Many will say that Xbox Live is a more fully realized and fleshed out online service than the PlayStation Network, but some developers don't see it that way. According to a recent interview with SPOnG, the developers for the upcoming timed exclusive, Haze , talked about the "joy and terror" offered by the freedom the Network allows.
Free Radical spoke a great deal about the advantages and disadvantages of going with the Network, and they had some interesting things to say:
"The disadvantage of the Sony stuff is that there isn't as much defined by Sony as to how you have to do things – they leave it very much up to you," said Derek Littlewood, the project leader for Haze .
"So, on the one hand that's a disadvantage, because developers will under-deliver compared to what Live provides. But at the same time, because it's not as strongly defined, you have the freedom to do it in the way that you want to – in a way that may be more suitable to your game. You see some games with the Live interface, [where] they might have been able to innovate and alter things round and make things work better than Live, but they can't because they have to conform with Microsoft's standards on that, whereas on the PlayStation Network you have the freedom to do things in the way you want to."
Some will immediately assume there's a bigger emphasis on the single-player campaign for Haze , and perhaps that's the reason Free Radical went with the PS3 first- they simply aren't thinking about online multiplayer too much. Well, it's exactly the opposite, actually.
"For us, because we've thought about multiplayer right from the start, I certainly wouldn't say that our multiplayer has suffered at all," said Littlewood. "We've been able to do it in the way we want to."
The developers see it as a simple but very defined difference between the two online services. One may set a team up with more opportunities in a particular package, right from the start, while the other doesn't really have a package, but just lets a team "go at it." Perhaps this is the kind of freedom that will entice more developers in the future…
"It's a fundamental difference in philosophy between Sony and Microsoft," finished Littlewood. "You see it in all of their libraries and their tech support, as well. Sony very much, y'know, let you just go at it, whereas Microsoft provide a lot more structure and a lot more libraries for you and – for us as a developer – the PS3 stuff… we've always liked working with it."
Related Game(s): Haze