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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  1. jai

    no thanks

    i think i'll use my 40 quid a year to buy another game each year instead of paying to be allowed to access online gaming

    1. Alexis Vallance
      FAIL

      Argggh

      XBox Live is the worse service I think I've ever come across.

      Let's start from the beginning.

      I use a PC for games. Therefore I use Games For Windows Live.

      I buy new machine and put Windows 7 on it. I install F1 2010.

      • I get a box asking for my WindowsLive ID.

      • I put my details in and the game installation closes and a browser window appears showing XBox Live

      • I put my email and password in the box

      • I get given a new gamertag tied to my existing email address and password

      • Result: F1 2010 says I can't use it because my CD key is ties in with an account I CAN NO LONGER GET INTO

      • I try to get on the Games For Windows Live forum.

      • I go through a multitude of pages - one minute it's Windows, the next minute it is Games for Windows.

      • Cannot get on the forum because it says I have no gamertag (I'm logged in at the top)

      • Following the instructions just takes me to XBox Live crap

      • I fine other people on the internet have the same problem.

      • HOW CAN NOBODY ON THE GAMES FOR WINDOWS LIVE FORUM NOT NOTICE NO NEW MEMBERS HAVE BEEN ON FOR THE LAST 6 WEEKS? NOBODY CAN FEKKIN GET ON.

      • A moderator on one of Microsoft's million other forums helpfully states that you should post on the VERY FORUM YOU CAN'T GET ONTO how to get on the forum

      So I try calling them.

      • I go on the Games for Windows page.

      • I get a phone number and call it.

      • It is the XBox number. The person on the phone is completely confused when I talk about Games for Windows Live. She goes to get a manager. She says she can't help. I ask who should I talk to? She says she has no idea.

      I post my problem on the XBox forum and Windows Live ID forum

      • I get told to call the number again

      I call the number and pose as an Xbox user.

      • The person cannot find my gamertag EVEN THOUGH I CAN SEE IT ON THE XBOX PAGE AND I CAN BEFRIEND IT WITH ANOTHER GAMERTAG

      • They suggest resetting my password. Doesn't help, just creates a whole new gamertag.

      In the end I give up AND JUST BUY ANOTHER COPY OF F1 2010 JUST FOR A NEW LICENCE KEY.

      Anyone know the best address in the UK to sue Microsoft? I want to file a MoneyClaim.gov online claim. There seem to be two main addresses in the UK - Manchester and Reading. Which one should I go for to try and reclaim the £29.99 I had to pay for a new copy?

      1. Goat Jam
        Paris Hilton

        WTF?

        I was with you up to the point where you said

        "In the end I give up AND JUST BUY ANOTHER COPY OF F1 2010 JUST FOR A NEW LICENCE KEY."

        You what? Bought the same product again? Yes, I see you want to sue them but surely you would have just taken the stupid thing back to where you bought it and demanded a refund?

        Personally, I would rather pirate a game than purchase anything that requires a Windows LIVE account to install.

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Oh Andrew

      Actually

      Despite being a massive PS Move fanboy and thinking that Kinect is a pile of pap. I think the critique of the PSN Shop in this article is way too light.

      A LOT (as in far too many) of the new releases on PSN are just addon crap or DLC like a new costume for your character or some other pointless faffery. Also there are more games on there than you would find acceptable that are just plain shite.

      Then there are the 1 paragraph piss poor descriptions of games that they want you to buy with no screenshots or any indication of the game content. A lot of the time it's almost like they are trying to hide the games from you before you buy them.

      The big game releases don't suffer from this, only the small independant developed games. It makes me wonder if Sony are charging an arm and a leg to have luxury things like screenshots next to your game.

  3. Jules75
    Thumb Up

    A Fair Review

    I tend to agree with the author. XBL wins it for me purely because of the simplicity of the online gaming experience.

    I am lucky though, I own both PS3 and XBL so I don't have to make a choice. :-)

  4. Fisher39

    Stop it.....

    You little tease you... getting the Xmas flame wars off to a great start with a reasoned and sensible article.

