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Xbox Live is Old News

/ Dec 10th, 2012 25 Comments

PlayStation Plus
PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus

Without a doubt, Xbox Live was the best online gaming experience offered on Xbox Original and Xbox 360. Focus in on the keyword, was. The thought of Nintendo having a superior online network is laughable, so that only leaves Sony’s PlayStation Network to hold the crown for offering the best network to PS3 and PS Vita owners. Clearly the presses stopped and jaws dropped when that statement was made. It is one thing to claim that the PS3 is better than Xbox 360, which is a sometimes forgotten fact, but when the one legit advantage the Xbox has is challenged, it’s “mind-bottling”. Fact is: the PlayStation Network is superior to Xbox Live. The first, and most obvious reason is the fact that the service is free to all of its users with an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. (Insert Xbox Live Argument) “Yeah, the service was free, but the Network was weak. At least I pay to have a quality connection.” That’s true, Sony lacked the funding for its network that Microsoft’s paid subscription did, but that was before PlayStation Plus. PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Networks paid subscription, helps give Sony funding similar to how Microsoft benefits from Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Lives paid subscription. Both Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus are optional; one is not as optional as implied.

While PlayStation Network offers online play, access to all demos, and use of all apps to its users, Xbox Live Silver members can’t play online, don’t receive access to every demo, and most apps aren’t available unless you pay for an Xbox Gold account. With PlayStation Plus, users clearly get everything that normal PSN users do, but they also get a number of perks as a “thank you for paying for our free service.” Rather than limit those who don’t pay, Sony simply offers more for those who choose to pay. Plus members receive discounts on select games and add-ons available in the PlayStation Store, which recently received a sexy update, but that’s to be explored later. The perks don’t stop at discounts, Plus members also get one-hour time trials of select full games, along with multiple free games each month. The offer of free games might inspire the thought of worthless games that the user shouldn’t even waste the space or time needed to download it, but it shouldn’t. When Sony offers free games they follow through with a range from download-only games like Scott Pilgrim vs The World to Borderlands and Just Cause 2. Perks like this have to cost quite a bit, right? Xbox Live offers its 3 month Gold membership for $25 and year (12 month) membership for $60. PlayStation Plus is offered for 3 months at $18 and $50 for a year. While that thought marinates, it should be noted that Sony has updated PSN in a few other notable ways.

Xbox Live

Xbox Live

Sony is connecting its video and music services with their video game services, calling it Sony Entertainment Network. The PS3, using PlayStation Network, is a center point for accessing Sony Entertainment Network. It is the only place that can access all three features, Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited, and PlayStation Store. In order to fit the theme of the Sony Entertainment Network, PlayStation Store received a sexy change in appearance. Featuring a layout that host Games, Movies, Apps, PlayStation Plus, and other categories all in one spot rather than two, and a new color scheme and theme that resembles the PlayStation Cross Media Bar (XMB). Xbox was ahead of the curve, offering a growing list of applications that took off before the competition, but PS3 users are gaining access to a number of applications now, too. From Neon Alley, an anime service similar to Netflix, to a state-of-the-art YouTube app, to an actual web browser, which has seen significant improvements since the PS3s launch. Last, but not least anymore, is PlayStation Home. This application has gone from being a ridiculous waste of time, and consequently a good laugh, to a very deep application that allows PS3 owners to interact with each other from Home. Recent updates include a number of free-to-play options. Home Tycoon is a free-to-play game that allows players to build a city in which their avatar is the mayor, and other users can visit the cities by using the Train Station in Home; basically a PS3 rendition of a social Sim City. There are now multiple areas to explore, such as the mall, special events, bowling alley, or arcade, which host more free-to-play games.

