2012 is coming to an end. Some big things happened in the world of gaming with Nintendo releasing the Nintendo Wii U, Sony releasing the PS Vita, Halo 4, Assassin’s Creed III, Resident Evil 6, Hitman Absolution, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, and iOS and Android games growing and growing.
The never-ending battle between Xbox Live and PlayStation Network has been going on since the two have been on the market. Xbox Live has dominated the two for most of the next generation consoles’ life span, but did 2012 shift the balance of power?
Let’s take a look at the two different services and how they have changed in the last year.
The Xbox 360 released back in 2005 after the success of the first Xbox. Microsoft took what they learned and incorporated it into their next console, the Xbox 360. It would have a pay-per-subscription service for online game features. Over the last few years the Xbox 360 evolved into a powerful gaming machine with millions of users playing series like Halo and Call of Duty.
The Xbox 360 isn’t just a gaming machine. Microsoft has spent the last few years turning it into an all entertainment machine focusing on music, movies, and lately joining the Wii with the Kinect. in 2010 Microsoft increased the price of Xbox Live Gold from $49.99 to $59.99, and savvy shoppers have found ways to get a discount from outlets like Ebay and Amazon sales.
The Xbox 360 has two different membership accounts; Silver and Gold. Having a Silver account is free and gives you all the basic use of the Xbox, but lacks the ability to play online. Using certain applications will void you from most discounts. A Gold membership is a paid account which allows you to do everything you can in silver, but also lets you play online, access apps (like Hulu, Netflix and more).
By using Xbox Live Arcade, owners are able to buy full retail and indie games with Microsoft points.
Pros (with Xbox Live Gold):
- Dedicated servers for online multiplayer
- Voice chat abilities
- Plenty of apps
Cons (without Xbox Live Gold):
- Unable to online play games
- Unable to use services like Hulu and Netflix
- Some demos become available later to Silver members
- Some of the voice chat abilities are limited
- No discounts
- Each account on your system needs their own Gold membership, so having multiple people in your family with different accounts can be costly
The PlayStation 3 started with the basic PlayStation Network when it released back in 2006. The PlayStation Network started off very simple, but offered owners of the console the ability to play multiplayer and fighting games online for free. The lack of games at the start of the console created slow sales, and in time it took the system some big titles to create steam to compete with the Xbox 360. Eventually Sony would start releasing PlayStation 1 titles and more recently PlayStation 2 titles digitally to owners.
Sony then announced PlayStation Plus in 2009 and finally released it in 2010. It wasn’t anything special except for a few discounts, free themes and a cloud storage of 150mbs, as well as the occasional freebie. The service wasn’t really worth the $50 dollars a year Sony was asking for but luckily it was optional. You could still do everything else without needing the the upgrade and the PlayStation 3 online service was a plus, since you could access the system via a PSP to play games or access music or movies via wi-fi.
It wasn’t until this mid-year that the service became worth the money. During E3 2012, Sony would announce the release of more free titles to PSN Plus subscribers and did so by releasing 4 full PS3 games for free.
- Free full retail games: Infamous 2, King of Fighters XIII, Super Street Fighter IV AE and more (games include PS1, PS3, Vita)
- 1 GB Cloud Storage to save your games
- PSN basic service allows you to play multiplayers and online fighting games with no subscription
- Ability to have multiple accounts (5) for friends/family and create accounts for different regions
- Ability to share accounts with up to 2 friends
- Basic PSN allows you to access Netflix, Hulu and all after downloading the service
- Sony Movies
- Discounts on games including new games
- Ability to pre-order games digitally
- Slower servers than XBL
- Limited Voice Chat
- Free games obtained expire after subscription ends (games bought with PSN+ discount aren’t affected)
2012 Winner: PlayStation Plus
The PlayStation Network service wins this year due to the cloud storage, dozens of free games given monthly (PSN Plus), and it being basically a free service, making it will worth the $50 dollar a year subscription. Even if you use the free service, you still get some goodies.