It never ceases to amaze me how much better at this Sony is.
This is something Microsoft doesn’t understand well, to the extent they understand it at all, and before I continue here I want to establish something up front. What you and I are doing right now is looking directly at each company’s character sheet: we’re running assessments based on expressed and abstract capabilities. Sony is better at the game of games than Microsoft is. They’re better at projecting the information they want you to know, and pruning the rest. For example: Kinect leverages ten to fifteen percent of the 360’s processing power.
How much does does the Move use? Anybody?
Playstation Plus exists because running a free service might be good PR, but it’s terrible business, and there’s point where the cost and the benefit no longer intersect. Seven years ago, in the searing magma tubes beneath Redmond, Microsoft determined that multiplayer needed to be made a service in order to compel subscribers. On a platform with its share of controversy, sequestering what was once an inherent function is a decision that still nettles.
Sony has an inexorable advance in its “free multiplayer” offering, a maneuver that can’t help but gain ground in the long term. If you want to know why Electronic Arts has apparently sworn them a life debt, this is it: at three hundred dollars, the value comparison (both annually and at time of purchase) is bullet-proof. Playstation Plus, by comparison, is less coherent. It’s “premium” in the classic sense, that is to say, a luxury - the basic service may be elemental, but it’s complete. Plus is about paying for things you may or may not want. You pay for access to “free games” you dont own, or you’re renting them I guess, and then if you stop paying your game turns back into a pumpkin.
(This isn’t to say that it won’t work, necessarily: it just doesn’t work on me. I can recall coming home from junior high one day, opening the refrigerator to drink milk in a wholly unauthorized fashion, and finding that a shelf and a half of the device had been turned over to phalanx upon phalanx of Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt.
I asked my father why he had done this, and he cocked his head as though I’d just vomited up a gallon of alien phonemes. To him, it was the most obvious thing in the universe. He had purchased the yogurt because the yogurt was on sale.)
This said, try to imagine the ardent Playstation enthusiast who doesn’t already own games like Wipeout HD or inFamous. Does that person exist?