QUOTE(Chancer @ Jun 18 2007, 02:32 PM)
You would have to compare like for like as it stands which would be the Silver (Free service) of XBL at the moment.
I would certainly pay for a service on a par with the gold service of XBL which it is obviously not at the moment. For a free service it is not too bad really.
I think the thing that makes XBL (silver or Gold) a cut above whatever else isn't so much the features or quality of the service but the integration with the console and the standardization across all games.
It's hard to tell where Xbox Live Ends and the Dashboard begins and that's a good thing because it makes it more then just a tacked on service but a part of the console itself.
Standardization across all games means that no matter what you throw in the console you already know how to use the interface you know you can access your friends you know the game offers achievements, you know how to access the achievements, you know how to check other players stats... All before you even put the disc in the drive.
On the Xbox 1 the Live service felt very tacked on... in the dashboard it was like a separate program you launched... in games you had to learn a completely new interface for each game you played because each developer interpreted it differently, used different verbiage, different controls, and different layouts. Whether you had access to your stats, to other players, or to your friends was a big question mark and inconsistent from game to game.
Xbox Live on the Xbox 1 was OK, but it wasn't great. the Quality of the service is what really made it worth while but the integration of the online service integrated with the dashboard and consistent across all games is IMO what makes the 360 a next gen console, more-so then HD graphics and wireless controllers.
Someone at Sony was quoted as saying that MS is going after the PS2 in terms of it's games and features... in many respects that is true, but I also think that in many ways the PS3 is also going after the Xbox 1 particularly in terms of it's online service.
It will be difficult for Sony to reproduce the kind of consistency and integration that the 360 has because MS figured it all out last gen and then had the system built and ready to go at the 360's launch...
Even if Sony starts requiring developers to meet Playstation Network standards for consistency and integration they've already got a small and ever-growing library of games that don't meet those standards and wont work with the integration. Some of the changes that would need to be made would be fundamental to the OS and how games communicate with the console.
It will likely take Sony and Nintendo this whole generation to catch up to where MS is now with their online service, it's clear that Sony is at least moving much faster than Nintendo towards this goal But it's important to note that Sega spent 3 generations with online services and never really got it right and MS pretty much picked up where they left off. The PS2's networks could be compared to what was offered on the Dreamcast and as I said the PS3's network is more similar to what we had on the Xbox 1 then what we have on the 360.
I'm sure the PS4 will have service on the level of the 360... but what will MS have at that point?