PSN eclipsing XBLA for downloadable games?

Perhaps it's the size limit that Microsoft imposes on its downloadable games (recently upped to allow for more ambitious titles), but the majority of downloadable games are starting to look small and insignificant compared to Sony's offerings and forthcoming network titles. In all the time we've had Xbox Live Arcade, how many titles have got gamers as excited as Warhawk or the prospect of playing WipEout HD?

Crucially, Sony's got more downloadable big hitters in the pipeline, whereas Microsoft seems a little lacking in ammunition. Sony's aforementioned WipEout HD is looking fantastic, combining tracks from both PSP WipEout games with fresh HD graphics and 8-player online play, all at silky-smooth 60fps. Then there's SOCOM US Navy SEALs: Confrontation, available for download or store purchase, just like Warhawk.PAIN looks promising in a 'throwaway fun' kind of way and Echochrome seems intriguinglymind-bending. Oh, and there's the small matter of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, up for sale in shops or via PS Network download before the end of the year. Almost forgot that one.

Above: WipEout HD is coming to PS Network soon. How beautiful does it look?

Microsoft, on the other hand, seems content to raid the archives for XBLA games - it worked for Nintendo, after all. It's got the breadth, certainly, but few releases are as deep or as contemporary as many gamers would like. Most exciting is a coming-soon retro remake in the form of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD, which should be ace, but is ultimately another game we've played to death before. Then there's Dreamcast and PC shooter Quake III Arena and the seven-year-old Metal Slug 3. Treasure's 2001 shooter Ikaruga is rumoured but unconfirmed, although internet freebie and PSP spin-off Every Extend Extra Extreme is a definite. Castle Crashers' 2D knight action looks fun, but it's unlikely to set the gaming world alight. There isn't much else that really stands out, at least for the more serious gamer. And that's a bit worrying.

Looking at the cards held by each of the two players in this online console war (which Wii isn't directly competing with, to be honest), we'd have to say Sony's holding most of the aces. Its ongoing strategy of providing top-notch downloadable games alongside the more cheap and cheerful XBLA-style offerings give us every reason to believe that PlayStation Network will be the place to browse when shopping for games from our sofa.

And Microsoft can only play its Geometry Wars card so many times. Yes, we love Geometry Wars - it's great. But can we have something else now, please?

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine,, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.