Sony?s Online ?Broken? Claims Microsoft Staffer

Xbox exec fires up the in-game messaging argument and adds the turbo?

Posted by Staff
Insomniac's Resistance is the keystone of Vrignaud's argument
Insomniac's Resistance is the keystone of Vrignaud's argument
Andre Vrignaud, Microsoft?s Director of Technical Strategy for Xbox Live, has fired two shots at Sony?s decision to use Xfire technology within its own online strategy. Posting on his personal, Ozymandias blog, the Microsoft man did not equivocate, using such phrases as, ?broken experience? and ?because Sony's online network just isn't ready?.

The pot has already been well and truly stirred with EA?s Battlefield 2142 as the main ingredient in a legal meal being chewed over by in-game messaging systems, Xfire and GameSpy.

Xfire has filed a legal matter in which it maintains that GameSpy Comrade's 'Buddy Sync' infringes its copyrights. Buddy Sync retrieves gamers? friends lists from instant messaging services such as MSN and, of course, Xfire.

According to Vrignaud ? who choses Insomniac's Resistance as his keystone:

"So I buy my PS3, bring it home, and go online. The first thing I'm going to be asked to do is create some sort of Sony Network ID. That "Sony ID" will apparently bring basic presence and communication features via the crossbar interface. So far so good.

"Even though I already have a "Sony ID", I may have to create a new "Resistance ID" to play. And then start thinking about just how broken the experience is when you try to invite someone to a game. Do you send it via the Resistance UI? What screenname do I send it to? If I want to add you to my 'Sony ID' friends list, do I need to send you an in-game message to ask you what your real 'Sony ID' name is? What about game invites? How does that work across even just these two IDs?

"You think that's bad? Now let's open up a few more games from different publishers. Each of these publishers had to make a choice of what online interface to use - again, because Sony's online network just isn't ready. So they'll choose between writing their own (as did Insomniac for Resistance), or perhaps licensing Xfire, or GameSpy, or Quazal, or Demonware. So now we have five potential networks with different namespaces, and an inherent lack of ability to communicate (chatting, voice, invites, finding friends, etc.) between them, and even across to just the 'Sony ID' namespace. Think we're done? Nope... what happens if each publisher doesn't stick with the same online solution for all of their games? This is very likely as most publishers use different developers - so even across a single publisher, you may find fragmented communities.

"The only consistent tie all of these different community fragments has is that a user should always have their Sony ID. That gives you a lifeline to be see friends when they are online... but only in the crossbar UI. Will you even be able to see what game they're playing? What about what network that game uses, and whether that friend is logged into it? How will you get messages in a timely manner?"


SPOnG has contacted both Xfire and SCEE in order to gain comment and present a fair-and-balanced view of the in-game, online messaging battle that is all set to deflect development effort from serving the gamer. As soon as we receive both (or just one) responses to our request we will, of course, publish them in full. Come on people, time to defend your quarter! We're offering an open platform here!

Comments

config 7 Nov 2006 12:49
1/13
Andre Vrignaud wrote:
So now we have five potential networks with different namespaces

The key word there is "namespaces". If I were managing this oh-so terrible situation, I would envisage a solution involving a "PS3" namespace that prefixes the user's ID. Est voila, through the power of magic, sorcery or perhaps plain old common sense, you have a unique PS3 user ID on any network.

Almost exactly like you have namespace prefix in XML documents.

Ignore this guy folks. It's called Fear, Uncertainy, Doubt

tyrion 7 Nov 2006 13:23
2/13
Andre Vrignaud wrote:
some sort of Sony Network ID

Andre Vrignaud wrote:
I may have to create a new "Resistance ID" to play

Andre Vrignaud wrote:
five potential networks with different namespaces

Andre Vrignaud wrote:
what happens if

Andre Vrignaud wrote:
Will you even be able to see what game they're playing

Translation: I have no f**king clue how it is going to work and I am spreading FUD to make my company's solution look better than the opposition's.

Andre, I'm not a "Director of Technical Strategy" for a huge software firm, but I can think of a few simple to implement solutions for your nightmare of "fragmented communities" and one of them is even mentioned in the article.

