I Saw The PS3 Wired To Play Against An Xbox 360, But You Won't

I'm supposed to be telling you about a new video game called Defiance, but... I have to tell you something else: I saw one guy controlling the game on an Xbox 360. Another was playing in on a PlayStation 3

But they were playing the same game, on their two distinct consoles, with each other.

I thought the cool thing about Trion's upcoming shooter-MMO Defiance was that the players of the console and PC game will somehow affect what happens on a related SyFy channel TV show.

That's why I went to meet with the Defiance people.

But I've got to keep pointing this out: this was one game, one shard of a game world, and yet I saw it played on two TVs hooked up to an Xbox 360 and a PlayStation 3 that were linked together for multiplayer.

I had expected science fiction from from Defiance, but I didn't expect this. It wasn't a magic trick. It was multiplayer console gaming without borders. And it won't be coming to a home near you.

Defiance is a third-person shooter set on a future earth that has been invaded by aliens. The game will play as a massively multiplayer online third-person shooter, letting gamers team up for co-op missions or battle each other. In the brief gameplay sequence I saw in a theatre demonstration earlier this month at the E3 gaming showcase in Los Angeles, the Xbox 360 player and the PlayStation 3 gamer teamed up to secure valuable crystals from a fallen alien terraforming satellite called an Arkfall. In the process, of course, they wound up in a massive firefight against aliens who wanted to protect the Arkfall from human pillaging. I saw what seemed to be solid third-person shooting amplified with the effects of coordinated team play.

That's cool, right? The world could use another attempt at the shooter-MMO, and PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC gamers would all be the richer for it?

By the time Trion global brand director Alex Rodberg started talking about how the game was tied into an upcoming Syfy TV show involving this same fiction, I must confess that I was already too distracted by this sight of cats and dogs playing together. Xbox 360 with PS3? How? And would that mean... Xbox 360 vs PS3?

No way.

Officially, Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s can't be wired together. Not with finished games. Rodberg told me that the demonstration I saw involved development hardware. Any device running a Defiance client (read: program) could be connected to the same server, he said. That's what I was seeing: developers showing off a unified-Germany of a video game, a game where divided console populations could mingle. This was something I'd never seen developers show off in the half-decade I've seen PS3 and Xbox 360 games demoed for me and my fellow reporters. And you, reader, will most likely never see this for yourself, not just because the Trion people wouldn't let me take a photo (these are basic single-console Defiance screenshots in this story, I'm sorry to say).

As cool as this sneak peek was, Trion can't let the finished Xbox 360 game connect to the PS3. "Microsoft won't let Sony players play against them," Rodberg said, before suggesting we change the topic to something less sensitive.

I checked with Microsoft to be sure Rodberg wasn't maybe just mis-hearing them. Maybe Microsoft wanted to break the barrier too? Here's a Microsoft spokesperson saying "no", while promoting how awesome the Xbox 360's online service is: "Xbox Live delivers the best entertainment experience unmatched by anyone else, with 35 million actively engaged members. We have a high level of expectation for our game developers to ensure that all Live experiences remain top notch. Because we can't guarantee this level of quality, or control the player experience on other consoles or gaming networks, we currently do not open our network to games that allow this cross-over capability."

It wouldn't matter much, I guess, if Sony was into this thing while Microsoft wasn't. It would matters as much as if DC Comics wanted Superman to punch Spider-Man again while Marvel Comics was holding out. I checked with Sony's public relations team, but they didn't come up with an official statement yet about how their company feels about the possibility of cross-console gaming.

Sony Online Entertainment's DC Universe Online does segregate its PC and PlayStation 3 players. The game's creators explain the division in their game's FAQ: "We want DC Universe Online to be an experience that's fun, rewarding and balanced for both console and PC gamers, so we've decided to keep the platforms separate."

Cross-platform multiplayer does exist. The Xbox 360 game Shadowrun let console gamers battle PC gamers. The upcoming racing game WipEout 2048 will let PS3 gamers compete against players of the PlayStation Vita. World of Warcraft gamers can group together regardless if they're on a PC or Mac.

Players of Final Fantasy XI say that they've been able to connect the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 versions of that game together. The game's creators at Square Enix even boast about their game's platform-agnostic sharing of worlds on their site, though, not having played FFXI I must confess that I'm having a hard time nailing down just how cleanly and completely that MMO's Xbox 360-PS2 cross-console play is supported. UPDATE: Several FFXI players have confirmed that cross-platform and cross-region play is fully supported, no strings attached.

