From the ‘how not to win friends’ department. Giant games publisher Electronic Arts has just announced that it will not be supporting Microsoft’s XBox Live online multiplayer service which is due to launch this year, and will instead only support Sony’s PS2 rival. Seems like EA doesn’t like the fact that Microsoft is forcing publishers to use their own fee based network instead of leaving the choice to the publishers, as Sony appears to be doing.
Also the fact that Sony’s service will apparently be free of charge to players may have something to do with it (free equals more potential players of course, and therefore more revenue for game sellers). Either way it looks like Microsoft may be on to a loser with this kind of shortsighted tactic.
Update: MS will launch the XBox Live service in the autumn at a cost of $49.95 in the US, which covers a year’s subscription and an plug-in Communicator box for voice chatting between players.
In related news, Sony recently held a press conference in Japan to outline their future plans and it looks very much as though they are now going to focus on the network as the vital ‘glue’ to pull all their products and content together. The company has announced a Network Application and Content Service sector (NACS) to ensure that the company’s development of new ‘net-compatible Home A/V products’ works out properly.
A key sentence? ‘Products like Digital Still Cameras, Camcorders, CLIE, Net MD etc. which until now have been connectible (sic) to PCs, will connect directly to Net-compatible Home AV products.’
Unless I’m very much mistaken that means a huge role in the future for the Playstation product line.