10 reasons why PlayStation Network trumps Xbox Live

Why the PSN is better than Xbox Live

  • In our humble opinion, the PlayStation 3 is superior to the Xbox 360 in every way that matters*. From the [[artnid:203866|reliability of its hardware]] to the [[xref:|quality of exclusives]], it has consistently flogged Microsoft's ailing console from day one. (We're not even going to get into the whole [[artnid:316593|Blu-ray advantage]] – some arguments are just too easy.)

    However, according to urban myth, the PS3 has a serious chink in its armour, AKA online gaming. The PlayStation Network simply can't compete with the user-friendliness and versatility of Xbox Live -- or so the MS fanboys would have you believe.

    While it's true that the PSN took a while to hit its stride, the service is now every bit as good as its Xbox 360 counterpart. In fact, we're going to go out on a limb and declare it even better.

    In no particular order, here are 10 reasons why the PSN trumps Xbox Live. In your hearts, you know this to be true.

    * We reserve the right to change our mind in five minutes' time -- yes, we're being provocative.

  • It's free!

    It's hard to argue with cold, hard cash – particularly when it could be in your wallet.

    If you signed up for a Gold membership when the Xbox 360 launched in 2006, you have essentially handed over around $400 for the privilege of online gaming (make that $500 if you’re using a wireless adaptor). Either way, that’s a lot of money that could have been spent on games – or even a second console. By contrast, the PlayStation Network has been completely free from the day it launched.

    In August, Microsoft announced plans to increase the price of Xbox Live Gold by up to 25 per cent, widening the gulf even further. If you care about money, get PSN.
  • PSOne Classics

    If you've been in the game since the PSX era, the PlayStation Network offers plenty of nostalgic incentives to sign up. The service is swimming with hundreds of PlayStation video games that still hold up to this day.

    Highlights include Ape Escape, Crash Bandicoot, Tekken 2 (pictured), Tomb Raider, Dino Crisis, Rayman, WipEout, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Driver, Twisted Metal 2, Final Fantasy VII and VIII, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Dead or Alive, Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid (to name just a few!)

    These are the games that built the PlayStation brand and revolutionised gaming. Even if you've never owned a console before, they're well worth checking out.
  • No lame avatars

    In 2008, Microsoft added cutesy 3D avatars to Xbox Live as part of the [[artnid:261526|'new Xbox Live experience']]. In other words, the company took a leaf from Nintendo's (pop-up) book and turned its back on the hardcore fraternity that had built its name. These stupid, bobble-headed Wii-wannabes have become the 'face' of Xbox Live -- much to the embarrassment of serious-minded gamers everywhere.

    If you're old enough to shave, these things are a waste of space. If nothing else, the PSN offers a mature, Mii-free interface.
  • PlayStation Plus

    The newly launched PlayStation Plus can be viewed as Sony's answer to Xbox Live Gold. However, there are two key differences – firstly, the service is completely optional, and secondly, it provides something substantial for the asking price.

    Whereas Xbox Live Gold essentially charges you for online gaming, PS+ is a premium service filled with all kinds of extra goodies. This includes full game trials, automatic demo downloads and firmware updates, exclusive downloadable content, beta tests, PlayStation Store discounts and early access to PSN games. More importantly, if you don't like it, you can still game online for free.
  • VidZone

    If you're based in Europe, Australia or New Zealand, VidZone is a compelling reason to choose PSN over Xbox Live. This user-friendly, on-demand video service offers thousands of music videos from a range of music labels; completely free of charge. VidZone boasts a catalogue of over 25,000 music videos that can be streamed directly to your console. It essentially turns the PS3 into a jukebox/[[artnid:336111|eye-candy]] machine.

    For more information about the service, [[artnid:312685|check out our interview with VidZone's Director of Marketing and Sales, Louisa Jackson]].
  • On-board Web browser with Google search

    Unlike Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network offers full access to the Internet via its inbuilt Web browser and Google search engine. The interface is free to use and surprisingly slick, although you'll naturally need a keyboard to make effective use of the service.
  • PS3 Trophies

    Microsoft revolutionised the scoreboard system via Achievements, for which it deserves full props. But y’know what? PS3 trophies are just so much cooler. Rather than a handful of disembodied points, the PlayStation 3 rewards you with a tangible prize that you can show off on your virtual mantelpiece – just like a real-life trophy. Plus, the addition of ‘tiered’ trophies (bronze, silver, etc) gives you something extra to aim for.

    PlayStation’s advertising icon Kevin Butler put it best at [[artnid:350626|E3 2010]]: "[Gaming] is staying up until 3AM to earn a trophy that isn't real… But it is."

    By contrast, achievements are just meaningless numbers.
  • PSP functionality/Remote Play

    If you're into portable gaming and own a PSP (or [[artnid:322173|PSP Go]]), the PlayStation Network offers plenty of added functionality for your console. Armed with a PSP, you can access any of the media stored on your PlayStation 3 via an ad-hoc WiFi connection – music, videos, you name it. You can even play a few PS3 games on your PSP, using Remote Play.

    In addition, [[xref:|PlayStation Minis]] and PSOne game downloads can be transferred between both consoles – handy if you're engrossed in [[artnid:355166|Tomb Raider 2]] and have a bus to catch.

    Microsoft recently announced Xbox Live games for the Windows Phone 7, but without all those PSX classics, it's hardly the same thing.
  • Catch-up TV

    Catch-up TV is a free-to-air television service that lets Aussie PS3 users watch TV shows on demand. The service streams over the internet directly to the console via the PlayStation Network -- and it's completely free. ABC (AKA iView) and Channel 7 (Plus7) are currently supported by the service, with more channels tipped to follow. You can also record catch-up TV programs directly to the PS3's hard drive using Sony's [[artnid:327514|PlayTV digital tuner]].

    Microsoft, meanwhile, is [[artnid:347258|about to launch its Foxtel service through Xbox Live]] -- for a monthly subscription fee, natch.
  • PlayStation Home

    PlayStation Home is great and we don't care what anyone says. It's got girls in it and everything.
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