PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Live – Which will earn your money?

Are you ready for the next generation of consoles that are releasing in November? Because the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is quickly approaching. Since we’ll all be investing in next-gen consoles at one point in time, it’s worth having a look at the differences between their multiplayer and online capabilities.

In the recent months, some things have changed while other aspects of the online services remain the same.

I might not be able to decide which is better for you, but there are obvious differences that will appeal to different types of gamers.

The question you’ll have to ask yourself is which online service will earn your money when it comes to PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Live?

If you follow the links directly above, you’ll see that both services have a lot of positive reviews so how do you decide right? Let’s take a closer look at both services so that you can make a better purchasing decision for your next-gen gaming experience.

In the next generation of video game consoles, it seems that the online services for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold will be fighting for your dollars even more so than before. You would think it unfortunate that PlayStation Plus is now required for online multiplayer (excluding Free-to-Play games). But if PS Plus wants to compete with Xbox Live’s perceived standard of providing superior online services in the coming generation then they will need your money. But are you willing to spend that amount of money over the next 5-10 years to truly experience what these consoles have to offer? Let’s face it, in the next-gen, these consoles were designed to take full advantage of internet connectivity. And you can either get the watered down version or go for the version that PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold have envisioned for us.

Differences in PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold

The primary difference between the two is business related. Microsoft is using their familiar system where only people with Xbox Live Gold can access online gaming and online services like Netflix, etc. Whereas Sony announced that you don’t need PlayStation Plus to play all games online. The PlayStation Network also allows anyone to use online services like streaming applications for free. Although, Sony has taken a page from Microsoft and is now requiring you be a PlayStation Plus subscriber to access online multiplayer for most games.

For a very long time, Microsoft’s Xbox Live business strategy has worked. You can’t argue with success. If this wasn’t true, Sony would have stuck with a completely free PlayStation Network and never have introduced the PlayStation Plus subscription model. You could also argue that the Xbox Live business model next-gen is getting better because it offers more content such as the option to integrate television, a more reliable network, smart match technology, and a reputation system to keep gamers in check. However, PS Plus fans would argue that it’s not free, and without paying a subscription fee, you’re left with a barebones service. So here we see a definitive split between fans and a line drawn between personal preferences. Xbox Live seems to be aimed towards people who are planning on using their console as an entertainment hub. Not as many of the extra features are actually as game-based as we would have liked.

As for price, Xbox Live is $60 for one year, and PlayStation Plus is $50. This is only a $10 a year difference, but if you think about how long you’ll be using your console… it could be up to 7-10 years. So PlayStation Plus obviously wins on this front. But then we come to value-for-money. Is the extra $10 worth it for Xbox Live?

You get what you pay for

To some it’s not, to others it is. Does it seem worth it to you? Because many believe that gaming consoles are for gaming. From what we’ve seen in the past, that’s the main focus of PlayStation Plus. On the PS3, PlayStation Plus would give you tons of new games as soon as you subscribed. Thanks to it, I was introduced to excellent games like Battlefield 3 and several others that I would not have purchased. Xbox Live Gold is more of an essential feature and so this extra service is a lot less likely to make an appearance. Even though PlayStation Plus is becoming more necessary than it was before, it still retains the premium feel that we know from the PS3.  Xbox Live is a lot less known for giving you free games, and when they do they’re usually not that recent.

Xbox One snap mode fantasy team roster

Snap mode on Xbox One

But, there is a lot to be said for the variety of apps and features that Xbox Live offers. The Xbox One operating system allows you to snap content side by side so you to run apps like Skype, stream videos/music and use internet explorer at the same time. It looks incredibly smooth and it’s a brilliant addition to the user interface. The functionality is similar to that of Windows 8, and despite criticism of Windows 8 you can’t deny it’s very efficient, smooth and aesthetic. I have Windows 7 on my gaming laptop and Windows 8 on my Mac and XPS Ultrabook. On Windows 8, I’m always writing content like this and doing work while watching the Venture Bros in a snapped view. Spoiler alert…snapping stuff is awesome! On Xbox Live, this feature works in conjunction with your video games too. If you want to play a game while talking to your buddies on Skype then you can do it no problem. And I wholeheartedly welcome this feature on Xbox One.

The main thing that worries me about the Xbox Live service is that they will be straying too far from games. The fact of the matter is most of us have TVs and computers. We want a games console for games. Microsoft is trying to mix all of the above with their console. While it’s understandable, it’s definitely not for everyone. And this is where Sony’s approach has the main edge for us gamers.