PlayStation Network was far from a model of excellence in the beginning, and at times could be described as unacceptable. Xbox 360 offered a more fluid and capable online experience, and over the years gamers have come to naturally think of Xbox Live when speaking of superior online gaming, but now it is the time to accept PlayStation Network as the new leader. Not only is PSN able to offer features comparable to or better than that of Xbox Live, but also Sony is able to offer it at a cheaper price. The benefit to Xbox Live is that more people use Xbox Live than PSN, which allows for a larger network of gamers to play with; however, Sony is making a push to update their services to another level, possibly in preparation for the next generation. Whether the next-generation of PlayStation is coming soon or not, Sony’s guarantee to support the PS3 until at least 2015 should keep users open to these changes, and maybe even grab a PS3 to check it out first-hand.

Chad Whitney

Chad Whitney

Social Media Maven and Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Chad is a contributor to Gaming Illustrated. A part of the Editorial team, The Chad has also dabbled in Reviews and Previews. The Chad has been a gamer since he became conscious of life. He has stated on more than one occasion that The Chad doesn't wear aluminum foil on his head, thus he is vulnerable to having his mind read. Mind reading can be a strain though, so FOLLOW The Chad @ChadNorris1390 on TWITTER.
Chad Whitney

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  • G

    You forgot to mention that thousands of Sony Online user’s credit card information was stolen from the Playstation Network. Cheaper is not always better.

    • konnas

      credit card info wasnt stole, mastercard, visa confirmed it, in the other hand thousands of x box account are been sold in the black market, there goes ur super secure network, hell they had aim bots on black ops 2 on x box in less than 24 hr

    • chris

      Yes but have you honestly looked at the number of XBOX LIVE hackings that have occured. It doesn’t matter what video game console you own. Hackers will find a way to get inside any network.

  • G

    You forgot to mention that XBL has Zune Media that lets users buy, listen, and watch tens of thousands of songs and movies.

  • G

    You forgot to mention that XBL also has web browsing capabilities via Internet Explorer and Bing Search throughout the XBL network.

    • Jon

      PS3 has had an internet browser from day one. I have both consoles and the online really isn’t all that different. The UI on the Xbox is better, but the services and apps on the PS3 are better. Please stop being a fanboy.

  • Wolfnut88

    I don’t know anyone that uses their ps3 for anything other than a video player. Who cares if the service is better when you’ve already lost a huge portion of the market share. This is even more insulting due to the fact that Sony lost to an inferior business model.

  • billybobjoe

    It seems to me like there is more competition on Xbox live than PSN, and that you can talk to friends who play different games using a “party chat”. I could never figure out how to do this on PSN.

  • Sawyer

    ….um accept the psn as the superior network?! Haha that’s laughable you obviously forgot the security breach where personal identity and credit card numbers were stolen. Sorry but live is way better

    • konnas

      wow fanboy, do u really thin that dumb? no wonder u like xbox, what ever happened to the fifa hacks on xbox look at all the online forums with stolen 360 accounts been sold in the black market, u def not see ps3 acounts been stolen, and resold, x game chat sux ass thats why ppl dont play the game how its supose to becuse they are distracted

  • Brian

    To the you forgot crap. The information stolen wasn’t credit card. Xbox live has a horrid amount of hacking and has from day one. I use my xbox360 for dvd watching in my kids room. I played xbox back in the day, and yeah the massive amounts of players sounds tantalizing until you realize it’s dominated by unrestricted children. I prefer the online community of ps3, which is more adult. You can use zune and get most of these on live also, but sony is streamlining them into one location, making it more covenant. I could care less about party chat. If I want to talk to my friends I text and call, if they are online I message or talk in game. I prefer getting games like bioshock 2, infamous 2, borderlands, batman and many others under my subscription.

  • Jim

    I find it funny how the fanboys ALWAYS bring up the security breach. The fanboys should get a better argument, continuing to cling on to the security breach as the reason for the Xbox 360/LIVE being superior to PS3/PSN is just pathetic.

    Maybe it’s my connection but I get very minimal network/lag issues that I don’t see the reason in switching over and begin paying for a service that I was originally getting for free.

