PS3 News: Is The Free PSN Finally On Par With The Paid Xbox Live? - PS3 News

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Is The Free PSN Finally On Par With The Paid Xbox Live?

Not being much of a multiplayer fan, I'm not going to answer this question. I'm merely going to present it to those who routinely experience both the free PlayStation Network and the paid Xbox Live service.

We have PlayStation Plus now but it's optional, while Xbox 360 users must still pay to play games online. Towards the start of this generation, most gamers claimed the $50 charge for XBL was well worth it, simply because it was a more fully realized online service. The Network didn't have all the bells and whistles and as a result, many just said, "Yeah, it's free but it's just not as good." Well, several years have passed and the PSN has seen quite a few upgrades and updates.

So as of now, are the PSN and XBL just about similar? If so, that would make the Network more appealing to late adopters, right? Selling a machine to a casual gamer would be easier if you could just say, "And playing online is free, by the way." Then you could add that essentially, it's the same service as the paid Live subscription, so you're not really missing out on much. But is that truly the case? If not, what's still missing from the PSN that makes it inferior to Live? And is that lacking worth it for you to pay for Live? Is this still a "you get what you pay for" situation?

Personally, I'm not involved enough to tell the difference. As far as I can tell, you go online to play games with both services, and one is free while the other isn't. I don't really have any problem using either service, so... But as I said, I'm no expert.

Tags: psn, playstation network, xbox live, xbl, gaming industry

7/25/2012 8:52:49 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (46 posts)

cLoudou
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 9:23:27 PM
Reply

Yes it is....

....oh wait we have more maintenance tomorrow yay!


For the record maintenance doesn't bother me as I barely play MP anyways.

Agree with this comment 10 up, 5 down Disagree with this comment

firesoul453
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 11:44:09 AM

100% accurate statement and it gets downvoted..

Agree with this comment 3 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 9:34:58 PM
Reply

In some ways, yes, but in other ways, no. Having a Gold subscription gives you perks, similar to PSN plus, as in bigger and oftentimes exclusive discounts. I've also noticed MS does similar Cloud saves stuff, not certain to what extent, but I don't think Gold is a requirement for this service. Also, being a Gold member means getting early access to demos etc. But this is something of a blurry subject. Gold tends to blanket all game demos with a one week delay. Where PSN+ selectively chooses what should get held off for PSN+ etc. Personally, I think this is just a bunch of crap by both parties.

Anyway, Gold is definately not worth it for me. I can't even imagine spending $60 a year, $40 on a sale, just for the added benefit of online play. So while sometimes I wish I could log on to DOA4 for some more matches. It's just not worth it. And those who believe LIVE has better online play, like actually better connections, I've never experienced this. And if there is, I can't tell. I'm in to fighting games, we can tell ;)

Agree with this comment 11 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 11:42:41 PM

Ah but unlike Gold, you don't need Plus to play online...

Agree with this comment 21 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

DeathOfChaos
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 1:24:58 AM

For the same price that XBox Live Gold costs a month, you get PS Plus for a year, not to mention that PS Plus is completely optional, LOL! Of course the PSN is a better choice, unless, of course, you like to spend an excessive amount of money for something you can get for fractions of the cost or for free, LOL! Oh well, to each their own. I guess XBox Live is a good choice for rich kids that have lots of money to burn.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

hellish_devil
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 9:37:35 PM
Reply

Cross game chat is the main argument, I wouldn't use it anyway, even if it was free.

Agree with this comment 12 up, 6 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 9:40:33 PM
Reply

I would say is was on par some time ago. The only complaint I still hear about PSN is the lack of cross game chat which to me seems pointless and actually feeds this downward spiral in attention spans.

Agree with this comment 15 up, 5 down Disagree with this comment

BTNwarrior
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:32:03 PM

There is one instance where I really wish there was cross game chat, Demons Souls and Dark Souls. As it stands right now I have to use my cell to chat with my friends when we play this

Agree with this comment 5 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:42:49 PM

Does the game not support any kind of voice chat? I thought most PS3 games at least support chat between players of the same game if the developer chooses to include the feature?

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Temjin001
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 11:24:21 PM

As I understand it, if it were to have happened, it needed to happen within the first year, or so, of PS3's launch. If you guys remember, Sony scaled back the OS footprint of the PS3 by around 40 megs, or so, in like 2007. With so many games that released between 2007 until now with the expanded memory allotment, Sony couldn't just implement an OS level feature without grabbing back some of that memory they freed. If the move happened, it needed to back then. It's too late now.

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Highlander
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 11:44:28 PM

Yes Temjin, once the OS footprint was shruck and devs were given the extra memory to use, there was no going back on it, ever.

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sirbob6
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 3:10:58 AM

Demon's Souls and Dark Souls completely lack voice chat, you have to either message the player or use the in-game signals.

