Monday, March 13, 2006

Sony to steal virtual console concept?


Sony Computer Entertainment International may host a press conference this week and reveal more details about its upcoming console PlayStation3, Ferrago reports. The event is rumoured to take place in Tokyo on March 15th.

The conference (...) was hinted at by a Koei executive at an unrelated event. Koei chief Kiyoshi Komatsu stated that 'some details' might be made available then (at the conference on the 15th).

This showing would come less than two weeks after the PS3 was notably absent from SCEA´s recent retail event in Florida. Also, the wording merely suggests the possibility of such an event. If it is to take place at all, it may still only be for developers and may not include any news that will be made public.

Whenever news about Sony´s newest offering is heading our way, we are sure to be presented with an online service eerily similar to Nintendo´s virtual console, GamesIndustry.biz has learned.

Reports from development sources close to Sony Computer Entertainment are indicating that the firm is planning a major digital distribution service for game content, which could be a key element of PlayStation 3 - or even of a relaunched PS2.

Several senior developers have confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that they have spoken informally with Sony about the question of digital distribution on consoles, although these discussions were described as being "purely about technology, not business models" by one source.

However, even the technology discussed could be very revealing regarding the Japanese giant's plans for the coming years - with one source from the development arm of a major third-party publisher claiming that Sony has been discussing the technical feasibility of providing PSone and PS2 titles over digital distribution with them.

This move would quite obviously be an attempt to copy Nintendo´s announced download service of games from its first three home consoles, dubbed as the ´virtual console´. Of course, all console manufacturers have stolen ideas from one another at some point. The virtual console could even be compared to Microsoft´s ´Xbox Live Arcade´, which was announced at the same time as the virtual console. But Microsoft´s concept is based on minigames, whereas Nintendo´s is offering their entire back catalogue. If Sony would copy Nintendo´s specific idea, they might lose credibility as a market innovator (which they undoubtedly are, given ´Eye Toy´ and ´Singstar´ for example). Well, we will all be wiser by the 15th, that´s for sure.

EDIT The SCE event is confirmed. GamesIndustry.biz reports that SCEI confirmed that such a conference is to take place and will be open to media and analysts as well as developers.

The conference, which has been widely rumoured to be the venue for new PS3 announcements since last week, will take place at 3pm local time (6am GMT) in Tokyo tomorrow, and will be open to media and analysts as well as to Sony's publishing partners.

Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi is set to address the conference, which will be the last possible venue for major PlayStation announcements in Japan before SCE's worldwide studios chief Phil Harrison's keynote at the Game Developers' Conference in San Jose next week, and probably the last chance for the firm to reveal PS3 details before its year-end on March 31st.

Although some commentators have suggested that the event may not include exact launch details since it is a relatively low-key conference, Sony can hardly afford to wait until E3 to announce further information regarding PS3, since it has as recently as last week claimed to be sticking to a launch timescale which will see the console appearing in Spring.

Further, the release of press material (screenshots mostly) for a number of PS3 games seems to have been scheduled for tomorrow, obviously in sync with the conference. So games are likely to be shown.


Source: Ferrago, GamesIndustry.biz
Thanks to: Joystiq

47 comments:

enigma7 said...

It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they were to copy the Virtual Console. One fact remains though, despite the fact that they may copy Nintendo's functionality, they can never touch Nintendo's exclusive franchises.

Ben said...

Exactly but what games will they have is going to be all third parties which I still hope will come more on Nintendo's side this time aroun cause Sony is headed for a fall and they should know it by now

DlphnMod said...

There is no doubt in my mind that Sony and Microsoft will eventually copy everything that the revolution is set to introduce.

It's already a given that Nintendo's new demographic targets and approach to the market will take a much more significant chunk out of the competition's market share than GC did. All Sony needed to convince them of that was DS vs PSP. Based on that, I'd have to think their strategy would be to copy whatever Rev brings to the table so that they can say "Ok now we do everything they do PLUS we have better graphics and HD support."

I believe this generation that prices are going to play a much bigger role in sales and success than in previous years, though.

True Believer said...

Nintendo must have anticipated that the competition could copy any idea. That's probably why they won't share their last secrets untill it is to late for the competition to copy them.

910do said...

I saw that coming !

Anonymous said...

