In last week's guide, we covered the best places to purchase digital copies of computer games online. This week we'll cover another type of downloadable content: those available for video game consoles. Every major console out today either has or plans to have a DLC platform, but which one is the best? If you don't like leaving your house and want to play console video games, which console should you get? Below I will break down what the online marketplace offers so you can decide which console suits you best.
- Best Service, But Kind Of Evil: XBox Live Marketplace
Currency: Microsoft Points. One cent buys you .8 points, and points can only be purchased in $5, $10, $20, and $50 increments.
Types of Games Available: Xbox original games, some older XBox 360 games, medium-sized original games, remakes of games from older consoles, indie games, demos. A wide selection.
Best Exclusive Games: Shadow Complex (above), Limbo (pictured below) Major Problems: In the past, Microsoft has forced game companies to charge for DLC that they would have otherwise offered for free. Their currency system is the worst of any console. 1 cent is worth .8 points, making products appear cheaper than they are. Points can also only be bought in predetermined inrecements, meaning that users are often forced to buy more points than they need, which can lead to further impulsive purchases.
- Similar Rival: The Playstation Store on PSN
Currency: Real money in local currency is added to a "wallet" using a credit or debit card, and then spent on games and services. This is the only marketplace that allows users to add the exact amount of money they need to buy a given product, instead of being required to buy points in preset increments.
Types of Games Available: A large library of PS1 games that can be downloaded on PS3 or PSP, medium-sized downloadable games, demos, some older full PS3 games
Major Problems: Is not currently operational. PSN was compromised by hackers in February and has been down ever since, with the personal information of over 100 million users worldwide at risk. The future of the whole platform is in doubt. Sony is apparently rebuilding the whole system to ensure that it will be secure when they relaunch it.
- Best Vintage Catalog, Not Much Else: Wii Shop Channel
Currency: Nintendo Points. These cost one cent each, unlike Microsoft Points, but can still only be purchased in certain predetermined amounts.
Types of games available: Virtual Console offers over 300 classic downloadable games, WiiWare offers mid-range original titles of a markedly lower quality and quantity than its Xbox 360 or PS3 equivalents. The classic games are the best part, featuring hits and obscure games from past Nintendo, Sega, TurboGrafix, and NEO-GEO systems. Nintendo has announced that Virtual Console will soon become available for the 3DS in June, but have gotten flack for not launching the service with the system.
Best Exclusive Games: Bit.Trip series, Cave Story
Major Problems: Nintendo has had minimal success attracting developers to WiiWare, making it an all but obsolete platform. Virtual Console will have to soldier on alone, which it is more than capable of doing thanks to its amazing catalog of classics.
- The Only Standalone Portable Marketplace: DsiWare
Currency: Nintendo Points as described above.
Types of Games Available: Original mid-range games, few of which have attracted any buzz.
Major Problems: The DSi has failed to achieve anywhere near the installed base of the DS Lite, and thus the store has never had very many customers or releases.
Which marketplace do you prefer? Weigh in below.