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Clamedeus
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 9:25:48 AM

I'm glad they didn't add voice chat in the game, it keeps the atmosphere of the game the way it's supposed to be.

It's fine with just gestures within the game, it keeps it interesting, instead of just saying what you need the person to do. It makes you stay on your toes with threats looming around the corner. That would also defeat the idea of what the game was originally intended to do, you may have a partner but either one of you could die, it makes you feel like you are alone.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Comic Shaman
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 10:33:39 AM

I only have one experience with console multiplayer and cross-game chat, and that's with the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer component. With that limited sample, I'd say that the cross-chat would be a very nice feature to have... PROVIDED a mechanism exists to mute other players.

Does Xbox Live have that sort of feature? If so, then that is an advantage.

It's fun sometimes to chat with your squad and very useful to get tactical advice or a heads-up when a wave of enemies is coming in from behind. It's not so fun to hear a couple arguing about who should be paying the electric bill, or listening to some guy shout at his kids, or put up with someone blasting their own music over the game.

Mute would be nice.

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akmdpc
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:18:46 PM
Reply

The only thing that live has over psn is private chat. It doesn't affect me as the only multiplayer I do is coop with friends but I've used it and it's better. Unfortunately, it won't be available on the ps3 but Sony's learned their lesson. The Vita has it and in all likelihood, the ps4.

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79transam
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:23:44 PM
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I never understood the major difference anyway. Having my 360 years before my ps3 I paid every year to play. I remember being in line for the midnight release of BF3 and hearing 10+ people talk about how the online experience with the 360 is just so much better. I don't get it.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ZettaiSeigi
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:23:55 PM
Reply

I don't have a 360 so in now way can I answer the question. But the PSN now is miles better than the PSN that I remember when I first had my PS3. The best thing is still there: free online gaming. We now have PS+, a ton of great PSN exclusives, and who knows what else Sony might have in store for us?

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Naksy
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:32:40 PM
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When they pay for Xbox Live, they get to play stuff online... We get it for free and if we do decide to pay, we get free games every month! (PS Plus) I think those xbots are just being delusional about whose service is better.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 11:12:34 PM
Reply

XBLive Gold is actually $60 now, but I never pay more than $35 for a 12 month card due to sniffing out special deals for it.

Anyway, for me, PSN was, is, & always will be, the much better deal since I don't play MP & have no need for voice chat features.

BTW, The only reason I even get the 12 month gold cards is to watch Netflix & Crackle on my 360, so I'm not heating up my PS3 by running it 16 hours or more a day.

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Wraith
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 3:03:09 PM

I also would never pay the full $60 for gold. I shop around for the cheaper (30-35) deals.
Free psn isn't quite on par with xbl gold feature wise yet. Cross game chat is vital if you are with friends and parties make everything seamless. But psn is free to play online so I'm not complaining.

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Mr Bubbles IGR
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 11:26:28 PM
Reply

I'm not complaining and I'm not letting Microsoft smile all the way to the bank with my hard earned money for a service that is free on their competitors machine.

Agree with this comment 10 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ignitus
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 2:35:57 AM
Reply

PSN is free and I can't complain because of that. But if I could add some live features they would be:

1.- Cross game chat.

2.- The same seamless integration of groups of friends or parties. I like it how on xbox it's really easy to get together and end up on the same online game/lobby, even before we even put the game disc in the tray. I don't like it on PSN when every one has to look/message the others asking for directions where they are (which loby, server). (I hope I made myself clear, as you can tell english is not my native language.)

3.- Although not a live feature per se I like it how on Xbox you can download things when the unit is "off". Well obviously is not completely off but the only thing that I can notice is the blinking power light. No video on tv, no fans spining. I would like my PS3 to be able to do that too. Instead of having to just higlight a menu telling it to shut down after the downloads are complete. It would be nice to "shut down" first and then download the things.

4.- Improve the download tranfer speed! For some reason demos take between 2x-4x more time to download on PS3 than on Xbox. My internet conection is the same for both online services, yet downloads on live are way faster than on PSN.

Now the other way around. Things Live should learn from PSN.

1.- Free online multiplayer. So obvious no need to explain.

2.- No need to be a gold subscriber to enjoy weekly game sales. Every week there are new sales in the discounts section of the PSN store. On live, though there is a weekly sale, only the gold suscribers can take advantage of those discounts while on PSN they are for everybody.

My two cents.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Nynja
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 8:29:44 AM

I have to agree. Feature wise, XBL is a step ahead of PSN. Yet, it doesn't matter. You can throw all the features at me you want, but to pay for online service riddled with advertising is total B.S. I refuse to ever pay for something that should remain free.

As for Playstation Plus, I pay for that. Why? Value. I really feel as if I am getting my money's worth. Free games? Yes, please.