    You know damn well that the slightest hint of driticism for one system or the other will result in your journalistic integrity, general morals and choice of cheese being immediately attacked by all and sundry.

    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.

    XBL games do have some problems: for example MW2 and Black Ops won't allow us both to play online over SKy at the same time even with ports forwarded due to 'strict' NAT, whatever that is. It also wobbles around between Open, Moderate and strict depending on some external factor that I don't know about. Maybe PS3s suffer from the same problem. BFBC2 works fine though.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Stop it.....

      ".....due to 'strict' NAT, whatever that is."

      Port forwarding is inadequate* and I never got it working reliably the hard way either.

      The easy way of making this work 100% is to enable uPNP at the router**, works a treat. Took me a while to cotton on to that, but I kicked myself good 'n hard when I did. It's actually more secure too, as the Xbox gets the router to open the ports to it on request and the router closes them once the XBL session completes. Thus you only have the necessary ports open to the outside world when they are allocated and in use.

      *Presumably it *could* be adequate if MS would tell the truth about which bloody ports the thing *really* needed....

      **Or if it doesn't support this, junk it and get one that does. If you're happy to lash out that much on XBL, it's a trivial investment.

      1. Fisher39

        thanks for trhe suggestions

        Thanks guys.

        I use the standard sky router 'cos its part of the ToCs - this seems to be a common problem that googling doesn't seem tobe able to find a fix for. At the moment we're doing Nazi Zombies in split screen so I'll pop your suggestions on my to-do list once AC:B is out of the way.

  5. SuperTim

    I think it's just plain cheeky.

    Paying for multiplayer gaming? It seems wrong to me somehow. I appreciate the efforts to make the online experience better but at least let me play online for free to some extent. I am not interested in tournaments or chat rooms or any of that crap, i just want to turn a game on, go to the online bit and have a blast with other players.

    I got rid of my xbox ages ago because it was gathering dust. I can't live without my ps3 though. It is such a good media machine now as well. I watch a lot of TV and films, and have it streaming from my server so it is as much used as sky is these days.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. SuperTim
        FAIL

        massively missed my point!

        I dont want quality online gaming.....i want a bit of online gaming for free, like the PS3 does. If i wanted to pay for quality online gaming then i would. MS dont give me any online gaming option for free, so i dont use them.

        So XBL Doesnt give me precisely that.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    EPIC Fail

    listening to fanboys that claim the PS3 does not have integrated cross-game chat and party chat. It has it and it works just fine, and supports 16 players. Just because some people don't know how to use it, or don't know it's there, does not mean it doesn't exist.

    http://www.joystiq.com/2009/04/01/ps3-firmware-2-70-brings-16-player-in-game-text-chat/

    1. DjArcas
      Thumb Down

      Mr Chalk and Mr Cheese would like a word

      Are you really comparing built-in, cross-game voice chat with what basically amounts to IRC? Are you supposed to throw down your controller and quickly type '3 incoming up the left ramp, one has the flag, I'm low on health and require assistance!'

      Did Betamax and VHS have such rabid blinkered fanbois?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Beta & Vhs

        Definately.

        The owners of Sonys top end VCRs were rather critical of the opposition.

        Mind you the 4 top end VCRs were THAT good.

        The first smallish portable, the first full featured home deck, the first Beta HiFi, the ultimate fully loaded SuperBeta.

      2. Carol Orlowski

        OK, i'll explain it....

        if you are talking to friends in the SAME GAME, you obviously use the voice chat system provided by the game you cretin.

        Why would I want to voice chat to someone playing a different game, who are voice chatting with other gamers on that different game?

        I much prefer the PSN system. You voice chat to people playing the same game, x-game chat is mostly meaningless, as I don't care what games other people on my friends list are playing, and if I do I can background text--chat them. They also don't want me interrupting their game with useless voice-chat from me in a different game.

        Microsoft has the messed up implementation here. Xbox is nothing more than a lame social network, PSN is for proper gamers.

