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back to article Sony PlayStation Network vs MS Xbox Live

The online functionality of games consoles has come a long way. Unrecognisable from the 14.4Kb/s modem sideshow curios on the SNES and Megadrive, and a quantum leap over Sega's iconoclastic Dreamcast, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3's online services can alone inform purchasing decisions. So if you're contemplating buying either …

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Nope

"Also, did I read the article right, Sony are starting to charge for system updates????"

No, but if you pay to be a Playstation Plus member, you can set your console to switch on at 3am and download any updates for both system and any games you have, then turn itself back off.

As for your comment about system updates booting you off of Xbox Live if you don't take them, well, the same is true for PSN too.

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WTF?

hmm

@ "For what it;'s worth I prefer XBL to PSN for all of the reasons you give. I get XBL for about £25 a year and you can get a family pack for about £60 that covers 4 accounts so when the Kids accounts are up for renewal that's a cheaper option."

eh? is that accounts per machine or do they have an xbox each? i was under the impression that xbox gold covers all users on that machine?

btw - lovefilm on ps3 is terrible. like watchign a divx from 10 years ago (not good on 42" tv!) and the selection of titles is very poor.

not a fanboi - love my ps3 but im sure i would equally love an xbox if i had one.

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It's per account I'm afraid

And yes it does nip

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One each - they're cheap as chips really

They have an XBox each. At about £95 for a new arcade model and a couple of quid for a USB stick for profile storage, its a bargain.

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MJI
Silver badge

Pretty interesting

With 6 PSN accounts we wouldn't be able to afford XBL.

I will say that I only got into online gaming due to the fact it was free, if I had to have paid I don't think I would have bothered.

Regardless of console more dedicated games servers are required, P to P can be so laggy.

But the online generation consoles have all increased chatting to people you would never have met.

All in all PSN and XBL are good things.

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As a long time player of PC online multiplayer

I experience rejection at a molecular level when somebody tries to make me pay for the same on console. Especially when the experience on console is even more rife with dickwads bent on ruining the experience.

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Sort of agree

I actually own a PS3 but I do have to agree that the games comms stuff in particular is much better on the Xbox - it's still sadly quite lacking on the PS3. Being able to have chat channels started outside of games, grouping and the like and still use them when within a game so you can carry on chatting with your mates whan on a public server.

That said, while the Xbox has Sky Player, the PS3 now has BBC iPlayer, the ITV player and 4 on Demand all built into the XMB, and you don't need to pay for any of the content to use them.

It's probably a fair rating comparatively, but if you actually take into account the cost of online gaming on a 360 then I'm not sure if I'd be willing to pay for that "privilege"

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Why bother

Who cares if you want to play online - PSN is free! Take it or leave it. You want to access a community use Home or adhoc party. Arbitary points for features not supported isnt really a review, you really need to consider the baseline features and then include the extras.

How about a which has the best blue ray player feature, or who has the best access to Xbox Live? Cmon guys grow up and stop peddling this trash.

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PS3 multiplayer invites, chat etc are a pain

The only way I'd give up my (original 60Gb) PS3 is having it prised from my cold dead fingers, but I have to say the multiplayer invite & chat procedures are a real pain & seriously disjointed - XBL does it much much better.

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FAIL

You know it's 2011?

Seems you are stuck in PSN 2006.

Invites are a doddle on PSN, just as easy as Xbox Live.

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g e
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Dual wield!

Got 360 and PS3 here. Bought the 360 first as it appeared the better all-round box 4 years ago.

A year later it RROD'd, fortunately just inside warranty so it got swapped out for a replacement unit - the PS3 has operated flawlessly since day one.

Playing video from a non-MS media server has always been a pain in the arse on the 360, the PS3 is vastly less irritating and has a seriously nice playback UI to boot. It even seems to want me logged in to XBL to play stuff back, often complaining that it cannot find the codec otherwise. WTF is the need for me to be logged into M$ to play local videos? Oh.. hangon ...

So much stuff seems also to be tied to the XBL account that downloaded and installed it, e.g. if signed on as a different family member you're prevented access to it.

Just sanity checked my memory by reinstalling SKY player on the 360 - was this really not pointed out in the review?? - you need to be an XBL GOLD member in addition to a paying SKY member to access the SKY thing. It's here on my screen now saying 'Upgrade to Gold'. So, you get SKY but have to pay twice for it. DUMB DUMB DUMB.

