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XFire is Sony's Answer to Xbox Live 63

Posted by Zonk
from the pulling-out-the-big-guns dept.
1up is reporting on Sony's 'answer' to Microsoft's Xbox Live system: XFire. The PC-based game networking service is already extremely popular among FPS and MMOG players. Financial reports indicate the service will now be extended to the PlayStation 3 as well. From the article: "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)."
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XFire is Sony's Answer to Xbox Live

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  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @12:51PM (#16090036) Journal
    I thought XFire was Sony's answer to XBattery.
  • I believe it maybe a little too late. Sony obviously needs this, but with the way they've been conducting themselves towards the customer, do you really think this will fix all the problems? IE Lack of units shipping by launch, pricepoint, copycatting.
  • At least that's one sorta-good thing for the PS3, finally Instead of Sony's previous statement that they'll just let developers go nuts with whatever multiplayer service they want, they at least have a central location.

    Not that this change will really sway anyone here to get a PS3 after all. Holes that deep are not easy to dig out of...
    • Not that this change will really sway anyone here to get a PS3 after all. Holes that deep are not easy to dig out of...

      You're kidding, right?

      There are lots of /.'ers who will line up to get the first PS3s. When the price drops and availability is no longer an issue, TONS of people here will get one, especially when the big PS3-only titles (Final Fantasy, GTA) roll out the door.

      The 360 has had the marketplace to itself for a year and in that time, the PS2 has outsold the 360. I don't think Sony is that wo

      • by Lobo42 (723131)
        GTA isn't a PS3-only title anymore. It appears to be coming to the Xbox 360 day-and-date with the PS3.
      • GTA is no longer playstation exclusive and will be released at the same time on the 360.
      • Re:as if... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rabbot (740825) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @01:47PM (#16090503)
        I wouldn't put too much faith in GTA and FF carrying Sony, especially now that GTA isn't going to be PS3 only...both franchises have been going downhill in my mind.

        But then again i'm weird and still live in the 80s and 90s. I don't like the direction Final Fantasy has been heading since VII, and I would rather play GTA 2 (top down), than play any of the new 3D ones.

        Only time will tell.
        • FF and GTA will most definitely NOT carry Sony. Note the FF series being ported to other consoles, now, and the GTA series (which came out on PC first, and most likely will always keep it's mass following there - I'd say 1 out of every 7 PSX/2 owner that I know personally has a GTA title, and I have quite a diverse group of friends. Even the thug-rappers play more Tony Hawk than GTA.) has always been multi-platform. If Sony wants to keep their heads (or asses, depending on how far their heads are stuck up t
          • If you think that the main Final Fantasy and (presumably) Dragon Quest series won't carry the PS3, you know nothing about the Japanese game market - especially since Microsoft is (once again) all but completely ignoring the JRPG genre. We'll see about the Wii.

            According to this [wikipedia.org] (which, admittedly, may be a little inaccurate), Final Fantasy X sold more copies than any XBox or Gamecube game.

            In addition - GTA having a mass following on PC? Not very likely. Each of the three PS2 GTA games sold over 10 million co
            • by Rydia (556444)
              The sane half of Square-Enix has been saying they're going to hand over DQIX to Wii if rocket slime and DQS sell well. Even if they don't sell well, the way Sony is handling their launch and production, it seems doubtful that PS3 will be able to kee Dragon Quest.
      • by blincoln (592401)
        When the price drops

        I think that by the time the PS3's price drops enough to be considered reasonable by the average gamer, it will be far, far too late for it to do well in the marketplace - unless we consider "the marketplace" to be liquidators, a la "Atari Jaguar and 20 games for $49.99!"

