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Next-Gen Online

Here are some interesting thoughts on on-line and pricing over at Next Generation:

Imagine Average Joe consumer standing in a Best Buy or GameStop this holiday season and asking a sales clerk about the differences between the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation. Consumer: “wow, the Xbox 360 sure has a lot more games.” Clerk: “well the 360 has more games now, but the PS3 is newer and more powerful.” Consumer: “do these systems go online?” Clerk: “yes, they both go online, but the PS3 is free, you have to pay extra with the Xbox 360.”

The issue of which online service is actually better is not even likely to come up in this scenario. In the consumer’s mind it is included for free with PS3 versus you must pay extra with the Xbox 360. That could even explain why a PlayStation 3 would cost more, Sony was nice enough to throw in the online service for free.


Sure everyone knows about Halo 2. But even with all its success Halo 2 sold to only about a third of the Xbox installed base. And of that third only about another third (at most) were Xbox Live subscribers. So we are still talking about a subset of a subset. When you are dealing with the type of hardware numbers Sony is looking for with the PlayStation 3, the Xbox Live subscriber base is a rounding error.

So what do you think? To me, online functionality so no biggy. But that may change. Steve, a friend of mine, is thinking of getting a PS3 too. In which case he and I can play games online against one another, share videos, video-chat, or whatever. However, Steve being a rather quiet guy, I don’t know how much of that we’d do. (Sorry, Steve.) đŸ˜‰

But the number of console owners who actually go online is a very small percentage. Is the whole Xbox Live versus PlayStation World a real battle? Or will it just be a footnote in history?

Next Generation – How Online Services Will Shape the Console War