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DoubleFine's Schafer Talks Next-Gen Preferences

Talking to Gamasutra, DoubleFine founder and Psychonauts creator Tim Schafer has been discussing his personal experiences of next-gen consoles, both praising the Xbox 360's online features and cursing his failed attempts to secure a PS3 for himself.

Chatting as part of a series of end-of-year Gamasutra mini-interviews which also saw Factor 5's Julian Eggebrecht talking about his company's new PS3 E-Distribution titles, we asked Schafer, who is working on an unspecified title for Vivendi Games at DoubleFine, what exactly he thinks of the next-gen consoles now they've debuted at retail.

Schafer commented of Nintendo's latest console: "I love my Wii (laughs). I still can't talk about it without laughing. As soon as I got it, just sitting there making Miis and sending them to all my friends was incredibly entertaining for about the first four days. That was really fun, and then I've been playing Zelda, and that's really fun. And I love that controller."

He continued, regarding Microsoft's Xbox 360: "But the 360, I think kind of has done the best online stuff. The best connectivity between people, being able to see your friends and what they're doing, and being able to get in a game with them and chat over the voice thing – it just turned out to be a lot more fun than I ever thought. I'm kind of more of a single player game type of person, so I thought - why would I want to play with people online? Ick! Ew, strangers! But playing with people you know is facilitated by Xbox Live, so I enjoy that a lot."

Prompted by Gamasutra's statement: "That whole friends list thing is really helpful in terms of not having to play with jerks off the street", he advocated for extra Xbox Live features, commenting: "I think that they could push it even further by putting some social networking things into it. Like, making a Mii and sending it to your friend is great, and there's nothing like that on Xbox Live. I mean, you know how funny it is to go on MySpace or Friendster and write testimonials. I wish you could post those kinds of things about each other."

Finally, Schafer's personal opinions of the PlayStation 3 have unfortunately been affected, like many consumers, by his inability to get hold of a retail version of the console for himself: "I can't get ahold of a PS3. I actually went down to the store on the way to work today, I actually call every day when I walk by the Sony store. Today was the first day that they said they had them in stock, and I ran in the store, and wow, there was nobody there!"

He concludes, sadly: "So I got in the store and oh, turns out I went in the wrong door, and the other door has a huge line outside, and it was going all the way around outside. So I still haven't gotten a PS3. We got one at work but we're having a charity raffle for Christmas with it."

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