Xbox has been "way more progressive and open," says Raptr head

When it comes to console transparency, Dennis Fong says Sony has been closed "almost to the point of ignorance"

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are roughly a couple months away from launch, but many still aren't sure what to expect from the next-gen systems. One such person is Raptr CEO Dennis Fong, who told GamesIndustry International recently that "it's just too early to tell" how the new consoles will work with the community-focused cross-platform gaming service.

Whatever policies the two companies adopt regarding their online service's player profiles, Fong suggested they could represent Raptr's biggest strength or greatest challenge when it comes to the new consoles. One of Raptr's primary functions is to provide its 18 million users with a cross-platform profile that collects all of their Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Steam achievements and trophies in the same place, something which is only possible if the platform holders have set their user profiles up to be somehow accessible by a third party.

With Microsoft and Sony increasingly embracing social functions, live-streaming, and even things like self-publishing for independent developers, there seems to be a trend toward increased openness of all kinds in the console world. One might think that bodes well for Raptr, but Fong isn't about to assume their cooperation.

"It seems like it would be a no-brainer, but you just never know with big companies," Fong said. "Especially big companies that are going through massive upheaval, which I think both PlayStation and Xbox to some extent are going through that right now."

"I think overall Xbox has been way more progressive and open, just in general."

Dennis Fong

If history is any indication, Fong has reason to be optimistic about Xbox One.

"I think overall Xbox has been way more progressive and open, just in general," Fong said.

The executive said he'd met most of the key people behind Xbox Live, and said Microsoft as a whole tends to be more open, likely as a result of its history in the PC platform. Microsoft also provides Raptr with direct feeds of data to help them streamline the integration of Xbox Live information into the service.

"PlayStation on the other hand, has been very, very closed, almost to the point of ignorance, in terms of trying to control every little thing that goes through PlayStation and what their users see," Fong said. "So getting them to release any kind of data, user profile data and such, has been a lot like pulling teeth."

In the past, Fong said Raptr dealt with Sony through various committees including people from around the world. The result was a very slow process in which nothing ever got done, he said. Fong also chalked it up in part to Japanese Internet culture, which he described as different from the rest of the world, "less open, more controlling."

Despite that, there may be hope for increased cooperation with Sony on the PS4. Fong noted that Sony seems to have given its American arm, particularly Gaikai, more influence regarding the system's online elements this time around, "so it definitely seems more open."

One platform that seems a long shot for full support from Raptr is the Wii U. Fong said he's had discussions with Nintendo, but that the company's audience skews considerably younger than Raptr's target demographic. Where Raptr wants to increase the social connectivity of gamers, Fong said Nintendo has almost been discouraging interactions with strangers, pointing to the deliberately clunky Wii friend code system as evidence.

Image credit: VentureBeat

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Latest comments (8)

Anastasios Hatzis Community Manager 5 years ago
I would love to see PlayStation Network as an OpenID provider.
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Matt Walker Production Coordinator, Capcom5 years ago
So this guy is saying that MS is willing to share user info and Sony is more strict about user privacy then? Or am I misunderstanding the quote?
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Tat Wei, Yeap Master Degree in Environmental Planning. 5 years ago
"I think overall Xbox has been way more progressive and open, just in general,"

This is an opinion article, I cannot see Xbox being better than PS4.
1. we all know how Microsoft treated the indie scene,
2. Sony needed to control because of user security reason, as we seen the global rise in cyber terrorism rate (and probably going to get worse)
3. The game market will move generally towards soft copy rather than hard copy, therefore internet security reason is priority.

If Sony work in secret just trying to protect their client, I'm all for it.
But I do agree with the progress of Nintendo is going down the path that I hoped not to see...sigh.. I used to love the Nintendo games.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Hmmm... considering the assorted hacks and data thefts that occur all the time (MANY hijacked 360 accounts, PSN going down for a month, user info stolen from assorted online accounts pretty much regularly, etc.,), I'm not happy with "progressive" or "open" in this day and age...
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Atilla Hulsebos Senior Editor / Tech, PS3life5 years ago
I think you're all misinterpreting what kind of profile data he is talking about. He wants easier access to people's trophies progress. Which is already public on Sony's own site, but in a kind of useless way. Sony is not providing an API of sorts to easily use this data for trophy profiles like Raptr and several other trophy community sites have.

As it is now they have to basically data mine Sony's website with trophy profiles of people which already displays everything publicly. Having done this myself for a PS3 community site I can say this is absurdly complex and unnecessary, if only Sony would make a simple API for third parties to use and create the trophy progress tracking that people really want. It would also be safer and separated from other profile info that should stay secret.

I have no idea why Sony is not supporting these trophy profile websites with a trophy progress API. Those sites are clearly very popular, people like tracking and showing off their trophy progress and level. Sony is not providing anything similar themselves either. In fact they've only made it more difficult. Sony has changed the way trophy images and texts are stored a while ago, somewhat simply encrypted, but this forced these trophy-sites to dig into the code again. Now that the PS3 has been fully hacked, trophy data has become easier to find again. But with the launch of the PS4 it might just change all over again.
An API would be great even for smaller communities, in our case we wanted a trophy leaderboard of only the members in our community but it has been too time-costly to get everything to work (and keep working). Plus with an API Sony could make it so that users may be able to opt-out of the third-party trophy data sharing.

But in any case bank/CC and address data is separated already, and that's not the 'profile data' he is talking about.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Atilla Hulsebos on 4th September 2013 2:00pm

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Tat Wei, Yeap Master Degree in Environmental Planning. 5 years ago
See context is important, but still, is the trophy function that big of a deal? Played a game called "Achievement Unlocked"? what a great game satire.
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Atilla Hulsebos Senior Editor / Tech, PS3life5 years ago
I agree it's a bit silly and would rather just play the game for the story or simply entertainment. But some people really seem to like to be rewarded with trophies and/or show them off to friends. Sites like Raptr wouldn't exist if there was no interest.
I checked out Achievement Unlocked, it's very funny. You'll probably like "DLC Quest" as well, it's kinda similar.
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Tat Wei, Yeap Master Degree in Environmental Planning. 5 years ago
@ Atilla

Hey Cheers! game conversation is the best =P
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