        IMO, companies like NVidia and ATI can be moderately successful selling to the tiny minority of people who will spend $500 on a video card, because the same technology is easy to adapt to the sub-$200 range that are sold
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by why-is-it (318134)

          I think that by the time the PS3's price drops enough to be considered reasonable by the average gamer, it will be far, far too late for it to do well in the marketplace

          It depends on what you consider to be "reasonable" and "average". Like lots of /.ers, I could afford a PS3 on day one, assuming I could find one. I'm certain that it will sell out in the beginning due to a combination of actual shortages and fanbois. The question for me, and most other folks is whether it is worth the price Sony is willing

          • Sony has claimed to have sold around 100 million, not 200 million. Of course, 100 million is a huge amount, and there's no denying that the PS2 is the best gaming bargain around.

            Which brings me to the next point (made by many before me). Sony has the unenviable position of having the best gaming value on the shelf right next to the worst. Final Fantasy is a big draw, it's true. FFXII for PS2 is looking better than any PS3 launch title.

            If I were Sony, I'd just stop selling the PS2 when the PS3 came o

  • by bunions (970377)
    I like xfire. Now that Sony has their paws on it, it'll get all crappy and for some reason it'll be ATRAC-enabled. Crap.
  • And then... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Who Man (671061) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @12:56PM (#16090083)
    I think they should rename the PS3 to XBox, because that goes really well with XFire.
  • I was using All Seeing Eye, but Yahoo bought them, and havnt updated to many new games. Xfire has always been active updating games, but the user interface is a dumbed down.

    As a old tribes player, the game is old enough that there isnt always a full server, or the servers are password protected. Xfire lets me play that old game.

    Also, PS3 might support Xfire IM?! Lets hope so.

  • Innovation! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Dalex (996138)
    Is Sony incapable of creating their own? I use Xfire and it's pretty good, but I was very interested in seeing what Sony would do in response to Xbox Live. I didn't expect them to outsource their system (look what happened with the rootkits). Maybe it's a way to avoid liability issues...
    • by oahazmatt (868057)
      Is Sony incapable of creating their own?
      In Sony's defense *GASP* plenty of companies acquire a company's product if it will already accomplish what they would rather not spend hundreds of man-hours developing. Microsoft has done this (repeatedly), Apple has done it, Sony has done it.

      Plus, if the product already exists, its no longer about innovation. It's about reverse-engineering and overhead.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jerf (17166)

        spend hundreds of man-hours developing.

        I'd estimate a rock-solid service of this type to be tens of thousands of man-hours. The scaling and reliability issues are challenging. That includes significant maintenence and feature-addition, and isn't entirely programming either (art assets, etc.), and I'm not including testing in that count, which would probably push it up into the hundreds of thousands if you include stress testing with real beta customers, although Sony probably wouldn't be paying for that dir

      • by The Dalex (996138)
        Since I was modded a troll, I guess I didn't raise any legitimate questions. I'm still very surprised that Sony, a company that normally keeps things proprietary and tightly controlled, would turn to an outside company for a service such as this.
    • by Reapman (740286)
      This is actually pretty smart.. Sony can create their own "Live" system, go through all the growing pains of learning the mistakes Microsoft already made... orrrrrrrrrr they can go with a product that is established and works. Assuming they don't make XFire stupid in some way, this is probably the fastest way for them to "catch up" to live. Although honestly I don't think Live will make / break the consoles, I tried it once and wasn't impressed. I prefer the old fashion friends sitting on a couch within
  • But when... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hangin10 (704729)
    But when does Nintendo release XCube (XWater, if you want some other ironic/humorous tie-in) to compete with XFire and XBox Live?

    Does anyone else detect a rather lame naming gimmick catching on across the board?
  • Two completely different and incompatible market segments. Simply fucking brilliant!!! I'll just message my PC buddy and ask him if he wants to play Final Fantasy XCIIV ONLINE, now featuring absolutely no game play!
  • Ha ha, Sony, man you guys are so fuc-

    ...wait, you did what? You bought PS3 rights for XFire? That...that's actually SMART. You did something smart in regards to the PS3!? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY SONY!?
  • by ClamIAm (926466) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @02:49PM (#16091106)
    So Xfire is not owned by Sony, right? This is interesting because there is the very real possibility of this deal entangling Sony with a foreign entity[1]. We saw this during the last console cycle when Microsoft and Nvidia disagreed on chip pricing.

