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XFire is Sony's Answer to Xbox Live

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the pulling-out-the-big-guns dept.


1up is reporting on Sony's 'answer' to Microsoft's Xbox Live system: XFire. The PC-based game networking service is already extremely popular among FPS and MMOG players. Financial reports indicate the service will now be extended to the PlayStation 3 as well. From the article: "By incorporating an existing service into their own PlayStation Network Platform (PNP), Sony hopes to circumvent existing problems in the console space that Microsoft has had to sort out and in using Xfire -- a company with an established messaging, matchmaking and gaming client -- Sony hopes to narrow the four-year gap in online gaming services that Microsoft currently enjoys (Xfire has been around since 2002)."

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XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 8 years ago | (#16090036)

I thought XFire was Sony's answer to XBattery.

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (2, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | about 8 years ago | (#16090060)

Or, XFire could metaphorically refer to Sony's XJob in selling XConsoles.

XCOPy that (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 8 years ago | (#16091753)

Sony the copycat. First they put tilt in their controller. Now they copy Microsoft's, "X."

I'm surprised that they didn't name it: Wee-8-FireBox'sX.

Re:XCOPy that (1)

jZnat (793348) | about 8 years ago | (#16091957)

Xfire has been around for a few years, so I doubt Sony is copying Xbox Live by keeping the same name...

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (3, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 8 years ago | (#16090074)


Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | about 8 years ago | (#16090153)

Hehehe, bravo. I'd mod ya but no points.

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (1)

Doomstalk (629173) | about 8 years ago | (#16090205)

Oh snap! Buuuuurn!

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 8 years ago | (#16090367)

XFire comes after XPlosion.

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (2, Funny)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | about 8 years ago | (#16090443)

The DRM will leave you Xploited.

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 8 years ago | (#16092332)

Sometimes the XFire leads to the XPlosion!

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16094409)

That's why you need an XTinguisher.

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16102775)

XFire, XPlosion, where's my XPotion?

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (1)

todd10k (889348) | about 8 years ago | (#16091630)

Damn, if i had mod points. mod parent up.

Re:XFire NOT the answer to XBox Live (2, Funny)

Drachemorder (549870) | about 8 years ago | (#16092060)

Given Sony's recent business decisions, I'd be inclined to say that XFire is what Sony should do to their X-ecutives.

Good news.... However (2)

Rendo (918276) | about 8 years ago | (#16090040)

I believe it maybe a little too late. Sony obviously needs this, but with the way they've been conducting themselves towards the customer, do you really think this will fix all the problems? IE Lack of units shipping by launch, pricepoint, copycatting.

Re:Good news.... However (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16090097)

Man, as the fantastic news, outside of the Euro launch being pushed back, continues to roll in for the PS3 you really gotta be sorry for the poor fucks like Rendo.

It is going to be awesome watching these clowns cry like babies as PS3s fly off the shelves in November.

Re:Good news.... However (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16090208)

I guarantee to cry like a baby if Sony actually sells the 2 million units it claims it will ship by the end of the year. Hell, if they beat Xbox 360's disappointing 1.5 million, I'll shed a tear.

Not that I have any interest in either console. That Nintendo thing, that's interestin'

Re:Good news.... However (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16090329)

It is going to be awesome watching these clowns cry like babies as PS3s fly off the shelves in November.

Why would people cry if a videogame console sells well?

The fact is that nothing will stop the PS3 from selling out this November but I think there is reasonable cause to doubt that Sony will perform well until they can drop the price to a level that most consumers are willing to spend; and by the time the get to an affordable price will they be in a position to compete anymore?

The biggest selling points for the PS3 are that it is more powerful (which didn't help the Atari Jaguar, TurboGraphics 16, 3DO, N64, XBox, or Gamecube) and that it is a Blu Ray Player. The Blu-Ray player may be important but I have to question its value because this isn't like DVD with the PS2. Back when the PS2 was released DVD sales were exploding and the PS2 was priced at a much lower level then most DVD players (and was the same price at launch as the Playstation was); this meant that when people bought a PS2 in that first year they could justify their purchase with "it also plays DVDs" when they noticed that there were few good PS2 games (for the first 9 months the only good game I can think of was SSX). Today people have more options for gaming then they did when the PS2 was released (live platforms were the Dreamcast, PS2 and Gameboy Color) and Blu-Ray is actually underperforming in sales by most analysts expectations. A $600 console, with few good games and even fewer good movies to watch will sell very poorly.

