Print 21 comment(s) - last by MrDiSante.. on Oct 18 at 7:00 PM

Sony looks to challenge XBOX Live

The Sony Computer Entertainment Europe tour continues as Eurogamer chimes in with a report specifically detailing the PlayStation 3's online system. The article mainly goes over the similarities and differences between Sony and Microsoft's approach to online gaming, pointing out the weakness in PS2 online, and comparing PS3's planned system to XBOX Live. One such area of difference is how transactions will take place:

Unlike Nintendo and Microsoft's offerings, Sony doesn't hide the price of items behind an arbitrary "points" scheme - instead, everything simply lists a price in your local currency, so European types will see a Euro price, British people will see prices in Pounds Sterling, and so on. The Wallet, then, is basically your transaction centre - you put money into the Wallet, and then spend it in the store. Equally, you can set it up so that if you have associated accounts, for children for example, you can put a certain amount into their Wallets each month, giving them an allowance for how much can be spent on new content. Crucially, the Wallet is used for everything on the system - even for MMOG subscriptions to third parties. If it's on the PlayStation Network, you pay for it via Sony and the transaction with the third party is worked out elsewhere - so you're not expected to give credit card details out willy-nilly to everyone with content or services on the PS3.

Sony may see micro-transactions to be a big source of revenue from its online service. If reports are correct, games such as Gran Turismo HD will require users to purchase cars and courses for use exclusively online. Outside of games, Sony has its own record labels and motion picture productions, which would naturally lend themselves well to downloadable music and movies.

For more PlayStation 3 previews from across the pond, check out the ones from PSM3 and IGN UK.

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By NotAok on 10/16/2006 10:08:44 AM , Rating: 1
of all companies to be honest about prices i would've never expected it to be sony. I'm especially shocked that they didn't use some sort of points scheme considering everyone else is.

RE: interesting
By daniel1113 on 10/16/2006 10:21:32 AM , Rating: 3
This may be a negative aspect for Sony. I think people may be more apt to spend "points" on digital content than actual money, even if it costs them the same dollar amount in the end.

RE: interesting
By FITCamaro on 10/16/2006 10:27:19 AM , Rating: 1
Also an excellent point.

RE: interesting
By therealnickdanger on 10/16/2006 10:49:27 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah, it goes both ways. I think both approaches are just as honest... ly dumb. Be it tokens, credits, or dollars, after what I've read about GT5 or GT4.5 HD Hyper Edition or whatever it's called, I don't like the direction online games are headed. It really does feel like we are moving toward a nickel-and-dime era of gaming.

I can appreciate that the demand for high-quality voice-acting, cinematics, and graphics are pushing up dev costs, but this method just seems to give publishers too many avenues to push out incomplete games for $60 and then charge for stuff that should be in the game.

I can see it now: the only way to defeat the boss in Doom 5 is to use the Soul Tetrahedron - available for $6.25 or 800 points or 50 Wiickets. All it takes is one time, one game to set a precident, then it's all over. I also sense it as being inevitable, but I'll kick and scream my way there.

For the record, I have no issues with paying for added content, as my Xbox Live account and stacks of expansion packs clearly show, but if it appears to be something that should have been included, I won't buy.

RE: interesting
By encryptkeeper on 10/16/2006 2:04:55 PM , Rating: 2
Alot of it is for kids. If your kid says, "Daddy can I have such n such game, it only costs 60 points" that sounds alot better than "Daddy can I have this game, it only costs 60 dollars". And its partly better for gift giving as well, kind of like ITunes gift cards.

RE: interesting
By MonkeyPaw on 10/16/2006 12:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're onto it. Ever go to Dave and Busters? It's a bar & grill where you can buy preloaded cards with points on them, and then go play video games with it. You can easily spend $20 in an hour. You would definitely be more reluctant to do that if you had to feed machines actual money instead of just swiping a card. The other nice thing about preloaded cards and points is that people don't always spend it all. Even Casinos do something similar with player cards. Any way you can get people to separate money from what they are buying is typically very effective.

RE: interesting
By FITCamaro on 10/16/2006 10:26:30 AM , Rating: 2
As long as there is a 1-1 mapping between "points" and currency, it makes sense to me and also allows Microsoft or Nintendo to more easily give away things. Its far easier for a company to say "you get a bonus of x points" than say "here's $5".

RE: interesting
By Chocolate Pi on 10/16/2006 7:26:01 PM , Rating: 2
Right; Nintendo is doing 1 point = 1 US cent, so I don't think it is a question of obscuring the values and tricking consumers. I think that is exactly right: while a company isn't going to say "We're going to give you $5 as a bonus for this", they can easily say "We're going to give you 500 points."

In the long run...
By daftrok on 10/16/2006 12:09:42 PM , Rating: 1
One has to realize that on the PS3, you are probably not going to be giving monthly payments to play online. On Gran Turismo HD, I'm sure that they won't charge you to play OFFline, just to buy a car and map for ONline. Frankly, I like this feature. Remember Halo 2 Mappack? I don't remember anyone bitching about spending forty to fifty bucks for a few maps. Now wouldn't you rather explore the map before hand, see if you ever really want to play in it, and then buy a couple of the maps for 10 bucks?

The Wallet idea it pretty smart as well. You can restrain yourself, it doesn't take away the reality from it. Suppose you have a kid that doesn't know any better, goes to xbox 360 live, and reads "FEAR WALLPAPER 120 points" and then like a moron buys it, not knowing that he or she just spent a buck for a picture. Now go to PS3 and it read "FEAR WALLPAPER $1.20"...chances are he or she will be more hesitant. Sony gives you options, you don't HAVE to buy anything to play your game, but maybe you'll have to throw a few bones to play online (which xbox has been doing for years, just in monthly installments).