A system like "Buddy Sync" would work perfectly well.

Or a central handle list that the various systems authenticate against.

Or a system like the gateways found in Jabber servers that allow users of AIM, MSN, GMail, ICQ and the rest to talk between networks.

Also, like config says, you can easily prefix handles with their server type PS3:Tyrion and XFire:config are not too difficult to find or remember.

Stop spreading FUD about Sony and start talking up your own service, which is excellent. Or are you just scared that Sony may just get it right, open up the plug-in server concept and publishers will start to demand the same from you? And we know where that would lead, don't we? Cross-platform multi-player network games? That would scare the living s**t out of Microsoft.
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theflc 7 Nov 2006 14:30
3/13
Typical cat fight going on here, nothing more. Sony slated gamerscores (wow Sony good job picking on one aspect) and MS are just picking Sony on the fact that their online 'network' will probably be no better than the one they have now.

It works both ways and I don't remember either of you shouting FUD when Sony were slating MS. Yes, we're all biased in the end, and if you must, please continue with your personal vendetta's.
config 7 Nov 2006 14:33
4/13
tyrion wrote:
Also, like config says, you can easily prefix handles with their server type PS3:Tyrion and XFire:config are not too difficult to find or remember.


Oh my, I wasn't suggesting the user or their buddies enter the namespace manually. No, I was suggesting that the Sony network take care of it for you, either by creating new third party network accounts for you, or providing a facility to enter your existing account details so they can be mapped to the Sony network.
fluffstardx 7 Nov 2006 14:43
5/13
I think he's alluding to how annoying it would be to, say, have to create a new gamertag for every game. Which, allegedly, R:FoM will make you. That's kind of his job, though, isn't it? Point holes in your opponent, ignore your own.

Gamerscore... well, it makes me finish games I start. It also means they have little replay if it won't earn points. Sad but true.
LUPOS 7 Nov 2006 15:29
6/13
theflc wrote:
It works both ways and I don't remember either of you shouting FUD when Sony were slating MS. Yes, we're all biased in the end, and if you must, please continue with your personal vendetta's.


Sorry guys (config/tyr) but i have to agree. I know we tend to sit on aposing sides of the fence on this but your political catch phrase of the day does seem to be fresh and new round these parts.

Infact a quick search of news forums since 1/1/06 for u two revelas only one previous use of "FUD" (by tyrion), and its about a story of someone from MS talking ill off sonys online service, way back on 1/16: "Yup, bog standard MS-FUD"

Fair and balanced people! We could all learn a thing or two from bill o'reily ;) [that's a joke!]
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king skins 7 Nov 2006 15:52
7/13
Well you know guys, you could just plug your PS3 into the interweb and sign up for the PS3 network and tell us all about it!! ;)

Isn't it supposed to be up and running now...?
tyrion 7 Nov 2006 19:38
8/13
theflc wrote:
It works both ways and I don't remember either of you shouting FUD when Sony were slating MS. Yes, we're all biased in the end, and if you must, please continue with your personal vendetta's.

Err, that's because Sony explaining why it hasn't put gamerscores into its network service isn't FUD.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt. You can only really express those sentiments about something that is not yet released.

The blog by Mr. Vrignaud is essentially taking one known fact and spinning a huge evil situation from it by using conjecture and supposition. He then uses this evil situation to "prove" that the opposition to his company has a broken service and isn't ready for the on-line games. It is classic FUD.

Again, FUD can only be spread about something that has not arrived, otherwise it's just slagging off or bitch talking, depending on your side of the Atlantic.

LUPOS wrote:
Infact a quick search of news forums since 1/1/06 for u two revelas only one previous use of "FUD" (by tyrion), and its about a story of someone from MS talking ill off sonys online service, way back on 1/16:

So I haven't commented on any FUD recently? What of it?

king skins wrote:
Well you know guys, you could just plug your PS3 into the interweb and sign up for the PS3 network and tell us all about it!! ;)

Don't I wish I could? Unfortunatly for us, the PS3 is in our London office and I don't get down there very often. Also, as I understand it, the test units sent to journalists don't have the network system enabled in the firmware. And yes, that makes me nervous.