PlayStation Plus is about gaming

Click to learn more about PS Plus subscription

Click to learn more about PS Plus subscription

Everyone who buys a games console wants to play games… it’s a games console. Not everyone who buys a games console wants to talk to their friends, watch sports, etc. So Microsoft is busy targeting what could be considered a minority with their approach (customers who will be a $500 games console to just watch TV). Whereas PlayStation Plus is much more likely to appeal to everyone who owns a PS4. This doesn’t give Sony the advantage in sales though, because lots of people will still be able to enjoy games without PS Plus. Remember, you can still play Free-to-Play games online, access streaming services like Netflix and enjoy most of the popular functionality of the PlayStation Network. That’s very appealing to a lot of people. It’s also a statement to gamers that Sony values your investment in the PlayStation 4 and wants you to be able to enjoy most of what the console has to offer. PlayStation Plus is just added value on top of established value. This isn’t the case with Xbox Live though. Follow this link and you can get PlayStation Plus as low as $17.99.

The next thing to mention are the game streaming services. You may be aware that both Sony and Microsoft have partners for their streaming services. Microsoft are going with Twitch TV, while Sony are opting for UStream and Twitch TV. Both of these services are very popular and are both well respected. Twitch TV is famous for PC games like League of Legends, DOTA and StarCraft. Whereas Ustream is considered much more broad.
The way you stream on either console will essentially work in similar ways to each other. People with PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live will be able to stream their games on the PS/Xbox network and their friends (and people around the world) will be able to watch. I think that PlayStation actually has the edge with this because of the way streaming integrates with playing games. We’ve seen examples of people getting stuck on a level, then streaming it and having a friend take over across the network. This means that people will be able to manually control your game from over the PSN. Microsoft hasn’t mentioned a similar feature to this, but that’s not to put their streaming service down.

How important is PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold to you?

Xbox Live vs. PlayStation Plus might not be that important for your playing experience, but it’s definitely something to consider along with price and exclusive console games. I know that PlayStation Plus appeals to me the most, but if you’re less of a gamer and more of a media consumer you might enjoy Xbox Live Gold more. That said, I believe that anyone could enjoy either. I will have both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold next generation because I enjoy both services for what they have to offer. They have both earned my money in the current gen and will continue to earn it in the coming generation.

How about you? Who will earn your money and why? Let us know in the comments below.

PlayStation Plus year one free games

In 2011, IGN wrote an article where they estimated the total savings for the first year of PlayStation Plus service was $881.57. And here is what they thought about it 2 years later. I can honestly say I’ve easily made my money back in the first few months of PlayStation Plus and the Instant Games Collection has far exceeded my expectations! I have a PS3 and PS Vita so…I have more free games than I can even deal with. I was skeptical about PS Plus for a long time. Now, I could not imagine gaming without it.

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  • BalramRules

    Awesomely-written article, I can see you’re leaning towards PS+ at the moment (to be honest, who isn’t?) but still an unbiased article.
    Fab work!

    • http://whatisplaystation4.com/ B.M. Garrett

      Thanks a lot. I do enjoy both services. Xbox Live is great but since I’ve been using PS Plus, the Instant Game Collection beats anything. I’ve saved so much money and the games we get with PS Plus are ones I actually want to play. PS Plus won me over with Battlefield 3. I NEVER thought they would give us that game for free. Still, Xbox Live in the next generation looks really great if you have Gold. I think people will be pleasantly surprised with Kinect 2 and how it integrates with Xbox Live.

    • Megaman

      i dont no how you can go from Xbox live to PS+….I tried and almost cried….HATE PS online it sucks…Freezing up and kicking me out the games is not fun….and i have the best high speed

  • Edonus

    Dont forget Xbox Live 300k servers, access to windows app store so all apps and games from windows is available on the One. MS Also has free 2 play games. And that pay wall argument is retarded, just some sony circle jerk logic.

    Its like saying if you buy a Ps4 i buy a X1, you get Ps+ I get live we have access to the same stuff (even though Xbl is a bigger stronger infrastructure that out performs Ps+).
    But if you buy a Ps4 and i buy a X1 and you DO NOT get Ps+ and I DO NOT get Xbl…. Ps+ is better because it gives you free stuff.
    Do you see the stupidity in that yet?

    You cant compare something that you DO NOT have. If you are comparing Ps+ and Xbl you have to compare them as if you have them.

