Why am I still paying for Xbox Live?

Pool Balls XBL – PSN
Pool Balls XBL – PSN

So, as everyone knows by now, Xbox Live got that wonderful price hike of $10. It’s not too big of a deal I guess, although nobody likes a price hike. It is just $10, but it’s brought up two interesting points for me. People keep saying that Playstation Plus isn’t worth it, and Xbox Live is. This interests me because I am attracted to things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. For this segment, I will refer to the whole of PSN (as opposed to specific PS+ things) and the whole of XBL. Now with that in mind, the two points I have are, essentially, 1) Why do people think Xbox Live is better than PSN? and 2) Why in God’s name am I still paying for Xbox Live?

I’m not saying Xbox Live isn’t bad, it’s great, if you only have an Xbox. If you have both, ultimately it should come down to where your friends are (most of mine are on PSN, just as a disclaimer) but even for the actual services, what you get is mostly different. So lets look at the new breakdown:

Playstation Plus Logo
Okay, I will admit this peggle-looking ad is a bit much…

PSN(+):

  • $50 a Year or $20 for 3 months
  • Timed 60 min game trials, (option to purchase after)
  • Qore
  • Free PS1 games every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
  • Free PS Minis every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
  • Discounts on DLC, Downloadable games, essentially everything but full games
  • Access to Betas that they keep out of the hands of the free customers
  • (Free already) Online multiplayer
  • (Free already) Video Chat

I didn’t make any of that up, it’s everything i’ve gotten so far being a PSN+ member. Maybe because popular opinion is so far in Xbox Live Gold’s direction that they feel that they have to practically spoil PSN+ customers in order to get them to pay (and given the opinion of most so far, it’s probably true) but that is a lot of stuff for $50 a year. With Xbox Live Gold, I get:

Xbox Live
Xbox Live

XBL Gold

  • $60 a year, $10 a month or $25 for 3 months
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Facebook & Twitter
  • Parties/Cross game Chat
  • Last FM
  • ESPN
  • Video Kinect
  • Demos that they keep out of the hands of the free customers

I didn’t bother putting anything about video or Netflix, because they both can do them, and besides anything the Wii can do technologically isn’t up for discussion here. Thats all I can find for both PSN+ and XBL. This list speaks for itself. Essentially it’s more money for less features. If we take the “it’s where my friends are” out of the equation (because it’s circumstantial) the better service is the one with the better features, and honestly, that’s Playstation Plus. There just aren’t many (if there are any at all) discounts of games on XBL, and there’s absolutely nothing free ever unless there’s a large cutoff of Xbox Live, and even then you get a free game like “Diner Dash” that nobody plays anyway.

Be honest, how many times do you use this?

I don’t see this as a rant against XBL so much as I see it a rant against the people who say that Playstation Plus is “not worth it.” Be honest, didn’t you just use Facebook & Twitter that one time just to see if it worked, then never use it again? Of course you did, because you use Facebook and Twitter on your computer and phone, because that’s where it’s easiest to use. And even Facebook on Xbox Live doesn’t work as well as Facebook on PSN. On XBL, you can edit your status and see your friends status updates and all that fun stuff you can already do on your computer, only now with the added frustration of using analog sticks or a keyboard the size of a pack of gum to type it. The Playstation 3 has a web browser if that’s what you’re really into. (Or you could, you know, just use a f**ing computer) So when we see things like the Playstation 3 posting your trophy accomplishments and things you’ve purchased to Facebook in order for your friends to comment on them, that’s what I want to see out Facebook. Give me a reason to use Facebook on my PS3 specifically, not just a game console port of it.

Speaking of that sentiment, there is XBL’s ESPN service, which is exactly what I was just talking about. Now there’s a reason to watch ESPN specifically on your Xbox. Ratings, Video on Demand, all those wonderful things will probably make it a blast to use on XBL, and that’s the point.  It’s better than the service we have now, so it compels users to use the console version rather than the everywhere else on the damn planet version.

Now the last part of this is simple: it’s why I wont be using Xbox Live Gold anymore, because it’s a waste of money for me personally, for several reasons:

First off, my Xbox 360 is not currently connected to the internet. It can be, I just have to run my 100ft ethernet cable from my room all the way to the living room where my computer’s internet connection is, literally on the other side of my house. it barely makes it. Seeing as that’s absolutely ridiculous, I really don’t want to do that every time I turn on my Xbox. It’s obvious that my 20 gig system doesn’t have wifi, otherwise this wouldn’t be a problem. But it is. It’s a huge problem. Honestly, it matters most because I need a bigger hard drive, and since Microsoft only uses proprietary hard drives that are practically Netbook expensive, I figure I might as well combine the two and just get a whole new system. Maybe with that ugly grey controller with the better D-Pad. Another $300 to replace a working system I already have? Sure Microsoft, got that right here for you.