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BTW, HAVE YOU CHECKED ON TO THIS STUFF?
http://www.revogaming.net/html/modules/news/article.php?storyid=319

THEY CLAIM THAT MATT FROM IGN HINTED AT IGN FORUMS,ABOUT A BOMB TO BE DROPED BY IWATA, HOPEFULLY, REGARDING ABOUT 3D.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT?

Anonymous said...

Satoru Iwata een bom zal droppen !

Shoxware Games said...

Sorry, if this is a little off-topic, but if this 3D projection stuff is true, then these are my two cents concerning the "IGN Conspiracy".

The picture Matt Cassamassina of IGN made, where a huge explosion is in the background and former nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi's head inside, covered by a revolution system could mean a Hiroshi(ma) Bomb-like announcement.

My guess is, that (really, don't get your hopes up!!) Yamauchi-San will be there, talking about his dream of a virtual 3D world has now come true and stuff! Rumors indicate, that nintendo worked on 3D projection right after the N64 release - paralel to GameCube Development!

We just have to wait and see.

therealabdallah said...

This one isnt so bad though - the other two consoles has something similar, so it makes sense.
Everything is heading that way, with conventional media being replaced by downloads, its just a completely natural step.
I wouldnt exactly call it stealing Nintendos idea, since Nintendo really cant take credit for coming up with the idea of downloading old software :)

Grandmaster B said...

Shoxware, I am not sure if Yamauchi speaks much english by memory.

Plus he is only an adviser, it wont happen and IMO not the best idea to have him involved in PR.

ogo said...

to add to the ign conspiracy:

http://www.revogaming.net/html/modules/news/article.php?storyid=320

seems like we may have some news soon after all

Alleged-Rapist said...

Doesn't Nintendo have a patent on the virtual console concept?

Anonymous said...

I don't think they will offer CD and DVD sized downloads over the internet. Nintendo will have quick downloads from less than 1MB to 64MB. You can't beat that.

Squirrelly Bob said...

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=0&f=S&l=50&TERM1=Nintendo&FIELD1=AS&co1=AND&TERM2=&FIELD2=&d=PG01

If the link doesn't work type in this URL:

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html

In TERM 1 type: Nintendo
In FIELD 1 dropdown to Assignee Name
click Search

Here are the patent numbers for some interesting patents that might be used on the new Nintendo system this year. It deals with stuff like:

20030080963
Issued: May 1, 2003
"High performance low cost video game system with coprocessor providing high speed efficient 3D graphics and digital audio signal processing"

20040219980
Issued: November 4, 2004
"Method and apparatus for dynamically controlling camera parameters based on game play events"

20040222988
Issued: November 11, 2004
"Video game play using panoramically-composited depth-mapped cube mapping"

20030224761
Issued: November 11, 2004
"Game apparatus, storing medium that stores control program of virtual camera, and control method of virtual camera."

20050021926
Issued: January 27, 2005
"Method and apparatus for efficient loading and storing of vectors"

20050032574
Issued: February 10, 2005
"Image processing program and image processing apparatus"

20050046639
Issued: March 3, 2005
"Method and apparatus for environment-mapped bump-mapping in a graphics system"

20040125630
Issued: June 9, 2005
"Method and apparatus for obtaining a scalar value directly from a vector register"

20050153777
Issued: July 14, 2005
"Information processing apparatus, information storing medium and program thereof, and operating device for game machine"

20050162436
Issued: July 28, 2005
"Graphics system with embedded frame buffer having reconfigurable pixel formats"

20050174328
Issued: August 11, 2005
"User controlled graphics object movement based on a amount of joystick angular rotation and point of view angle"

20050195210
Issued: September 8, 2005
"Method and apparatus for efficient generation of texture coordinate displacements for implementing emboss-style bump mapping in a graphics rendering system"

20050237323
Issued: October 27, 2005
"Three-dimensional image generating apparatus, storage medium storing a three-dimensional image generating program, and three-dimensional image generating method"

20050237337
Issued: October 27, 2005
"Method and apparatus for interleaved processing of direct and indirect texture coordinates in a graphics system"

20060009290
Issued: January 12, 2006
"Game information storage medium and game system using the same"

20060046844
Issued: March 2, 2006
"Video game device and image processing program"

Squirrelly Bob said...

20060009290
Issued: January 12, 2006
"Game information storage medium and game system using the same"

That's the patent for the "Virtual Console" I think.

I'd have to search to see if Sony has any patent near that kind of a functionality. Hopefully, Nintendo will be the first and original idea for downloadable emulated games on a home console.

SNES Link said...

