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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sony and XFire

Sony's clarification that XFire is for a single PlayStation 3 title and not a part of Sony's online offering for the PlayStation 3 has me pretty nervous. While it might seem to be good news that Sony has at least an inkling of a popular game networking application - the clarification seems to indicate what would be the worst possible outcome for the PlayStation 3's online features: complete balkanization. Instead of common ground, PNP would be a kind of hodge podge of various features ... perhaps with a single sign on and e-commerce HUB to tie them together. Smaller developers might not be able to offer the same kind of features as larger ones because hey - not everyone can just call Viacom up and ask to play with XFire.

Obviously that scenario might be completely wrong. It's possible this is a PR black hole and maybe some deal between Sony and XFire is still in the works or they just don't want to announce anything yet. The question is - why wouldn't Sony be issuing news to illustrate exactly what their online service does and does not do?

Well, the thing is ... they have ... and this news runs contradictory to that information. If PNP is going to offer things like matchmaking, buddy lists and messaging ... what does SOE need XFire for? Perhaps Sony is using only a part of the XFire base ... but what part?

Something just isn't adding up here ... and Sony's typical inability to be direct is certainly only doing more harm than good.

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