SHOULD ONLINE GAMING SERVICES BE FREE?

Online gaming has breathed new life into this generation. With Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, Sony’s PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s Wii Marketplace, next-generation games are enjoying benefits long reserved for PC gamers. Live is the oldest and most respected of the three online home console services, but Sony’s PSN is making a name for itself. Aside from missing some of PSN’s key features, the main difference between the two is that Microsoft charges a monthly or yearly fee to use the full functionality of the online service, while Sony doesn’t. While Live is more polished and some claim you get what you pay for, PSN has come a long way and is just a few steps away from rivaling Live. My question is, should Sony charge for their online service or should Microsoft provide it for free?

Live is far superior

There are several other factors to this argument, and the core argument is that Live is vastly superior. Most people who have a 360 and use Live will say that Live is a Website address better service because Microsoft charges for Live. While that may be true at first, PSN has done some great things over the past few years while remaining a free service. The most wanted features on PSN are cross-game invites, cross-game audio chat and demos of all games available for download from the PSN store. These are all features that Live subscribers have been enjoying for a while. No matter how important these add-ons are to each individual, add-ons are welcome, especially if they are free.

Live had a four-year run-up on PSN after Live launched on the original Xbox console. PSN was an entirely new service, first used on the PS3. With each update, Sony has worked hard to add features and stability to the service , and now PSN is way ahead of its 2006 counterparts. We believe Microsoft Live’s billing options have made it better. I believe Live is a better service. Because while PSN seemed to have been born out of necessity, Microsoft had an idea of what they wanted to do with Live from the start. Live was an innovation and new idea based on the old idea ( SegaNet ) but much better and changed the whole online gaming aspect of console gaming. I didn’t think Sony really knew what they were even trying to do with PSN until people started asking for specific features and amenities.

With that in mind, as of this writing, I see no benefit in changing the way the two companies treat their online services. Sony will continue to make PSN free and Microsoft will continue to charge for Live. All Microsoft can do is lower the price, but it will hurt the bottom line financially, as live subscribers contribute a lot of revenue to Microsoft and its gaming division. About 17 million live subscribers and 30 million 360s were sold. The pure math assumes that Microsoft could make around $850,000,000 or more from Live subscriptions alone if all subscribers had a Gold membership instead of a free Silver membership. Sales of games and other media on the Live Marketplace are not included. That’s a sizeable number that Microsoft hopes will continue to grow year after year. That money could also be used for a variety of purposes outside of Microsoft’s gaming division. Looking at these numbers, one could say that Sony is hurting itself by not charging a minimum fee for PSN. But as I mentioned, PSN wasn’t worth paying for initially, but some might not have had a problem with it. PS3 owners pay for the services they currently use.

Online live poker games

Here are some websites that offer the best live online poker games.

PokerStars (Pokerstars.com) is a registered legal company based in San Jose, Costa Rica where you play against other real poker players but not against the house like other online casinos. This website offers card rooms worldwide with limits from $0.01/0.02 to $100/$200. With free downloadable software you can play Texas Holdem , Omaha, Seven Card Stud and tournaments.

Online Gaming Alliance (OGA)

Roroblog.com/ is a member of the Online Gaming Alliance (OGA). This is a multinational online live poker business with a global player base, free or real money games, and micro and low limit tables. Live tournament buy-ins start at $1.20. You need to download the software and register an account to start playing for real money.

World’s premier online live multiplayer

Paradisepoker.com was established in 1999 to present one of the world’s premier online live multiplayer poker environments. Live poker games offered online at Paradise include Texas Holdem , Omaha High, 7 Card Stud and tournaments (with head-to-head tables). Visit Lobby for instant online access to valuable, real-time information.

10 real people from around the world

Truepoker.com offers live online poker at tables with game site up to 10 real people from around the world. You can participate in micro-limit games or more than one tournament at a time. Limit games start at $0.10/$0.20 rake, while No Limit and Pot Limit games start at $0.05/$1 (two players). Software is free.

Liveactionpoker.com offers free and real money live poker games such as Texas Holdem , Omaha, 7 Stud, heads-up and tournaments with many freerolls and guaranteed prize pools. You can download the software for free, but you need to register for a username to play the no-download version.