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Should Xbox Live Really Have A Monthly Fee?

xboxlivegold1As a PlayStation 3 owner, I constantly wonder why Xbox 360 owners are content paying a monthly fee to play games they already own online.  I know that when the PlayStation Network was first introduced, it was nothing to brag about, in fact it was quite sub-par.  Back in those days, Microsoft had a very good reason why they charged for Xbox Live, as it was clearly better than PSN.  But now, as the PSN has matured, it has grown closer and closer to Xbox Live quality but managed to stay a free service in spite of its constant upgrades.  In fact, it is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish which is the better service.

What is Microsoft’s rationale behind keeping their monthly fee when Sony doesn’t offer one?  Is it simply because they know people are willing to pay?  It is hard for me to believe that Microsoft doesn’t have enough money to support Xbox Live without charging their customers a monthly fee.  So what do you think?  Should Xbox Live still really have a monthly fee?

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  • Jacob Hruska (snakeman555)

    If I were Microsoft and I could get away with charging a monthly fee or not, I would. Plus doesn’t Microsoft have it’s own servers, whereas online PS3 games have to have their own servers? We must remember that Microsoft is not a charity, it’s a company.

  • I don’t have a PS3 so I can’t comment on the PSN, but from what I’ve heard, the differences are still pretty great. The ease of access, the depth of content, I feel Xbox LIVE is well worth the subscription cost.

    But again, as I don’t have a PS3, I’m not up to date on everything PSN has to offer. It could be awesome or it could be crap, but I do know that LIVE has a lot to offer and I’m sure it costs a pretty penny to accommodate the sheer number of LIVE users.

  • madnizz

    Xboxlive subscription is a must in an age where we have all these crappy child molesters and online experience terrorists and so on….
    I personally think the contents between the two networks just says it all…it’s just that huge difference and ease of use that makes the xboxlive network da bomb.

  • Jake

    Microsoft are the richest brand (fact), because of such a high status they know people are willing to pay.

    But the more Microsoft earn the more they can bring you elsewhere. I mean they have free coding software for programs and website that is miles above any pay software including Dreamweaver, so Im not all that bothered.

  • Mx

    There is a big difference. On XBL you have demos of all the games, on PSN you don’t. This because Microsoft requires there to be demos and Sony charges the publishers for downloads, thus free demos cost the publishers.

    So while PSN is free for the user, it cost publishers. XBL OTOH cost the user because it is a subscriber service but then since the publisher don’t have to pay there are more “free” content for the users.

    Having said that, I prefer not to pay just to be there, rather to pay for the content I want, so I choose PSN over XBL any day of the week. YMMV.

    Anyway, who cares in the long run? For me they both are content delivery systems, I don’t spend time there just because I can. I rather spend it in-game. Again, YMMV.

  • The Psn is getting a little better in terms of their downloadable games but they are still extremely lacking with demos and extra content. XBL is growing and they continue to add features such as the Netflix streaming and the upcoming Twitter/Facebook support.

    All the extra features on XBL are nice but they have one huge flaw, which makes me mad im giving them $50 a year, the servers are SO SLOW. It takes twice as long to download stuff then it does on my PC from free sites like FilePlanet. It even takes up to 30 seconds some time to load certain parts of the market place which is simply unacceptable.

    PSN is okay, still no where near XBL but i think Sony is stuck now. Charging for online helps bring in money and develop the service further, if Sony tries to bring out a pay service it would have to be a premium sort of thing because i dont think alot of people would be happy that they have to shell out money to play online. If they had pay service i probably wouldnt have got my PS3 in the first place

  • Alphathon

    I don’t really think it’s worth the price for XBL compared to the PSN, but it’s such a small amount of money that it makes little difference to most people (yes, £30-40 is a small amount of money, and any americans who start complaining it’s too much should come and live in the UK for a while and see if you still care that your games cost $60 etc). Basically, I resent having to pay for the service (especially with the amount of lag I get, but that’s down to my shitty connection), but am still willing to do it to play with my friends because its such a relativelly small fee.

    On the PSN there are a few downfalls (yes I own both before you ask) like the lack of demos for everything, and the lack of cross-game voice chat, but is that service worth the price tag? Not really. It also makes up for it a bit with some better (IMO) arcade games (Wipeout HD, Fat Princess, Super Stardust HD, Rag Doll Kung Foo, Burn Zombie Burn, WarHawk etc). Of course that is all personal opinion, and I also prefer the disk based exclusives, so maybe it’s just that I’m more of the PS3s target audience than the 360s. Bear in mind that I’m predominently a PC gamer.

    What I really wish is that they’d upgrade GFWL a little bit – include parties etc for example.

  • I own a PS3 and a 360. And I can say that the only reason people pay for LIVE is because its what everyone else is doing. I am perfectly happy with my PS3 but ALL of my friends have a 360. So if I ever want to play with friends I have to use my Xbox.

    A lot of people say they bought the 360 because of the price but this was not my experience. By the time I bought the 360 and the wireless adapter and a charger for my controller I spent more on my 360 than my PS3 and my PS3 has a bluray player and yes I do use the BR player.

    So people will keep paying for LIVE because its the cool thing to do.