You think gaming is expensive now, let Microsoft dominate the gaming industry and see what happens.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 9:13:01 AM

For number 3, PSN+ users do have downloads continue while "off". Otherwise, I agree with everything else.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Clamedeus
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 9:28:54 AM

You can also download some games while playing online as well. But I think it depends on the size of the game, because i downloaded a game and it finished while i was playing.

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Highlander
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 10:47:22 AM

Clamdeus, yes PS3 does background downloads while you play, and with Plus it will come on on it's own in the middle of the night (or whenever you select) to download updates, firmware updates, anything in the download list, update cloud based game saves and sync trophies.

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Clamedeus
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 12:24:09 PM

Indeed Highlander. :D

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Nynja
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 12:55:18 PM

Background downloading is available to all, but paused when playing games online (such as multiplayer) or when in a video chat room.

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Beamboom
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 2:47:35 AM
Reply

I've never played on an xbox but what I hear from friends is that supposedly the xbox interface makes it easier to hook up with friends, enter the game session they are playing on, and so forth.

Again, I know nothing about this but as far as I understand this is a lot easier on the xbox.

I do understand why cross-game chat is handy though. I've missed that plenty of times. But surely it'll come with the PS4. :)

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aaronisbla
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 5:26:03 AM
Reply

its come leaps and bounds since the first foray into mainstream online gameplay for the ps3. Back in the first couple of years, ps3 online play was pretty damn horrible as far as ease of use is concerned.

It still doesn't have a couple of bells and whistles the 360 may offer, but its free and much better than what was initially offered.

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___________
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 6:01:10 AM
Reply

hell no!
not even close!
from the constant and seriously annoying maintenance periods, to the constant drop outs, i cant go 1 day without a 8002AD23 error code and being signed out!
PSN is a MASSIVE pain in the a$$!
NEVER been signed out of XBLA!
NEVER!
not only reliability issues though, also service issues like cross game chat, and the custom avatars for XBLA are allot better than PSN.
a live moving model you can dress and customize to yourself instead of just a silly small picture.
not to mention M$ gets allot of exclusive demos early exclusive to gold members.
and special discounts, community events and competitions.
not to mention the yearly dashboard updates!
XBLA is still leaps and bounds over PSN, and always will be!
ps3 is a shinning example of why you never ask a hardware company to do software!
you end up with a convoluted, unusable mess!

Agree with this comment 1 up, 13 down Disagree with this comment

kay Oss
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 9:55:57 AM

Now I know you're lying. I used my xbox as much as I used my PS3 and I have both for almost 5 years now. I know you are lying when you said you never got kicked out of xbox live because last year there was a live outage and you must have been kicked off or cant sign on unless you just recently purchase your xbox. How is PSN unusable?? there are millions of subscribers on the psn and you saying all the millions dont know how to use the PSN?? If you dont know how to use PSN then the only explanation is that you have an IQ of a rock. My 5 year old can use PSN.
For me, I've always thought live was top notch but i was kinda pissed that i had to pay a subscription fee for live in order to use netflix which i pay a subscription as well (double charged) and play games. But I thought Live was easier to navigate. But now i dont think it worth the yearly payments for live when PSN is free and if you get PSN+ it pretty much pay for itself once you download 2-3 games that are free. Once i got use to psn layout it was pretty easy to navigate and i prefer it more now.

Last edited by kay Oss on 7/26/2012 9:59:17 AM

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___________
Friday, July 27, 2012 @ 10:32:28 AM

or maybe, just maybe i wasent using it at the time?
jesus tap dancing christ, i guess i was wrong the other day when i said people cant be THAT stupid!

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jimmyhandsome
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 8:42:23 AM
Reply

It's close. I really do like the party system in Xbox Live. In my opinion its a lot more user friendly for people who aren't "tech/PC-Savvy". It's easy to pull up your friends list on XBL, and join them in whatever game their playing regardless of what you're doing. The PSN party system feels sluggish, to say the least.

Paying for XBL just to pay online is the only downside vs. PSN.

However, seeking out deals on amazon and other websites (last year I renewed my Live subscription for a year via ESPN.com, also got 2 years of ESPN magazine, and a year of ESPN insider for $50, not bad) makes it a moot point, IMO.

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Highlander
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 10:49:20 AM

Sony put the hooks in place for party creation outside of games, but Devs need to use them. It's supported through the game launching feature of Home. If a game supports the feature you and a group of friends can meet up in Home and launch straight into the online aspect of a game.

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slugga_status
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 8:57:46 AM
Reply

As a Plus member and Gold member I personally believe the PSN has surpassed Live. Gold members only get a small amount of perks. Sure cross-game chat is a cool feature but in all honesty I don't like it when playing a SP game. I only find it useful when playing MP games as that way I don't give away my position to opponents compared to not being in a party and my mic giving it away.

