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Microsoft Says PS3 Linux Not 'Competitive' To XNA 231

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the ignorance-is-bliss dept.
nz17 writes "Gamasutra has a preview of its upcoming interview with Dave Mitchell, Director of Marketing for Microsoft's Game Developer Group. In the interview Mitchell dismisses Linux on the PS3 as a game creators' solution and has said, 'What we [at XBox] are focused on doing is providing great tools at a free or low price point that are going to enable consumers to be absolutely successful at creating games for both the Windows and the Xbox 360 platforms.'"
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Microsoft Says PS3 Linux Not 'Competitive' To XNA

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  • He may be right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blikkie (569039) <blikkie.gmail@com> on Friday December 15, 2006 @08:38AM (#17253298) Homepage
    Sad as it might sound, he could very well be right. Although linux may be very nice as a development tool, XNA is here and now, and already has hardware access, and is very affordable. No matter how much people may hate Microsoft, this is very possibly a good tool for indie game developers who want to create a console experience.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      He is right, but not for the reasons you mention. He's right because the PS3 solution prevents you from utilizing all of the hardware in the system to its fullest. If I wanted a crippled solution, I could have got the linux kit for the PS2. I didn't, so I didn't. If I wanted to support DRM and rootkits, I could buy a PS3... but that's just my reason. Many other people will avoid it as a game creation platform because you don't get access to all the hardware.
  • He's right... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Erwos (553607) on Friday December 15, 2006 @08:41AM (#17253316)
    I've been using XNA for a while, and it's really a good effort by Microsoft. Easy to develop with, and exposes a pretty nice amount of the graphics and audio hardware. Compare this to PS3 Linux, which apparently doesn't even have accelerated 3D, and it's hard to argue with him - what Net Yaroze was a couple generations ago is now XNA - and much cheaper to boot.
    • I'm not a developer, but would it be too much of a stretch to think that PS3 Linux will eventually expose all of the graphics and audio hardware? XNA seems to be limited to what Microsoft wants you to see, as far as I understand it (and I'm not a developer).

      I would also think that PS3 Linux will be a lot better for general purpose computing, maybe clusters for parallel computations (fluid flow, CAD/CAE analysis). Can you build a $700 computer now that out-performs a PS3 computationally? (I'm really askin
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by k_187 (61692)
        Well, the reason linux can't access the video chip in the PS3 is because Sony locked it out. I don't know that there is a way around it. If there is, I'm sure somebody will find it. But that's a limitation that Sony put in, not one of drivers or linux itself.
        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

          by J-F Mammet (769) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:18AM (#17253626) Homepage
          Yep, it's been confirmed by Sony just a few days ago that at least for the moment RSX was locked out of PS3 Linux because of security concerns. That's a big disappointment, but it looks like the framebuffer device will be fast enough for HD videos. It's "just" a matter of someone optimizing ffmpeg for Cell I guess.
          For games though, it's a bad news. Let's hope Sony will update the hypervisor to allow RSX access for Linux.
          • by saboola (655522)
            "Security issues", or people making homebrew PS3 games (not just 2d stuff) that are as good or better than "real" PS3 games and thus taking away from corporate profits.
            • by HAKdragon (193605)
              I'm thinking it's more of an issue of Sony worrying that somebody will be able to make boot-leg PS2/3 games and possibly Blu-Ray movies.
          • by elrous0 (869638) *
            I've been saying this [slashdot.org] for a long time. But everyone was far too caught up in the "Sony is opening up the PS3!" bullshit hype to listen.

            -Eric

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by elrous0 (869638) *
        They never exposed them on the PS2 Linux [google.com] that they released. In fact, many have argued that the inclusion of Linux on the PS2/PS2 is just a fancy way to dodge taxes in Europe (since, apparently, computers are taxed less than consoles), not a serious stab at encouraging homebrew development. And, considering the way Sony has treated homebrew for the PSP, I'm inclined to believe it.

        -Eric

        • No no no, it was YABASIC on the EU PS2's that was meant to dodge the tax, not the PS2 Linux kit, which came after.

          The tax is gone now so it's moot.
    • And this is exactly how Microsoft gained their dominance in the desktop PC industry. Get the developers using a different API for their platform. In the previous generation of consoles there were a bunch of frameworks that emerged for cross platform development. This time around it seems Microsoft is trying to set the standard for development to sidestep the inevitable, and lock developers into their platform.

