/year please. Want to cancel your subscription? Ooops we accidentally debited your card anyway, sorry about that, we might refund you in 90 days or so.
Fancy a hard drive do you? How about we sell you this really overpriced under capacity one in a proprietary case?
On the bright side if you want to watch high def movies I hear you can pick up the HD DVD add on drive pretty cheap these days...
Media Centre for me...
I'm a gamer too, but I'm also a father and a husband, so a 'gaming' machine would not cut it for me. With the built in movie systems, media server support, iPlayer, web browser and Blu-ray player, one PS3 can take many roles in my house.
A friend recently bought a XBOX360 'cos it was cheaper than a PS3' - then bought a Blu-ray player for his new telly - add the two up... yeah, I know!
Horses for courses.