Sony Online's president John Smedley has posted a response to Microsoft blogger Ozymandias comments on the PS3's Network Platform.
"I came across a Microsoft blogger this morning that had some thoughts on our just announced deal with Xfire
There is some bad information in there that I'll get to in a sec, but it was interesting to me because it highlights some pretty core differences in the approach that the Playstation folks have taken.
From the very beginning the team at Sony Computer Entertainment has always had a very open view of the the networked Playstation 3. This is showcased in our game Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom. We've been able to integrate Xfire's new PS3 API into the game very easily (I should also point out that this API is absolutely free… no clue where Ozymandias got that info but it's just plain wrong). What this is going to do is allow an already huge network of online gamers on the PC continue to track their Xfire friends already as they play our (and other games in the future) PS3 game.
This is not a replacement for the PS3 friends list.
This is something over and above that. In this day and age many people are members of different communities. For example, I belong to a Battlefield 2 team and a guild for MMO's. The two are very different and I enjoy them both. Since people spend their time multi-tasking and switching between their computers and consoles, it just seems to make a lot of sense to me that it's inevitable that people are going to be a part of many different communities.
This open approach that allows licensed middleware providers to put hooks in PS3 games (assuming that's what the publisher wants to do) really opens a lot of doors that a more closed approach just wouldn't allow.
To me that's just plain common sense.
Online console games are going to be huge. They're growing at an extremely rapid rate and we already have several MMO's in development for the PS3 that are cross platform with the PC. We're working on cool new ways to allow people to communicate (online keyboard interfaces, voice-to-text and other ideas). The power of the PS3 is going to allow us to bring a lot of computing power to bear on the challenges of communicating with other players. To me the idea of an online universe of gamers as large as 100 Million or more is really exciting and is going to end up really allowing all kinds of awesome games."