    2. Marco Alfarrobinha
      FAIL

      ... text chat?

      lol

  7. Mr Brush
    Flame

    Flame bait?

    Nice balanced write up, it'll be rammed with screaming fanbois within hours.

    One thing that is missing from the article is a comparison of DRM. AFAIK, PSN allows paid content to be used on a couple of devices, whereas XBL ties you to one device and woe betide you if you try to use the content offline on another device.

    Having had three 360s the DRM issue on replacements is a real problem. Yes, you can transfer your licences (once per year) but as the problem generally only becomes apparent when you're stuck offline, that's not much help.

    Signed,

    An Xbox Fanboi

    1. Shaun 1

      Not quite

      The DLC etc is tied to both your machine and your gamertag.

      Anyone can use it on the machine that it was bought on, and the person that bought it can use it on any machine (if they're signed in to Live). So if your machine breaks and you get a new one, you can still use all your stuff but you need to be online to do so (until you transfer the licenses to the new machine)

      1. Mr Brush
        Gates Horns

        Yes, you can use your stuff on another machine when your signed into LIVE

        However, when you've got a replacement 360 and you take it away for entertainment while stuck away from home in a nasty hotel for 5 weeks, and you discover that because you're offline, you can't access half your content (even as far as games declaring their saves corrupt because of DRM failure), it's a bit of a pisser.

        Ditto for the days when LIVE just doesn't work and you can't sign in.

        DRM = Bad. End of.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All fair points

    As someone who owns both these consoles, I'd say your points here are fair, although no doubt some fanboys will be upset one way or the other.

    The one thing I'd say is that you mentioned that Xbox has Games on Demand (read: older full games for download at a price far higher than the shops are selling them for) and didn't mention that the PS3 also offers the same option to download older, overpriced full games.

  9. J-Bizzle™
    Paris Hilton

    Good Review...

    ...but I'd never ever buy a console for which I have to pay for on-line gaming! That to me is absolutely mental and I'm not sure if it factors enough in the review. Then again, there are millions of people' with XBL accouints, so I might just be Captain Skinflint McTightarse.

    Miss Hilton 'coz she's got a tigh.... actually no, I won't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good review

      I've only just realised (from reading a comment above) that the Xbox Live Gold pass or whatever they call it is per account and not per XBox.

      That's a fucking laugh.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    comment here

    I used to be an XBOX live subscriber - that was until I got my ps3. There are pro's and cons of each but I am leaning towards the ps3 now due to the fact I can watch BBc iplayer / 40d and ITV catchup on it (UK users) as well as acting as a media hub for my media server (I know the 360 does this as well). Plus I can now access lovefilms.

    My main gripe is having to pay to play on-line - coming from a pc gamer this was a pretty alien concept and tbh £40 a year is just not worth it to play. MS Tried to charge pc gamers to play online and that failed miserably but as long as people cough up the money each year, MS will charge for it. (and increase the cost).

  11. GrumpyJoe
    Gates Horns

    Media Centre for me...

    I'm a gamer too, but I'm also a father and a husband, so a 'gaming' machine would not cut it for me. With the built in movie systems, media server support, iPlayer, web browser and Blu-ray player, one PS3 can take many roles in my house.

    A friend recently bought a XBOX360 'cos it was cheaper than a PS3' - then bought a Blu-ray player for his new telly - add the two up... yeah, I know!

    Horses for courses.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Troll

      re: add the two up & horses for courses

      Yeah, I looked at a ps3 and at the price of a big screen telly and went for a pc (and an ancient pc as a server with tv tuner) ;)

      Icon: luddite

  12. Mark C Casey
    Flame

    Let the flames commence!

    I own both a 360 and PS3. I refuse to pay for XBL out of principle, ultimately I get no real value. I don't get dedicated servers to play on for the most part it's p2p. Why should I be paying for something that is free everywhere else?

