Microsoft: Second Life On XBox Live?

Microsoft working with Second Life creators

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Shame Kim: Sony can't pull it off.
Shame Kim: Sony can't pull it off.
Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Game Studios - Shane Kim - has revealed that, among other things, he doubts that Sony can achieve its online Home network for PlayStation 3; that third-party exclusives are a things of the past; that Windows Live is the most important thing he's working on.

Speaking to Shacknews at a Halo 3 event, Kim let slip he has, "spent some time with the Linden Lab guys [developers of Second Life]. To try to build Second Life on Xbox Live --or YouTube, Facebook, any of those big social networking services and sites--it's a lot of work".

In terms of future development for the industry as a whole, however, Kim casts the notion of third-party exclusives into history, stating:
"You're not going to get exclusives from third parties in the future--not very many, anyway. The economics of the business just don't support it. It costs too much money to make and to market the titles, so third parties almost can't afford it, and hardware guys can't afford to pay a third party publisher to compensate them for the opportunity cost. You're going to see third party titles on every platform, and we can't count on third parties to do our heavy lifting. That's what the job of the first party is, and my job in particular is to make MGS competitive versus Sony first party."

Taking a further opportunity to stab at competitor Sony, he also let rip with the following piece of pitch regarding Home for PS3:
"I doubt [Sony's] ability to implement it and execute it in a really rich and compelling way.

"PlayStation Network is not Xbox Live, it's not even close. To think about layering [Home] on top of that--wow. The hardest part is not even creating the system, it's regulating the behaviour and all of that too. Boy, that's a massive investment in infrastructure. I actually believe that most gamers will always find more value in what we have on Xbox Live and now Games for Windows Live and how we're building that out, which really started all about gaming features and now has added more like instant messaging, Video Marketplace, etcetera. That's what I think is a much better approach, and that's what our approach is going to be."

Talking of Live, Kim asserts that the strategy for XBox standalone games are in fact no longer near the top of the priority list, "I want to make sure people understand that bringing Live over to Windows is important for Windows, and it's really important for Live, expanding the capabilities of those platforms. A lot of people are not single-platform customers.

"Being able to extend the same functionality and take that across platforms is really important to Live, because I think Live is actually the most important platform we're building within the company. Cross-platform play across Live is an important thing, because it's something that we're uniquely positioned to do, but I don't think it's good for people to assume that every title is going to be like that."

Also cropping up in his Sony bash is the fact that the XBox Core has still got a lot of life in it yet:
"With the Elite, and the Xbox 360, and the Core, I think we have a pretty interesting and good SKU family that offers a lot of choice. We've obviously taken that strategy of choice, whether you're talking about the HD-DVD drive or the fact that you've got a [range] from Elite to Core. There's going to be a set of customers out there that isn't hardcore gamers but that wants to tap into a high-def gaming experience with a Core system, and that will be enough for them.

"They may not buy as many games as the Xbox 360 or Elite customer, but they're still a really important part of the overall market. People say, 'Why don't you just kill that thing?' Well, that thing is a $300 price advantage versus PS3, right?"

And it's not only Sony that comes in for some Kim-analysis, Nintendo is also in his sights:
"They're about the Wii and the DS, and they maximize that business--and taking a big share of first party. I think they care a lot less about establishing a consumer entertainment platform in the home, and about creating an ecosystem for third parties.

"Their start, I think, is good in general actually for us in the industry. In the long run, if they really attract more people to the industry, that's good because we think we've got the best overall solution. And we're not that far away in terms of price point. The Core is only $50 more. We need to do a better job telling the story there and making sure we have more that's compelling for that audience. We have to compete for that audience. It's not about competing with Nintendo, it's about competing for that audience. If we're going to reach our objective of winning this generation, we've got to reach that customer."

And how does he feel about a console war in which there is no clear winner? No surprises here:
"Well, no, our objective is to be the clear winner. Would it be acceptable otherwise? I don't think it would be acceptable. This is why Microsoft is in this business, to win this generation. Certainly, I believe we're in a better competitive situation versus Sony than we envisioned we would be when we launched this program, right? I mean, they're the past two generations winner."

