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Xfire and PS3 Redux |

As a follow up to yesterday’s Xfire news, one of Microsoft’s army of “independent” bloggers felt it necessary to off his 2c on the announcement. Ozymandias has a bit of a history with the PlayStation 3- it was he who posted the infamous comment:

In fact, I’ll stick my neck out and predict that that you won’t see any 1080″x” games for the PS3 this year.

Not to mention his various criticisms of Blu-ray as a medium (some suitable, some poorly considered). Hmmmmm…

Anyway, he breaks down the problems that the Sony and Xfire deal produces for gamers- namely that Xfire and the PlayStation Network appear to be completely separate entities… Well blogger John Smedley has written a response revealing more details about the background to the PS3’s online network.

The approach to PS3 online has always being designed to be very open, and Smedley’s game, Untold Legends, intends to utilise this to the best of its ability. He notes that integration of Xfire into a game is free for developers (and gamers) and that it allows users to see when their buddies are online from either PC or PS3. It is not replacing the PS3 friends list, but working in tandem with it. This open approach offers a lot more to users and content providers than the “walled garden” that is xbox live. He goes onto say that Sony Online Entertainment has a few cross platform PS3/PC titles in development (can you say Star Wars Galaxies PS3?), this should enable online communities of millions and millions due to the ease of connection. Interesting idea, not that disimilar to Microsoft’s Live Anywhere concept.

John Smedley’s blog

  • ehandlr

    I was reading a little bit more into this Xfire thing..apparently it will run silently in the background of the already developed Playstation Network. At most we will see an Xfire icon or advertisment of some sorts. The Playstation Network logon, will coincide with the Xfire log on. Developers are given a choice to use different middlewares to add the online service. Xfire is only one method…another is Gamespot (I think..its game something). Basically all this Xfire talk is almost meaningless to the gamer with the exception you can chat with Xfire members on a game that supports it.

  • ehandlr

    PS. this guy is an idiot…..

  • Being free is not the point. Well, it is if you come from the school of “you get what you pay for”…but then again, paying $500-$600 for a band-aid on-line experience isn’t saying much. But I digress…

    So, then what’s the point in using XFire at all? Why not make/utilize the PS Network do all of that? It only adds an extra layer of confusion for the user and developer. This only shows that Sony doesn’t have it all together when it comes to on-line.

    Theoretically, you could have a totally separate xfire friends list from your PS3 friends list; which one’s which? What a management nightmare.

    As I’ve said on my blog; No Seamless On-line Experience from PS3 owners.

    Such a shame.

  • oops.. meant:

    No Seamless On-line Experience for PS3 Owners

  • ehandlr

    My first guess is PS3 to PC cross platform multiplayer gaming in the future. Also could create an online “achievements” log (amongst other criteria) that can probably be accessed via the internet on any pc not just through the console itself.

    Ofcourse everything that I typed above is guesses and assumptions…but no worse then whats in the blog itself.

    Being free is a very valid point for me. I own a 360 but I don’t have XBL anymore because I didn’t feel it was worth what I paid.

    Not to mention, had I paid for a full year subscription..I would have had to pay $500 just for my Xbox and wireless connection (my router is no where near my Xbox) plus XBL. The price for the two systems will be identical for me.

  • McWilliams: “you get what you pay for”. See all those PC games with free online? Good games with good online are being done already. Nothing new to it. And I”m glad it’s coming to the PlayStation as well, because I don’t want to pay monthly fees.

  • ehandlr

    Sony shot down last month’s scuttlebutt that they’d be using Xfire as the middleware for their still secret — and still horribly named — PlayStation Network Platform. Instead, we’ve learned that Sony won’t be using Xfire as the foundation for the PNP, but rather it will be used on “multiple titles” in addition to the already confirmed Dark Kingdom. Speaking with Next Generation, Xfire’s Mike Cassidy calls their platform “complementary” to the PNP. PC Xfire users will be able to do things like chat with PS3 Xfire users … and, uh, see what games they’re playing. Seriously, it looks like that’s it. Apparently, Sony is going it alone: “They have their own network platform that they will describe and roll out.” We know … but when?