  • True Gamer

    Hey look another Sony drone hating on Xbox live, this will fit well on N4G aka Sony drone center.

  • Mike

    Security is not the same as features. He is talking all about features. Sony had a hole and we all know what happen. Its obviously patched now. Microsoft can have the very same thing happen too if they are not careful.

    So aside from security of the network I do agree with just about everything the article saids. However, there is alot more people online my PS3 then 360. im lucky to get 2 people on my 360 but i usually have 10 to 15 on ps3. Why? You dont NEED to pay to play. Both have a free service and paid. But with 360 you need to pay to access anything and seems alot of people aren’t sticking around.

  • Sam

    I’m afraid this article is complete rubbish. The single best reason that xbox live is 10000x’s better than the PSN is party chat. The PSN is just disjointed and not even worth my time. I know people that use it, but they don’t have a community on it. The PS3 is better for single player games. If you want multiplayer with people you actually know it’s Xbox Live every day of the week. Not to mention the much better UI and organisation. Yes it costs £2.50 a month, but i’m more than willing to pay that for a better *unified* service. It all comes down to the ‘feel’ of it and the PSN feels much wose in actual use, even with the latest updates.

    I have a PS3 as well, but just because of the online service it never gets played on. It’s a blu-ray player for me. I will give it the fact that it has some good single player games/campaigns though eg Uncharted and most likely, The Last of Us, GT5.

  • michael

    people need to stop using the “sony got hacked” bullcrap. everyone gets hacked, even xbl. EVERYDAY. there are even websites where hacked accounts are sold DAILY. xbl isnt any safer, theyll always find a way to get your information.

    • Jim

      Finally! Great to see I’m not the only one

  • Best Psp Game

    like this type of information because you always can learn some interesting new knowledge and at the same time revive the knowledge you already know.

  • Zarbor

    This article is very funny. Clearly Chad Whitney is a PS fanboy but I’m not mad at him. He’s selling that the PS3 is better than the XBOX 360 but I’m not buying. Its his opinion and he’s entitled to share it especially if he’s getting paid for it.

    Lets get one thing straight, the PS3 and Sony this generation has been a huge disappointment. I’m not going to get into it with Chad and his PS friends but I will say that PSN has definitely made some serious strides since launch.

    I agree that PSN is one area where Sony can actually say they did well this generation. Unlike HOME (lol) which is a complete waste and a joke, the new PSN user interface is sweet and should be used as the overall PS3 dashbord. I like it a ton better than LIVE. I also agree that PSN is better value. I had LIVE long time ago but will never pay for LIVE again. Its a rip off.

    Paying to play online is soooo 1990s. They can bundle all these other services and features but at the end of the day at its core, you are paying for online access. The fact that million of silly gamers pay for it is amazing but I won’t get into it.

    Overall, better or not LIVE still rules and will this generation. Its not even close. Like it or not. Anyone to think that it will change this generation is just silly.

    • Jim

      Even though I’ve only spent a very small time with LIVE, I know that the LIVE is ahead not only because it’s a paid service but also because it has been around long before PSN. PSN definitely needs some time to catch up and maybe with PS Plus it won’t take as long.

  • LOL

    I guess giving you factual info means your a PS fan boy. Better than being up Microsoft’s ass.;p

  • http://www.ugc-tournament.com Brett

    It doesn’t help that fanboys on both sides sling mud instead of looking at the obvious. Like many gamers, I have both consoles. Saying one online service is better is like saying hamburgers are better than hot dogs. It’s all a matter of opinion, based on what you want out of your service. If I had to pick, I’d go with Xbox live, but both are fantastic.