I didn’t want to talk about it in the actual fact based part because it’s so circumstantial, but now that i’m talking about myself I can say I really have no friends on Xbox Live. All but one of my friends are on PSN, and frankly, he’s not worth it. If he was reading this right now, I’d tell him that unless he wants to split the cost of XBL with me, i’m not paying $50 a year to be able to play Modern Warfare 2 with him. Left 4 Dead 2 was the game I played most on online multiplayer, and that came in a whopping 5 times. Why am I still paying for this?

I do of course, buy XBLA-exclusive games, because every so often someone releases a puzzle game that will scare the ever loving hell out of everyone that lives here, and probably some of my neighbors and me in a past life. But I can do that on Silver, which isn’t $60, it’s free. I’ve heard that certain demos or games come out a week later on Silver, but okay I can wait a week for that much money.

Here’s a huge difference. With PSN+, I get a lot of “free” stuff. Yes I know it’s not free, i’m paying $50 a year for it, but as we’ve seen with XBL, they don’t have to give it to me. But they do. And I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Mortal Kombat II was half off, some of the Minis are fantastic (Age of Zombies mostly) and the other discounts make it so that for that $50, I’m getting actual games. It’s allowed me to play things I’d never even consider looking at before, just because my subscription brings them to the forefront.

XBL is $60, and PSN+ is $50. In my opinion, PSN+ does a lot more to warrant my money than XBL does. But tell me, when looking at all the things both services offer, regardless of which console your friends are on, which service would you go for?

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6 thoughts on “Why am I still paying for Xbox Live?

  • September 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM
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    Almost all my friends play on Playstation now.

  • September 8, 2010 at 12:58 PM
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    Xbl actually has weekly deals where they pick some DLC, xbla, and other downloaded content half-off.

  • September 9, 2010 at 9:27 AM
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    @Acorns Yeah, but thats different from Playstation Plus, where every two weeks you’re getting some games, (mini’s, or downloadable games) for free, then discounts (sometimes way more than half off) on other games at the same time. XBL usually only has a “game of the week” meanwhile PS+ is throwing handfuls of them at you, just cause they can.

  • December 28, 2010 at 1:15 AM
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    I’ve had a PS3 since it first came out. Actually I have 2. The original 60gb version and a slim that I got a few months back. Wanted an xbox so my parents bought them one for Christmas. Yay we now have all three platforms. Ugh. Got the xbox 4gb slim. It was $199. Now I have to spend an extra $130 for microsofts proprietary hard drive that is the same size as what came in my ps3 slim. The controllers take batteries so I need to spend another $30 for the rechargeable packs and charger. Ps3 comes with rechargeable controllers. That’s the only option for their controllers. To purchase an additional controller will cost you $50 for both the xbox or PS3 and $65 for the rechargeable xbox control. Yes I admit when the ps3 came out it was twice as much as the xbox. But the blueray technology just came out. It was expensive for the laser that read blueray. Now that the technology has been out for a while the price has come down as it always does. The ps3 hasn’t taken anything away since the price came down.

  • January 2, 2011 at 2:59 PM
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    I have also had a PS3 since it first come out, and 3 more since then making it 4 in the house.

    I recently just got an xBox 360 250gb slim for christmas, and after a week, I have to say that in visual, the xBox dashboard is much better, as the dashboard for the PS3 doesn’t really look like its up to much.

    For online gameplay I also have to say 360, more players, better players etc.

    But for online services, I have to say the PS3 wins hands down in this one. PS Plus is optional, so if you do not purchase you can still play your games online for free, however if you wish to play online on the xBox you have to pay for something you already have, an internet connection.

    I would of stuck with my PS3 if it wasn’t for most of my close friends playing the xBox, as PS3s offer more for the money they ask for.

  • January 7, 2011 at 4:18 PM
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    I completely agree with what BassForce is saying… Paying for Xbox Live is BS.. If I didnt already have so much money invested in the Xbox 360, I would have switched to PS3 a long time ago. I just don’t understand why MS forces $60 a year (or cheaper if you look online) for Xbox Live. It seems they try to use Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, Netflix, and ESPN as justification for the price. Thats bullshit, considering not everybody cares for those services and if they do, they likely want to use them on a PC. Its practically unethical for them to force everyone to pay for crap they dont use, or care for. If you want to stream Netflix movies, you have to pay for Netflix + Gold. If you want to use Zune Music Marketplace, that also requires a separate fee. WHY? If anything, that Zune Music Marketplace should be INCLUDED with Gold memberships. WHAT are we paying for? Gold Membership should include subscriptions to services like Netflix or Zune Music Marketplace. THEN will the price of Xbox Live be justified. They should offer a membership that just allows people to play online, because thats really all most people want to do.

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