Next Gen Consoles: The Online Overview

Connected consoles might be the theme this year, but as the Wii and PS3 go on sale, their promised online services, including web browsing, aren’t fully up and running yet. Because the Xbox has been out a good long year, Xbox Live has the most features and services out of the three — except for web browsing. With the console wars in full roar, here’s a brief cheat sheet to which online capabilities are available for the consoles.

Wii online:

Connection via

  • Wi-Fi supports standard protocols
  • Bluetooth
  • USB 2.0 (two ports)
  • LAN Adapter

Expected Online Services:

  • WiiConnect24, automated download and update service; full availability TBD
  • Virtual Console, game download service; service expected beginning January 2007
  • Wii Channels, Nintendo-branded Internet portal with news, shopping; features expected to begin rolling out December 20; also comes with photo editing and avatar creation software, available now

Web browsing:

Yes, via Opera (availability TBD)


Connection via:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi (with Premium system only)
  • USB 2.0

Online Services:

The PlayStation Network Platform, with matchmaking, and score ranking; upload and download services; friends list; text and voice-driven chat and messaging; subscription services and pay-to-download area.

Web browsing:

Yes, browser comes installed with the system.


Connection via:

  • 100BASE-TX RJ45 ethernet port
  • Wireless network adapter

Online Services:

Xbox Live, with content delivery, friend network, multimedia messaging, video/audio chat, microcurrency, reputation system, Live Marketplace for downloading video, games, etc.

Web browsing:

No, but Microsoft is currently taking a user survey to determine desirability of that and other potential features.


Two-tiered service, Silver (free), Gold ($29.99 ESRP for 3 months, $59.99 ESRP for 12 months)