(Note: Unless otherwise noted, all the information below is reflective of what is currently available on US servers, and may not accurately represent what is available in other markets.)
After experiencing a rather extended dry spell shortly after E3, Microsoft has all of a sudden ramped up the activity on Xbox Live. Just when we were getting ready to stop checking out the Live Marketplace for new content, all of a sudden, we have tons of new stuff available to choke up our 20 GB hard drives with. As far as demos go, Microsoft has released GTA clone, Saint's Row (Read: gangbanging, stereotypes, and certain criticism from politicians), Ninety-Nine Nights, a Dynasty Warriors-like title that's good fun in small doses, and the highly anticipated zombie-sandbox game, Dead Rising. Dead Rising is particularly fun, though we wish that Capcom didn't tease us with the 15-minute time limit contained on the demo. We want more zombie antics in the mall! But, I guess they DO have to get us hyped up to buy the real game after all, eh?
Live Arcade finally got the one game that people have been salivating over since it was announced early on in the 360's lifespan, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting. It's no secret that this game will quickly become THE best-selling game on Live Arcade in the service's short history. At 800 Microsoft Points ($10), this is a wonderful trip through memory lane for anyone who ran to their nearest arcade to get a taste of SF II during the early-90's. It's great to see that after 15 plus years, this game has aged gracefully. Of course, one could argue that Street Fighter Anniversary Collection is money better spent than this straight-up no frills version of SF II... (Gotta wonder why Microsoft has yet to make the Anniversary Collection playable on the 360...)
While technically this isn't an "online service" in the same vein as Xbox Live, nonetheless, Sony has begun to take advantage of the PSP's online capabilities and is offering downloadable demos on their "Playstation Underground" site for PSP owners. Currently, one can find painless downloadable demos of Loco Roco, the uber-cute rolling blob game that has gaming editors wetting their pants, and World Tour Soccer '06. However, if you're one of those people that refuses to update the latest PSP firmware in order to play homebrew, then "it's no soup for you!" (Version 2.8 required)
When the PS3 finally launches, hopefully, we'll see more wonderful downloadable content coming out of Sony and their announced Xbox Live-type service.
So, check out that content, and if we missed anything, don't be shy and drop us a line!