Shelby "I Smash 360s" Reiches
The PlayStation 3 does not offer the most comprehensive online experience out there. That said, you're not paying anything for the privilege. Though it may be lacking in social features such as a party system and universal chat, the fact that the primary component of so many of today's popular games is online multiplayer means that not having to pay a subscription fee just to access that enormous chunk of content is a huge selling point. When you buy a new Call of Duty title for $60, you get access to everything on that disc out of the box.
Josh "Down With PSN, Up With XBL" Engen
This is where the Xbox 360 outshines the PS3 with immunity. Microsoft's Live service surpasses the PlayStation Network in every category, except for one; the price.
But let's talk about the price for a minute. In 1968, Garrett Hardin published an essay called "The Tragedy of the Commons." In it he argues that people who are given a free resource will almost always abuse it. Anyone who has logged onto the PlayStation Network knows this to be true. Many of the people on the PSN combine to form an unrestrained pack of imbeciles. It's difficult to play an entire round of Black Ops without hearing some extravagant form of hate speech. And even though I usually just laugh this behavior off, it doesn't change the fact that PSN users are often the worst people on earth (possibly only bested by PC gamers and Klan members).
Now, I will admit that Xbox Live has its fair share of these players, but people are far less likely to act like jackasses when they run the risk of losing their Live accounts.
Aside from the preferable player base, Xbox Live has some premium features that the PlayStation Network will never be able to afford. Last year, for example, players could log on to participate in Live's version of One Vs. One Hundred. The quiz show was hosted and moderated in real time by an actual human and players could take home thousands of Xbox Live points as prizes.
The last thing that separates Xbox live from the PSN is the DLC. Live owners often have access to downloadable content long before PlayStation owners. For example, those of us who play Call of Duty on an Xbox 360 have been able to download map packs an entire month before PSN owners, and this embargo will continue when Modern Warfare 3 hits the shelves. Also, Bethesda's upcoming The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has two DLC packs scheduled to hit Xbox Live a month before PSN. Do you really want to be downloading a map pack after all of the excitement has worn off?
Console Specific Games:
Shelby "PS3s Love Me Best" Reiches
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 share the vast majority of their titles with one another. Most third-party publishers see tremendous benefit in bringing their software to as many devices as will support it. Furthermore, Sony sees no issue in getting sloppy seconds. While Microsoft has a policy in place that frowns on, if not outright forbids, the release of non-exclusive, non-simultaneous content on its hardware, the PlayStation 3 has demonstrated a propensity for bringing one-time Microsoft exclusives over its way, such as BioWare's Mass Effect 2 and Konami's downloadable Castlevania title, Harmony of Despair. Oftentimes, they come pre-packaged with what had, on the Xbox 360, been separately released DLC. Sometimes even the third-party titles released simultaneously include a little something extra, such as Kratos' appearance in the PlayStation 3 version of Mortal Kombat and Mafia II's day one DLC mission.
That said, the PlayStation 3 also offers an attractive suite of critically acclaimed, popular and diverse exclusives. Demon's Souls, the Uncharted series, Ratchet & Clank games, God of War's hyper violence, and Hideo Kojima's seminal Metal Gear Solid 4, to name a few. Scores of developers cut their teeth on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, many of the best being picked up by Sony to work for them on an either entirely or mostly exclusive basis. Insomniac, Naughty Dog, and Sucker Punch all jump to mind, both for their earlier work on series such as Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, and Sly Cooper, as well as their more recent efforts on the Resistance, Uncharted, and inFAMOUS titles. And if quirky Japanese RPGs are you thing? The PlayStation 3 has you covered with its plethora of content from Nippon Ichi Software.
Josh "Xbox Kisser" Engen
This is a category that can only be won on an individual-by-individual basis. If you like to play Halo, you'll need to by an Xbox. If you like Uncharted 2, you'll need to buy a PS3. If you would like to play Left 4 Dead 2, you'll need a 360. If you want Little Big Planet, you'll need a PS3. You get the idea. The PlayStation technically has more unique titles than the 360, but are you really purchasing a system by counting up how many unique titles it has? If so, you should probably buy a Wii. If not, just buy the system that has the games you like the best.
Shelby "I Took My PS3 For A Romantic Dinner Last Night" Reiches
These days, the price is right, the content is out there, on shelves and, while the online experience isn't as complete as that of its competitor, the lack of any sort of surcharge makes it attractive regardless. And while that experience may not offer party chat or social features on its own, the PlayStation 3 still affords its owners access to other services they might already own, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as Sony's own Qriocity media service. These, together with its impressive stable of exclusive, quality titles and the vast majority of popular third-party games, makes the PlayStation 3 a very attractive system, indeed.
Josh "Xboxes Are Man's REAL Best Friend" Engen
In the end, every gamer has to make their console decision by asking themselves "How am I going to use this?" If you'd like a media center and a superior multiplayer experience, the Xbox 360 is your best friend. However, if you want a Blu-ray player, and slightly superior hardware, the PS3 is your best bet. But just a reminder: 24.6 million Sony customers had their information hacked this year. If that doesn't win you over to the 360 camp, nothing will.
By Josh Engen / Shelby Reiches
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*