The ultimate smack down is here… well sort of.
The Xbox 360 versus PS3 war is one that’s seemed to have raged on since the dawn of time and in the end, most of us have come to the conclusion that it boils down to personal preference rather than which is really superior. One feature that can be truly compared however is the online experience that each console has to offer; in one hand we have Xbox Live and in the other, Playstation Network. Each service has distinct similarities to the other, so in this article we’ll break down the five core aspects of each of them and hopefully help you come to a conclusion at which service is ultimately better than the other.
Each of the services both have a free to use membership option and a payable option, which earns you valuable perks in return. For Xbox Live, we have Silver (free) and Gold (paid), but what does each of these options entail? Well, for $50 a year Xbox Live Gold members gain access to a plethora of services including: being able to buy games and movies over the marketplace, apps such as Netflix and Hulu, marketplace deals, party chat and the ability to play multiplayer games online against other gamers around the world. For those of us who either can’t fork out the money for Gold or simply don’t want to, you can opt to be a Silver member where you’ll receive notably little in the terms of perks as you won’t be able to party chat with friends, play online or watch Netlfix. So really, all you’ll basically be able to do is use the marketplace, or in other words: give Microsoft money.
Next up is the Playstation Network where users have the option of either being a regular PSN member for free, or a PSN+ member for the generic $50 a year price tag. When you strip down the free membership you begin to notice that it’s essentially Xbox Live Gold; you can play online FOR FREE and you can watch Netflix/use other apps FOR FREE! If that isn’t enough for you however, you can become a PSN+ member for $50 a year and gain a host of amazing perks that blow XBL Gold out of the water. With PSN+ you’ll gain early beta access to selected games, you’ll get to trial full games for an hour, you’ll get free themes and you’ll even get full games for free. For instance, this month PSN+ members were able to download InFamous 2, Little Big Planet 2 and many more. Each month the free games that are available to PSN+ members will change, and Sony have promised at least three big titles amongst those included- which we must say is an amazing gesture from Sony to their customers.
The Social Experience
In this digital age, the online experience isn’t all about what apps and freebies you receive, for most gamers it’s mainly about how they can connect with friends. This is something that Microsoft have successful identified to be a vital aspect of their service and with this realization in mind, we’ve witnessed them transform the Xbox Live dashboard into a social media hub. Over the past couple of years, we’ve steadily witnessed Microsoft introduce a plethora of social applications; from Twitter to MLB.TV, the dashboard is an ever-evolving hub that offers its users a real living room experience without the necessity of paying for cable services! As you may already know however, to access the majority of these amazing applications, you require Xbox Live Gold. With your XBL Gold subscription you’ll also receive the ability to party-chat with up to eight friends over XBL across any games, and this is possibly the most basic, but fundamental aspect of the social experience on Xbox Live, as with it, gamers can truly stay in-tune with their buddies.
Playstation Network on the other hand is notably bare compared to Xbox Live on the terms of the social experience that it offers. Whilst PSN does have vital apps such as Netflix and LoveFilm, that’s all it really has (other than your basic local television networks) and whilst this isn’t that much of an issue, it does leave PSN in XBL’s trail. Things don’t get better for PSN’s social experience sadly, as not only do you only have access to a small library of applications, but you’re also unable to participate in cross game chat with friends and there’s no party chat all-together! This is one of PSN’s biggest flaws in most gamers eyes, as it leaves us confined to playing ourselves without anyone to talk to and essentially alone on a service with millions of users worldwide using it…It’s a shame really.XBL vs PSN: Who Kicks Who’s ASS! Continued »