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I've recently found myself in possession of both an Xbox 360 and PS3, and in addition to having to having to choose between the platforms for normal console releases (How do I choose between the console and PC versions of a game?, Does a website exist that compares the versions of the same game on different platforms?), I recently found myself having to decide whether to buy a game on PSN or XBLA (neither of which I've really used previously).

So what are the main differences between playing downloadable games from PSN and XBLA?

NOTE I'm not asking about:

  • Differences between specific games, unless it's a common trend like PS3 retail games consistently having better textures.
  • Differences between game availability—I'm aware most games tend to only be released on one XBLA or PSN and that PSN generally has fewer such games, but this question is strictly about the games that do get released on both.
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm going to break this down into a few subcategories consisting of everything I can think of.

I'm trying to be objective with this, but also making use of personal experience. Don't hate me, fanboys. I own both.

Performance & Appearance

This is probably something you should look at on a game-by-game basis. You might think that the PS3 version of any given cross-platform game would look better because of its innards. However, the simple fact of the matter is that all too often cross-platform titles don't make enough use of the PS3's hardware (due to it being a little tricky to develop for), whereas titles developed exclusively FOR the PS3 look great.

Case in point: Skyrim. I got it on 360 because it looks better & performs better (the PS3 version had a nasty bug where an increase in save files had an adverse effect on performance somehow; it could've been patched since then).

Pricing

The thing here is that XBLA uses Microsoft Points, which you can pay for in various ways. I don't buy mine through the console because I can get 'em cheaper online. Doing things this way may result in you getting a better deal when getting a game for 360. Then again, it may not. All down to where you get your points and what the game is.

Online play

As you probably know, online gaming on a 360 needs a gold account, which you have to pay for. On the PS3, online play is free.

However, in my experience (MINE, NO-ONE ELSE'S) playing games online with a 360 has been a far more pleasurable experience due to fewer connectivity issues and better audio quality when talking to other players.

Then again, maybe the game in question doesn't have online functionality. As I said before, it depends on the game.

Achievements / Trophies

Do you care about either? Probably not, but it's worth mentioning since this is a factor for some people.

Convenience of download

The old 360 doesn't have a wifi adaptor, so you may find it more convenient to use your PS3's wifi to download the game. If you have a newer 360 model, this point is moot.

Controller preference

Okay, I'm reaching a bit here, but it's still relevant. Despite its horrible d-pad, I prefer the 360 controller. Everybody's different.

So, there ya go. Make of it what you will :)

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