Re:Good news.... However (1)

couch_potato (623264) | about 8 years ago | (#16090569)

It is going to be awesome watching these clowns cry like babies as PS3s fly off the shelves in November.

That's asinine, even for a Slashdot AC. If you think that anyone (besides Steve Ballmer, perhaps) would be crying like a baby at PS3s selling well, I would like to suggest that it would be you, sir, who is likely to cry like a baby if they don't end up 'flying off the shelves'. It sounds to me like you have a little too much emotion invested into this expensive toy.

Cool links. []

But This Will Still Not Save the PS3 (1)

Kennego (963972) | about 8 years ago | (#16090081)

At least that's one sorta-good thing for the PS3, finally Instead of Sony's previous statement that they'll just let developers go nuts with whatever multiplayer service they want, they at least have a central location.

Not that this change will really sway anyone here to get a PS3 after all. Holes that deep are not easy to dig out of...

as if... (1)

why-is-it (318134) | about 8 years ago | (#16090343)

Not that this change will really sway anyone here to get a PS3 after all. Holes that deep are not easy to dig out of...

You're kidding, right?

There are lots of /.'ers who will line up to get the first PS3s. When the price drops and availability is no longer an issue, TONS of people here will get one, especially when the big PS3-only titles (Final Fantasy, GTA) roll out the door.

The 360 has had the marketplace to itself for a year and in that time, the PS2 has outsold the 360. I don't think Sony is that worried. Lots of /.'ers bitch about Sony, but they will get their wallet out and score a PS3 eventually.

I hope the Wii lives up to it's billing too. I do not want to pay for the privilege of being an early adopter, but I might take the plunge on a Wii and wait for PS3 prices to fall to something a bit more reasonable.

Re:as if... (1)

Lobo42 (723131) | about 8 years ago | (#16090396)

GTA isn't a PS3-only title anymore. It appears to be coming to the Xbox 360 day-and-date with the PS3.

Re:as if... (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | about 8 years ago | (#16090413)

GTA is no longer playstation exclusive and will be released at the same time on the 360.

Re:as if... (3, Interesting)

rabbot (740825) | about 8 years ago | (#16090503)

I wouldn't put too much faith in GTA and FF carrying Sony, especially now that GTA isn't going to be PS3 only...both franchises have been going downhill in my mind.

But then again i'm weird and still live in the 80s and 90s. I don't like the direction Final Fantasy has been heading since VII, and I would rather play GTA 2 (top down), than play any of the new 3D ones.

Only time will tell.

I'll go a little further here.... (2, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | about 8 years ago | (#16092393)

FF and GTA will most definitely NOT carry Sony. Note the FF series being ported to other consoles, now, and the GTA series (which came out on PC first, and most likely will always keep it's mass following there - I'd say 1 out of every 7 PSX/2 owner that I know personally has a GTA title, and I have quite a diverse group of friends. Even the thug-rappers play more Tony Hawk than GTA.) has always been multi-platform. If Sony wants to keep their heads (or asses, depending on how far their heads are stuck up there,) above water and survive, they're going to have to pull some major stops and get on the ball. I forsee lots of beauracracy in Sony's future, or at least for their computer entertainment division.

Honestly, I don't really care about Sony anymore since their brilliant rootkit move. I had to replace my DVD/CD-RW combo drive after I got rootkitted, because it seriously screwed my drive up to the point it wouldn't even read a standard audio cd from the early 90s. Screw them for destroying my hardware.

Re:I'll go a little further here.... (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 8 years ago | (#16095140)

If you think that the main Final Fantasy and (presumably) Dragon Quest series won't carry the PS3, you know nothing about the Japanese game market - especially since Microsoft is (once again) all but completely ignoring the JRPG genre. We'll see about the Wii.

According to this [] (which, admittedly, may be a little inaccurate), Final Fantasy X sold more copies than any XBox or Gamecube game.

In addition - GTA having a mass following on PC? Not very likely. Each of the three PS2 GTA games sold over 10 million copies - this is a nigh-impossible mark to hit for a PC game. GTA is far, far bigger on consoles than it ever was on the PC.

Re:I'll go a little further here.... (1)

Rydia (556444) | about 8 years ago | (#16095592)

The sane half of Square-Enix has been saying they're going to hand over DQIX to Wii if rocket slime and DQS sell well. Even if they don't sell well, the way Sony is handling their launch and production, it seems doubtful that PS3 will be able to kee Dragon Quest.

