Xbox Live questions PlayStation Network’s popularity

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: A simmering war of words has developed between Microsoft’s Xbox360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. At the centre of this feud is the viability of web browsers on the respective consoles’ interactive sites.

Unlike the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live does not include an open web browser. In an interview with last week, senior product manager Jeremy Hinton said Microsoft had no intention to introduce open browsing, preferring rather to include modified versions of popular sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, for ‘lounge room’ friendly browsing.

When asked if he considered the PlayStation Network’s browser to be a threat, Hinton shot a broadside at his fierce rival, saying that their browser was experiencing a run of unpopularity.

“No, we don’t [consider it a threat] because from data we have…no one’s really using the browser, it seems to be a feature that people feel they may want, but in terms of actual usage, people aren’t necessarily using it,” said Hinton.

After careful consideration of this barb, Sony Computer Entertainment responded, with marketing manager Patrick Lagana pointing out the benefits of the open browser. He did not address, however, its alleged underuse.

"For PlayStation 3 users, the open web browser has improved via firmware upgrades and our research shows this is a desired additional function being used by our consumers; adding to the full entertainment offer such as breadth of games available, music and new services such as VidZone, the high definition experience provided by Blu-ray, and the free connection to the PlayStation Network.

“With the further enhanced experiences of viewing popular sites such as YouTube XL, the new optimised version of the site to view videos on the large screen, we only expect this to become an increased benefit as people enjoy online content from the comfort of their lounge rooms."

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