    The idea is that many gamers playing Sony Online Entertainment’s Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom may also be PC gamers with active Xfire accounts, so you’ll have two friends lists for those games: PNP and Xfire. While this seems like a horribly clunky proposition, consider it a value add. We imagine Xfire won’t be a requirement, but an option for interested gamers. As long as Sony has a consistent, underlying online gaming solution we’ll be happy. You do have one of those, right Sony?

  • Tom

    I’ve edited the article slightly- I think he meant free for developers to integrate on PS3, not just “free for gamers to use” (which it is).

    I think that the experience DOES promise to be seamless as well. The other day the producer behind Full Auto 2 said that once your PS3 is turned on your machine automatically logs you on to the PS network giving instance access to your friends list- sounds fairly seamless to me. Xfire compliments this to allow PS3 users to communicate with PC users, it doesn’t need to be used though.

  • Henning: See all those PC games that don’t seamlessly talk to each other (without the extra middleware and hassle)? That’s what I’m getting at.

    MS has Live Anywhere where PC and Xbox players have the potential to play together and at least see who’s on-line at any time – no matter the game.

    What I’m driving at is that Sony won’t and probably can’t offer you a seamless, single on-line experience between games and/or platforms. I don’t mind paying less than a game’s-worth a year for that level of service (in fact I haven’t paid more that $20 a year since being on Xbox Live – you just need to know how to shop). And if I don’t do multi-player, I can have free basic service anyways.

    So yeah…If I had a PS3 (which there is no compelling reason to have one – imho), I would expect their service to be free for what they’re offering. Heck, no one has even seen how it works yet or even read an account of how it works! However, I would also not be surprised if certain titles carried their own subscription or subsidized means of generating income to cover the costs of providing on-line capabilities.

  • ehandlr

    All the better in my opinion for some of the bigger games. I’d definetly pay the better games individually to regulate their own servers and promise constant patches, updates and expansions. Hell I’ve been playing FFXI for 3 years now.

    One thing is for sure…whether its at launch..or a year down the road…Sony will have control of their own well ran online network that will at least give XBL a run for its money.

    Other then Halo though..I’ve no reason to play any online games on XBL.

  • ehandlr

    Oh and GOW soon..even if they do have the crappy ranked matches.

  • ehandlr

    SOE President Refutes Microsoft blogger Ozymandias


    I came across a Microsoft blogger this morning that had some thoughts on our just announced deal with Xfire

    There is some bad information in there that I’ll get to in a sec, but it was interesting to me because it highlights some pretty core differences in the approach that the Playstation folks have taken.

    From the very beginning the team at Sony Computer Entertainment has always had a very open view of the the networked Playstation 3. This is showcased in our game Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom. We’ve been able to integrate Xfire’s new PS3 API into the game very easily (I should also point out that this API is absolutely free… no clue where Ozymandias got that info but it’s just plain wrong). What this is going to do is allow an already huge network of online gamers on the PC continue to track their Xfire friends already as they play our (and other games in the future) PS3 game.

    This is not a replacement for the PS3 friends list.

    This is something over and above that. In this day and age many people are members of different communities. For example, I belong to a Battlefield 2 team and a guild for MMO’s. The two are very different and I enjoy them both. Since people spend their time multi-tasking and switching between their computers and consoles, it just seems to make a lot of sense to me that it’s inevitable that people are going to be a part of many different communities.

    This open approach that allows licensed middleware providers to put hooks in PS3 games (assuming that’s what the publisher wants to do) really opens a lot of doors that a more closed approach just wouldn’t allow.

    To me that’s just plain common sense.

    Online console games are going to be huge. They’re growing at an extremely rapid rate and we already have several MMO’s in development for the PS3 that are cross platform with the PC. We’re working on cool new ways to allow people to communicate (online keyboard interfaces, voice-to-text and other ideas). The power of the PS3 is going to allow us to bring a lot of computing power to bear on the challenges of communicating with other players. To me the idea of an online universe of gamers as large as 100 Million or more is really exciting and is going to end up really allowing all kinds of awesome games.