Sony to turn PSN into XBL (and change its name to Microsonyntendo)

First the PS3’s controller looked at the Wii and said “me too,” becoming the Sixaxis, now Sony’s PlayStation Network wishes to do everything that Xbox Live does, finally justifying the price of a combined Wii and Xbox 360 by finally becoming both of them in one machine. Talking to Gametrailers on the Bonus Round show, Director of PSN Operations Eric Lempel has pretty much confirmed Sony’s shamelessness by stating that not only will cross-game invites be implimented in the future, but that there are plans to bring an achievement system into play too, as well as … everything, essentially.

“We’re definitely going to have all of those features,” Lempel stated when talking about Xbox Live and PSN’s eventual intent. Of course, it’s doubtful we’ll see achievements as we know them on the PS3, oh no. Like the Sixaxis, Sony’s achievements will surely be called something much cooler with a bucketload of letter x’s in the name. Axxievementxx, for instance. So long as something has a flashy name and x’s, nobody knows you’re copying.

Now, to be entirely fair, Sony is so far offering one thing that Microsoft is not – a free ride. As of right now, Sony is still sticking to the business model of free online content all across the board and this is something very much worth remembering. Why not rip off Microsoft (who can’t evoke much sympathy on that count) if you’re going to offer it without charging? One really can’t fault Sony there. Of course, Lempel did slip out a little “in time, anything can change,” disclaimer when asked if PSN’s features will always be free, but it remains to be seen whether or not charges will eventually creep in. 

Also in the interview, Eric talked about Home and how great it is (and it’s certainly charming) and gave us the usual barking about the power of the console. That said, the PlayStation 3 is still in its formative days it would seem and firmware updates bring new treasures all the time. If the PS3 eventually does offer everything XBL does for free, along with an increased library of solid titles (with that oft-talked about price drop) then the moment to rise will most likely be Sony’s and the console wars will really start to heat up.

[Thanks to Burling for the tip] 

Jim Sterling