Microsoft, we need to talk.

Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3759 posts) -

First off, a disclaimer. I don't consider myself a fanboy. Over the years, I've jumped back and forth from PS to N64 and bought a PS2 on launch day and loved it, bought a Gamecube and thought it was great. I'm of the opinion that in this current generation, both the PS3 and 360 are totally valid and from a games standpoint, bring plenty to the table. That being said, I've been pretty firmly seated in the MS camp since the Xbox. Or to be precise, since Halo. That started my love affair with the black and green monster and its stupid huge controllers and it's continued to this generation.

I've wanted to pick up a PS3 for a while, feeling pretty left out of some amazing games (Uncharted series, Metal Gear 4, Resistance) but I've never gotten around to it and I've been happy with my chosen system. One of the big reasons for this, aside from games, has been Xbox Live. I'm not gonna go into the things it does right, we're all pretty familiar with the details here, but suffice to say, I've had zero problem paying for the service. Lately though...I've been starting to feel differently. And it's surprised me to be honest.

The service still offers everything it used to, solid MP, streaming video, lots of available awesome content to dl, none of that has changed. What has changed, however is what Sony is doing. When Playstation Plus launched, it was easy to look at it and go "yeah thats ok I guess but...meh" but lately, man. They've stepped up their game. I started taking serious notice in June when they announced PS+ members would be getting a bunch of games free including VF5, Infamous 2 and friggin Space Marine, a game I love. The fact that I own it already and would have even if I'd had a PS3 doesn't change the fact that those are some real good games, and they're not that old. Infamous 2 had just turned a year old and Space Marine not even a year. This month, the first two episodes of The Walking Dead. Those just came out! Yeah they're not full price games, but that's still a great deal.

The last free games I got for my Xbox Live Gold account? Two games sponsored by Doritos...granted, the Wipeout game made for a great Quick Look...but Space Marine, it wasn't. When you add to that the fact that the MP is apparently much more stable then it used to be (this im getting anecdotally, I haven't played online on a PS3 in a while) the things Sony is doing with their online service is looking more and more attractive, both their free service and PS+ while Xbox Live is...the same. Hell, they put Netflix behind the pay wall which, the more I think about it, the more absurd that is.

Now I'm not saying I'm ready to jump ship. I'm still ok with paying for Live. This holiday is gonna be bananas with Halo 4, CoD, Borderlands...there's a ton of awesome games coming out. I'm currently playing the hell out of Dust and loving it...I still love my 360. Also we're right around the corner of a new generation so MS making big Live changes right now doesn't make sense. Things could totally change next year with the new consoles and I'm sure it will. All I'm saying is...man...if this same trend continues into the next gen, if Sony keeps doing what they're doing and MS keeps charging what they're charging, I'm gonna have to think long and hard about which system I get behind. Don't make me do it Microsoft. Where else will I get my Halos?

tl:dr Playstation Plus is getting better and better. Free games = awesome. Live is feeling stagnant and overpriced.

#1 Edited by TheSouthernDandy (3759 posts) -

First off, a disclaimer. I don't consider myself a fanboy. Over the years, I've jumped back and forth from PS to N64 and bought a PS2 on launch day and loved it, bought a Gamecube and thought it was great. I'm of the opinion that in this current generation, both the PS3 and 360 are totally valid and from a games standpoint, bring plenty to the table. That being said, I've been pretty firmly seated in the MS camp since the Xbox. Or to be precise, since Halo. That started my love affair with the black and green monster and its stupid huge controllers and it's continued to this generation.

I've wanted to pick up a PS3 for a while, feeling pretty left out of some amazing games (Uncharted series, Metal Gear 4, Resistance) but I've never gotten around to it and I've been happy with my chosen system. One of the big reasons for this, aside from games, has been Xbox Live. I'm not gonna go into the things it does right, we're all pretty familiar with the details here, but suffice to say, I've had zero problem paying for the service. Lately though...I've been starting to feel differently. And it's surprised me to be honest.