When buying games I always buy the PS3 ver now unless it's a 360-exclusive title. The latest Final Fantasy being a fine illustration as the graphics are better due to the BD drive having much greater capacity.

Which brings me onto TV ads... it appears to me that there's two styles of ad dependant upon the console... 'Actual gameplay footage' ads and 'Not actual gameplay' ads, and they seem to be split between PS3 footgae and 360 footage, respectively. Anyone else noticed this?

For me, easily, the PS3 is the superior device, and did I mention it's very very quiet? The 360 just reeks way too much of lock-in and I don't give a toss about playing games online, I simply don't have that much time on my hands.

When people occasionally ask me 'which do you prefer' my answer tends to be roughly: Well I have both but whereas the 360 tries to do many things from games to media, to be a centralised entertainment hub for the home, the PS3, for me, actually ACHIEVES it.

I binned my Lovefilm-via-Tesco DVD rental account off for a full Lovefilm one when I spotted the new Lovefilm icon on the PS3 and the movie streaming worked immediately and really well. The new 4OD and ITV player additions are great though will hopefully get some polish soon.

As a non-online-game-player the SONY premium paid account actually does have value for me as you 'get stuff' out of it. I must have had 40 quidsworth of entertainment out of it already from downloaded games and the like in two months, and it's not even required for the catchup TV stuff, either.

So. PS3 is the big winner in our house out of the two, by a country mile.

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Some letters, no digits

First of all, for the record I own both a PS3 and a 360 (PS3 was bought first), and my first choice when buying games is the PS3, the 360 is for exclusives. (I have more "friends" on PSN. However the review is pretty fair, overall XBL is a slicker experience although it is sometimes easy to get lost in the menus or remember where a particular square is. The game related "shows" are a nice bit of content and add to the community feel.

One huge plus that XBL had was last years experiment with massive live games... i.e the 1 vs 100 experiment. That had flaws but was great fun and I was disappointed not to see it return with a sew "season"; I guess it didn't attract enough advertisers.

I'd agree with one of the commenters above that the PSN store is not good at describing it's wares, a name and an icon doesn't tell you much and sadly Home is a disappointment; I thought it was turning a corner when they ran Xi ARG in Home last year but the disconnect between the areas and the loading times moving between them are still an issue.

Speaking of loading times why does a system or game update on XBL take about a minute to download and 30 seconds to install whereas on PSN something similar can take 10 minutes, which is a right pain when you want to get started on the game.

So in summary XBL is better but I use my PS3 more due to the games I play.

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WTF?

But What about the Wii's online offerings...

Are these not even worth mentioning?

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g e
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Yeah but

the article was 360 <--> PS3 :oD

Mario Kart. Nuff said.

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Unhappy

iPlayer on PS/3

The biggest issue I have with the iPlayer on PS/3 is that it doesn't work with my official Sony bluetooth remote control!

Hopefully, there's a way to do this, and by posting here someone will enlighten me, but I find it frankly retarded than I can use my remote to navigate around the PS/3 no problem and yet when I want to pause, rewind, play etc I can't just press the corresponding button on my remote!

Contrast this to SkyPlayer on the Xbox, which even integrates with Kinect!

As to the BBC's ridiculous policy - in order to use iPlayer I have to pay to use an internet connection anyway. I also have to pay line rental to my telco too, so in some respects I'm still paying because my "pipe" isn't free.

XBL is essentially a closed private network accessible over the internet, so I can't see the difference between paying for my broadband and phone line (and being allowed iPlayer) and paying an additional fee to MS in order to access XBL.

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FAIL

LOL

Kinect to control Sky Player. Are you serious? Kinect is a miserable failure. At best is vaguely works, at worst it's a total joke.

Have you even tried Kinect? as if you had, you won't be telling us about it, you would be brusing it's problems under the carpet and pretending it did not exist.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: LOL

You obviously *haven't* tried Kinect, Sonyboy

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PS3 all day

Ps3 is by far the best and heres why !

Blu Ray

iplayer

Browser

itv player

free psn which fine in my eyes yea a few glitches here and there but Jesus its free ! live with it !.

blue-tooth headsets so we can choose

Interchangeable hard drives !

Games are cheaper!

Lovefilm

PS3's version of Avatars kick ass your own virtual world

Rechargeable battery built into controllers

Built in Wireless adapter

3d games user has the correct TV

can also use games on PSP

PS3 is by far more customizable

I can add alot more dont want to get abused by Bill's army !

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Megaphone

Yea. Oh, hang on.

ITV Player is a joke!