I remember when the PSN was nothing and I look at it now and I'm just amazed with how far it's come. A huge amount of downloadable games and PS1 classics with PS2 gems coming back. With Plus you get Qore for free along with tons of free content and early Beta access. Not to mention Home which has expanded immensely since I was in the private Beta. I just don't think Live is worth the money anymore when you get more bang for your buck with PSN and get the same quality

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Underdog15
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 9:34:31 AM
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I love PSN+. That month where we got Infamous 2, LBP, and the other 8 full PS3 games paid for the last 2 years of Plus on it's own...

Mind you, I haven't had a gold membership for like 4 years or something now, so I'm not up to date on Live's improvements. But based on my two experiences, I like Plus hands down. I'm not convinced I would use cross game chat ever (except for games like Demon/Dark souls.)

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gumbi
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 10:47:49 AM
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Don't have an xbox, so I can't really say anything in comparison. All I can say is that the PSN has evolved a lot in the past few years. I'd say it's top notch now, especially if you get PSN+ I love getting free games every week!

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MrAnonymity
Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 9:05:26 PM
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The ability to play online for free gives the PSN an edge. I can't say THE edge, but AN edge. I can't even begin to go on about statistics or whatever, but what is important is loyalty. Regardless of who does what - XBOX fans will be so, and PS fans will be so. That statement is evidenced by two fanboy friends of mine that could really care less that their favorite shooters are also on the PS3 but free to play.

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Bobby
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 11:40:08 AM
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PSN is just too slow when it comes to updating games and rosters, downloading demos or add ons. That's the difference. It's the speed. I can't tell you how long it took to update an old 2k basketball game's roster on the PS3. Nobody has a lot of time to wait on downloads. While you're downloading I'm already playing. I pay for the convenience. Updates should not take over 10 seconds. If you say they're both the same speed then you're lying. Why is PSN even charging for the plus?....it's worthless. Microsoft just knows about the networking infrastructure way more than Sony. I mean Microsoft has created the most popular operating systems in the PCs and have incorporated it into the 360. Xbox Live has been decent from day one and improving. Now PSN fans want to compare it to Xbox Live when the next generation consoles are on the way?

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Underdog15
Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 2:21:33 PM

I've never experienced slow PSN download times.

Can you elaborate on this "convenience" you're referring to? It doesn't seem to make much sense. Especially not in terms of a dollar for value point of view.

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dlte
Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 2:33:01 PM

Wouldn't a slow download be the result of the speed of the connection, not the psn?

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Bobby
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 11:45:34 AM
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PSN is just too slow when it comes to updating games and rosters, downloading demos or add ons. That's the difference. It's the speed. I can't tell you how long it took to update an old 2k basketball game's roster on the PS3. Nobody has a lot of time to wait on downloads. While you're downloading I'm already playing. I pay for the convenience. Updates should not take over 10 seconds. If you say they're both the same speed then you're lying. Why is PSN even charging for the plus?....it's worthless. Microsoft just knows about the networking infrastructure way more than Sony. I mean Microsoft has created the most popular operating systems in the PCs and have incorporated it into the 360. Xbox Live has been decent from day one and improving. Now PSN fans want to compare it to Xbox Live when the next generation consoles are on the way?

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Balz
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 6:57:00 PM
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I always buy my live and pay around $30 a year. I know right now I'm still payed up for 2 more years. I play multiplayer games and that is why I prefer Live, it does enhance the multiplayer experience. I can be on the dashboard jump in a friends party and determine if they want to play a different game, if they are going to bed soon, etc. I have not bought Playstation Plus outside of the free trials for one reason. For me it is just rent these games from us while you are a member. Stop paying us it's all gone. If PS online had parties and cross game chat PS would be better. Until then PS online will continue to be the joke it is.

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Gravelight
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 9:06:29 PM
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PSN was better in the beginning to me than the spammed xbox live with all it's unnecessary bling. I think this goes back to an older post about PlayStation being more mature oriented console than 360. Xbox live will probably always appeal to the younger folks because of the flashiness, but everyone knows from hardware & software specs where the PlayStation stands. You get what you need with the PSN for free, missing out on nothing much that Xbox live has in store really. It's a matter of how you prefer your game steak... Done or Rare.

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Gravelight
Sunday, July 29, 2012 @ 9:06:30 PM
Reply

PSN was better in the beginning to me than the spammed xbox live with all it's unnecessary bling. I think this goes back to an older post about PlayStation being more mature oriented console than 360. Xbox live will probably always appeal to the younger folks because of the flashiness, but everyone knows from hardware & software specs where the PlayStation stands. You get what you need with the PSN for free, missing out on nothing much that Xbox live has in store really. It's a matter of how you prefer your game steak... Done or Rare.

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