The service still offers everything it used to, solid MP, streaming video, lots of available awesome content to dl, none of that has changed. What has changed, however is what Sony is doing. When Playstation Plus launched, it was easy to look at it and go "yeah thats ok I guess but...meh" but lately, man. They've stepped up their game. I started taking serious notice in June when they announced PS+ members would be getting a bunch of games free including VF5, Infamous 2 and friggin Space Marine, a game I love. The fact that I own it already and would have even if I'd had a PS3 doesn't change the fact that those are some real good games, and they're not that old. Infamous 2 had just turned a year old and Space Marine not even a year. This month, the first two episodes of The Walking Dead. Those just came out! Yeah they're not full price games, but that's still a great deal.

The last free games I got for my Xbox Live Gold account? Two games sponsored by Doritos...granted, the Wipeout game made for a great Quick Look...but Space Marine, it wasn't. When you add to that the fact that the MP is apparently much more stable then it used to be (this im getting anecdotally, I haven't played online on a PS3 in a while) the things Sony is doing with their online service is looking more and more attractive, both their free service and PS+ while Xbox Live is...the same. Hell, they put Netflix behind the pay wall which, the more I think about it, the more absurd that is.

Now I'm not saying I'm ready to jump ship. I'm still ok with paying for Live. This holiday is gonna be bananas with Halo 4, CoD, Borderlands...there's a ton of awesome games coming out. I'm currently playing the hell out of Dust and loving it...I still love my 360. Also we're right around the corner of a new generation so MS making big Live changes right now doesn't make sense. Things could totally change next year with the new consoles and I'm sure it will. All I'm saying is...man...if this same trend continues into the next gen, if Sony keeps doing what they're doing and MS keeps charging what they're charging, I'm gonna have to think long and hard about which system I get behind. Don't make me do it Microsoft. Where else will I get my Halos?

tl:dr Playstation Plus is getting better and better. Free games = awesome. Live is feeling stagnant and overpriced.

#2 Posted by Eidderf (506 posts) -

I feel the same way if I'm honest but as long as people keep paying for the basic service they are given or there is some big drop off in subscribers I doubt they'll be any changes any time soon.

#3 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3759 posts) -

@Eidderf: Yup. It's true, and to be honest, I can't say I blame them, not too often big companies go "you know, we could stand to make less money" but still...something extra would be nice.

#4 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

I go on and off Live Gold. Usually it's because I'm off for two months, then they offer me two months for $2, so I take them up on it. So I'm always getting it cheap. I think it's gone into stasis lately because they're putting their efforts into whatever the service will become on the next generation console. It wouldn't hurt for them to throw something new into the mix just to keep people hooked, but I have a feeling they're not losing any subscribers at this point. Anyway--Fall update is coming, too, though it doesn't look like there are many great features aside from the inclusion of a full internet browser (yawn).

#5 Posted by Pezen (1546 posts) -

I think the "Free Games" of PS+ is amazing PR for what is essencially not what it sounds like. As I understand it, those games are available to you for the duration of your subscription, meaning they are essencially glorified rentals and not actually free games you keep. That always seems glossed over. Maybe that does not change anyone's opinion on it but I always found it weirdly ignored.

#6 Posted by Smashlampjaw (220 posts) -

I wish they would fix there Interface, but that Isn't happening anytime soon at least until the new Xbox comes out...

#7 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3759 posts) -

@Pezen said:

I think the "Free Games" of PS+ is amazing PR for what is essencially not what it sounds like. As I understand it, those games are available to you for the duration of your subscription, meaning they are essencially glorified rentals and not actually free games you keep. That always seems glossed over. Maybe that does not change anyone's opinion on it but I always found it weirdly ignored.

That's a valid point. I've had Live for a long time though with only a few interruptions so essentially I'd have those games the entire time. And aside from a very few games, I'm not the type to replay stuff a lot so having it limited to the length of your subscription is pretty alright by me.