Of course we all know that the biggest problem with Sony accomplishing this feat is that their games can be anywhere from 300 megabytes to several gigabytes. Unless they re-develop games to stream play as they download, this doesn't seem like a good idea.
Nintendo, on the other hand, has only recently started making games that are more than one gigabyte. Bless them.

Anonymous said...

Those bastards.

YankeeHKM said...

The question isn't whether they are going to steal Virtual console concept, or whether or not they'll steal the controller design, or whether or not they'll steal other types of Nintendo IP's. It's just a matter of when sadly. I guess I am fanboyish, but for good reason. I just can support a company that does not work for me ( a gamer).

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would they steal the virtual console when the system is backwards compatible?
Do you mean charge for downloading classic games?
It really seems to be a waste of time in my opinion.

Tortus said...

interesante.

Varian said...

Anonymous brings up the correct point. If the PS3 is backwards compatible, why bother?

Falafelkid, perhaps you can answer this question: would be it be possible for non-Nintendo console games to appear on the Virtual Console? This looks like to be a possibility because of Sega interested in putting its games on the Virtual Console. Atari 2600 and even computer games may follow suit. Could PS1 or PS2 games ever appear on the Virtual Console?

Sony may be creating their own 'download game service' to ensure those games (especially PS1) don't drift to the Virtual Console.

pi said...

... it's impossible for download ps , ps2 or ps3 demo to ps3.

The data of ps , ps2 and ps3 too big and take too much time for download. not data of nes - n64.

If sony copy rev's joystick ... it's other thing.

Luca S. (Italy) said...

Only one day to the interview!
I'm so excited!And little more than a week for gdc!
Luca S. (Italy)

Tim said...

Spannnnuuuuund!!

Jon Agirre said...

The only potential problem here (with the virtual console system) is represented by the single other manufacturer that has similar "past" to Nintendo: SEGA. What SEGA is going to do with his catalog remains currently unknown.

This said, to me, this seems more like that "media center" approach both Sony and Microsoft are pursuing right now. Instead of improving playability and game mechanics, they are willing to offer mp3 and video downloads.

runnin_blue said...

I wouldn't be so sure about full backwards compatibility for Ps3. We saw how "backwards compatible" the Xbox360 was...

GWX said...

How the hell did SONY become Market innovator?

Nintendo is THE ONLY innovator in the market. SONY just capatalised on the fact they had MOST SALES with Psone,,,and so their "market credibility" as you call it just continued over to the PS2 years...the SONY followers (idiots) bought into what SONY gives out...and thats my opinion...heh, look at the flopped PSX:(the jacked up media filled PS2)...who told them we wanted a multimedia console.???...WE just want a GAMES console damn it!

and tell the same thing to their "friends" microsoft as well, they just want to make Windows run on every flipin device!!! including consoles...get out of here!!!

The ORIGINAL daddy N.E.S made by Nintendo. You all know it, deep down in your souls, the fanboy is in every one of you. That inner child of years past who gre up on Nintendo. You all grew up with Nintendo(one way or the other), and now with the "Famicom/NES Revolution" (NES/Famicom is similar to Revolution, twenty years ago is happenning again in 2006 The RE-volution of the GAMING industry))you will return home. To play the game like you always wanted to!
peace.

GWX said...

by the way.
anonymous said:
I don't think they will offer CD and DVD sized downloads over the internet. Nintendo will have quick downloads from less than 1MB to 64MB. You can't beat that.

Actually with the power of CELL processor they can...easily and with BROADBAND speeds...no problem.
But the thing is they already have backward compatibility with PS2 and PSone as usual..so this is just another copy again of Nintendo...

They boasted at E3 2005 that the speed of the computer bus between the graphics card and the CELL processor (or somthing like that) is 9 DVDs a second!!!(a standard DVD today holds 4.5Gigabytes!!! 4.5 x 9---or so they claim...again specs specs specs who cares..they really don't matter...but you have to give it to them the CELL will probably be able to do crazy computational things and fast..but so what.

and also Nintendo DID NOT copy microsoft...it cannot. Becasue Microsft and SONY do not have the HISTORY Nintendo has in the gaming industry...plain and simple.
Where are their 2 BILLION9great) games over 20 years? HuH? Thats how much games Nintendo has made over its great time in this industry making it come alive again with NES and now 20 years later REVOLUTION will take the game where it should have been in the first place...the place where our IMAGINATIONS roam...where we are IN THE GAME!
So let SONY just go head with their "POWER TRIP"
Nintendo will bring to us a GAMES machine that takes us VIRTUAL? places we've neve been before!