Defiance won't allow for PS3 gamers to play with 360 gamers, but maybe we can forget that if their actual cross-platform connection between video games and a TV show works. The game will connect to Syfy's TV show that involves the same world. The drama of the invasion in Defiance isn't exactly humans vs. alien invaders. There are aliens who are trying to live happily alongside humans and others who hate them. That more complex friction will produce what will hopefully be a complex drama. Within that televised drama, Trion's Rodberg said, top Defiance players can expect to hear lead characters mention their gaming character. The show might demonstrate in some way that you, a top Defiance player is at the top of the game's leaderboard, Rodberg said. You might be "featured". And, in turn, as the TV series unfolds, the game will in some ways change. Rodberg kept things vague and wouldn't commit to players seeing their characters actually being played by actors. For all we can guess, the integration might be no more involved than a Defiance leaderboard ticker going across the TV screen while the show plays. But Rodberg made it sound like the connections would be cooler than that.

I went to to see the game Defiance with the same expectation I have when I attend most demonstrations for an upcoming video game: to write about an expected future. I saw one, but it was accompanied with the side distraction of a prohibited future. TV-that-connects-to-a-video game vs. rival-consoles-that-connect-to-each-other. Which of those futures really has the best shot? They both sure are wild.


    Hey guys, thought you might find this interesting, sorry if its been covered,


    I've never heard of 4 cross platforms been used, mind you some of them are mobile ones but still. Looks pretty crazy!

    I saw a guy talking about Dungeon defenders. It can run on everything: iOS, PC, Xbox, PS3 and android, and they can all play against each other online except for xbox.

    It would be nice if Microsoft saw this as a feature rather than something that undermines their branding.

      got nothing to do with their branding.

      Think of it this way your playing a game with the same guys day in day out until you find that they are all on PS3 and your paying Whatever your xbox live scrip is per month to play the same thing they are playing for free

        That is what is happening right now except you can't play with those other people. All of the big cross platform games and even some of the arcade games that are on both systems. PSN is free and Live costs money. That is just a fact. But it is only Microsoft wanting to maintain it status as separate for the sake of brand differentiation.

        I only have a 360 but I would like to play some games with friends who have a PS3. I don't care that I am paying and they aren't. That is my choice.

    Doesn't Portal 2 run cross platform PS3 to PC?

      Only because you need Steam for that, otherwise it wouldn't work I dare say.

    I did a 3 month QA Tester stint at a game developer studio where cross platform multiplayer testing was a common thing when testing how the game would handle with a large number of players. This was common for the simple reason there wasn't enough testing kits of one console type so the simple solution was to cross platform.

    I believe this is a commonly used practice but as you say the end user will never see this.

    So MS and Sony think we want to play with PC gamers but not each other? Lols

      Are you retarded? That is clearly not what is happening, so go back and read it again idiot.

      The honus completely and utterly falls on Microsoft being wankers, this is evident with the only cross platform game on the 360 being FF11 and even then that was only due to backwards compatitiblity on the PS3' part.

        The word "idiot" is a bit much, no?

        How you got that comment approved baffles me when some other comments on here lately have drawn the ire of certain censors who cant see the funny side of things.

        Your comment was plainly not intended to be funny and most people on the receiving end would be offended.

    I was wondering why something like this was not more commonplace, and now it comes to light: Microsoft policies. Come on guys, we're all playing the same game. So what if one of our thumbsticks is in a different place, or we prefer a keyboard and mouse. Especially when it comes to this co-op kind of stuff where arguments about what control scheme is better are pointless.

    Adobe are also looking into cross compatibility between iOS, android and air on PC

    Alinos hit the nail on the head above: Microsoft charges people to play online. Sony doesn't. It would lead to people ditching Xbox for PlayStation.

    You can then complain that Microsoft shouldn't be charging for what Sony's giving away for free, but you'll just be opening the door for everyone to remind you that Xbox Live hasn't been hacked.

      I don't see why it would lead xbox 360 users to jump ship and head to ps3...it's not like they will ever make halo for ps3.

      it doesn't matter if you play games online with people and they are on another system, you buy a system for what the features of the system are. I am certain that every single xbox360 user knows that ps3 users can play the exact same online game (granted, only the multi-console games) for free if they jumped ship to get a ps3 yet for some reason they don't. not to mention that many gamers are heavily invested in game discs, wireless guitars and other accessories to just call it quits on a system because they find out they've been playing ps3 users online who dont' pay.

      I just find it a rather odd argument by microsoft. they just dont' want to admit to a nice relationship with sony. "what?!? competitors working together? Never in America!" lol, sorry for the rant, don't take what I say too seriously :-)

      Xbox Live hasn't been hacked? That is a blatant lie. They have been hacked multiple times; they just sweep it under the rug to maintain the facade of a secure service. :P Just run some google searches of Xbox being hacked. You'll find many results.

      I applaud Sony for coming out and telling people that they had a breach to ensure people had a chance to protect their information from further exploitation. Microsoft has never said a word about their infrastructure being hacked, and that is simply deceitful.

    if PC ,360 ,and PS3 can work togather they can make it where you can play with a another platform but they wont or make a another platform that can do that.

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