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As this generation in gaming is starting to wind down, one thing has become poignantly clear: this has been the most flame-ridden generation of gaming in the history of gaming. In fact, things have been so hot this gen between publishers, developers and fanboys alike, the heat can literally be measured with stuff like N4G’s degree meter. Some of the flaming has reached heights that would make the Sun turn away in shame from the incalculably blinding heat…yes, the flame-wars are that bad.
Well, things continue to stay hot in the world of interactive entertainment as Sony has joined the mudslinging competition. Just recently EA took digs at Activision, Activision took digs at Sony, and now Sony is taking a dig at Microsoft. As the old saying goes: All is fair in fanboyism and console wars.
In an interview with Industry Games, Sony’s SVP of Publisher Relations, Rob Dyer, basically lashed out at Microsoft for their continued stranglehold on the industry with closed systems and ancient storage devices, which has literally curbed the creative edge by developers given Microsoft’s legal ultimatums. Dyer stated that…
…in the spirit of competition, more than anything, we look for ways to give our consumer reason to have the PS3. I think what Chris and the other representatives at Microsoft are doing is protecting an inferior technology. I think they want to dumb it down and keep it as pedestrian as possible so that if you want to do anything for Blu-ray or you have extra content above 9 gigs or you want to do anything of that nature, you’d better sure as heck remember that Microsoft can't handle that,"Dang, no soft words for Microsoft, huh Dyer?
He does go on to say how Microsoft has the right to block or prevent the publishing of titles on their console if the game makes use or has additional content that can’t or won’t fit on the Xbox 360’s dual-layered digitally versatile disc. This has been an issue with 360 ever since it launched, given the ancient storage space of only 9 gigabytes, especially when you consider that most “small” games these days average about 8 gigabytes and standard games exceed or average around 15 gigabytes. In short, games have to be scaled down in content to fit on a single disc for the Xbox 360 and if the developer decides to extend or add additional content for the PS3 version (which has a Blu-ray player that can run discs that hold up to 50 gigs of storage) then as mentioned above, MS can blockade that game from appearing on the Xbox 360, thus hampering potential exposure and profits for both the publisher and developer.
Dyer goes on to basically run Microsoft through on how they’re force-feeding gamers specific kinds of content by limiting said content due to the restrictions and regulations of their closed Xbox Live systems. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about this, though, gaming peripheral company Razer also bashed the console maker for using a closed networking system, and Gabe Newell, president of Valve, also spoke out against Microsoft’s creative-inhibiting online service which greatly limits how developers can expand or bring content to gamers. Additionally, Newell even stated that PS3 gamers will benefit a lot from original PSN content that they have planned for them, despite him and his fellow cohorts not being big fans of the PS3's design architecture.
Long story short, a lot of people within the industry seem to be disgruntled (both indie and large studios) at the debilitating state they’re put in when it comes time to deal with Microsoft’s console and online service. However, MS has a large stake in the gaming market and it’s not like you can just ignore them and go make stuff for the Wii. Heck, do people even still buy Wii games that aren’t made by Nintendo? Don’t answer that.
Thankfully, this generation won’t last longer than another two years and Nintendo is kicking things off early by bringing the Wii U to retail shelves come 2012. Hopefully Microsoft and Sony’s new systems will both be a little bit more creative-friendly and consumer friendly.
You can check out the very, very interesting interview with Rob Dyer over at Industry Gamers.