The current generation of consoles offered two unique pricing structures for gamers to play online. Although the PS3 was free to play online, it lacked many of the features that the Xbox 360’s subscription-based Xbox live Gold account had.
As we going to the next generation of consoles the pricing structure is again different. This time around Sony has decided that online play will require a PS Plus subscription, much like the Xbox Live account will on the Xbox One. Although that seems to be the end of the similarities, with Microsoft adding more features to the Xbox Live Gold account, and leaving them unavailable to free-users.
During the reveals of both consoles, both companies spent a great deal of time talking about social media interaction, sharing gameplay and recording gameplay, and video-chatting and voice chatting with friends. While all of this was going on neither confirmed if these services were included in the standard purchase of the bundle or if they would require one of this scription that I mentioned above. Now it seems that we have a few more answers and it separates the pricing structures of the Xbox One and the PS4.
It should be mentioned that Xbox live Gold is already almost a standard for every single person that owns an Xbox 360. So although Microsoft may be bundling a lot of the services into the subscription service, it’s not something that Xbox users are unfamiliar with, though many customers were probably hoping to see more free features in the new generation
Microsoft bought Skype and everyone knew that it would be eventually incorporated into the Xbox 360 or into the Xbox One. The calling feature was actually one of the pressing points that were made during the Xbox one announcement. Along with that same announcement came the unveiling of the game DVR system, the OneGuide console ability to watch live TV and the sharing of videos straight from the console. All of these features will require an Xbox live Gold subscription, and although that may not be an additional cost to customers that currently have an Xbox 360, it could be disappointing for customers that were already told about the features when a cost was never mentioned even weeks after the reveal or even at E3 2013.
What makes these paid-for services standout even more is that the Sony PS4 seems to be going down the opposite path. Shortly after it was discovered that these services would be included in the Xbox live Gold scription, Sony Computer Entertainment Studios president Shuhei Yoshida jumped on Twitter to make the official announcement that all of the PS4 recording and sharing video features would be free and not require PSN Plus.
PS3 had a very troubling launch all those years ago and it allowed Microsoft to take an enormous lead in the console market. The next generation market is wide open at this point, to both companies, but it may be troubling for some consumers to see the harsh stance it has taken in the past with restrictions, fees and inclusions. Just since the announcement of the Xbox One, Microsoft has had to change its online policy, it had to change its used game policy and it has had to add a headset that wasn’t previously included in the bundle, all because of fans reactions to their initial plans.
Microsoft still has the largest customer base going into the next generation, and the services that is offering are still top-of-the-line. It will be interesting to see if the restrictions that Microsoft has placed on some of the features, including them only for paid subscribers, will have an effect on the next-generation. Though it seemed to have no effect on this generation.
more info, availability and pricing: amazon/xboxone, amazon/ps4