#8 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@Smashlampjaw said:

I wish they would fix there Interface, but that Isn't happening anytime soon at least until the new Xbox comes out...

Bitch it's only gonna get worse. They recently put out an interview that basically said "we make so much fucking money from ads off a captive audience. What are they going to do, leave?"

#9 Posted by believer258 (11557 posts) -

@Pezen said:

I think the "Free Games" of PS+ is amazing PR for what is essencially not what it sounds like. As I understand it, those games are available to you for the duration of your subscription, meaning they are essencially glorified rentals and not actually free games you keep. That always seems glossed over. Maybe that does not change anyone's opinion on it but I always found it weirdly ignored.

This is true but it seems to me like the same philosophy behind Netflix - pay a certain amount ($50/yr for PS+) and get to play a selection of free games as long as you keep paying $50 a year. Frankly, that sounds like an awesome thing to me - you get to play a lot of games at a much, much cheaper price than you could at anything except the greatest of Steam sales. In addition to that, there's also a fair number of discounts on DLC, PS1 games, and other things, and these you do get to keep.

Paying for Xbox Live allows you to do the things that the PS3, PSP, Wii, DS, 3DS, and Steam all three allow you to do for free. I was fine with it before because the experience and features and support were great, but now that Sony has stepped up their game and gaming PC's have become decently affordable, and Nintendo's, um, trying, Gold seems less and less worth paying for.

#10 Edited by AbombBILL (34 posts) -

After having gold for the first year of owning a 360 I stopped paying for it. I just couldn't justify the cost to myself considering how little multiplayer I play on the consoles. Now the only time I do have gold is when I get a free 2-day pass with a game. And that's more then enough for me.

Also, if you do decide to get a PS3, you may want to skip getting Metal Gear Solid 4. Especially if you haven't played the earlier games in the series. I felt 4 was just way too up it's own ass from a story perspective. I also love how much hate Mass Effect 3's ending got considering I contemplated selling my PS3 after owning it for less then a month when I finished MGS4. I thought that if that game was considered one of the best the console had to offer, it was something I didn't need.

Glad I didn't go through with it though. I would've missed out on some of my favorite games of this generation if I did.

#11 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3759 posts) -

@AbombBILL: I missed out on Snake Eater but loved the first two, despite the ridiculous story. I was way into those games for a while so I kinda feel like thats a thread in my gaming life left un-followed. One of these days I'll close that chapter. Maybe.

#12 Edited by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@AbombBILL said:

After having gold for the first year of owning a 360 I stopped paying for it. I just couldn't justify the cost to myself considering how little multiplayer I play on the consoles. Now the only time I do have gold is when I get a free 2-day pass with a game. And that's more then enough for me.

Also, if you do decide to get a PS3, you may want to skip getting Metal Gear Solid 4. Especially if you haven't played the earlier games in the series. I felt 4 was just way too up it's own ass from a story perspective. I also love how much hate Mass Effect 3's ending got considering I contemplated selling my PS3 after owning it for less then a month when I finished MGS4. I thought that if that game was considered one of the best the console had to offer, it was something I didn't need.

Glad I didn't go through with it though. I would've missed out on some of my favorite games of this generation if I did.

I actually love MGS4 for doing that.

"No previous experience with the franchise needed" SHOULD NOT BE THE STANDARD. There SHOULD be games where it's the grand finale of a series and it's like "FUCK IT, if you haven't played all of them, this ain't for you!"

Kojima was crazy enough to make it work.

#13 Posted by TrafalgarLaw (1021 posts) -

Still paying for XBL I see, you deserve the abysmal "service" they provide you with at a premium price.

Wake up and smell the reality. Why would you pay for a "service" that's free elsewhere but is also cluttered with ads? That $60 ransom you pay for microsoft holding the online portion of your games hostage, could go into actual new games. But hey, if you're totally fine with Casuals of Duty, rejected Wii-games and Kinect integration up the ass...no one is stopping you.