    Worse, if the relationship goes sour, several bad things would happen. Depending on how the online service is implemented, old games could stop working. Players might also be forced to sign up for a new service, and hassling with learning how to use it and setting everything up again. Or Sony could go with another system for the PS4, leaving gamers with Xfire accounts for PS3 and something else for PS4. Contrast this with Xbox Live, where the whole service is done in-house, and these problems basically do not exist. Of course, you're still locked down to Microsoft, but that's another discussion.

    But to me, the most interesting element here is due to Xfire recently being bought by Viacom. Viacom is a very large and powerful media conglomerate. Sony, while more diversified, also owns a lot of media holdings. I wouldn't be surprised if some collusion[2] happens because of this deal. Maybe Sony throws some Paramount trailers up on the PS3 download service, or perhaps PS3s start showing up on Viacom-owned TV networks. This could also be an interesting angle if any disputes arise.

    Of course, all my speculation here could turn out to be total BS. Despite Internet forums and "market analysts" predicting PS3 DOOOOM, Sony has a pretty good record so far of being forward-looking when it comes to consoles.

    [1] By "foreign" I mean "outside the company".
    [2] Collusion is illegal, so they'll call it something like "cross-promotion".
    • Then they can contract other more capable entities. Unlike NVIDIA and ATI in the oligopolistic GPU market, there are others who can implement these services, it's not rocket science after all.
  • XFire is a mature service that users know they can get a quality experience from. This is the first good decision I've seen come out of the Sony management in months and months.
  • After exactly 4 years the price of the Xbox360 with 20GB hard drive, component out, and XBox Live Gold subscription reaches parity with the price of the PS3 with 20GB hard drive, component out, and XFire.

    After 4 the PS3 becomes cheaper with each additional year one keeps the XBL subscription.

    Hopefully MS will recognize this and start knocking that price down. Or perhaps MS will simply hope the consumer doesn't notice.
  • by jchenx (267053) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @08:28PM (#16093375) Journal
    Well, according to an update on 1-UP, it turns out that this Xfire deal was only for one game, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, and it is NOT meant to be the be-all end-all online solution for all PS3 games. Furthermore, the deal is between Sony Online Entertainment, and not Sony Computer Entertainment, which is the actual group that is handling the PS3. Now, things could change, and SCE could change their minds, but still ... this is all very bizarre.

    When I first heard of this news, I thought it was a good move by Sony. Their strengths are in hardware, not so much with software. Yes, SOE is handling EQ and Star Wars: Galaxies, but those are arguably not to be proud about (at least of late). So partnering with Xfire seems like a great idea. Maybe the start of some good news (finally) for Sony?

    But upon hearing that this partnership really is limited to just one game? Huge steps backwards, once again. Does this mean we can expect every game to utilize a different network model? Will I have different friends lists and achievements with EA and Square-Enix, with some games not utilizing anything? It's also really late in development, so does that mean all of the network features Sony is claiming to be working on, are really really behind?

    I was under the impression, as was many others probably, that there was going to be one network, and the reason why we weren't hearing anything about it, was because the devs were hard at work on it. (Compared to the 360, where MS spent a large amount of time showing off Live functionality at the E3 prior to launch) But news like this makes it seem like Sony doesn't really know what it's doing after all. :P
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Does this mean we can expect every game to utilize a different network model?

      Again, Sony misses the point with Xbox Live. What they'll deliver is esstentially the same half-assed, free-for-all that we got on the PS2. The only "service" they'll provide will be an ethernet connection on the console and a lame portal.

      -Eric

  • X-Fire, Damn finally Sony does something right, Slashdot in shock.

    Basically X-Fire is an alliance between IM software like icq and an amazing game browser like all seeing eye.

    It tracks stats and gives other players links they just click on to join the server you're in (find out what song you're listening to etc.

    Endorsed by Thresh (The gaming god) it's got a tiny memory footprint to save those precious fps.

    It also provides sound so you can ghost (A Form of cheating where dead players tell their frien

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