      This may be a great development tool set, but you're going to be stuck with only supporting the PC

      • Re:He's right... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:38AM (#17253834)
        This may be a great development tool set, but you're going to be stuck with only supporting the PC and the XBOX 360. No linux, OSX, PS3, Wii, or any other kind of gaming platform.
        Maybe, but Sony at least will have to blame themselves just as much. By not supporting the PS3 graphics chip under Linux (actually some reports say it has been hidden from Linux), they made sure that the PS3 is not very attractive to indie game developers.
        • This may be a great development tool set, but you're going to be stuck with only supporting the PC and the XBOX 360

          I'd rather have official support for one console than unofficial homebrew support for every one.

          Maybe, but Sony at least will have to blame themselves just as much. By not supporting the PS3 graphics chip under Linux (actually some reports say it has been hidden from Linux), they made sure that the PS3 is not very attractive to indie game developers.

          I'd say that at least Sony has given develope
          • by k_187 (61692)
            For what its worth I believe that Nintendo will sell you a Dev Kit, for like $2K. Which while cheaper than the other Official Dev Kits, is still much more than XNA. How much more/less it allows you to do than XNA I don't know.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by poot_rootbeer (188613)
              For what its worth I believe that Nintendo will sell you a Dev Kit, for like $2K.

              Sorry, hobbyists, Nintendo only sells devkits to legitimate, established software houses. Ones that have secure offices where Nintendo can be assured that their proprietary resources won't be stolen from and put up for sale to the least scrupulous bidder.

              If you want to develop for their handheld platforms, though, the homebrew community has pretty much reverse-engineered every aspect of the GBA and DS, and there are even a few
      • Re:He's right... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Harlockjds (463986) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:51AM (#17254016)
        it's not like developing under linux on the ps3 will allow for 360 and wii development (and it hardly enables ps3 development thanks for the restrictions sony puts on the platform)
      • by Rycross (836649)
        Well, its not like hobbyists can develop for PS3 or the Wii in the first place. And if you're talking about OSX and Linux market share, I doubt many hobbyists would feel the market share was large enough to warrant using a different set of tools.
      • I don't know about anyone else but my take on XNA was that it was for hobbyists or small dev teams who make games for fun. I couldn't imagine a 'real' developer would make their games in XNA. On top of that, the people who want to use XNA are probably doing so because they want to use it for PC/xbox development. They probably weren't going to develop games for PS3 or Wii anyway.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by elrous0 (869638) *
          I've been known to store numbers in my ass for which to dig out when quantities are required.

          I do the same thing with feces.

          -Eric

        • Free beta testng (Score:3, Interesting)

          by alexhmit01 (104757)
          Well, if you figure that the Xbox 360 is 1 year into a 4 year lift span, it's 25% over (if it really sells well, it'll get a fifth year, overlapping with the Xbox-3). Getting XNA games out now, for hobbyists, let's them tweak and expand their development tools, get paid doing it (the subscription fee probably covers the cost of supporting the project, not much of a profit center, but should make it a bottomless pit of costs), and does so without the expectation of the pro shops.

          The big development shops wo
      • This may be a great development tool set, but you're going to be stuck with only supporting the PC and the XBOX 360. No linux, OSX, PS3, Wii, or any other kind of gaming platform.


        Microsoft would never try to limit developers developers developers development to just their platforms. You're clearly mistaken.
    • by grumbel (592662)
      Yep, XNA is definitively more useful when developing a game from scratch, on the other side PS3 Linux has the advantage that it doesn't require an expensive subscription to use and that one isn't restricted to C#, so porting whatever application you want over to the PS3 is going to be a hell of a lot easier then doing the same thing XBox360. So while getting SuperTux run on PS3 is a matter of minutes, the XBox360 would require a full rewrite. It would of course also be interesting how fast a software render
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      Assuming that sony produce accelerated 3d drivers for X11 on the PS3, then you could program graphics through OpenGL or SDL etc...
      Given that, a game written for the PS3 could easily work with just a simple recompile on any system running linux, and potentially OSX/BSD aswell, assuming it doesn't require the advanced features of the Cell processor (tho it could still potentially run on one of those cell based IBM servers).
  • Offtopic, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by solanum (80810)
    am I only only one that gets sick of the PR language that is used in the IT industry, it's constant drivel. I mean look at:

    What we [at XBox] are focused on doing is providing great tools at a free or low price point that are going to enable consumers to be absolutely successful at creating games for both the Windows and the Xbox 360 platforms.

    They're not tools they're "great tools", they don't provide a product they "enable consumers", their product doesn't just do a job it is "absolutely successful" argghhhhhhh............. One of my aims in life is never to buy anything from a company that uses this sort of PR speak.

