If you’re a PlayStation guy like myself, you’ll have experienced that painfully long wait between Call of Duty map packs launching on the Xbox 360, and the same map packs launching a month later on the PS3. It’s okay, then, for titles to launch exclusively on the Xbox for a limited period, but launching your game on Sony’s platform first could get it banned completely from the Xbox.
Microsoft’s publishing rules for the Xbox state that the company may refuse to publish games that are launched on the PlayStation before they may their way to the Xbox, and those that have more content on Sony’s platform than they do on Microsoft’s. I think it’s a pretty pathetic rule myself, and so does Sony’s senior vice president of publisher relations, Rob Dyer, who has just slammed Microsoft’s publishing rules.
In an interview with IndustryGamers, which is described as an “all-out attack,” Dyer hits out at Microsoft’s “pedestrian” technology and describes how the company’s bullying practices are no longer aimed exclusively at smaller indie developers, but at the big-shots, too:
“Here’s the thing… It’s now progressed to not just be these smaller indie pubs that are obviously very easy to kick around. It’s moved up the food chain. It’s gone to B and A level publishers…”
“So potentially any time we’ve gone out and negotiated exclusive content of things that we’ve announced at things like DPS or E3, publishers are getting the living crap kicked out of them by Microsoft because they are doing something for the consumer that is better on our platform than it might be perceived on theirs.”
Dyer believes that this policy is all about protecting Microsoft’s “inferior technology,” which may not be able to keep up with the PlayStation:
“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.”
That means, of course, that if developers want to take advantage of the PlayStation’s Blu-ray technology and produce content exclusive to the PS3, or they have extra content that won’t fit on a DVD, they run the risk of having their title banned from the Xbox. Pretty lame, don’t you think?
“So from a creativity standpoint and what we are doing to try to make it better for the consumer, our view is Microsoft’s doing everything they can to eliminate that because they have an inferior technology.”
Dyer concludes with a caution to developers that stresses by complying with Microsoft’s rules, they are going to “dumb down” their titles:
“… it’s only going to dumb down what could potentially come out for a number of these games. And whether people are willing to stand up to Microsoft on this stuff or not is up to that publisher and they do it at their own risk.”
The full rant is a hugely entertaining read, so I recommend you go read it. I’m completely in agreement with Sony’s VP, and that’s not just because I’m a PlayStation fan, but because I think Microsoft’s policy forces game developers to limit their titles on the PS3 just so that they’re allowed on the Xbox.
What do you think?