    Technically you can get away with it because title doesnt specify GOLD and the 2 in their pay subscription form but that just makes it more misleading tripe to get hits in the Sony Circle Jerk.

    • Edumnuts

      First off it’s ironic that you are member on here when you are clearly an Xbot on a damage control mission. Don’t forget those 300k servers are virtual not physical and they are shared across all windows platforms and many other services, not dedicated just to Xbox One. Also the PS4 will have an updated network so not sure how you are so certain it will be outperformed.

      • Edonus

        No damage to control just taking law to the lawless.

        With that said your argument is Sony Circle Jerk drivel. It is actually more damage control than anything else ironically. You Ps4 junkies cant stand the idea of MS having something better or in this case something extremely more advanced and put together. So you come with this “they are not physical servers BS logic.

        The problem with the logic is it has nothing to do with the situation at hand. You are adding something that is not part of the equation. Enough slapping you around here is the point.

        MS stated and its pretty well know the XBOX 360 has a server infrastructure of around 15k, and it has worked wonderfully (we can all agree that the 360 server infrastructure has worked really well). No one has ever asked if these servers are all physical or virtual all we know is there are 15k and it works.

        Now what MS is saying is that for the XboxOne their server infrastructure is 20 times bigger and more capable than it was for Xbox 360 thus 300k servers. Whether they are physical or virtual is not relevant to the point. And if you missed it…. The point is the XBOX ONEs server infrastructure is 20 times bigger and better than the current XBL.

        Sony doesnt have the same infrastructure and are far from it PSN doesnt even have the 360s infrastructure, it has cost MS billions of dollars to build their infrastructure…. for Sony to match it they will have to spend the same and honestly their are lots of factors holding them back from competing… the best they can do is rent out 3rd party server providers make a small network of their own and make the illusion that they are competing (you Sony droids will eat it up anyway) and continue to give away as much free stuff as the can to keep some value..

        But I digress…. the point is from the 360 to the ONE the infrastructure is 20 times bigger and more capable.

        • Kayoss860

          Oh yeah I forgot Xbox have the secret sauce and also the power of the cloud on their side. I guess us ps4 junkies better move aside right ? *roll eyes*. The only thing Microsoft do better then other companies is milk as much money from blind people like you.
          Illusion? Funny you said that. Is it the same illusion where Microsoft said they have 300,000 servers but never mentioned they were virtual servers? Is it the same illusion where they say you have great value with gold live but the only difference between live and psn is party chat?
          Keep circle jerking about Microsoft live is better because of party chat and the power of the cloud. Have fun playing halo 3 for free with your membership.

        • Julian Romero

          “You Ps4 junkies cant stand the idea of MS having something better or in this case something extremely more advanced and put together.” This is very laughable. If this were true then Sony wouldn’t rule worldwide, where Xbox is only “king (and I say this term very loosely)” here in the U.S.. Get over it. Sony isn’t as bad as you make it to be. Don’t believe the hype. lol

    • Kayoss860

      Please explain to me why using Microsoft pay wall as a “Sony circle jerk” is the wrong logic? Why should a consumer pay extra to get access to apps they already paid a subscription for? Your logic is all screwed up if you think you should pay twice just to use an app like Netflix. Don’t even get me started on paying so you can browse the net or facebook on Xbox live.
      Its like saying I paid $14 to go to the theatre but once I’m in I can walk around the theatre all I want but to see a movie I have to pay another $14. You see the logic in that?

      • Edonus

        First no one is buying a $500 console for Netflix, two they are buying it for the experience that system delivers, the experience of the MS apps are proprietary. We are talking voice command gesture control standard, three you are not paying extra for Netflix or any app you are paying to access the network…. its like going to a nightclub. You are not going there and paying to get in to drink Smirnoff…. if you want Smirnoff you can just go to the store and buy it, it will be a lot cheaper too. You go to the club for the experience and atmosphere.

        And in your theatre analogy its broken because you also dont take in to account that inside Xbl gold there are lots of Apps with no subscription fees.

        So the reality is you are only paying MS for access to their network.

        • Kayoss860

          To their network? I paid for Internet service now your telling me that once I hook up a cable to the Xbox I have to pay a subscription to live so that I can browse the Internet? Yes I want the Xbox live experience but if Netflix, and Facebook is not part of live experience like you say why put it behind a pay wall? Why not say we are making you pay for party chat and multiplayer? But instead they say screw you, we charge you to use something that you either already paid a subscription for or get for free because even though ” its not a part of the experience of live”. Please stop defending it. If Sony and Nintendo allow user to use Facebook, Netflix, and browse the net without a membership why can’t Microsoft?