Anonymous said...

Well Sony & Microsoft are famous for raping the ideas of other companies....no one should be surprised by this news. In light of all the bitching Nintendo fanboys have done since Rev was not shown at last years E3 - is anyone still wondering why Nintendo has kept such tight lips for the past 10 months. Microsoft hasn't had an original idea in their entire existance, and Sony's only innovation was the Walkman back in the 80's.

Anonymous said...

gwx and the last anon are fanboys. try staying objective, but i guess im wasting my breath.

ms idea was to get windows into every living room to become the hub of entertainment. and its partly working. sony invented the eyetoy. people love it. all three companies have their good and bad points. get over it. i consider myself a nintendo fan but far from a fanboy.

Blizz419 said...

@ running_blue

full BC is much more possible on the PS3 than on the 360. the 360 actually has to emulate the old games becouse they switched from a Nvidia GPU to an ATI GPU which have completely different architecture, PS2 had a Nvidia GPU and so does the PS3 therefore making full BC completely possible without having to go the emulating route.

Anonymous said...

Do you know that there are PS2 games that won't play on the original PS2, but only on the slim version of teh PS2? So far for BC, I guess...

Blizz419 said...

@ anon yeah those are rare instances though and are not common at all, dont get me wrong i am not sticking up for sony as i dislike sony just stating the resons for a more reliable BC in PS3 than the 360, although over time more and more xbox games will start be compatable with the 360

pi said...

As I know. yes, newer ps2 can't play some game of ps2 it's self ... It can't play even Tekken 5. and 8 more. fact is to add more copy protection.

ps3 also can't play this 9 game.

Obstacle-Man said...

BC on Xbox is not only because the graphics hardware is different. The main processor is different as well. Power PC Architecture is very different from the Intel architecture used in the original xbox.

The only way to avoid having some sort of emulation is to have the hardware of the newer machine support all the functionality of the older one in the same way. For the PS2/GBA/DS this means including the original chips in the newer machine.

I admit I haven't examined it, but from what I know of CELL And the Emotion Engine, they are not directly compatible enough to avoid some sort of software solution being needed to provide backwards compatibility.

Falafelkid said...

Hi everyone. Hi Gwx.

How the hell did SONY become Market innovator? Nintendo is THE ONLY innovator in the market.

Now, as much as I respect Nintendoas an innovator, they are definitely not the only one. Sony invented ´Eye Toy´, ´Buzz´ and ´Singstar´ (did you read my post?) and those are fantastic games that deservedly made the PS2 one of the hot sellers last christmas.

Microsoft were the first to include a hard disk in their console and anyone who has played Xbox Live knows that they have set the standard for online platforms as far as consoles are concerned.

No matter how much you love Nintendo for their fantastic innovation, let´s show a little more respect for the two competitors, please.

Anonymous said...

@GWX:

The Internal bandwidth of the PS3 has nothing to do with your internet connection. You could connect a 166mhz computer to your internet connection and you would still get the same speed that you get on a modern computer.

Squirrelly Bob said...

Sony has a patent for a "head-tracking device" and they've already started experimenting with EL, and OLED technology in their display technologies (probably for TV's and such) but if they copied E-Magin's OLED head tracking headset deal, then Sony could try and come out with their own version of the fictional "ON" controls. They also have some newer patents for displaying stereoscopic projections. Anyways, here's the patents I found. I'm not positive they're in use for the PS3 but the company itself definitely has the technology to experiment with.

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html

Term 1: Sony
Field 1: Assignee Name

20050264904
Issued: December 1, 2005
" Stereoscopic image display apparatus, display apparatus, divided wave plate filter, plate-shaped filter, and filter position adjusting mechanism attached to the display apparatus, aligning apparatus, filter position adjusting method, and filter aligning method"

20050256675
Issued: November 17, 2005
"Method and device for head tracking"

Anonymous said...

god i hate sony so much... i'm just PRAYING that all the industry players take shots at sony, one after another, in an effort for multiple davids to finally collapse goliath...
-msft launching xbox360 first with hd, hard drive, multi-core cpu, and xbox live, driving sony into an unwinnable "my-cock-is-bigger-than-yours" downward spiral
-toshiba really pushing the hell out of HD-DVD
-nintendo launching with stereo3d and the freehand controller, long before sony can copy them, and skipping "hd" entirely in this way
-sega releasing their entire back catalogue for NWC exclusively
-microsoft announcing an HD-DVD add-on for xbox360
-microsoft "origami" *becoming* somewhat of a "psp-killer"
-nintendo finding phenomenal success in launching the dslite in the usa
-nintendo announcing a few preliminary details at e3 about the next game boy, their *true* "psp killer"
-apple continues to piss sony off in various ways

all of these and much much more, of course, are really nessecary to even "chip away" at the empire that sony has built... BUT... even the romans fell eventually, right?

all i can do is pray ;)

who's with me?

