Cross Game Chat? “They Are Working Very Hard On It.”

One of the neatest things about the Xbox 360, when I actually paid for Gold that is, was cross-game chat. I could be playing one game and my mates could be playing another and we could just chat freely, as if we were on the phone but it wasn’t costing anything the longer we chatted.  Many a night was spent waxing lyrical and putting the world to rights cross-game between Battlefield and Lord of the Rings, so many are wondering why the same hasn’t yet happened on the PlayStation 3.

Well, a forum member on N4G (bear with me) seems to have the answer.  You’ll remember a chap called super_secret, right?  It’s actually Kaz Hirai moonlighting as an ‘insider’ which makes for much amusement as he neatly sidesteps NDAs and company busting regulations – I mean, it must be him with the sort of knowledge like super_secret has, so we’ll roll with it one more time and see what he’s got to say.  Or, rather “we”, as he’s rather fond of referring to himself with the personal plural pronoun.

So, Pluralis Majestatis’ aside, here’s the thread.  To save yourself reading through lots of fluff, he starts by talking about in-game music.  It’s all a little woolly, but the general consensus (apart from claims that Microsoft “infringes upon all kinds of patents [we] own” and that one company “threatened everything, from legal action to dropping support for the PS3 all together”) is that Sony don’t care about the patent Microsoft have on custom music but didn’t “do” it because one game was made “poorly”.

So, with the reason that custom music is only on the PS3 as an opt-in at developer level (you still with me) he then gets onto cross-game chat.  “I warned you that we might hit a snag and we did,” says super_secret.  “We’ve found a couple of titles that just don’t like it,” and then infers that the games in question belong to the same publisher as the one hinted at above with regards to custom music.  He then, remember he’s speaking for Sony here, says that they “can’t rely on developers to implement direct support for it.”

The publisher?  Well, people have (easily) guessed he’s meaning EA, judging by his “clue”, HPatOofP.

“It didn’t work with Custom Soundtracks, so why would it work here?  So right now, we’re trying every little trick in the book to find a solution that works for everyone, but don’t hold your breath on this one, so far it looks like the best you’re going to get is a gimped implementation of it that only works with a handful of new games.”  The chap isn’t part of the firmware team, so he’s “not supposed to know any of this”, but he concludes with “rest assured they are working very hard on it.”

In the meantime, this seemingly baseless rumour mongering has caused havoc on the EA and official EU PlayStation forums, with people posting all kinds of nasty, ridiculous things in some kind of mass protest, all springing from this N4G thread.  I’d hate to be EA when they roll into work this morning, because true or not (and we’re guessing not) some things are just best kept to yourself rather than making the internet look like a complete mess.  Here’s some of the forum threads:

  • Goodbye EA
  • Answer my fvcking question
  • EA denying PS3 users of the most requested feature?!?!
  • Screw you EA!!!
  • EA, you better be contacting Sony this very MINUTE
  • I hate YOU EA
  • A call for ps3 users to unite and boycott all things EA!
  • C0ckblocking Sony for Microsofts c0ck
  • EA is it true? no in-game..
  • [Poll] Whistle Blower: Confirms EA is reason PS3 does not have Universal in-game Chat/Custom Soundtracks!!
  • EA is denying our requested features..
  • I heard you motherfvckers are the reason the Ps3 is missing Crossgame Chat
  • EA the reason for no x game chat on psn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that’s just on the EA ones, a few of the ones on the PlayStation forums are actually worse.  Here’s a hint, kids, if you’re trying to put a point across perhaps this isn’t the best way forward.  The way the internet now reacts to a few lines of text from someone they don’t know is absolutely incredible, and we’re sure there’s a few PR departments that are going to have one hell of a shitty day today thanks to all this.

Nice job, super_secret…