    Any cross platform games that have multiplayer are bought on the PS3 and frankly, the last time I even powered up the 360 was to play Mass Effect 2. (buying ME3 on the pc next time, planet scanning can die in a fire.. at least pc users can use a trainer to give themselves the minerals etc rather than the monotony of repeatedly slowly moving a cursor around a rotating ball)

    I think Sony's strategy of free online play (at least for me) is resulting in more sales on Sonys platform.

  13. djswivel
    Happy

    Fair comments but...

    no mention of the horrible lag the PSN suffers from.

    I have both systems, and play both regularly, and whatever game I play on PSN seems to suffer from lag badly while xbox live goes along quite merrily.

    It doesn't seem game dependent either. It can happen to any game, any time.

  14. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good Article

    Agreed with your result.

    Though you should point out you have to buy that thing to go on the back of the Xbox to use the internet, which i believe is close to £70.

    A membership alone won't get you internet access without that little aeriel.

    My brother got an 360 and a playstation and hasn't played his Ps3 in nearly a year because of the amount of games available for the Xbox360.

    The 360 makes everything seem more rewarding and i don't like how Sony took away the ability to install another OS on the PS3 either.

    I have an Xbox360 for 2 years now, never had a RROD of other problem, very happy =]

    1. Gordon Barret
      FAIL

      Wired is Free

      Nope - you only need that thingie for "wireless" internet/lan access - the 360 has an ethernet socket built in so using a network cable is free (and quicker of course).

      Nope - I'm not an XBox fanboi - I much prefer my lovely sleek slim black shiny PS3!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not quite accurate

      "Though you should point out you have to buy that thing to go on the back of the Xbox to use the internet, which i believe is close to £70."

      Yep, the wifi adaptor on the 360 is silly money, but you don't need to have it, as you can connect an ethernet cable from your router. (Obviously that's not always practical, though)

      Also, the new 360 Slim console includes wifi built in, finally.

      1. SuperTim

        LAN all the way!

        I have a PS3 but dont use its wireless function, as I LANned it up as soon as possible. I can stream a full 1080p film to it that way without it dropping out due to all the other wireless devices that mither the airwaves. Though it is yet another reason why the xbox is a con. Wifi adapter, bigger HDD, gold subscription, all of these take the price of an xbox very close to ps3, and that's without bluray (which is a bit redundant but does make for some lovely pictures).

  15. Stuart Combellack
    Flame

    Yeah, I'll comment.

    I'm lucky to have all of the current gen consoles with subs to Lovefilm, sky and sky movies.

    The PSN video offering looks better on the surface, but in practice it's not that good!

    LoveFilm is the best - although the video experience can be stuttery (I have a good 8MB ADSL) and the content is not that wide yet (they promise better). It's easy to navigate - I quite like it.

    iPlayer is hard to navigate with the playstation controllers or remote - it uses the PS3 web browser (and that's nearly unusable). iPlayer on the Wii is actually preferable! It's easy to click on buttons with the Wiimote, you don't have to keep tabbing through buttons on each page (grr).

    ITV and 4OD don't work properly at all. The ITV service looks like someone's holiday project with what seems to be about 5 programmes to stream (OK if you like corrie), and 4OD doesn't seem to want to actually play anything at all.

    Contrast that to the 360. The look and feel of the Sky Player is the same as the rest of the xbox experience. There is plenty of content and I have never had any glitches. I'm a Movies subscriber so I get plenty of movies to play on demand (both new and old). I like it a lot.. And the kids like streaming nick jr.

    On 360 I can get my videos, music and movies streamed from my Windows Media Center server with no fuss or hassle and codec support is a non-issue. Not so on the PS3.

    On the PS3 you're unlikely to get demos of the latest games whereas on the 360 you're unlikely not to.

    PS3 seems to want to update itself every time I turn it on and thanks to the Sony servers that takes aaaaages..

    And when actually playing online games the difference shows. COD bombed out of games a lot more on the PS3 than the xbox.

    I'm not having a complete downer on PS3 - cross platform games seem to (mostly) run about the same on both these days and the PS3 has some nice exclusives. Blu-ray is also a big bonus. But for their online offerings you have to give it to the xbox by a very significant margin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Nonsense

      PSN has demos for almost everything these days.