#14 Posted by _Horde (837 posts) -

Playstation Plus does look attractive, especially in contrast to what us Europeans get off our Xbox Live golds. But then again, I only buy yearly subs of gold, so 364 days a year, I don't think about it.

#15 Posted by Vanek (381 posts) -

@TheSouthernDandy said:

Now I'm not saying I'm ready to jump ship. I'm still ok with paying for Live. This holiday is gonna be bananas with Halo 4, CoD, Borderlands...there's a ton of awesome games coming out. I'm currently playing the hell out of Dust and loving it...I still love my 360. Also we're right around the corner of a new generation so MS making big Live changes right now doesn't make sense. Things could totally change next year with the new consoles and I'm sure it will. All I'm saying is...man...if this same trend continues into the next gen, if Sony keeps doing what they're doing and MS keeps charging what they're charging, I'm gonna have to think long and hard about which system I get behind. Don't make me do it Microsoft. Where else will I get my Halos?

tl:dr Playstation Plus is getting better and better. Free games = awesome. Live is feeling stagnant and overpriced.

I'm pretty much thinking the same thing.

If Sony put out a machine with traditional hardware that doesn't cause developers problems and Microsoft continue charging me for features I don't even want then I think I'll end up ditch Microsoft and go back to Sony next generation. If it hadn't taken Sony so long to get their act together and were I not so heavily invested in my Xbox I would have jumped ship a long time ago.

#16 Posted by adam1808 (1355 posts) -

I've only ever paid for XBL using a 3 month subscription card. My total time with XBL Gold has been 4 months and then the 360 red ringed and I got myself a PS3 and a decent PC.

Just on the quality of service that Steam and PSN (especially Plus) now provide I can't understand why Gold memberships aren't falling. That interface is so dreadful and even with the better multiplayer experience it's not worth wading through all that when free alternatives provide a better experience.

Online
#17 Posted by laserbolts (5309 posts) -

I don't find Xbox live gold or PS+ worth it for me which is one of a few reasons I'll be investing in a good PC next gen. These last few years have sort of turned me off from consoles quite a bit.

#18 Posted by JasonR86 (9578 posts) -

Live will stay the way it is, overpriced and all, because people like me will continue to pay for it.

#19 Posted by dgSean (23 posts) -

I'm console agnostic, I grab them all because I hate missing out on exclusives. At this point there is more than enough Sony exclusives in the back catalog to justify the cost of the console IMHO.

It's pretty obvious to me that Live is worth the money if you do a lot of online gaming, I think you get what you pay for (it works really well), provided you can deal with the community. I can't deal with the maturity level (so much random unwarranted hate that I'd rather not play then listen to it) most of the time so I avoid it. As a result I always feel like I'm throwing that money away. I keep the sub active on the off chance of getting into a coop with people I know aren't annoying, but really I should be doing monthlies when the opportunity arises.

I buy a lot of games for full price at launch so a lot of the free stuff that comes up for PS+ I already have, even still I feel like I'm getting my money's worth on launch day discounts on downloadable titles, and the odd free title that I passed on on launch. But the online components can be cumbersome since it's not standardized like it is for Live, this is especially painful if you're used to the xbox experience.

I guess that would put my recommendation at definitely get a ps3 and ps+, but get the multiplayer focused games on xbox and live sub while you're still playing those games :)

#20 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3759 posts) -

@dgSean: That kinda seems like the only thing MS has left to hang their hat on, really stable MP (which I totally agree is essential if you play online alot) and voice chat. I still like the service I guess it's just when you add everything up, apps behind a paywall, Games On Demand that are stupidly overpriced, etc against what Sony's doing, if it weren't for the fact that their mp is still a little iffy, it's hard to compare Live favorably. I was pretty seriously considering picking up a PS3, still might if I find a used one or something but the longer I wait, the closer the new consoles get. Gettin antsy. Also getting way more into PC games lately.

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