Games aren't cheaper; in fact they're often more expensive once they're a bit older, and don't work as well as the xbox versions.

And the article is about the PSN, which you agree has problems.

The rest of your points are a bit spurious.

Xbox has a choice of colours! it must be way better!

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FAIL

Emm, yes I have, unfortunatly.

It was being demo'd in our local Currys, and it was a utter joke. People were trying it and walking away, it was laggy and had a couple of really bad jumping games that you would be embarrassed to see even on a Wii.

I think the only fanboy here is you sir. You only have to look at the tripe you write.... When you can guess the content by the author, it's time to give up.

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psn v xbox live

wow 5% difference in percentage between the two networks honestly i been playing on psn for a few weeks since i bought the ps3 and i tell ya i find no difference between that and xbox live. one things for sure is i can play online for free yes you heard it right free not 39.99 like microsofts xbox live. having played on xbox live i found it was becoming overloaded with junk and of course the stupid horrible dashboard thats for kids. as for the psn or playstation network as its called i have no issues playing online whatsoever i play black ops online i play fifa 11 online and hopefully soon gran turismo. so if i was to pick which network is better in my opinion id have to say psn cause its free and has more movie selection. pluss aswell at least i know what updates sony put on unlike microsoft where they dont tell you what new update has been applied

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Mostly balanced but...XBL avatars are somehow a plus?

A relatively fair and balanced write up, although, I think that the fundamental point of either of these things is the online gaming. And let's face it, with a silver subscription you won't be on XBL, but with PSN, you can play immediately you sign up - for free. Beyond that, everything else are nice to have features, but I do think that too much is made of the apparent worth of some of them, such as cross game chat. If I'm playing NFS HP and some dumb-butt friend firing madly in Call of Duty wants to trash talk in my ear because we're friends, he can sod off.

The usual vague complaints about PSN being too slow - except I can point to dozens of PSN users who say it isn't and dozens more who say XBL is too slow and dozens more who say they're the same. The thing is, that in reality the performance of either network varies rather oddly varies ISP, region, and network configuration. There have been suggestions in the past that some ISPs are intentionally or inadvertently slowing PSN or XBL (or both) through their traffic shaping, this is particularly true of PSN downloads for some reason. But, the truth is that they re as fast as each other, assuming your network is set up right, you're using a wired, not wireless connection and your ISP isn't playing silly buggers with the traffic.

One thing that kind of irked me about the write up was an odd element that apparently hurt the PSN with regard to community. The article suggested that the XBL avatars are somehow superior. I'm not sure in what way that makes community superior. On PSN you have your avatar image and you can voice./text chat as you wish from the XMB. The XBL avatars don't actually have any function beyond the little avatar pictures used by PSN. But to then sideswipe the Home avatars as if the XBL cartoon like avatars are somehow superior was just plain misleading and wrong. If you want to slam PSN about it's lack of cross game voice chat as a thing that detracts from it's community, that's fine. I don't agree, but it's a fair criticism. But the XBL avatars? You're reaching there.

But hey, if you want to mention Home and stack it up as if it's somehow an element of PSN that is included for this comparison, then you really do have to go back and change some scores.

Home really does provide a social/community service for PSN gamers to use - if they wish. You an get a group of friends and chat (up to 8 in voice chat in Home now), you can issue game invites and launch a multi-player game party - if the game supports it. Even if the game doesn't support the multi-player launch, you can still arrange the game, launch the game from within Home and hook up again once you're in the game. The thing is, that Home itself provides some gaming options for a group of friends to indulge in as well as the game launching capability.

The point being that Home has come a hell of a long way in just the last 12 months, It's come light years since it was launched. If you have an open mind, you can see that for yourself, if not, you will confirm your preconceptions. Whatever.

Back to the review, I wouldn't include anything to do with Home in the PSN/XBL comparison because it's a separate environment, and not a core PSN service. But then, I also wouldn't have held out cartoon stick figures as grounds for saying XBL is better than PSN.

Personally, I think that it's a bit of a wash comparing the two. If you exclude actual networking issues and look at the services themselves, the biggest single difference is the cross game voice chat followed by the game invite system. Everything else is either equivalent or down to personal preference. If having cross game voice chat and a slightly superior game invite system is worth $40 to you, that's your business. I don't agree, but to me it doesn't affect the comparison, because it's a paid feature.