    • by mabinogi (74033)
      no, it doesn't enable customers, nor is their product absolutely successful.
      Maybe you need to read the sentence again.

      "...it enables consumers to be (absolutely) successful at creating games.."

      There is nothing at all wrong with that sentence, apart from the unnecessary use of successful. Although I guess you could rephrase that as "..to enable consumers to successfully create games..", but that's not a case of marketing speak, just a kind of clumsy sentence.
      There's also nothing wrong with them claiming the
    • by gutnor (872759)
      "One of my aims in life is never to buy anything from a company that uses this sort of PR speak."

      Ah, I see you lived in some remote island until recently, so let me be the first to welcome you in the "civilisation". Yout nightmare is over.

      Here every companies is a leading player in its field, cheaper AND better than everybody else. Oh and they don't "sell" you products like in the dark ages, no they sacrifice themself to offer you an intimate and spiritual experience made just for you.
      That applies to softwa
    • by saboola (655522)
      Is PR language different in any other industry? It's not like Campbell's soup has advertisements that say "We provide liquid food for nourishment".
    • Nothing "C#" can or should legally be considered to be a "great tool", or "low price". I think we should start with a lawsuit and work from there.
  • Cluster (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mocm (141920) on Friday December 15, 2006 @08:44AM (#17253328) Homepage
    I see Linux on the PS3 more as an opportunity to get a cheap cell cluster than for game developement.
    It may also be an excuse for Sony to avoid customs fees, because now the PS3 is a usable Computer as
    compared to just a video game.
  • by Atriqus (826899) on Friday December 15, 2006 @08:44AM (#17253334) Homepage
    Considering Linux PS3 is missing a 3D accelerated video driver. What are they coming out with next, an LCD without a backlight?
  • PS3 Linux is an effort to sell PS3 as a computer. It has only access to framebuffer, without any hardware accelerated 3d support.

    XNA is a game development platform working on both Windows and XBOX360.

    Which would be better for Game Developers? :)
  • by LaughingCoder (914424) on Friday December 15, 2006 @08:53AM (#17253410)
    about Microsoft, but this is one thing they have *always* gotten. Providing excellent tools and 3rd party developers has been one of the main reasons they have been so successful over the years. It's nice to see they haven't forgotten that.
    • oops ... "for 3rd party developers", not "and 3rd party developers". Must click preview. Must click preview.
    • by binkzz (779594)
      "about Microsoft, but this is one thing they have *always* gotten."

      That's categorically false. In recent years their tools have improved a lot, but before that they were a right nightmare.
    • by Almahtar (991773)
      I sure wish their Windows API reference didn't crash every 30 minutes, and didn't have screenshots from Windows 3.x era...
  • by Andy_R (114137)
    Apart from being the the IATA airport code for Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Fayetteville, Arkansas, what on earth is an XNA?
  • I've been hearing a lot about XNA lately, but I'm curious if the licensing only allows you to share your creations with other XNA developers. At what point does the average consumer get to try out these independent games for themselves? Also, who ultimately owns the content you create using these tools? As inexpensive as Microsoft is making XNA for all the aspiring developers out there, I'd imagine there's probably some benefits Microsoft is going to gain from offering XNA other than mere bragging rights.

    Wi
    • Just on the outside chance that there is no "catch" to using XNA, there are ways Microsoft could embrace independent game development to it's full potential.

      One possible method, would be to introduce a special section on XBox Live Arcade specifically for allowing end users to try out independently developed games. They could set up a sort of "Independent Game Developer of the Week" contest, where the best designed game gets a full week of distribution onto the Xbox Live Arcade. Once downloaded, these games
    • At what point does the average consumer get to try out these independent games for themselves?

      Right now, if you're not a member of XNA Creators Club, you have to run the game on a PC running Windows OS, and unless you have a home theater PC, it's likely that the screen will be too small to fit four players around.

  • by AlXtreme (223728) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:36AM (#17253802) Homepage Journal
    methinks Microsoft is pumping up the marketing on this one. XNA [wikipedia.org] seems to be a combination of previously-separated technologies (DirectX, IDE), and integration (if you like it or not) is one of Microsoft's strongpoints IMHO.

    As the target of XNA seems to be both the professional and the home-brew-market, can the Free Software camp beat this? Well, we already have quite a few game libraries, heaps of engines and a number of IDEs. I'm not aware of any FOSS-'game asset pipeline management tools', and targetting consoles (outside of the Linux-on-the-* projects) has always been something for the big players due to licensing fees.

    What is interesting is their idea of having various 'starter kits' for certain types of games (FPS, RTS, platform), all using a common framework. Using them you could quickly get nice results. Is anyone aware of similar FOSS-projects? Might be interesting to build something similar on top of pygame.

