Categories: GamesGlobal Tech News

50 Percent of PlayStation 3 Owners Use Online Service

When it comes to online console gaming, Microsoft’s Xbox Live is the undisputed leader. But not all games are on the Xbox 360, and Xbox Live isn’t the only service in town. Sony’s PlayStation Network is the foundation of PlayStation 3’s online strategy, and unlike Xbox Live, it gives a great deal of control to the developer.

Speaking at the Games Developer Conference, chronicled by GameSetWatch, Sony’s senior developer relations manager Chris Eden said to his audience, “With the PlayStation Network, a lot of the land is still up for grabs … Sony want to manage, but not own the platform.”

Eden’s point is highlighted by Epic Games’ release of Unreal Tournament III on the PS3, made possible by Sony’s permission for drop-in game modification support. Epic has said that Microsoft’s restrictions on Xbox Live content interfere with the developer’s intentions.

Another differentiating point between the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live is Sony’s lack of a cap on the size of downloadable games. Microsoft launched its Xbox Live Arcade with a 50MB total limit for downloads, only to bump it up to 150MB following the threat of games not releasable due to the restrictions. The PlayStation Network has no limit for PS3 games, with the only limit being 1.8GB for PSP downloads (the capacity of a UMD).

Recently, game developer Capcom has expressed mild grief over the 150MB limit size on Xbox Live Arcade for its upcoming Street Fighter II HD Remix and Bionic Commando Rearmed, stating that the Xbox 360 would run with lower resolution artwork than the PS3 version in order to accommodate Microsoft’s 150MB limit.

Eden also revealed that Sony allows developers to set their own prices. “We don’t set or recommend prices, or have price slots,” he said. “Sony just acts as a digital reseller, you’re free to set your own prices.”

Even though the PlayStation Network is a free of charge, not every PS3 owner is partaking in the service. Only about half of all PS3 owners have gone online, with 82 percent of them having downloaded at least one piece of content. Over 46 million pieces of content, likely including free videos and movie trailers, have been downloaded from PSN. Other information gathered from the network is that 92 percent of the audience is male and 79 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34.

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