To answer the title with no suspense
I am not saying this as a Sony fanboy, or a Nintendo fanboy, or a PC-lover. It’s just it is time to face the reality of Xbox Live: It’s over. Blame PSN and especially blame PS Plus. Funny… Sony has done something right for a change regarding it’s internet game (as Playstation Home users nod oh wait…there aren’t any!). From being ridiculed by different developers, to it’s Vita (let’s hope that succeeds) Sony hasn’t exactly been racking on the A+ side of their own ideas. Let’s not shut down on Xbox either, which is in more homes than the PS3, even with Sony’s great PS3 sale numbers (which are consistently rising); the Xbox started the storm for home-console online multiplayer.
So, why and how has Sony and the PS3 become the new online king. Well, to sound redundant it’s PS Plus. PS3 already has a free internet service so obviously a savings of $49.99 (plus to boot Wii U and PC are free internet services are well) and using services like Netflix, Youtube, etc, are already free! To Xbox users, you can download apps, when you are a non-Gold member, but remember they are not usable. So to start off the bat you must pay for your internet service, in addition to paying for outside services on top of the 10, 25, or 50 dollars you pay to “activate” your Xbox. This PS Plus, is a optional subscription ranging from $49.99 for the year to enhance your online experience with your PS3. From giving away of free games like classic PS or PS2 games, or even recent or full retail games like InFamous or The Walking Dead, you are getting more than an Xbox user ever would. To boot, there are daily, weekly, or monthly discounts for regular PS3 users and then a further discount for PSN users!
In fact Sony recently revealed Plus’ discounts and giveaways amounted to a cumulative $2,472 in 2012. While, I doubt EVERYONE downloaded EVERYTHING, I’m pretty sure more than 99% of users got their $50 value from being a member. There is a catch to this “paradise” of games you get being a PS Plus member. All PS PLus downloads are for only for PS Plus users. To clarify, if you don’t re-up your subscription then all your games you got through PS Plus, disappear (obviously until you re-subscribe).Defending Xbox
The only real leg Xbox has to stand-on is Cross Game Chat. Xbox pioneered the online multiplayer, in addition to the microphone chat system. PS3 does have a microphone (actually Bluetooth) chatting system; but you cannot talk to other friends unless you are in the same game with them. While not necessarily a bad thing, I would say there is no sense of a community for Playstation users. For Xbox, I can talk to my friend while I play Halo and he is playing NBA 2K13, a pretty cool feature, considering this in two fashions. One, we can catch up sometimes especially if they live in another area during the year (i.e. college) and second, you don’t have to hear half of these whiny “losers” online.
Roughly coughs out loud at mention and skipping of Playstation Home]
In fact, the friends list is a lot more useful in Xbox than it is for Playstation. Speaking from my own experience, I have roughly 60 friends on PSN and talk to a whooping zero percent of them! In fact, some of them are from here on myIGN, others I’ve beaten on MvC2, and others personal friends. But, since there is no cross-game chat and the fact they there is a VAST library on the PS3, it’s almost as the PS3 is the “solo” system.
What to expect, the future, and the dash
The dashboard vs the XMB is actually not even a competition at all. Xbox’s dash is filled with ads, while the only “ads” you’d ever see on PSN is if you hover over the Playstation store to see the deals, or look in the upper right hand corner to see a little announcement. I would say the worst part is the apps that Xbox offers, like Twitter and Facebook, run slower than their PS3 counterparts, in addition to you PAYING for them. In addition, these “apps” are not even available in all countries, such as Australia, who still has to pay for Gold online!
Well, I look at the Xbox and see a majority of the younger audience owns the Xbox. It is perceived, falsely I may add, as the hardcore machine. In addition, all your “friends” have it so you must get Xbox and Xbox Live to play with your friends. It’s more of a I need this, so I am not left out in a sense type machine. Using my own personal experience, I have had Live for roughly a year now. I only play Halo Reach and Halo 4 online; but in my personal experience, it is either you play with friends or you are paying for online services, to get more achievements. In fact you can say Xbox Live is the new “cellphone” with achievement perks.
I see Playstation carrying over their online “formula” to their next system, Orbis/Ps4. Remember whatever ain’t broke then don’t fix it! For Microsoft, I do not know where they are going to take their online package, or even what their plan is. In most likely hood, they will probably keep their online services the same, or maybe add a bit more. But I think if they really want to strike gold, they will make Live a bit more like PSN, or rethink their whole process.
Do you think Live is overpriced now or overrated? What do you think is the future of online services?
Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina Or subscribe to him at youtube here!