Xbox Live & PSN On Mobile Phones: No, No, No

This week, both Sony and Microsoft have moved forward with plans to integrate their console's online networks with handheld devices. Thing is, they're doing it wrong.

While Microsoft's WM7 interface looks amazing, the way it's making use of Xbox Live is wasteful. Counter-productive. Same goes for Sony; while it's admirable the company wants to allow PS3 and PSP users to access the PlayStation Network from Sony Ericsson phones, the execution is lacking.

Why? Because both companies, crippled by an inflexible corporate structure, are hung up on the word "exclusive".

How mobile access to your console accounts should work is via a universal app. A common program you can install on an iPhone, an Android phone, a Nexus One, a Windows phone, a Sony Ericsson phone. Because that's the variety of phones we, as console owners, possess. While every 360 owner has a 360, they don't all own the same phone, nor can they be reasonably expected to. The phone market is a larger, more complex one than the one for home video game consoles.

It's a philosophy certain sections of these giant companies are in tune with. Microsoft, for example, has an application for competitor Apple's iPhone, for its Bing search engine. It also releases Office software for the Mac, despite Apple's computer being, in many respects, a rival to Microsoft's own ambitions in the personal computing space.

Microsoft does this because, to the people working on Bing and Office, it makes business sense. It's catering to a market, and in doing so, making money. The problem is, not all sections of these companies employ such common sense. They're cut off, operating in isolation (and in some cases even competition), so what may seem a logical idea to one area seems like heresy to another.

Clinging to outdated notions of "exclusivity", then, both Microsoft's Xbox Live Mobile and Sony's PlayStation Network will be available only to people owning phones sold by those companies. Own a 360 and an Android phone? You're shit out of luck, you can't use the new Xbox Live features (or play its games). Own a PS3 and an iPhone? Same deal.

It's just so... disappointing. Here, years after the release of these consoles and the dawn of the smartphone era, and the first officially-sanctioned services to bring consoles and smartphones together are dead on arrival, rendered useless by the fact that the world's most popular phones - a list that does not include anything running Windows Mobile or anything made by Sony Ericsson - are cut out of the action.

Sure, there are home-made options - 360Live on the iPhone is particularly good - but in 2010 we shouldn't be relying on fan-made projects. I should be able to pick up my iPhone, and while way from home, be able to check my friends list, my Gamerscore and my PSN trophies on something supported by the console manufacturer. Hell, that's just for starters. I can do that stuff with Twitter and Facebook already. In a perfect world, we'd be able to send messages (both text and voice) to other users and queue up our downloads as well.

But we can't. And probably never will. Instead, one day in the future, we may actually meet a person that was able to take advantage of all these neat new services. And they'll say how neat they were. And how it was such a shame he was the only person he knew that ever used them, since all his friends already owned iPhones or Androids....


Comments

    That is stupid. I'd quite like to be able to message people on my PSN friends list, or see who's getting trophies on what...but bugger that for a game of soldiers if they think I'll get a new phone for it.

    well you realise windows phone 7's hub is called 'games' rather than solely 'xbox live'...

    ostensibly, MS could allow sony to put PSN in that hub to encourage them to carry windows phone 7 on sony ericsson devices.

    Yeah Like in theory it be perfect to have a universe app for all brands of phones, but that arguement is sort of saying why don't we have a universal console so all exclusives can be played regardless of what you own.

    Market share is what these guys are after.

    "rendered useless"? I don't think the fact that the Xbox Live stuff is not available on iPhone renders the one that IS available in WM7 useless...

    Am I just old fashioned?
    I still just use my phone for calls, messages and the alarm clock.
    Ive never understood this whole connectivity when out and about crap.
    I mean, Im out of the house, I dont want or need to be connected. Why would I ever need to access my Live account when Im out?
    Im never so desperate that I cant wait until Im home to post some bullshit rant of Facebook or Twitter.

    Seriously. . . I just dont get it.
    Maybe its the whole "Make people think they need it and they will buy it" syndrome.

      My guess is you don't spend much time on the train or in boring places. Mobile internet is awesome, you can do almost anything from most places.

    WOW. iPhone fan boy much. iPhone is not the only phone in the world. Why does everyone want everything for their iPhone? You can't even change your message tone without hacking it. I hope this brings in new better phones driving tech and software to a new level. If Microsoft believe they will get more users because of this they will invest more time effort and money into the software, which is a good thing.

      Are you replying to the article? He wants these apps for all phones... He doesn't single out iPhone.

        I'm not sure maybe you need new eyes.

        "I should be able to pick up my iPhone, and while way from home, be able to check my friends list, my Gamerscore and my PSN trophies on something supported by the console manufacturer."

        once you have new eyes installed have another look. Also saying there should be an app for all phones is a mask to hide the fact he wants it on iPhone. That's all he cares about.

          How about you open YOUR eyes. Read the article, he states he that this should be available on ALL phones. Using the iphone in that quote was an example. You should be a politician, you seem to be an expert at taking quotes out of context

            Perhaps an education is in order. Read deeper then you are currently capable of and understand what he is saying. Learn to learn. Re read the article. Also at the end. "And how it was such a shame he was the only person he knew that ever used them, since all his friends already owned iPhones or Androids…." He is but hurt that he can't get the offical xbox app for his iPhone. Because he is in love with his iPhone, he doesn't want to give it up just to get mobile xbox live.

              @Mike @Umm ok

              Guys, you're both displaying some worrying levels of paranoia here. Obviously Luke is talking about more than just an iPhone.

              Hence his desire for: "A common program you can install on an iPhone, an Android phone, a Nexus One, a Windows phone, a Sony Ericsson phone. Because that’s the variety of phones we, as console owners, possess."

              Later, when referring to personal anecdote he mentions his iPhone because - hey - he happens to own an iPhone.

              Enough with the crazy talk, alright?

            Maybe I am the only one who can see that the writer is a little upset that he is not going to get the offical xbox live app for his iPhone.
            "And how it was such a shame he was the only person he knew that ever used them, since all his friends already owned iPhones or Androids…."
            Why can I not play xbox games on my PC or ps3 or even my DS. This is so unfair.

              And i STILL cant belive its not butter!! :)

    this whole situation reminds me of how sms's used to work. 10 years ago you could only sms someone if they were on the same network as you. obviously sms's werent all that popular back then. but then the telco's finally came to their senses and realized it would be beneficial for all of them if they just opened up the sms world and here we are in 2010 and sms is one of the main ways in which we communicate with each other. i myself sent 439 sms's in my last billing cycle.
    never say never. when their little exclusivity crap fails, and it will, maybe they will look at opening it up. i can see psn falling first as theyre limited to sony erricson. winmo might take a little longer as they have a bigger market share.
    luckily for us, both of their range of phones are just garbage.

    I want a app for my iPhone (or future android phone) that allows me to control my TV, AMP, PS3, PlayTV. While some of those are Sony I don't want to buy a Panasonic or Onkyo phone to control the other stuff.

    I don't millions of remotes and I don't want to buy a universal remote when the iPhone could probably do it all anyway.

      Yeah an infra red transmitter at the top of the iPhone and an app that works like a universal remote would be awesome. I was thinking about that the other day.

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