Xbox Live executive Aaron Greenberg has defended Microsoft's decision to charge for multiplayer online gaming - and criticised Sony for failing to offer a "unified service" with PlayStation Network.
Greenberg was speaking in an interview with GameTrailers.com, during which he was asked about the fact that PSN is free while Xbox Live users must pay USD 50 for an annual Gold subscription in order to compete online.
"I don't think price is a big issue," Greenberg said. "Almost everything we offer on Live is available for free, your friends list, messaging, [marketplace content]... When you get a good 80 per cent of the Live experience for free... We feel our multiplayer offering is good value."
According to Greenberg more than half of Live's 3 million users have purchased Gold subscriptions, which he said indicates they are willing to pay for a high level of service.
"I think you get what you pay for. With the managed service, there's no hacking, cheating, griefing," he said.
"The other thing is people want a consistent experience across all their games; you don't want the way you integrate friends lists to be different game to game, you want voice in every single game..."
Greenberg went on to highlight what he sees as the biggest issue with PlayStation Network, stating, "It's not a unified service." For example, he said, when playing Resistance: Fall of Man users can't invite friends straight into a game from the dashboard.
"It's not that consistent experience - it's not built into the core platform, which for us is really important."
Greenberg did praise Sony for the decision to offer PlayStation 1 games via PSN, and for investing in its online offering: "They're making an investment, they're showing a commitment to it and saying that it does matter.
"We feel like if online matters to you, you're going to go with our console because we have the best offering, but I would say their commitment is probably the most important thing."
Greenberg also said he likes the PlayStation Store, but that there is room for improvement. "It's more like being on a web page. To me it's a little slower and harder to navigate because of that, but visually it's familiar."