PlayStation Plus, the paid portion of what is described as PSN in this review is all about content and pricing of that content. There are precious few 'features' that PlayStation Plus grants - automatic downloads of updates is about it, other than that, Playstation Plus is essentially a paid discount/loyalty program. It's convenient to compare XBL and PSN (including Plus) because their costs are the same, but Gold membership of XBL is a requirement for online play of any kind, that subscription is not a discount plan. Plus is almost purely a paid discount plan, it has no material effect on the operation of PSN or it's features. In that sense I do think that the comparison is a tad skewed. A true comparison of PSN and XBL doesn't include Plus because it doesn't impact the PSN experience.

From that point of view, a more truthful comparison would continue to show PSN as free and not bothered to mention Plus. Personally, I don't believe that you should have to pay to play a game you purchased. If XBL Gold was required for the enhanced features only, and online play was free, then your comparison would - in my opinion - hold more validity.

For me, it's always been a case of PSN is free play, XBL is not. Over the last 4 years PSN has closed the game on XBL in most ways except for the very conspicuous cross game voice chat. apart from that, they are very even with each other.

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In a way, it's something of a moot point

because no one is going to base their games console purchasing decisions on this...

I have a recently purchased XBOX 360, so I have XBox Live - it doesn't matter which system is better because it isn't like I would have changed my purchase decision with that information and it certainly isn't like I can switch now.

I decided I wasn't that fussed about a blu-ray player so I based my choice on which exclusive games sounded better. Essentially my choice came down to Alan Wake or Heavy Rain, not XBox Live vs. PSN. I don't regret my choice, though I'd still like to play Heavy Rain.

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Thumb Up

Impossible Mission!

Those two words have me sold.

"Another vistor.... Stay a while.... Stay FOREVER!"

You can get this on PSN, and play it on PSP or PS3. Bliss.

That, and Ico / Shadows of the Colossus / Last Guardian will one day be available on the PS3.

"Get him, my robots!"

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Flame

Err... Home?

Every PS3 has Home installed on it - a virtual world designed for socialising - but somehow this escaped the review. What gives? XBox has nohing like this and it is great (as an unapologetic Home fan). Easily worth 5% extra....

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Err... Home?

The head-to-head does cover Home.

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Tony says it does cover Home?

Now Tony, a derisive swipe comparing Home unfavorably to XBL's cartoonish avatars hardly counts as covering Home.

I continue to be amazed at how pro Microsoft the game coverage at The Register is, considering how the Register is generally cynical when it comes to the wonderful folks at Redmond.

I'm not for a moment suggesting that the Register should suddenly go soft on Sony, but for heaven's sake stop going soft on Microsoft.

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FAIL

Microsoft have the Wonga

And wonga is what talks....

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Half a billion of free wonga is up for grabs for anyone willing to talk nice things about Kinect and sweep the bad things under the carpet....

http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/18/microsoft-to-spend-one-billion-dollars-advertising-kinect-and-wi/

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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...

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yup

the initial investment in a 360 is in fact substantially less than a PS3, or so they'll have you believe... but to get an equivalent of what you get in the box from Sony on Microsoft's platform actually costs more if you have even a single game that is played online.

Starting with the console:

PS3: $299 base or $399 320GB with move.

360: $299 base only 250GB and with Kinect its $399 as well. ? though this was cheaper, oh well... Yes, you can get a 4GB model cheap, but you can't do much of shit with it, and replacing the HDD costs more than simply buying the $299 bundle. You have to add more controllers to PS3 for move, so its maybe $120-150 more expensive for 4 player motion gaming, but the starter price is the SAME (unless the arcade is all you want)

controllers: about the same price either side. xbox models don't typically come with rechargeable batteries. (ones that do exceed PS3 controller prices most times)

Accessories: PS3 supports almost anything blue-tooth. xBox supports almost exclusively it's own licensed items.

Upgrades: PS3, basic HDDs. xBox, ridiculously overpriced custom disks.

DRM: One purchase, multiple PS3s. Multiple xBoxes? buy it multiple times...

Blu-Ray: PS3 yup, xBox nope.

Online play: PS3 free, xBox $50/year.

Software updates: free on both platforms, PS3 if you pay $50/year (which also gives you about (realistically) $20 worth of games you might want and 180 you don't, access to hulu plus, and discounts in the PSN store), they auto-install while it sleeps.

I know 9 people with 360s, and 4 with PS3s. Every single PS3 owner has invested less in their console than the xBox fans, and that's not even including money wasted by all almost all of them have swapped an xBox chassis at least once to get a better model (new ones have better CPUs, HDMI, and options older ones do not have, all PS3s are essentially the same, aside from 1st editions with emotion chips).

xBox costs more. there's little argument.