      Firmware updates arrive every couple of months, and take literally minutes to download and install.

      If it bothers you that much, spend the equivalent price of Xbox Live on PS+ and have it automatically download firmware updates and download and install game patches every night by itself.

      1. Stuart Combellack
        FAIL

        Umm. Nope.

        No demos for 'almost everything' at all! GT5? The biggest release of the year on PS3? Nope. Just by looking, I reckon 30% of games at best.

        "literally minutes" updating? You're having a laugh, unless you mean 60 minutes. It has taken me a full hour on occasion to do the updates. Not to mention the separate updates for home, piccy viewer, games, etc. Etc. All of which interrupt whatever it was you wanted to do at the time with a minimum 10 minute wait. Compare the two platforms. The MS updates download and install at least 10 times faster.

        The PSN plus account gives you jack all because you already get the ropey online gaming for free; why pay on PS? some extra game demos, background updating and some undetermined free content? How is that worth it?

        Get your head out of the clouds.

  16. paul 97
    IT Angle

    laughing all the way to the bank

    I find it amazing that people pay Ms to play on other peoples consoles.

    I'd easily vote for Xbox live if all the games had dedicated servers. But they don't, so what are you actually paying for?

  17. Viral Havok
    Pirate

    XBL Party feature

    The party function on XBL requires an XBOX Live Gold membership. Silver members are unable to create or even join parties. They can still enter into 1 on 1 chat sessions or inter-game communication but for cross game functionality or multi friend partying, payment is required.

    I still prefer XBL to PSN, but I've noticed the rapid improvements and catch up over the last year and PSN is beginning to stand out. But this is primarily because it is improving to compete with XBL. XBL is not improving to compete with PSN and so receives less commentary.

  18. Chris McEwam
    Thumb Up

    XBL pay to play weed out chaff

    I prefer XBL to PSN for the simple reason it weeds out the idiots who come on not to play but to annoy. That £40 a year more is worth it when you see the idiots on PSN.

    Not that XBL hasnt got its share but more people are less likely to be complete idiots when faced with a band that can cost them money.

  19. PaddyPower

    two penneth

    I haven't got either.. but am itching to get one to replace a very dust and never used ps2 under the telly.

    I've got to say, as far as for me anyway, the ps3 looks like the best option. Mainly because I'm looking for a media player first and games thingy second.. so the addition of iplayer, with 4OD and ITVplayer (quite who'd want to stream that torrent of bile is beyond me) due this week, make the ps3 a no-brainer.

  20. Mark Broadhurst
    WTF?

    Web browser

    Is that really a feature?

    I dont know of anyone who would choose to browse on their ps3 or wii.

    Most have a mac\pc and prefer it or if not then their phone.

    the browser on a console is like 3rd to 4th choice for vast majority of people.

    1. stucs201

      It depends.

      Sure my PC is my first choice for web browsing. However its not always appropriate, typically if I can't sleep and want to do something other than lie in bed pointlessly. The PC is upstairs and the fans and clicky keyboard (proper keyswitches FTW) are likely to wake the girlfriend. Sure I could use the work laptop, but prefer my browsing done on my own machine. Phone, hmm its OK for websites with a mobile version, but being a small non-smartphone its a bit awkward for other stuff (though it does work). Which leaves the Wii, not the best experience due to the low resolution, but still quite useable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      A rather broad and ill conceived statement.

      "the browser on a console is like 3rd to 4th choice for vast majority of people."

      As a family we use the PS3 browser regularly. From looking up holiday destinations, cinema timetables etc. And more recently showing a house full of relatives our wedding photos via our online album.

      MUCH more comfortable than crowding round a laptop or passing round a phone for everyone to squint at. IMHO of course.... ;0)

    3. Filippo

      web browser

      The web browser, among other things, is handy to view video. Not all video services have a console-specific app, but most video services have a Flash-based player. For example, you can stream Megavideo videos to a PS3.

