Console gaming online comparison
Console gaming network comparison

Unsure which broadband gaming network will be the best? Trying to decide which console you should invest in getting hooked up to the net for online play? Let our in-depth guide help you avoid some of the biggest pitfalls, and give you a guiding hand to making the right choice.

Xbox communicator

Broadband only

Network adapter built-in

Available now

PlayStation 2 network adapter

Broadband only

Requires hardware adapter

Available June 11th

Gamecube broadband adapter

Broadband and narrowband

Requires hardware adapter

Available now

Xbox Live
Microsoft's Xbox Live is a broadband only service, meaning you'll need either an ADSL or Cable internet connection. The disadvantage of this in the UK is that only 66% of the population is currently covered by Broadband, and if you're not in an area which has ADSL or Cable then you simply won't be able to hook up your Xbox to the online gaming network (unless you're able to take it to work and connect via the office network).

Xbox has a built in network adapter, so there's no need to purchase add-on hardware, although you do need to buy an Xbox Live Starter Kit which comes with the voice communicator headset, 12 months subscription to the service, and two demo online games.

PS2 Network Gaming
The PlayStation 2 online service will only be available to Broadband users in the UK (Sony launched a narrowband modem for the USA but found that the service wasn't good enough on slow connections, and decided against it for the UK). As the PS2 isn't fitted with any form of network adapter, you'll need to buy the PS2 Network Adapter, which plugs in to the expansion bay on the back of the machine.

Sony have completed open beta testing of the service in Europe, and it will launch in the UK on June 11th, with the Network Adapter retailing for 24.99, with special bundles also planned.

Gamecube online
Gamecube's online offering allows either narrowband users to connect with a Gamecube Modem, or broadband users to connect using the Broadband Adapter.

Nintendo's online service is available in the UK now, and simply requires you to purchase an adapter which plugs in to a slot on the console, and have an online enabled game, such as Phantasy Star Online.

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