Despite closing the gap with text and voice communication, friends' lists and achievements, PSN is still playing catch-up to XBL for community features. Although rumours persist of imminent improvements to both, PSN lacks XBL's unified controls and cross-game communications.
Built into the core XBL platform, Party allows players to invite friends to play games or chat amongst themselves whether they're playing the same or different games, watching movies or idling around the menu system. PSN, conversely, is a disjointed experience which compartmentalises communications by specific games, chat rooms and PlayStation Home. Avatars are also a more ingrained feature in XBL's online experience, whereas PSN avatars exist only in the increasingly deserted PlayStation Home.
It's impossible to make generalisations about each community. You're just as likely in both to come across genteel, erudite strangers as you are ignorant, foul-mouthed brutes, with specific games more of a deciding factor than actual online platform. But with options to black-mark players and report abuse, both platforms have adequate systems to shield sensitive players from even the most profane American teenagers.
Given the disparity in philosophy and offering, it's easy to sit on the fence and let the flame wars erupt on the comments board - where, for those still undecided, I expect you'll find even more information on their respective merits.
But if I had to choose, I'd pick Xbox Live. I'm a gamer, not a content consumer, and my prime consideration is the online gaming experience. And while I hate to pay for the privilege, and while I fully expect the PlayStation Network to have introduced those missing elements by this time next year, thanks to its unified controls and fully-integrated communications, it's just a lot more fun playing games across Xbox Live at the moment. ®
Sony PlayStation Network vs MS Xbox Live
...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.