  • Alphathon

    Actually, I think I’m in the same boat as Bretnon C TBH. The 360 exclusives don’t really interest me that much (I enjoy them but wouldn’t really care if they just died. That said other than uncharted, and to a lesser extent LBP and Killzone 2 I’m not all taht fussed about the PS3s ones either. Resistance, Heavenly Sword, Motorstorm etc are all great but also, for me, not system-makers.) The 360s closed setup (no browser, proprietary accessories etc) and hidden costs are also a turn-off. I only have a 360 to play online with my friends (don’t really care about playing with randoms) and for the occasional exclusive.

  • Bobby Gonzalez

    The problem is that even though the PSN has matured it still hasn’t caught up to XBL and XBL has continued to evolve as well. XBL will continue to charge until the majority of people aren’t willing to pay. Its as simple as that.

  • starcade

    The cost of Xbox Live has never bothered me.

    Almost all games have multiplayer capability, there’s free demos available for many games, XBLA games are try before you buy and there’s a good number available to choose from, there’s a chat/party/video and matchmaking systems available. Chat is available in all mutiplayer games. You have friends lists, list of recent players for any game, profiles, achievements for all games. There’s a feature to prefer or avoid players. New features keep appearing, such as link to Netflix, and eventually LastFM, Twitter, and Facebook. There’s a new rating system for content. There’s been free content made available from games to backgrounds and gamerpics, movies and videos. Videos you want to watch can be streamed instantly. There’s an online game show. And there’s always a community event happening every week.

    And even though there has been the ocassional issue, for the most part the service has been pretty solid.

  • Mx

    Another thing that rarely comes up in these discussions is that PSN (or XBL for that matter) is not really ONE network. They are quite different in what they offer in different markets. For me that is a much bigger problem than that XBL and PSN are not equals and that they are using the same marketing models.

  • kreator1

    Why is paying less than $5 a month such a big deal?

  • Well that depends on what game card you get. But lets say it costs $5 a month to have XBLA, which is $60 a year. Now lets say you have XBLA for 10 years. You’ve now payed $600 more dollars for your 360. It’s not a big deal over a small period of time, but if you have a PS3 you can buy one more game a year than if you have a 360.

    However, it sounds like a lot of people think the monthly fee is justified because of all the features you get, I mean it really does offer more than PSN does. But I’m curious as to how many people actually use a lot of those extra features. I know tons of people who only use XBLA just to play their games online.

    I know XBLA comes in Silver and Gold memberships, but perhaps they should get rid of Silver and make Gold free, and then create a Platinum membership for those people who want to use all those extra features and only charge Platinum members a monthly fee.

  • dwigg

    I have both systems and I use the ps3 online more because it’s free and my friends are on that system. I think the choice is really personal about what system you use. The real question we should be asking is do we think it is worth our money.

  • jay

    PSN is not close to XBL yet, I own both consoles and I’m happy to pay 4 or 5 dollars per month for the additional services… chating in a game is a must!!!!!

  • Mark

    Until PSN has party chat or even in-game voice chat period, as well as cross-game invites XBL will be superior.

  • I PS3 owners can afford a PS3, they can afford to play for Xbox Live.

  • cJw

    Abso-mother-fcuking-lutely not.

    Micro transactions are already all over the place – and they’re preparing to put ADS all over my “NXE” as it is?

    Screw that… if it’s ad supported, there’s no place for a subscription fee.

  • anonymous

    What I hate more is to see microsoft make deal with let say: Netflix, last.fm and other service like that.

    They sure did exchange some money, the money they used is the one for gold subcripter, these services are also gold only.

    But I am the only one to figure out that every single people from all over the world are paying gold so microsoft can make some dealt which are only available in the US?

    Yes, every gold subcripter are paying so that USA can enjoy more feature.

  • That’s a good point, if it’s ad supported, they should probably use that money to make the service free.

    I also agree with a lot of people above in the fact that PSN still has a long way to go. In game chat, party chat, and cross game invites should definitely be implemented on PSN.

  • LevelHead

    What is the rationale behind charging Playstation fans upwards of $600 to play many of the same games? Seems to me that rationale is PS3 owners see good value (as do I) with the added blu ray player and built in wi-fi among other things. What about just the gamer, the one who supported Sony through the years and paid $299 for a launch PS1 and $299 for a launch PS2 only to be faced with a $499 and $599 PS3 at launch?

    So like the PS3 many Live members see extra value in Xbox Live. Such as a much better community structure where your friends are much more social orientated and other little things like voice messages and party chat. To me I like the way Live communicates with it’s members and with each game. It just feels more natural and structured. On PSN it feels more open based where some publishers go the extra mile and others just do the basics.

    The problem with Live is Microsoft doesn’t offer a free alternative. It’s either pay to play online or use Live offline. On the PS3 Sony also doesn’t cater to the gamer only. It’s either buy the PS3 with blu ray and wi-fi or get a Xbox 360 if you just want to play games.

  • You get what you paid for.

  • DMason

    The point here is that you’re a PS3 owner, and not an Xbox 360 owner. So in reality, you don’t understand why it’s a pay service.

    If you had only owned a Xbox 360, and then purchased a PS3, only then would you realize the differences.

    Like the old addage goes, “You get what you pay for.”

    If my 360 was taken away from me and all I had was my PS3 to play multiplayer, multiplatform games, I would be devastated. You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone.

    So to sum it up, YES. Xbox Live is worth the $30 a year (I found a deal on my subscription). If you can’t afford an extra $3 a month for quality, than you shouldn’t be gaming.

  • DMason

    @Levelhead

    You are mistaken. Xbox does offer a free alternative. It’s called a Silver account. You can still download demos and send messages to friends.