      Also, a console takes a whole lot less time to boot than a computer. Sometimes I don't want to wait 2+ minutes just to make a quick google search.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How quaint

        Someone who switches their computer off.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Just one caveat

    If you use XBL, do not let them have your card info. Buy an annual sub card from play.com or amazon etc. Microsoft have a nasty habit of "forgetting" when you cancel, and trying to charge your card forever.

    I ended up cancelling the card in the end, and then they just spammed me endlessly about failed transactions for a service that I had already cancelled. Sorting it all out took a couple of hours in queues to call centres on a couple of occasions- as the first time they said they'd stopped it all, they did jack.

    So yes, XBL is probably the better service, but for the lobe of Bob, use a game card thingy, as MS are somewhat dodgy, and use the AOL charging model.

  22. Lickass McClippers

    One or the other...

    Seems to me, that the only really choice there is to make, is whether or not you're willing to pay money to play online. And, as I have thus far fastidiously steered clear of any game that has required me to pay a retainer in order to keep playing, you'll know which platform I went for...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happy to join in with the Fanbois :)

    Well balanced article, and believe it or not not all 360 Users are evangelists of the system (I use both). A couple of point worth mentioning (I mention the 360 here, but just assume pro's for the 360 are cons for the PS3 and vice versa ;) )

    (I'll also keep this related to XBL vs PSN, rather than comparing the HW as others appear to be doing!)

    - *Nobody* pays £40 a year for XBL.... think closer to £30 for online codes, amazon / play etc etc.

    - No mention of the family pack? centralised control of 4 accounts and cheaper than the price of 2 (can also control what the kiddies see!)

    - The "apple approach" (i.e walled garden) to multiplayer means that any aspect of multiplayer is pretty much intuitive, regardless of the game.

    - Dedicated servers are coming on XBL (Gears of War 3, for example)

    - Last.fm is quite possibly the best thing in the world (admittedly you could get it via the web browser on PSN. but nowhere near as slick)

    - The free videos / guides etc arent always relevant, but appreciated.

    As the bad...

    - No iPlayer on XBL due to f***ing politics.... BBC want it on non-gold accounts (so you are not paying to receive it)... MS say No. This is a massive annoyance.

    - Any indie games (community made mega-cheap games) on XBL wont load unless you are physically connected to XBL as the time.

    - System updates are *compulsory*.... no update, booted off live until you do matey!

    - Recent update has made all videos go through Zune player.... bloody annoying.

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

    1. King Dave

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Sony are charging for a raft of features which include automatic updates. If you don't pay, you dowonload and install them manually. I don't know what kind of carrot that's supposed to be to get people to sign up, to be honest.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      PS3 updates still free

      But the auto-update feature is part of Sony's "plus" program.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.

  24. Citizen Kaned
    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.

    1. David Neil

      It's per account I'm afraid

      And yes it does nip

    2. Fisher39

      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.

  25. 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.

  26. Alan Bourke
    Thumb Down

    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.

  27. Erroneous Howard

    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"

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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.

  29. IHateWearingATie
    Thumb Up

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  30. g e

    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.

  31. Fogcat

    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.

  32. justkyle
    WTF?

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

    Are these not even worth mentioning?

    1. g e

      Yeah but

      the article was 360 <--> PS3 :oD

      Mario Kart. Nuff said.

  33. Dave Fox
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: LOL

        You obviously *haven't* tried Kinect, Sonyboy

        1. dbuckley
          Thumb Up

          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 !

          1. Stuart Combellack
            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!

        2. Carol Orlowski
          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.

  34. DEAD4EVER

    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

  35. Highlander

    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.

  36. Rob Moir

    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.

  37. Adrian Esdaile
    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!"

  38. Anonymous Coward
    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....

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Err... Home?

      The head-to-head does cover Home.

      1. Highlander

        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.

        1. MarkOne
          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/

  39. miknik

    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...

    1. Michael C

      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.

  40. RyokuMas 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...

  41. Michael C

    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).

    1. CitizenErazed
      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

  42. Matrel
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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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