Xbox Live's Aaron Greenberg has ripped into Sony's PlayStation 3 online service, declaring it "yet another knockoff" and questioning whether it can compete with Xbox 360's breadth of services.
Speaking to GameSpot following Sony's Gamers Day in the US last week, Greenberg, who is Xbox Live's group marketing manager, said, "we're flattered that we've created a service that is breeding yet another knockoff".
Asked whether Microsoft could justify charging for Xbox Live Gold access when Sony's service costs nothing, Greenberg added that he felt there was "so little new news in Sony's online announcements".
"We will compete with them in the same way we have for the last four years by out-innovating and focusing on community, value, and the content that gamers want. They offered basic free matchmaking on the PS2, and from what we can tell, their online story has not evolved much.
Greenberg's bullish comments come as Sony's previously rather shady online service takes shape, with the PS3 Store, and free multiplayer gaming and messaging services, as well as Internet access, all available out of the box. You can read more about PS3 Online in our hands-on feature.
As for Xbox Live itself, Greenberg also said that details of the anticipated autumn update for the Xbox 360 dashboard would be announced "soon", and hinted that there might be some more backward-compatibility updates for old Xbox games in the future, although he didn't have any new information to hand.
But he didn't sound quite so sure of himself when asked whether Xbox Live Arcade would hit its 50-game target for 2006. "I don't have the final projection for how many Arcade titles will be available by December 30, but I know each and every one will offer a great gaming experience for all kinds of gamers," he said.
Microsoft announced last week that four million people now use Xbox Live in some shape or other.