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PS3 Online to challenge Live

Sony chief outlines plans

Whilst no one would doubt that Xbox Live rules the roost in terms of online gaming services, the undeniable power of the Playstation brand could certainly challenge Microsoft's dominance of this emerging area, especially after the ambitious plans announced by Sony in London yesterday. Speaking at the Games Developers Conference Europe, Sony's worldwide development chief Phil Harrison spoke of his company's plans for PS3 Online.

Sony are in the process of creating an 'open platform', which will differ greatly from the closed, controlled nature of Xbox Live. Instead, Sony hope to encourage third-parties with the freedom to implement their own system - and are even happy to allow other companies to form commercial relationships with consumers over the new online service. "We want to provide an open platform wherever possible," Harrison explained. "We want to create a platform on which publishers can exploit their services. We are happy for publishers to form their own commercial relationships directly with the consumer."

"The idea that people can graze content is fundamental to the PS3 experience," he added. "There is an unstoppable trend towards digital downloading of content." No specifics for how PS3 Online will operate were detailed, however this chatter sounds suspiciously like episodic content and full downloadable games - a service no one has offered to console gamers as yet. How advanced development of this 'platform' is at this stage remains to be seen, as is how it will function if it has to encompass many disparate consumer offerings from various companies. We will keep you posted on Sony's attempts to take on Microsoft in this field.