RE: In the long run...
By Spivonious on 10/16/2006 12:27:40 PM , Rating: 2
to xbox 360 live, and reads "FEAR WALLPAPER 120 points" and then like a moron buys it, not knowing that he or she just spent a buck for a picture. Now go to PS3 and it read "FEAR WALLPAPER $1.20"...chances are he or she will be more hesitant.

Hence the PS3 system makes less money. MS and Nintendo know how to be successful. Sony is grasping for anything that will keep them afloat.

RE: In the long run...
By glennpratt on 10/16/2006 1:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, the Halo 2 map pack cost $19 at worst (retail packaging on day one). I didn't pay a cent for it.

There will still be conversions. Now the sellers or sony have to come up with price points for every market. Either that or something that may cost $1.00 US could be like $1.63 CAD and change every other day.

RE: In the long run...
By UserDoesNotExist on 10/17/2006 9:53:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, if you waited something like 3 months, it was a free download. And they are awesome, well-designed maps, not like most of the half-baked stuff you'll find on XBox Live.

Wow..another pay as u play setup
By AxemanFU on 10/16/2006 10:35:37 AM , Rating: 4
Not that I didn't expect it, but this is going to be like cell plans...everything has a little fee or charge. Pretty soon you're dropping $100 a month to play without even noticing it. No thanks. I think I'll stick with PC gaming for a while yet until someone finds a way to break this escalating fee cycle. Of course, I'm sure since all PC and console are merging gradually, the next thing will be for PC gaming to start charging for every little thing, too. When that happens, I think I'll grab my fishing rod and Shotgun and head back outdoors where things will hopefully still be cheap to do.

By heulenwolf on 10/16/2006 11:14:50 AM , Rating: 2
Oh no! They're not going to charge for every "text message" you send from the console, too, are they? Oh wait, that's called an e-mail. Hmm...

Maybe Not
By camped69 on 10/16/2006 10:37:36 AM , Rating: 2
Points or Cash, who cares. It's rather odd to say that people are willing to buy more things if it's sugar coated with a points system. The first thing someone does is convert the points into "how much real money is it going to cost me". The point that sticks out to me in the article is having to pay for extra tracks and cars. For 60usd these games should come with all one needs to play online.

RE: Maybe Not
By michal1980 on 10/16/2006 11:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
points suck more.

I can spend 4 bucks for a bonus feature.

Or I can buy 500 points for 5 bucks. and spend 400 points for a bonus feature.

Sure both cost me 4 bucks. But with one i'm stuck with 100 points that are going to be sitting around, or by stuff thats really junk (backgrounds, icons)...

Or wait until I want to buy something else, and add some more points.

for the record. If gran turismo 5 (Not hd, this hd thing is a goofy 4). Makes me buy most of the cars and tracks. I will never buy it. and will say screw you sony.

Theres actually a good satire on ign about this whole in game buying.

The guy goes a little deep, but imagine a ultra-realtice Madded 2008 or 9. That comes with no teams, no stadiums, costs like 20 bucks. But then you need to buy players, stadiums, uniforms, etc, all with real money, or 'points'.

RE: Maybe Not
By rushfan2006 on 10/16/2006 4:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

I think its messed up and just plain wrong (that's me being nice about that it seems the trend is "let's charge them again for all the stuff that we really should of had in the game from day one to begin with". That's what is most disturbing to me, and keep in mind all -- I'm well aware everyone needs to pay the bills and put food on the table, however like others have stated before me here -- its BS if the way we are headed is charged for every little stinking thing --- want to get this map (that should have been in the game) - $x , want to get this weapon (that should have been in the game) - another $x, oh you want you want to unlock more characters (that's already in the game) - pay us $x more.....BS.

More so I feel this way because games aren't cheap...especially those titles that are $50 - $60 a pop.

If the industry was to go with this ala carte style of pricing then I say at the VERY least they should drastically chop the MSRP of the base instead of $50-60 per title...drop it to $25-35 a title. Then it won't be that bad and people will be more apt to buy the extra crap.

Of course the real novel idea would be -- hey why not produce the $50/60 game right the FIRST time and on release have ALL the content in it already.....

Oh right....greed...sorry forgot....(NOT). ;)

Rogue servers?
By FishTankX on 10/17/2006 9:26:13 AM , Rating: 2
What if someone creates rogue servers and starts making money by charging less for ingame content than other people? I could just imagine it right now, a bunch of pirates setup a 'Treasure Island' server that basically sells all the expansions stuff for half price.

Always have to account for the lawbreakers..

RE: Rogue servers?
By MrDiSante on 10/18/2006 7:00:10 PM , Rating: 2
And then they get swarmed by Sony's/MS' (whoever gets to them first) minions (read: lawyers).

Fair Value
By Hydrofirex on 10/16/06, Rating: 0
RE: Fair Value
By UserDoesNotExist on 10/17/2006 10:01:10 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you about everything but the OS. The OS isn't just a program; it is really more of an invisible piece of hardware. Lousy description, but you know what I mean. When I buy Vista, it'll last me for at least 5 years, probably more, before it becomes outdated I wish my graphics card, processor, motherboard, etc. lasted that long.

Besides, most people don't pay $300+ for the OS. They get their OS from Dell, who pays a lot less.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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