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Sony's Answer To Xbox Live Revealed


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#1 Heretic-666

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 07:39 PM

Full story: http://www.1up.com/d...ory?cId=3153547

QUOTE
Originally Posted by 1up View Post
Microsoft's Xbox Live has existed since 2002. How will Sony, who has never had a dedicated and successful online program in the console space -- the PS2's online was a total free for all -- compete with Microsoft's nearly four-year lead in the online console gaming service sphere?

They'll use Xfire, that's how (the image to the right is a mock-up).

By incorporating an existing service into their own PlayStation Network Platform (PNP), Sony hopes to circumvent existing problems in the console space that Microsoft has had to sort out and in using Xfire -- a company with an established messaging, matchmaking and gaming client -- Sony hopes to narrow the four-year gap in online gaming services that Microsoft currently enjoys (Xfire has been around since 2002).

In a transcript of Viacom's Q2 earning's report conference call a deal between Sony and Xfire was revealed:

Importantly, Xfire just signed a deal with Sony to create a version of their platform for the new PS3, which will now enable Xfire to extend its reach further into the huge console gaming market.
Although Sony and Xfire offered no further comments or details about the PS3 and Xfire connection, neither company would deny it.

Testing of the Xfire client for PS3 appears to already be underway, with PS3-exclusive launch title Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom appearing in the supported software list on the PC Xfire client's .ini file.

Months ago, Sony's Computer Entertainment chief Ken Kutaragi indicated that PS3's online service would likely be free:

We don't charge for the basic functions of the network like matching services. Things like that are taken for granted on a PC, aren't they? There's the feeling of why a game console gets to charge for a service that's normal on a PC. So, we just made the basic services available, and based our business on the contents.
How will Xfire function on PS3? Details are sparse, but it's a safe bet that the features offered on Xfire's PC implementation will carry over to the PS3 version of the software.

Friend Tracker
Like Xbox Live allows users to manage their Friend's lists, Xfire also allows users to track friends, seeing what they are playing and what they have been playing (and for how long).

One-Click Join
Similar to how Xbox Live allows users to click on their name and 'Join' the game if it's available, Xfire lets users do the same thing. If a friend is playing a game you want to, there's no need to input your IP address or server information, Xfire takes care of it for you. Safe to assume that the PS3 implementation of Xfire will only be the touch of a button (an 'X' perhaps) away from joining users from your Friend Tracker.

Server Browser
This feature allows users to see the variety of servers available for different games. The most useful part here, is the ability to sort between favorite maps, or your friend's favorite maps and gametypes. Will we be able to sort out Resistance: Fall of Man gametypes based on which servers are hosting our favorite map?

Xfire In-Game (IM While You Play) with Voice Chat
Obviously, in-game IM would be a bit more utilitarian on a PC, where all users have a keyboard, but Xfire's PS3 implementation may see use of a keyboard (the open-ended online platform is ripe for MMO development). Without a keyboard, Xfire and PS3 will provide a way of their own to communicate with users (perhaps entering letters via the controller like on Xbox Live). In addition to text communication, Xfire supports voice chat -- expect a version of voice chat to be included in whatever PS3 plans for online.

File & Patch Downloads
When there's an update for a game on Xbox Live, Microsoft automatically detects it when the game is booted up and prompts users to snag the download. Optional downloads (like marketplace transactions) are shown on the marketplace, will Xfire's file/patch download systems be a gateway to whatever form of marketplace Sony conjures up?

Profiles with Automatic Stats
Xfire exports an .xml feed of your stats (what games you play, how long you play them for) -- just like Xbox Live. Via the official site: "They're (the stats) on your profile and Miniprofile, which can be embedded anywhere on the web."

In addition to partnering with a software client that could potentially offer much of the functionality of Xbox Live, Sony's Xfire-powered PNP also serves as a second coup -- it strikes at the unified front Microsoft hopes to create with its Live Anywhere initiative. That program, the synergizing of Xbox Live and PC gamers, is something Sony could replicate if the PS3's version of Xfire interacts with the PC version of the program. But, will the games play together? And if PS3 and PC gamers can play together and Xbox 360 and PC gamers can play together, does cross platform gaming become even more of a reality?



That enough to challenge xbox live tongue.gif



#2 cr4ck3rj4ck

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 07:48 PM

I bet it wont be free in the end. Sony makes a habit of changing their original statements

#3 nickthegreat

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 08:00 PM

yup - if the servers are maintained by publishers then they will charge users, not sony. so yeah, free matchmaking, but nothing has been stated about free network play. so far it seems to have been left @ the discretion of the publishers.

#4 twistedsymphony

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 08:10 PM

VERY interesting...

This could easily go the way of great success or horrible failure, but I think overall it improves Sony's online presence.