          • Edonus

            The thing is MS could give open access to the apps, the same way they could let you game online for free as well. SonY and Nintendo give stuff away because they are behind. MS has built a network so there games can have dedicated servers and cloud computing and now streaming (even though i’m not sure what they would be streaming to). Sony just got caught in a lie telling people that Killzone SF had dedicated servers which they do not. Respawn said that the reason Titanfall is a X1 exclusive is because the Cloud integration.

            Like i said no one is buying a $400-$500 dollar system for Netflix and Facebook and we are paying for Live to get the full experience just like you will have to pay for Ps+ to get the full experience.

        • Julian Romero

          Sounds like a Microsoft “circle jerk”.

  • http://www.Youtube.com/TwTheRedDragon THE RED DRAGON

    Hmm…I don’t see my comment anymore lol. I certainly know it didn’t break any rules

    • http://whatisplaystation4.com/ B.M. Garrett

      Never saw it. Something must have happened.

  • Donovan Lewis

    Why can’t people just play their games in peace and stop trying to prove which is better? PS fans and Xbox fans are both looking stupid with their biased opinions. Hence the article.

    • http://whatisplaystation4.com/ B.M. Garrett

      I’ll have both systems at launch. I also own an Xbox One website beside this one. It’s just the way it is. Why can’t people just drive cars instead being a Ford or Chevy person? Why can’t people just drink soda instead of being a Coke or Pepsi person? I’ve enjoyed gaming for almost 3 decades. I fear with the PS4 and Xbox One that the console wars and fanboyism will continually get much worse. But I definitely understand where you’re coming from. Thanks for leaving a comment.

      • Nate

        You act like everyone just has 900 dollars laying around, plus another 110 for network service on both consoles, plus all the extra dough just lying around for peripherals and games. Rich people…never see past your own pocket books. You think the rest of the world is living in the same world you live in, when you couldn’t be any more wrong. This isn’t buying a coke or pepsi, for most families it’s a big decision on how to spend 400-500 dollars which is more than most people’s monthly bills (excluding rent). If you HAVE to choose one, you want to get the right one for you. I don’t see why that’s so hard to grasp.

        • http://whatisplaystation4.com/ B.M. Garrett

          Good point Nate and I understand that as I’m one of the people you talk about as I don’t make much money (100% disabled vet). But as soon as the next-gen consoles were announced I began saving money each month so that I could afford them. I apologize if I offended you or anyone else.

          • Nate

            What gets me isn’t so much your thought that everyone should just get over it and buy both, but more so that you don’t seem to get the reason behind people discussing this topic; which is to figure out which system they want to buy. I mean, you wrote an article on the subject for a reason, titled “…Which Will Earn Your Money?” So, I doubt I need to explain that, but maybe a reminder was needed. It’s true that some are just fighting a pointless War of The Roses over the subject. Is it for fun, false senses of loyalty to a faceless corporation? Who knows? Anyways, as someone that’s not totally loaded you should get why people have to pick one or the other. They can’t (or responsibly shouldn’t) buy both, and like most people are trying to get the most bang for their buck. Sorry if it seems like I kinda laid into you out of the blue, it’s just an opinion I’m starting to see more frequently, and more than usual it’s a spoiled youngster in some forum or comment section saying, “I’m buying both, don’t see why everyone is going on about.” They’re getting both for Christmas this year. I dunno, I just feel like it’s just a way of being dismissive, and discrediting the whole debate…don’t understand why people would be writing about the subject or posting in forums about the subject if it doesn’t matter to them because their getting both anyways. Honestly, I doubt I’ll stop being confused by that stance any time soon.

          • Donovan Lewis

            I think he wrote this review to help people decide which one they want to buy. I’ve also seen that he has reviews on both consoles. So………

      • Donovan Lewis

        Sure thing.

  • PSNID Freemikevick

    “Xbox Live’s perceived standard of providing superior online services” exists only among XBL users who have been happy to pay to play games they own on a system they own using an internet connection that they pay for. The fact that SONY is going to charge people is a tragedy. I find it offensive.

  • FuriousOne

    Personally I’ve had no issues playing online on PS, apart from the first week. I put that down to all the additional players that have seen that the PS4 & PS+ is the better value service?