    The XBL UI is way more streamlined and it is obviously built to make it the more “social service”. It also has better interfaces within the apps themselves (such as Netflix) and a little faster preview loading. Having both on the same router, I can say that for certain. If I do want to buy something, the process is way simpler as right now the PS Store is a bit of a mess. XBL is also more enjoyable for me from a multiplayer standpoint. You do get the occasional annoying player, but with a community that big, it’s easy to find another lobby. If it’s just a noisy kid, you can mute them with the press of a button. If it tickles your fancy, there is also cross game chatter on XBL and not on PSN. (that should answer billybobjoe)

    None of this means that PSN is inferior, though. They just chose to focus on different things. The most obvious is being free to play. Pay an extra $50 and you get boatloads of free stuff too. PS+ has gotten to the point where I can’t even keep up with all the games they are just giving away. The best part of PSN is what is most certainly to come. As PSN is still trying to figure out their identity, they will most likely start using the PS3 audience as a testing ground for PS4 apps and services. They know they have to be more competitive with XBL and I don’t really mind being a guinea pig in that regard. While some ideas will work and some won’t, we will get more of an opportunity to shape the future of what PSN will be. As far as I’m concerned, the next few years of PSN should be really interesting.

  • mike

    Chad, you know the Obama phone, just like PSN, is also free. And when compared to a basic cell phone that requires the user to pay a minimum monthly charge, has many of the exact same features.
    So I’m just wondering, do you have an Obama phone, or do you pay a seperate service provider for what they offer?
    I’m guessing you don’t have an Obama phone and I’d venture to say it’s because you find the PAID service a better option for you personally.

    Hmm, that’s kinda weird to to me because why pay someone else for a service that’s completely free somewhere else.
    I don’t know man, what with that Obama phone floatin’ around out there, it kinda makes them other guys, how’d you put…
    old news.

  • Dirty Sanchez

    It’s 2012 and your writing an article about the new PSN. Why couldn’t you have written this in 2006 or 2011 when the consoles were at there peak. The reason being is because Sony never had great intentions to make there online better. They just winged it and got hacked. When I’m on Xbox live there are always new and innovating things to do like Cross Chat with my buddies and join parties. I see apps like espn, hbogo, fios, xfinity, and not to forget apps like netflix, hulu and youtube which came first on live too. In this current generation XBox has had all the better features first and PS3 always had to play catch up just like their sales. Playstation has been playing catch up since Live started in 2002 and It will continue because Microsoft will come out with something new every year for the fans.Playstation however has a monkey see monkey do kind of mentality. Yeah I get your point about dishing 60 dollars for online gaming but I get what I paid for and not only that I will get it first on my console. Hey I see it as paying for a game and to be honest I weather pay for live then buy a poor man version of Super Smash Brothers. Start catching up buddy Xbox Live is still evolving and it will just get better in the future.

  • Matt

    I don’t think I’ve read a comment without the word fanboy in it yet… EVERYONE needs to fess up and admit the short comings of each service. I’ve owned everything except a wii-u with I’m not going to comment on the wii since it’s just the “Netflix box” for my whole family.

    Xbox is a paid service which the only thing your paying for compared to the “other” options is that god damn voice chat. I personally don’t care so there that is. Everything on that god damn service is available for free on PC… EVERYTHING. I’m sorry I take that back… we don’t have constant ads.

    PSN is free. Anyone trying to talk that down is an idiot.

    PC… ahhhh the holy grail. Where else can I get the full benefit of a service that is completely free, unsecure, and hacked to poop. This is the current home to my gaming activities. Do I care… no not really. I know how to cover my ass and keep my shit from getting hacked so I can deal… Everything is free and if not there’s a way to make it free not that I support that. PC isn’t all that great in lieu of the consoles since everything is just a god damn port… You think 360 to ps3 ports are something to argue about wait until you own a $2000 state of the art gaming BEAST which all the game devs can do is render a kitten you can tickle. Make sense? It’s not supposed to because that’s what a console port is on PC.

    ALL YOU PEEPS NEED TO SIT DOWN BY A CAMP FIRE AND SING COOMBIYAAAA

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