    • by Almahtar (991773)

      As the target of XNA seems to be both the professional and the home-brew-market, can the Free Software camp beat this?

      The obvious OSS advantage is the choice of any language you want. As a professional software developer, C# does not impress me at all. It's all hype and features copied from other languages.

      What is interesting is their idea of having various 'starter kits' for certain types of games (FPS, RTS, platform), ... Is anyone aware of similar FOSS-projects?

      The Quake3 engine for FPS comes to mind. I don't know if there are any for RTS or platform because I haven't looked them up. Can anyone confirm the existence/nonexistence of them?

  • by Aggrajag (716041) on Friday December 15, 2006 @09:49AM (#17253974)
    Would it be possible to start developing XB360MC with XNA and if it is does it cost anything?
    • The single, solitary, lone reason I own an XBOX is for XBOX Media Center [xboxmediacenter.de]. Nothing else comes close to the TiVo-like integration and Firefox-like expandability.

      Unfortunately, the built-in 733Mhz. processor is the limiting factor. Friendtech used to sell a 1.4Ghz. Celeron upgrade, but they don't offer it any longer (if anyone has one of these systems, by the way, I'd be happy to buy it off you). At this point, the XBMC developers are looking at ways to use the onboard GPU to do some of the calculations and
  • I didn't think that linux on PS3 and XNA were even remotely related. Different technologies, different purposes.
  • ..they said so with their last PSP firmware update. :)
  • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:31AM (#17254598)
    I don't doubt for a second that Microsoft has put considerable time, energy and work into making XNA a decent development platform for games on the XBOX 360. Generally, their development tools are pretty reasonable (as long as you don't need to interface them into anything non-Microsoft). So it wouldn't surprise me if XNA actually does what it claims - allows you to make games!

    It is interesting to see the Microsoft PR get out there and compare XNA on XBOX360 to Linux on PS3. Of course, if you are going to make this comparison, you had better play up your strengths (easy game creation) and ignore there rest (full operating system, full development suite, lots of libraries available). Restricted to game development, the comparison is probably fair - for the fledging game developer who already has an XBOX 360, XNA probably allows them to put a game together fairly easily, certainly compared with taking a huge and diverse tool kit like a Linux install.

    What this PR totally ignores is that XNA allows you to make games. Linux allows you to do whatever you want to do. If you are into game development on Linux and you want something to create games, then a port of Blender to the PS3 and the Blender Game Engine would probably be of most use to you. Or you could use the SDL libraries to get a start on some 2D stuff. Or you could play around with the Quake 1/2/3 source code and try and use that. Or wait for the GP2X games to get ported over. Or you could build a multimedia box. Or a fortune reader!

    So, the comparison XNA/XBOX 360 is better than Linux/PS3 is deeply flawed. It may be true (for now) from one angle. It just isn't the whole story.

    Cheers,
    Toby Haynes

    • Microsoft took the time and made the conscious effort to create software to allow people to create games in an easy manner. All Sony did was compile a kernel for linux on their black box and shove it out the door. Most of the other stuff you talked about is software written by other people (DVRs, Quake, etc). That doesn't even take into account the supposedly crippled acess to the video subsystem (I don't have a PS3, so I wouldn't know firsthand)

      Although your argument about the bad comparison is valid, don'
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Linux allows you to do whatever you want to do.

      Unless you need to access the video card or 3D acceleration of course (a must for virtually any decent game).

      -Eric

    • by RexRhino (769423)
      XNA allows you to create software with the intention to sell it (with integration into the Xbox Live Marketplace), where as the PS3 Linux is more for hackers.

      The vast majority of PS3 users are not going to install linux, and if they do they are not doing it to play games. Where as the majority of Xbox 360 owners also have Xbox live, and can go online to purchase Xbox Live Marketplace games right now.

      If you are a small game developer, looking to develope a product for PROFIT, then the Linux PS3 is not an opt
  • Crap (Score:2, Informative)