-tactics.

zerorules44 said...

Falafelkid said...
Hi everyone. Hi Gwx.

How the hell did SONY become Market innovator? Nintendo is THE ONLY innovator in the market.

Now, as much as I respect Nintendoas an innovator, they are definitely not the only one. Sony invented ´Eye Toy´, ´Buzz´ and ´Singstar´ (did you read my post?) and those are fantastic games that deservedly made the PS2 one of the hot sellers last christmas.

Microsoft were the first to include a hard disk in their console and anyone who has played Xbox Live knows that they have set the standard for online platforms as far as consoles are concerned.

No matter how much you love Nintendo for their fantastic innovation, let´s show a little more respect for the two competitors, please.

9:17 AM


I believe Sony stole the "Eyetoy" from an early project on the Atari that never came to light. Also am I the only one that has never heard of ´Buzz´ and ´Singstar´?

Varian said...

Xbox Live is a rip-off. The only innovation is that is that you pay Microsoft to use your own server. PC game companies have offered superior online service for free.

The Xbox Harddrive is also a rip-off. 20 GB for $100? What a joke.

While the Eye Toy was mentioned, what hasn't been mentioned were the Augmented Reality features of the Gizmondo.

The company that doesn't recieve its credit for an innovater is SEGA. SEGA, not Sony, started the cd revolution. SEGA, not Microsoft, started the online console gaming. SEGA, not Nintendo, pushed for a 'virtual console'.

One thing that readers of this blog ought to learn is that while Falafelkid is informed in some parts of this industry, especially so with its people, the audience of this blog is more informed than he is on many issues.

910do said...

I agree with fal', sony had a few innovations here and then, as did Sega in the past, competition will always be a good thing, and once again Nintendo is showing to averybody who's the leader in innovation this generation.

Mattiac said...

Sony are not market innovators!!! Games and toys like Eye Toy has been around for ages and karaoke at home is nothing new!! Nintendo went online with the NES in Japan at least. And you could download stuff with the SNES if you lived in Japan. So Nintendo was first as usual! I still like your blog very much. Thank you so much for giving us the chance to ask Shigeru-san a question. Although I couldn't thought of a good one. Perhaps ask him how he feels when people call him a genius. And if his children wants to create games.

alex said...

varian has written:

"The company that doesn't recieve its credit for an innovater is SEGA. SEGA, not Sony, started the cd revolution. SEGA, not Microsoft, started the online console gaming. SEGA, not Nintendo, pushed for a 'virtual console'."

but it was way too early for online gaming...today nearly everybody has an internet connection
and unfortunately SEGA can't take advantage of it's innovations any more

Falafelkid said...

Hi zerorules44.

I believe Sony stole the "Eyetoy" from an early project on the Atari that never came to light.

That sounds very interesting. I´m not aware of that. Please give me more details on this, like a codename for the project and what kind of games were planned.

Also am I the only one that has never heard of ´Buzz´ and ´Singstar´?

You could be, depending on where you live. While both are inventions of SCEE and may not be as popular in the States, those two franchises alone made the PS2 one of the topsellers in Europe last christmas.

Hi Varian.

Xbox Live is a rip-off. The only innovation is that is that you pay Microsoft to use your own server. PC game companies have offered superior online service for free.

*lol* True. Xbox Live is an expensive service. But it has significantly raised the bar and still is the standard for online gaming on consoles. The matchmaking service is really excellent, the gamer points make every opponent´s strengths and weaknesses transparent and I really love the idea that your gamer tag also works on the Xbox forums. That is just good thinking here. Were you at Sony´s pre-E3 press conference last year? They said nothing at all about online plans. Sure, they will. But the only reason why Sony and Nintendo have not made their next-gen online plans public is because they are hard at work on concepts that can top Xbox Live. And that isn´t an easy task.