Anyway, just so LUPOS finds this post easily, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD! :-)
LUPOS 7 Nov 2006 20:00
9/13
tyrion wrote:
So I haven't commented on any FUD recently? What of it?


Seems harsh words for the company you obviously have a dislike for. I never see such harsh terms come from you in regards to sony. Not that i dont do the same, but i just felt like saying so :)

tyrion wrote:
Anyway, just so LUPOS finds this post easily, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD! :-)


still took me 19 minutes. Tell config to get the dang pop3 set up for external so i can get these alerts more timely ;)
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tyrion 7 Nov 2006 20:57
10/13
LUPOS wrote:
Seems harsh words for the company you obviously have a dislike for. I never see such harsh terms come from you in regards to sony. Not that i dont do the same, but i just felt like saying so :)

How would you characterise the overly-negative speculation based on a single fact that Mr. Vrignaud posted on his blog?

LUPOS wrote:
still took me 19 minutes. Tell config to get the dang pop3 set up for external so i can get these alerts more timely ;)

Afraid it's not up to config, it's a side effect of our internal network architecture.
LUPOS 7 Nov 2006 21:14
11/13
tyrion wrote:
How would you characterise the overly-negative speculation based on a single fact that Mr. Vrignaud posted on his blog?


i woudl call it the same kind of oposition bashing that all the major players do from time to time. comparing it to the sort of tactics govrnments use to repress the masses may be somewhat valid but its still a harsher comparison that is usualy given when speakign of sony and there standard issue nicey nice "lies". like that thing a few weeks back sayign it woudl cost more for a 360 than a ps3 cause it "needs" a hard drive and hd-dvd ad on


tyrion wrote:
Afraid it's not up to config, it's a side effect of our internal network architecture.


I was under the impression that such a thing was on the "to do list", though way down it. As for the who, i cant be bothered to remember all ur pesky britshy "G" names and what ur jobs actually are ;)
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tyrion 8 Nov 2006 08:34
12/13
LUPOS wrote:
comparing it to the sort of tactics govrnments use to repress the masses may be somewhat valid but its still a harsher comparison that is usualy given when speakign of sony and there standard issue nicey nice "lies".

I may have missed that allusion in this thread, you were the first to call FUD our "political catch phrase of the day". However it has come to be used, and I can't remember FUD being used in a political sense over here so our perspectives on this may be mis-aligned, the term FUD was invented by Gene Amdahl after he left IBM to found his own company, Amdahl Corp.

Gene Amdahl wrote:
FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering Amdahl products.


It was summed up well by Eric S. Raymond (ESR) - a luminary of the open source software movement.

ESR wrote:
The idea, of course, was to persuade buyers to go with safe IBM gear rather than with competitors' equipment. This implicit coercion was traditionally accomplished by promising that Good Things would happen to people who stuck with IBM, but Dark Shadows loomed over the future of competitors' equipment or software. After 1991 the term has become generalized to refer to any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon.


As the Wikipedia Article points out, it was originally credited as an IBM tactic (nobody was ever fired for buying IBM), but has been taken up enthusiastically by Microsoft, especially in their dealings with Free or Open Source Software.

LUPOS wrote:
like that thing a few weeks back sayign it woudl cost more for a 360 than a ps3 cause it "needs" a hard drive and hd-dvd ad on

You have to admit, that was really just a creative mis-reading of the word "requires" by the anti-Sony crowd.

The "fact sheet" was pointing out the additional cost required to get the same functionality. That was a valid comparison, and all that document needed was a line above the table saying so and there would have been no uproar.

Please note that the much mooted Microsoft lawsuit over the Sony "fact sheet" has failed to surface. If Microsoft won't pursue the issue, it's probably not a huge issue in the first place.

I've used "fact sheet" in quotes above because the Wii comparison was really misleading, equating the browser costs to the on-line service is a bit of a stretch. However the 360 comparisons were correct as long as they were read in the correct context.
SCiARA 8 Nov 2006 13:28
13/13
Will somebody please think of the children
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