Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Xbox live vs PSN – round 2

Remember my previous Xbox live vs PSN post…

Well just to add fuel to the fire, it would seem that Microsoft is doing it’s very best to get rid of the freeloaders who are just on an Xbox live silver membership.

Now normally on the silver member hip you are not permitted to play online (that’ll cost you), but previously you could access the same demo’s and other content available on the marketplace. Now however, silver members will have to wait a week longer than gold members to access the same free services:

Read here:

Now, this seems to me that Microsoft are treating those people who currently use Xbox live for free (but without online play) like second class citizens. In reality, they are just trying to get silver members to sign up to a gold account, therefore increasing their revenues by a further £39.99 per year from these users. After all, how dare they have access to these services for free!

By my reckoning, PSN access is still a great bargain!

Also, I forgot to add last time – that with Microsoft, if you want to connect wirelessly to your internet – it will cost you a further £59.99, for the wireless bridge! Now last time I checked, you buy stand wireless PC cards for less than £15.00. That’s a bit of a difference…

BTW I’m back from London – will likely blog about my London experiences in the next few days.


Steve S said...

Kinda sucks, but what's a week anyway? In the end you have to decide if 39.99 a year is worth the better service, and I guess this is one more way to differentiate them. I actually think 39.99 a year isn't that bad, it's cheaper than many of the other online services I pay for (web hosting, some website memberships), and at the end of the day you have to say that what you get for that is still better than what you get for free with PSN, so they can get away with it. Home being delayed really just let them do it for a bit longer. If Home really does deliver on its promises, I expect to see some changes in either the feature set or price of XBL to stay competetive, but right now it's just promises. Given how PS3 has undershot its marketing promises so far I'm not surprised they're adopting a wait-and-see approach with XBL rather than assuming it will deliver.

The wireless thing IS a complete rip-off - although I don't intend to buy one. I'll be using powerline ethernet instead, because it'll be better for streaming media than wireless and I'll probably have a wish to put more networked devices in the TV cabinet later anyway.

Bazlurgan said...

I guess I'm just used to having everything free online wise (except for the normal broadband connection fee).

I can definately agree that XBL does sound like the better service at the moment, but the PSN does seem to be catching up and I have been very pleased with it so far.

You'll have to show me your set up idc.

Steve S said...

There's never any such thing as 'free', it's always being paid for somehow - whether that's from advertising, cross-subsidising, or just included in the cost of the game. PC & PS3 games online play systems are paid for by the game itself, which is why they're separate 'islands' because none of them are going to pay for a larger integrated service. The 'marketplace' service is paid for by a slice of the games that people buy, and the demos by the marketing department. None of it is actually free, just the way it's funded is not necessarily obvious.

If Home does end up being completely free, and I'm not sure it will in the long term, it will have to be paid for somehow if it's going to continually evolve and improve. Sony might sink money into it short term to try to make up for the fact that they've lagged behind, but I would bet that won't last the lifetime of the console. One of 3 things will happen:

1. Sony will charge for Home, or some Home 'Gold' or something

2. Home will have 'targeted advertising content', billboards and such or ads before content as with 'free' websites like Eurogamer.

3. Home will get to a certain level and then stop developing (requiring little more money)

What won't happen is Home continuing to develop & evolve with no revenue stream, long term. Not even Sony can afford to subsidise a complex ongoing development if it doesn't raise any money.

Personally, I'm happy to pay for things online if they're worth it. A lot of people expect everything on the Internet for free, but beyond fansites that's not realistic. Everything has to be paid for somehow, it just depends whether you'd prefer to pay a subscription for a focussed service or get something for free that has to be subsidised by stuff you don't want, like ads.

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Anonymous said...

Playstation Network has the sole advantage of being free for the most part (game makers are still allowed to charge for online play if they want, such as MMO games, etc). However, to play any game at all on XBOX Live, you must subscribe at $50 per year at its cheapest.

One drastic disadvantage of the Playstation 3 is the fact that you cannot send messages to your friend from within a game; in order to reach the XMB or ‘main menu’ of the PS3, you need to quit out of the game you are playing, and go to your friends list that way. There is nothing in the way of voice chat (with the exception of Warhawk), and no cross-game invite system. With XBOX Live, hit one button and you can reach your friends right away. Send them a voice message, or text message, or invite them to the server you’re playing on. You can even add your MSN/Live Messenger list to the 360, and talk to your non-gaming friends any time you want.

Profiles are also more robust on XBOX Live - each gamer has their own tag, their own custom avatar, a list of games they recently played, some achievements they have accomplished, and an overall score to give an idea of how experienced you are. All of this can be viewed in-game. Also, XBOX Live extends to, where you can view and edit profiles from your PC if you prefer.

On PSN, you get an icon, and a small about-me section. None of this can be viewed in-game, and there is no way to tell anything else about the gamer. PSN does not extend to an online version that can be viewed from the PC, either.

With PSN Home coming (the beta is rumored to be starting in December), this section may drastically change. Sony is banking on Home being a huge reason to play games on the Playstation 3 as opposed to the XBOX 360. Public details on Home have been sketchy at best though, so we shall see how things pan out.