Buying a 3rd party solution is a quick and dirty way to add a whole lot of features fast, the biggest stumbling block is leveraging that system to work for your specific needs. Basically they need to make sure it integrates seamlessly with the console as opposed to some tacked on port of PC software... you need to be able to navigate through the menu's easily with a controller (where the PC version you'd use a mouse), make sure it works with the entitlement system, make sure it can handle more then one account at a time (remember PCs are only ever built for one player per machine), making sure the menus and other text are easy to read at SD as well as HD resolutions and 4:3 as well as 16:9 aspect ratios...

There are lots and lots and lots of little details that need to be worked out. As someone who work on integrating 3rd party software on a daily basis I can tell you that upper management LOVES this type of stuff because they can make one clean purchase and +10 to their feature list... they often don't realize that these solutions can still take a lot of massaging to make seamless and flow well with what's existing already.

As I said, this could make for a great success or a horrible failure. Here's hoping Sony is (and has been) giving this partnership the attention required to make it work in their favor. At very least I give kudos for them finally realizing that they can't make software to save their lives. laugh.gif

The article seems to be mostly speculatory based on XFire's existing PC service (which is fine) but it still leaves question as to how it will handle things like leaderboards, entitlements, True Ranking, Gamerscore, reputation, and player feedback. All things that Xfire currently doesn't handle, but Sony has claimed to be handling with their upcoming service to combat Xbox Live.

I'm also curious to know how XFire benefits in this... where are they getting their $$? They said that they don't charge for features that are normally free on a PC but get their profits from their "content" but exactly what are they delivering for content?

#5 incognegro

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 08:13 PM

huh? blink.gif

I thought xfire was just a IM client for games on ur pc.....whatever.

#6 Heretic-666

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 08:43 PM

QUOTE(incognegro @ Sep 12 2006, 08:20 PM) View Post

huh? blink.gif

I thought xfire was just a IM client for games on ur pc.....whatever.



Its like a more feature rich version of Allseeingeye is basically how i see it. Its obvious no matter what good news comes out someone will pull something out of there butt to rebuke it. This is great news it doesn't matter if its built from scratch or bought, if it works it works don't really care.

Edited by Heretic-666, 12 September 2006 - 08:52 PM.


#7 gasclown

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:11 PM

although it seems an afterthought (rather than a design foundation like ms's live) its probably a good thing for ps3ers. Because, with the exception of motorola, sony make the worst software in the world. fingers crossed the service wont be utter crap.

#8 Storm28

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:24 PM

Does X-fire use advertising for its revenue stream?

Since Sony is talking about 10 year lifecycles for their consoles, this agreement would likely be long term. Either Sony is dumping alot of money (that they don't have) on them, or they'll need to charge a fee, or probably worse, allow X-fire to advertise. Can you imagine having to see ads on a $600 console?

#9 redwolf

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:26 PM

are they trying to compete with Xbox LIVE or XLink Kai laugh.gif

#10 Heretic-666

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:37 PM

QUOTE(redwolf @ Sep 12 2006, 09:33 PM) View Post

are they trying to compete with Xbox LIVE or XLink Kai laugh.gif



thats a compliment to sony.

#11 Mr Invader

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:48 PM

Didn't the PS2 use gamespy to run their online games?

And now the PS3 is gonna use Xfire...

I'll bet the qualirty of service will be the same.

#12 blame canada

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 09:57 PM

Anyone else tired of the PS3 bullshit? Seems like every week, 5 more things about how the PS3 is gonna become superirior, and compete with the 360/Wii. Ok, here's an idea of what I think sony meetings are like:

*PS3 meeting* "Ok lets see, uhm, what should we bullshit our way out of today... hrm, oh lets see, oh remember that HDMI cable? Yea, how about we tell everyone that we won't ship with one. Oh and how about tommorow we say something like, Oh! got it, we annouce we will be better than xbox 360 with online service! Yeah, that outta keep people busy while we work on getting these damn PS3's out to our game developers." CEO of sony, "What PS3's? blink.gif "

Anyone else think the same?

#13 incognegro

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 11:36 PM

Although im sure we are all starving for some good news from sony's camp...this is ok but not really that impressive. I still don't understand how online gaming is gonna be free. if they can give me a good explanation for that then ill be happy. Wake me up when sony gets a clue....

#14 Deftech

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 01:20 AM

People, EVEN IF they say its Free, chances are that will change b4 the system launches, everything else has for poops sake tongue.gif

#15 Deftech

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 03:13 PM

LOL, who woulda thunk it...

Posted today kids...

Source
QUOTE

Sony has been quick to quash rumours that the PlayStation 3 will incorporate a version of PC messaging and matchmaking solution Xfire for online gameplay.

While the company has admitted that one launch title - SOE's Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom - will utilise Xfire, there are no current plans to use the Viacom-owned technology.


Read the rest at the link provided above pop.gif




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