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Comparing PlayStation Network and Xbox Live

The PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE are both gaming and media services. PlayStation Network is currently available in 60 countries and can be joined free of charge. Xbox LIVE is only available in 35 countries. It provides a similar range of services to PSN, but it charges gamers for playing online. But which one offers gamers the best services?

Gamer or developer focused?

The major difference between the two platforms is that gamers pay to use Xbox LIVE, whilst developers foot the cost of the PlayStation Network. So does this mean that the PlayStation Network is not as gamer focused as its rival?

PlayStation Network services

Services like internet searching through Google and access to BBCi Player, ITV Player, LoveFilm and Netflix would suggest that the focus is on developers, but gaming services exist. PlayStation Store allows gamers to purchase gaming content including demos, game add-ons and full games.

Xbox LIVE

There are two types of account available, Xbox Live Free and Xbox Live Gold. The range of services available to subscribers differs depending on the type of account, but both services offer voice chat, downloadable content, internet searches through Bing, and access to Game Room and BBCi Player. Applications allowing access to Facebook and Twitter are only available to Gold members and viewing movies through Netflix is also restricted to Gold users.

Security

The 2011 PlayStation Network security breach that made users’ credit card information available to hackers led to a suspension of the program and to a lot of bad publicity. Xbox LIVE is more secure, but rumours of breaches with the system are frequent found online and on occasion Microsoft has found it necessary to deny claims that hackers have infiltrated their system.

Final word

There isn’t much to choose between the two platforms. Xbox LIVE currently has 60 million subscribers and PlayStation Network has around 70 million. The services are similar and developers are keen to work with both platforms in an effort to engage with both PlayStation and Xbox gamers, so it's a shame that Microsoft feel the need to charge for services that Sony offer for free.

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