Sony to Forego a Centralized Online Network?

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The current issue of the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine is reporting confirmation of the online gaming model for the PlayStation 3 console. An article cites SCE Vice President Phil Harrison in confirming that the PlayStation 3 will offer a business model for online gaming which is very similar to the current (PS2) approach: open architecture.

Considering that Microsoft’s Xbox Live service really gets all the press when it comes to gaming online, it is noteworthy that (according to Harrison, May 2005) the PlayStation 2 serves up more online play than any other current console. However, with Nintendo adding its own coordinated online service to the mix in the upcoming cycle, many are wondering whether this is a good move for Sony.

From the article:

While Harrison admitted that the Xbox Live online gaming service is one of the things that Microsoft has done well, he said that Sony’s plan is to let publishers establish their own means for getting consumers online and to let the publishers interact with consumers directly instead of using Sony as some kind of buffer for the online experience.

Unfortunately, by going with this model, Sony runs the risk of repeating its mistakes. The PS2 online model has proven to work with some sports games, a few shooters like SOCOM, and Final Fantasy XI, but outside of those, very few PS2 games have found success online. If Sony does a better job of promoting the online experience with the PlayStation 3 and at least attempts to have some sort of unifying structure, then this may not be the case. As it stands, Sony must have a decent plan in place if it hopes to make this model a success.

It’s important to bear in mind some of the differences between the current and upcoming Sony consoles. The PlayStation 2 required an add-on ethernet adapter, decreasing the installed base of users for ANY publisher to woo. The PS3 will be internet-compatible as soon as you power on. Allowing third parties to set their own terms has by-and-large amounted to free matchmaking services from the publisher, and fees required only for “persistent” games that require ongoing maintenance. (This is true both for the PlayStation 2 and PC gaming.) Cost has proven to be a fairly significant mitigating factor in the success of Xbox Live, and the question arises whether this will negatively impact Xbox Live services in the future.

6944053316338252

The current issue of the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine is reporting confirmation of the online gaming model for the PlayStation 3 console. An article cites SCE Vice President Phil Harrison in confirming that the PlayStation 3 will offer a business model for online gaming which is very similar to the current (PS2) approach: open architecture.

Considering that Microsoft’s Xbox Live service really gets all the press when it comes to gaming online, it is noteworthy that (according to Harrison, May 2005) the PlayStation 2 serves up more online play than any other current console. However, with Nintendo adding its own coordinated online service to the mix in the upcoming cycle, many are wondering whether this is a good move for Sony.

From the article:

While Harrison admitted that the Xbox Live online gaming service is one of the things that Microsoft has done well, he said that Sony’s plan is to let publishers establish their own means for getting consumers online and to let the publishers interact with consumers directly instead of using Sony as some kind of buffer for the online experience.

Unfortunately, by going with this model, Sony runs the risk of repeating its mistakes. The PS2 online model has proven to work with some sports games, a few shooters like SOCOM, and Final Fantasy XI, but outside of those, very few PS2 games have found success online. If Sony does a better job of promoting the online experience with the PlayStation 3 and at least attempts to have some sort of unifying structure, then this may not be the case. As it stands, Sony must have a decent plan in place if it hopes to make this model a success.

It’s important to bear in mind some of the differences between the current and upcoming Sony consoles. The PlayStation 2 required an add-on ethernet adapter, decreasing the installed base of users for ANY publisher to woo. The PS3 will be internet-compatible as soon as you power on. Allowing third parties to set their own terms has by-and-large amounted to free matchmaking services from the publisher, and fees required only for “persistent” games that require ongoing maintenance. (This is true both for the PlayStation 2 and PC gaming.) Cost has proven to be a fairly significant mitigating factor in the success of Xbox Live, and the question arises whether this will negatively impact Xbox Live services in the future.

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