You can read the full interview here.



oldest gamer 14 May 2007 15:36
Can we even count on any M$ employee understanding growth and technology as a whole anymore? On Sony's PS3 topics, they dismiss HDMI 1.3 only to implement an inferior HDMI 1.2. Then they dismiss Blue-Ray storage (59g) versus DVD-9 (9g) for games but release a HD-DVD drive only for movies. Next their engineers can't grasp the benefits of the CBE but as any other engineer can testify at Stanford, the benefits and power are quit impressive. Now they miss the boat on online expansion. Live was good in it's day. But now it is a lag ridden cheater paradise over run with abusive youngsters ( parents must be out working to pay for it instead of parenting ). Just listen to the voice chatter. For a year head start m$ sounds like their playing catchup.
OptimusP 14 May 2007 16:45
A person who says "right?" so many times has got a huge confidence problem. And that's the vibe i get all the time "hey Xbox Live is better then Sony's network...we have Second Life...right? huh? guys? hello?...*wimper*"
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smoothn00dle 14 May 2007 17:14
What he basically saying, is too hard for us to do it. Sony can't do it.
headcasephil 14 May 2007 17:37
i am on xbox live and on psn and i like psn more than i like live this is because i dont get amican teens coming out with crap coments you can get on to games eg call of duty 3 for 360
was one of the worst games ever to try to have a mach with mates the same thing came up 98% of the time host lost i pay for live should not have this where as got cal of duty for ps3 have never had a problem geting on to a mach and it FREE
i dont get adverts on my home screen with ps3 i do with 360 it might not be much but it F me off
Joji 14 May 2007 17:58
Well, I don't really want Second life on 360, an inspired 360 3D interface might not be so bad as the one we currently have.

Heaven forbid, they deviate to much on Live to appease the social networking crowd.
Moschops 14 May 2007 19:52
second life on xbl?

wow. sony's "home" people must be really getting worried
king skins 14 May 2007 23:01
oldest gamer wrote:

what the f**k is a CBE?
Alex 15 May 2007 00:41
CBE refers to the Cell Broadband Engine (i.e. PS3 cpu). I agree, it's obvious that Microsoft has been scrambling since GDC to play catch-up; Sony completely blindsided both the press and Microsoft with the possibilities of LittleBigPlanet and HOME. The scary part though is that we haven't even seen the entire picture yet, or even the heavy-hitter titles from Sony 1st and 2nd party Developers: Getaway, Eight Days, SOCOM, Killzone, Vision:GT, or what Team Ico and Sucker Punch are up to.

Add in Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy XIII, and it becomes obvious that Microsoft is in the fight of its life this generation.
Modhabobo 15 May 2007 09:57
Alex, fight of their lives? I think Sony are the ones who seem scared, taking ideas from the others to patch up an overbloated, underperforming console. What is happening to Sony is the same thing that happened to Nintendo and Sega, they got arrogant and thought they knew best, and they were wrong. Sure MGS4 and Final Fantasy are exciting, but the kids who played the predecessors in their bedrooms can't afford 450 consoles! And also this integrated media hub idea that Sony and Microsoft are peddling, who actually wants that? I still like my cd player for cds, because i bought one built for it, and it plays them f**k*ng great. I like my flat screen telly, and i use it for its job, i use my computer for the internet and my mobile phone for calling. My phone has the memory, but i prefer to use my iPod for music on the go. Convergence just means cheaper parts to do a cheaper job and you miss everything, the sooner Sony and Microsoft realise this, the better the future of their console. Of course this is just a personal preferance....i know some types of people who like it all in one box, homegnised and stuff.
tyrion 15 May 2007 12:20
Modhabobo wrote:
Convergence just means cheaper parts to do a cheaper job and you miss everything, the sooner Sony and Microsoft realise this, the better the future of their console. Of course this is just a personal preferance....i know some types of people who like it all in one box, homegnised and stuff.

I must say, I much prefer to have a slide projector to view my photographs, a DVD player to play my movies, a CD player to listen to music, a telephone to talk to my friends and a newspaper to get my news. That PC thingie is just for spreadsheets isn't it?

Except, it's not.

Why should I need to order a DVD to play a movie that someone had produced for youtube? Why wouldn't I want up-to-the minute news publishing? Why can't I have music playing through my PC speakers while I work on my spreadsheets?

You already have a convergence device in front of you as you post on this forum. Given that PCs also play games, why is it so taboo for games consoles to do the rest of it too? Given that games consoles are now closer to PCs than they have ever been, the additional functionality can be taken care of in software, so there is no problem with "cheaper parts" or being a "Jack of all trades".

If you can pause your game, pop out to a browser, check the FAQ online and pop back in without running to the office or bedroom, why on earth would you feel aggrieved? Why shouldn't the 360 be able to allow custom soundtracks to games? Why shouldn't the tech in consoles that allows game FMVs to play also be used to allow DVDs, HD-DVDs or Blu-ray discs to play? Why shouldn't an already online games console allow in or out of game texting or voice chat?

The addition of those features adds no cost what so ever to the price of the hardware for a console, except in the specific case of including a High Def drive, and I still think that's a reasonable idea for future-proofing your disc space requirements.

Convergence is the future, get used to it.
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