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Sony and Microsoft bosses defend consoles' value propositions

With the battle of the next-gen consoles now fully underway, Sony's Ray Maguire and Microsoft's Neil Thompson have spoken out to defend their consoles' value propositions - and to criticise the competition.

With the battle of the next-gen consoles now fully underway, Sony's Ray Maguire and Microsoft's Neil Thompson have spoken out to defend their products' value propositions - and to criticise the competition.

Both executives were interviewed for the latest edition of the Eurogamer TV Show, which is now available to view on our sister site.

Among the issues discussed were the different online offerings of PlayStation 3 and 360 with UK Xbox boss Neil Thompson stating, "We passionately believe that online gaming, and having an identity within the online gaming community, is what's core to what you need to offer - a service that can transcend different titles where you can communicate with your gaming friends no matter what platform you're on and what game you're playing.

"I don't see how Sony can really deliver that, and they're certainly not delivering that in a compelling way today," he continued. "I think what Sony's talking about has compelling aspects to it, but I don't think there's anything there that... We're going to be afraid of competing with, because we will certainly evolve our service as we move forward."

Xbox Live has proved highly popular amongst 360 owners, with more than 6 million subscripers already signed up. However, as Sony UK managing director Ray Maguire noted, there's no indication as to how many people are paying the full GBP 40 annual subscription fee - while the PlayStation 3 online service is free of charge to all.

"I look at our [service] as being an inclusive area for people to be able to communicate and play with each other," he said. "Some content will clearly be downloadable and chargeable, but it should be an environment that people can get together and explore by themselves without having someone say, 'We're going to charge you for entering this space.'"

PlayStation 3 launched in Europe last month, while Xbox 360 has been on sale since December 2005. During the last console cycle, it was Microsoft who were following Sony's lead in terms of launch dates - and according to Thompson, there are other examples of how things have changed.

"It is frighteningly dîjà vu with the boot on the other foot at the moment. They're 18 months after us, they're at a very high price point, a really big machine compared to ours, and all of the things that we were at the time," he said.

There's a while to wait before there is any indication as to who will win the console fight this time around, or indeed if there will be a clear winner at all. With all three machines now on sale, the platform holders will need to fight hard for consumers' loyalty - as Maguire and Thompson are aware.

"People that are thinking about a PS3 or a Wii, I would just say, look at what you're buying, and what do you want to buy? Do you want to buy a gaming machine that offers you the best high definition gaming, and online gaming, for the best possible price?" said Thompson.

"If those are the questions in your head, I really can't see why anyone would chooose anything but the Xbox 360."

Unsurprisingly, Maguire took a different view: "Quite simply, if you want the best gaming experience, if you want the best output in terms of high definition, if you want the best connectivity, then you need look no further than a PlayStation 3. Simple as that."

For more from Maguire and Thompson, plus coverage of the UK launch of PlayStation 3, watch episode 9 of the Eurogamer TV Show.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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