While the Eye Toy was mentioned, what hasn't been mentioned were the Augmented Reality features of the Gizmondo.

Now, I reckon I must be one of the very few people in Europe who actually own a Gizmondo (and it looks like it will stay that way). While there have been some cool games announced (using both GPS and AR technology), I would like to see TT actually bring them to market before I list them as an influential innovator in the console market. You left out the Indrema L600. If only the idea counts, then the Indrema was an extremely innovative concept. It´s just a shame they never sold a single unit.

The company that doesn't recieve its credit for an innovater is SEGA. SEGA, not Sony, started the cd revolution. SEGA, not Microsoft, started the online console gaming. SEGA, not Nintendo, pushed for a 'virtual console'.

Absolutely. SEGA was an extremely innovative hardware manufacturer. But while they pioneered the concept of an online console, you cannot start to compare the Dream Arena and online games like ´Chu Chu Rocket´ or ´Planet Ring´ to Microsoft´s offering. We should give them both credit for pioneering and significantly refining online experiences on a game console, respectively.

One thing that readers of this blog ought to learn is that while Falafelkid is informed in some parts of this industry, especially so with its people, the audience of this blog is more informed than he is on many issues.

Naturally, I cannot know everything. But I wouldn´t say that my readers are more informed "on many issues". That sounds a bit too humble for my liking. Of course, there are numerous topics I know little or nothing about. But I have been a professional games editor for around six years now. And I think I usually know my stuff. It´s knowing about the Indrema, for example. Or knowing that the very first online console wasn´t even the Dreamcast (the XBAND modem got both SNES and Genesis online). And be honest here: did you know that?

No hard feelings, though. Of course, I don´t know it all. And I appreciate being corrected and learning stuff on the way.

runnin_blue said...

I've never heard of "Buzz" and only vaguely heard of "Singstar".

I'm from Australia by the way.

Varian said...

Hi Falafelkid,

*lol* True. Xbox Live is an expensive service. But it has significantly raised the bar and still is the standard for online gaming on consoles.

No. Xbox Live has been a spectacular failure. The proof is in the numbers and the demographics. If Microsoft did sell 20 million Xboxes as those internal numbers showed, only 10% of Xbox users (2 million) subscribed. This is failure level.

A single game, World of Warcraft, has six million subcribers. A single game's subscription is much more expensive than Xbox Live yet outselling an entire console's online numbers. If one considers WoW to be an 'exception', put in another MMORPG. Or put in the 'free' online services you find such as Battle.net or other games.

Nintendo is teaming up with Gamespy for its online purposes. This is because Gamespy works and is free. Microsoft could easily put up a free service.

The matchmaking service is really excellent, the gamer points make every opponent´s strengths and weaknesses transparent and I really love the idea that your gamer tag also works on the Xbox forums. That is just good thinking here.

Yet this has been available with most PC games. Yet, it has almost always been free (unless it is a service like MMORPGs).

I liked the idea of the original Xbox. But Microsoft wants the Xbox to become what the Playstation is rather than going with their original vision. The business model for the Xbox is an absolute joke. 4 billion loss? Even the 'production shortages' of Xbox 360 is, actually, part of their flawed business model It is like going to order a hamburger and the store has 'beef shortages'. The 'spin' is that the store would say, "So much demand!" where, in fact, the store's business model has flaws (such as ordering enough beef).

It is pretty clear looking at the business choices the Xbox is going in that Microsoft's mission is not primarily to make money from the games market. It would be to challenge Sony's ascent of controlling living room content.

Were you at Sony´s pre-E3 press conference last year? They said nothing at all about online plans. Sure, they will.

It's pretty clear that Sony intends to use online only as a vehicle to sell all sorts of content. Some gaming content but most of it will be non-gaming content. PS3 is more of a 'Sony Machine' in that its mission is to help bolster all divisions of the Sony corporation (music, movies, gaming, etc.)

But the only reason why Sony and Nintendo have not made their next-gen online plans public is because they are hard at work on concepts that can top Xbox Live. And that isn´t an easy task.

First, it is clear that Nintendo's Revolution is copying the Dreamcast more than any other console. The online play and Virtual Console (that SEGA was prepared to do) we already know about.