    by siDDis (961791)
    I'm very happy with developing small games for the Linux platform. SDL is just perfect to write a game that works on Linux, Windows, Windows CE, BeOS, MacOS, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, BSD/OS, Solaris, IRIX, and QNX. And unofficially supports AmigaOS, Dreamcast, Atari, AIX, OSF/Tru64, RISC OS, SymbianOS, and OS/2(Copied and pasted from libsdl.org). Additionally OpenGL actually supports software rendering so a GPU isn't exactly needed. Super Mario 64 shouldn't have a problem running in software on a
  • by BShive (573771) on Friday December 15, 2006 @10:51AM (#17254962) Homepage
    I prefer Java/Eclipse personally to C#/VStudio, but XNA seems to be offering a good opportunity for Indies. Other than Beta1 to Beta2 transition, I've been impressed with the XNA team. I loaded my game on to a XB360 earlier this week and it was amazingly painless. A 'duh' issue where some content files were missing, but only had to do a few minor code changes. An hour later my game was running on an Xbox360! It's hard to believe that Microsoft managed to put such a solid product out. They did it with a very small team, which is why it is only VStudio Express and C# are supported right now. It's nothing like the bloated behemoth that Windows OS development has become. Other coolness is that Remote Debugging works, and works well. I've never had remote debug in hardware or software that worked so painlessly. Create the PC-360 link, start debug, play on the 360, and watched variables will update, you can insert breakpoints on the fly, step through, all that jazz without any problems at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by marcello_dl (667940)
      It's hard to believe that Microsoft managed to put such a solid product out.

      I believe it, and I usually bash Microsoft. It's the effect of not being a monopolist in one area. The Microsoft in the console area is Sony, if the ps3 linux kit won't fully support the hardware. A ps3 with more RAM and full liux would be a killer home computer.
  • He Is Right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EXTomar (78739) on Friday December 15, 2006 @11:11AM (#17255298)
    It is like comparing DirectX to WinCE. One is a API that ogranizes various OS functions in away to facilitate creating of media content. The other is Operating System level for user processes to build any application on. Although one can build a game without XNA/DirectX right on the OS(WinCE/Linux), it isn't as pleasant or extendable. You can't build a device driver in XNA. It is much more "hands on" to OpenGL routines with just the OS and GL/GLX let alone a make a full blown game.

    There appears to be different goals between XNA and PS3 Linux. I would fully expect toy games from XNA while on PS3 Linux I expect more toy apps. Keep in mind that neither of these are for serious product development. If you or your company want to make a real product for XBox 360 or PS3 you need a different set of hardware and software tools.
  • The Santa Factor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LifesABeach (234436) on Friday December 15, 2006 @11:18AM (#17255440)
    This morning I was asked, "should we buy a PS2, or a PS3 for the children?" Wii, Xbox, and PS3 all have price tags that are a little to pricey for this Santa. From my view point, I cannot see homework completed using the Xbox, or the PS3; But the notion is intriguing. It boils down to game title, and compatibility. Microsoft is doing to consumers what IBM did to consumers using Microsoft; That still leaves a bad taste in my mouth,(In both cases). I think it is only a matter of time before Sony realizes that access to their entire box via Linux will finally allow some curiously entertaining games and applications to be created. I can plug my laptop into my LCD TV, same for the game boxes; So which has the better graphics, and feed back? It looks like this Santa has a trip to Fry's, Best Buy, and the Toy Be Us folks; Today.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      You will probably be buying a PS2 or an XBox360.
      WIIs and PS3 are not on the self unless your very lucky.

      PS2s have a lot of cheap games. I also really like the games on the Gamecube and they are even cheaper.
      If you want a current generation game system that you can walk in and buy you really only have a single choice. XBox 360.
      Me. I would wait for a Wii.
  • by Vexorian (959249) on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:35PM (#17258834)

    Q: How can I share my Xbox 360 game built with XNA Game Studio Express with other Xbox 360 users?
    A: To share your Xbox 360 game with friends, four requirements must be met:

    * The individual you are planning to share the game with must be logged in to Xbox Live and have an active subscription to the XNA Creators Club
    * The receiving user must have downloaded the XNA Framework runtime environment for the Xbox 360
    * The receiving user must have XNA Game Studio Express installed on their own development PC
    * The game project, including all source and content assets, must be shared with the receiving user. The receiving user then compiles and deploys the game to their Xbox 360.


    We are actively working on other ways to allow you to more easily distribute your games and are very excited about the possibilities this will open up for independent game development.
    Q: Can I store my XNA Game Studio Express game on my memory card or CD/DVD and share it with a friend?
    A: No. Games developed using XNA Game Studio Express cannot be shared through a memory card or CD/DVD at this time.
  • by the_greywolf (311406) on Friday December 15, 2006 @02:47PM (#17259026) Homepage

    You can't build general software with XNA. It's tuned for games. It's also only really useful to anyone with a Creator's Club membership.

    You CAN build general software on PS3 Linux. It's not tuned specifically for any one purpose. It's useful to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and doesn't require additional investment to share in its benefits.

    Of course it's not a competitive solution. THERE IS NO CONTEST.

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