Eric Lempel, director of PlayStation Network operations, has said that the company may one day charge for PSN. He also feels PSN and Xbox Live are currently operating on a roughly level playing field and reveals improvements to the service currently in development. More within...
Speaking to Geoff Keighley on the latest edition of Gametrailers’ Bonus Round, Lempel said that there was little to differentiate Xbox Live and PSN offerings to consumers bar the price. However, Lempel indicated that as the service grows, PSN may not always be available for free.
“Microsoft had a year jump on us for the launch and essentially we’re offering a lot of the same stuff. I don’t think there’s a big difference in exactly what we’re offering when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of what’s actually there for the consumer… We’re notcharging money for our service. That’s a key differentiating factor.”
However, that could be open to change in the future.
“Right now that’s our model. In time anything can change but right now we’re happy with it.”
Lempel did concede that Sony was working to replicate a number of Xbox Live’s most successful features including cross-game invites, the ability to access the cross-media bar in-game, and an achievements system.
“I like how their marketplace is integrated directly into their user interface….Talking across games is fantastic. That definitely builds momentum for games and actually migrate users to other games and keeps you in touch with your gaming community.
“We’re working on an achievements system... I can’t say if it’s definitely tied to a gamerscore or something like Xbox does but that is an important feature.
“We’re continuing to build on this. We’re definitely going to have all of those features at some point. We know that they (consumers) want it and we’re building to get there… It’s not in the next firmware update but it’s something we’re working on."
Lempel also stated that the notion of a unified PS community hadn’t been forgotten and that efforts were being made to that effect.
“We’re definitely going towards this one unified community. PlayStation Network doesn’t mean PS3, it extends to the PSP, it will extend to the PSP (we think he meant PS2). That’s something you’ll see in the future. There’s a lot more coming.”
Last week Aaron Greenberg from Microsoft was in the Bonus Round chair fielding similar questions about the respective strengths and weaknesses of Xbox Live and PSN. Read his comments here.