Second, Nintendo has stated Xbox Live was a failure. Reggie has said, "We show how to do online gaming correctly." What he is referring to is that Xbox Live is full of pubescent kids who spew off profanity, who have the ability to make the gaming experience worse. Nintendo has always treated their multiplayer uniquely, almost as if their mission was to get people together in the first place. Whether this is through trading Pokemon characters or the Nintendogs bark mode, there is an almost 'intimate' perspective of Nintendo's multiplayer. While some people complain about the DS's friend codes, think of it this way: why are they named that? So you make new friends and become more of a community experience. No wonder Nintendo Power didn't allow forum users to annoynously plaster their friend codes everywhere.

Xbox Live is FAR from the pinnacle of online gaming. There is a reason why Xbox Live cannot get more subscribers than a MMORPG. I believe this is because Xbox Live is set up as 'you against the world' instead of more of a community building experience. While young males with lots of free time on their hands will be attracted to the former, females, older people, and everyone else will be attracted to the latter.

While there have been some cool games announced (using both GPS and AR technology), I would like to see TT actually bring them to market before I list them as an influential innovator in the console market. You left out the Indrema L600. If only the idea counts, then the Indrema was an extremely innovative concept. It´s just a shame they never sold a single unit.

Cameras are going to be in all handhelds soon. Augmented Reality is going to become very big, very fast. This is a trend. Reggie confessed to EGM that (paraphrasing) "a microphone and camera as parts of the Revolution controller is fair game" for speculation.

Augmented Reality would fit the business mission of the Revolution as 'disruptive technology' and a gaming revolution. But I doubt this is the revolutionary part of the console or a part of it. Whatever the Revolution is about, it is somehow connected to Hollywood.

But while they [SEGA] pioneered the concept of an online console, you cannot start to compare the Dream Arena and online games like ´Chu Chu Rocket´ or ´Planet Ring´ to Microsoft´s offering. We should give them both credit for pioneering and significantly refining online experiences on a game console, respectively.

I agree you cannot compare SEGA and Microsoft's online offerings. SEGA would give away Dreamcasts if you subscribed to their online service. Microsoft just uses the PC version of online and innovates by charging you for your own servers. Microsoft can do this since the Xbox is, still, primarily a PC. Everything that I can do on Xbox Live I was doing more than ten years ago on the PC. The game browser 'Kali' helped connect most games to an online network. Blizzard created the free Battle.Net from the ideas that Kali started. And the rest of the game companies began to have their own version of Battle.Net. And these were all free. Even in the mid nineties, paid online services did all that Xbox Live did.

Like I said before, the only innovation Xbox Live was for people to pay using their own servers. And people pay $100 for a 20 GB harddrive (way overpriced) while praising Microsoft for the ability to do so! Reggie is correct to admire Microsoft's marketing. Customer gets ripped off and praise instead of condemn. It is amazing to watch!

Naturally, I cannot know everything. But I wouldn´t say that my readers are more informed "on many issues". That sounds a bit too humble for my liking.

What I mean is that there are people out there who have access to unique perspectives that game reporters simply cannot obtain. There are older people than you out there (as there are older people than all of us) who remember the details of the games industry when it was much younger. But more importantly, there are people who have built businesses in this industry and will always know the business ins and outs more than the press who are employees, not major investors or business owners (this is true with the press in all industries, of course).

For example, when one examines patents (such as a Revolution patent), the only real way to decipher them is to get a patent lawyer to look at it. What does a journalist know about patent law? The journalist obviously has limitations.

Or knowing that the very first online console wasn´t even the Dreamcast

Of course it wasn't the first online console. But it was the first console that put a major part of its business model around its online component. This is the point.

The Xband example is just a third party example. It is not an example of a console designed for online gaming.

(the XBAND modem got both SNES and Genesis online). And be honest here: did you know that?

Actually, I did. But if you want to mean technologically online (rather than speaking in terms of business models), the very first console to do this would be the Fairchild Channel F (1976). While you could play over the phone, it is arguable that it wasn't 'truly' online since it didn't go through servers.

One problem with the X-Band was that it didn't play Street Fighter 2. But it did play Super Street Fighter (and Mortal Combat II and III). My question to you is: when game journalists write about Street Fighter 2 on Xbox Live or the inevitable Mortal Kombat II/III online, why won't any of them mention the old X-band?

No hard feelings, though.

Oh, none at all. After all, since I don't have a tag that reads 'journalist' on it, how could I know such information?

With the ascent of the Internet, journalism (everywhere) is fast becoming obsolete. Like it or not, we are now all journalists.