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The video-game console market’s own version of Clash of the Titans has finally moved to the online arena. Microsoft, Sony, and to a lesser extent, Nintendo have each launched their own iteration of Internet gaming in a bid to bring console gamers the same sort of head-to-head gaming action that PC users have had for years. Sony was first out of the gate with launch of the PlayStation 2 Online Adaptor. While rival Xbox has a slicker, more integrated online implementation and includes online voice support, Sony’s network adaptor gets PlayStation 2 gamers online with no additional fees and allows dial-up users to join in the action. The video-game console market’s own version of Clash of the Titans has finally moved to the online arena. Microsoft, Sony, and to a lesser extent, Nintendo have each launched their own iteration of Internet gaming in a bid to bring console gamers the same sort of head-to-head gaming action that PC users have had for years. Sony was first out of the gate with launch of the PlayStation 2 Online Adaptor. While rival Xbox has a slicker, more integrated online implementation and includes online voice support, Sony’s network adaptor gets PlayStation 2 gamers online with no additional fees and allows dial-up users to join in the action.
The PS2 network adaptor is a simple black slab, not even as big as a standard trade paperback book. Installing the hardware is a snap. After popping off the expansion bay cover on the back of the PlayStation, the network adaptor plugs snugly into the console’s back with just a few twists of two mounting screws to lock it into place. Snap in your telephone line or Ethernet cable, and the hardware side of the installation is done.
The included software disc takes you through the setup and installation routine step by step. Primarily, this process consists of entering your Internet access username, password, and settings. Sony doesn’t charge any fee for online access, instead relying on you to use your existing Internet service provider (ISP). America Online users, beware: whether you access AOL’s dial-up or broadband service, the online behemoth will assess you an additional $4.95 per month to facilitate access via your game console, be it the PS2 or the Xbox. Currently, AOL broadband access is not available, but the company plans to offer it in the near future.
The PS2 network adaptor provides Ethernet and dial-up connectivity. So, unlike Microsoft’s broadband-only approach with the Xbox, Angel 4d – http://www.idolatoto.net/ legions of dial-up gamers aren’t left out in the cold. Just like their PC brethren, however, gamers will find connecting through their cable or DSL modems to be an infinitely smoother and more satisfying experience. Users with a robust home network already in place will benefit most; stretching an Ethernet cable from the PS2 to our two-year-old NetGear router had us up and running on our EarthLink DSL – http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=EarthLink%20DSL connection in no time.
Just as the company has left it to independent ISPs to provide Internet access, Sony has left all the responsibility of facilitating online play to its third-party developers. In other words, Sega must create and maintain servers for Sega titles, EA must support EA titles, and so on. In and of itself, this does not adversely affect gameplay. However, it does provide the potential for uneven options and support across the spectrum of PS2 online titles if, for instance, one software company is less experienced in the online arena than another. Another result of Sony’s approach is the fact that you must create a separate login name and password for each PS2 title.
Sony’s “every developer for itself” online approach contrasts significantly with Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, which is run solely by Microsoft. For the Xbox online gamer, that means a consistent level of service; universal features (such as voice chat); and a single, universal login name and password for all online games. It also means that Microsoft charges a yearly subscription fee, while Sony’s service is free. “Free” is at the discretion of the game publishers, however, and forthcoming premier titles (read: EverQuest) will no doubt charge a monthly subscription fee.
Interestingly, the PS2 network adaptor features internal connections for a standard hard drive and is even emblazoned with the letters hdd. Such a hard drive, already available in the Japanese market, would further narrow the feature gulf between the PS2 and the Xbox, but Sony remains mum on when such a hard disk would be available in North America or how it would be implemented.
Once the setup software verifies the connection and stores the ISP settings on the memory card, the business of competing with opponents around the country can begin. Sony includes playable demo versions of Madden NFL 2003 and Frequency and
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