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Silver badge

Don't have either console, but...

two words:

XNA Framework.

As a writer of games, Microsoft (as much as I can't believe I'm saying this) win. Bring back the old days of bedroom coders and inventive gamewriting - not this 100+ production team, massive scripted, ages to play but useless for a quick rag, hyper-realistinc murder simulators that seem to be so many games these days...

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Here is is boys n girls

They both offer an online experience, and have some pros and cons. here's the code difference:

MS sells a game console. Sony Sells a Home Multimedia Entertainment System.

XBL is decidedly games focused, specifically focused around cooperative multilayer experiences, and also for hooking up with strangers, and it costs money to play. PSN is free to play, and is focused on the game experience itself, ad unifying family and friends (not random strangers), except within specific-game settings.

XBL provides a slightly better price on games, but worse on content. PSN has more content, and better prices, and is slightly more shallow on games. Since the xBox is billed as an arcade system, and Sony as an entertainment system, the el-cheapo games are not exactly highlighted on PSN, they're looking to move real titles.

The 360 uses XBMC, which is not bad for playing content from your PC, and is a simple interface. PS3 not only plays the content from your PC and Mac, and other sources, it has significantly more entertainment options in addition.

360 plays only digital content, PS3 plays all that, and more MS does not provide, plus DVD and Br video.

I heard someone argue once (not that I necessarily agree) PS3 is for deep gaming experiences and improving the enjoyment overall of being in your living room. 360 is for cheap quick thrills.

Popularity? xbox has it. Community? xbox has it. Price? well, PS3 is technically cheaper if you play games online... more so if you also had to buy a blue-ray player to sit beside your 360.

Oh, and my opinion (and yes, i used both extensively before coming to this conclusion), kinect sucks,nothing more than a novelty and a very limited experience and application to only some genres of games, and only new upcoming titles, and Move is actually more fun to play, has less lag, will have a larger game selection, and will be the winner of this war (unless MS also adds a handheld device to kinect).

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Megaphone

Thing is, though...

All else being equal, Kinect is actually something NEW. PS Move is the Wii controller. Personally I think all motion-based gaming is bound to fail - without proper haptic feedback the sort of games that gamers really want will never work (look at Red Steel for example).

I'm not weighing in apart from that.

ITT: Fanbois argue like it's 1999

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Terminator

PS Network is a dog

Whilst I agree that PSN has a superior selection of movies, I have to know 2 hours in advance that I want to watch a film so I can download it. With xbox live I can stream HD without worrying about buffering or pausing. This has been consistent across 2 different locations and with both BT and Sky broadband.

I happily pay £28 a year, (you're a mug if you pay the full £40) the quality of service on xbox live is vastly superior to that of PSN.

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FAIL

It's your network(s)

I have no speed problems at all.

Downloads DC Universe Beta (4GB) in no time at all. Firmware updates take about 3 mins or so to download and install.

Perhaps you are on pikey-broadband where your ISP is traffic shaping. Sony use Akamai mirror servers to ensure you have content downloads close to you, this is great for us on decent broadband packages (I'm on Plusnet), but those on budget pikey-packages, the download servers will be the first ones to be traffic shaped.

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Silver badge

PS3 FTW

When I moved to my current apartment, now almost 2 years ago, one of the first things I did was finally getting myself a game console. The main idea was actually a media station which also could play games.

I ended up with a PS3 and never looked back. Since i don't have an xbox I can't comment on that myself, only on what I know from friends and stuff I read online....

So I had an 80Gb model and although I didn't anticipate to be getting lots of games they eventually managed to sneak in anyway. Added to some photo's and (short) movies and you'll run out of space. No worries; a 500Gb HD was quickly bought and removing one panel and loosening one screw was well enough to replace the HD (of course I did make backups, and I do agree that booting your PS3 from an USB stick can be difficult to figure out at first).

The HD was a regular Seagate I picked up from a local store. This had a friend of mine who owns an xbox baffled up until this very day. Picking up "a" hdd and replacing it yourself? *Without* risking your warranty ?

Maybe the PS3 is more expensive, could be, but I believe that in the longer run it will also turn out to be much more durable. Heck; some people even use their PS2 at the time of writing.

As for me.. No offense intended but I'm glad I jumped on the PS3 wagon. Having to pay for multi player is something I can somewhat understand, but having to pay to go online and chat with people? Heck; its my computer and its my browser. The only party I'm paying to go online is my ISP!

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