Re:as if... (1)

blincoln (592401) | about 8 years ago | (#16091073)

When the price drops

I think that by the time the PS3's price drops enough to be considered reasonable by the average gamer, it will be far, far too late for it to do well in the marketplace - unless we consider "the marketplace" to be liquidators, a la "Atari Jaguar and 20 games for $49.99!"

IMO, companies like NVidia and ATI can be moderately successful selling to the tiny minority of people who will spend $500 on a video card, because the same technology is easy to adapt to the sub-$200 range that are sold to more people at the same time, will end up trickling down to the cheaper cards of 6/12/18/24/etc months in the future.

Sony can't use that same tactic, because it will be much longer than a year before the PS3 drops down to a reasonable (IE sub-$200) or even only-moderately-expensive (~$300) price range. By the time it does, it will be obsolete. They also aren't offering a genuine midrange bargain model. $500 is not a noticeably cheaper alternative that offers most of the same experience, it's a bad joke because it's still too expensive. If it were $300, it might have worked.

IMO, Sony (and the console market in general) are making the same type of mistakes that lead to a crash back in the 80s, and to other single-company failures like the Jaguar and the 3DO.

Microsoft isn't doing much better with the 360. Both companies' consoles are too expensive, and neither one comes with free bonuses to soften the blow to the wallet. MS could have included a stack of Xbox games to show off how much better they look in the emulator (there's plenty of good titles to choose from that are now in the bargain bin if available at all because of their age), but instead they've embraced their new nickel-and-dime-to-death Live Marketplace. Sony could have done the same with PS1 *and* 2 titles. It's cheap to make CDs and DVDs, especially since they wouldn't each need a case and cover.

Re:as if... (2, Insightful)

why-is-it (318134) | about 8 years ago | (#16091838)

I think that by the time the PS3's price drops enough to be considered reasonable by the average gamer, it will be far, far too late for it to do well in the marketplace

It depends on what you consider to be "reasonable" and "average". Like lots of /.ers, I could afford a PS3 on day one, assuming I could find one. I'm certain that it will sell out in the beginning due to a combination of actual shortages and fanbois. The question for me, and most other folks is whether it is worth the price Sony is willing to sell it for.

I suspect it won't be worth it at first, but then I haven't seen what it is capable of doing, or what titles are shipping for it. Not many first-gen titles are must-haves though, so I expect to wait. For me, cost will not be the barrier as much as perceived value. What do I get for my money? I imagine that a $600 console will have a longer, and more useful life to me than an equivalently priced PC. But, if there are no really interesting games out there to justify the OTC of the hardware, I will wait until something comes along that does.

It is possible that the PS3 will crash and burn, but I think that is unlikely. They are the biggest name in consoles, and have sold some 200 million PS2s. That kind of brainshare and marketshare does not evaporate overnight. I would hazard a guess that most of those 200 million PS2 users are not /. nerds and are unaware of the rootkit fiasco or any of Sony's other mistakes. I look at it this way: microsoft is the king of corporate ruthlessness and greed, but it hasn't hurt them in the marketplace...

it will be much longer than a year before the PS3 drops down to a reasonable (IE sub-$200) or even only-moderately-expensive (~$300) price range.

If that is your pricepoint, you will be waiting years! Taking inflation into account, the PS3 is pricy, but not radically expensive compared to other console launch prices. If the PS3 offers functionality above and beyond a game console, it might look like a relative bargain at $500. It will all hinge on the games I think. If it has fun and interesting games, it will do fine. If it does not, there's always Nintendo.

Ha ha ... Your half of the boat is sinking! (1)

fujiman (912957) | about 8 years ago | (#16094733)

Sony has claimed to have sold around 100 million, not 200 million. Of course, 100 million is a huge amount, and there's no denying that the PS2 is the best gaming bargain around.

Which brings me to the next point (made by many before me). Sony has the unenviable position of having the best gaming value on the shelf right next to the worst. Final Fantasy is a big draw, it's true. FFXII for PS2 is looking better than any PS3 launch title.

If I were Sony, I'd just stop selling the PS2 when the PS3 came out. After all, the PS3 plays all the PS2 games, right?

Sony laughing at MS because the PS2 is outselling the 360 is like them saying "Ha ha! Your half of the boat is sinking!"

arrgh (1)

bunions (970377) | about 8 years ago | (#16090082)

I like xfire. Now that Sony has their paws on it, it'll get all crappy and for some reason it'll be ATRAC-enabled. Crap.

And then... (3, Funny)

Who Man (671061) | about 8 years ago | (#16090083)

I think they should rename the PS3 to XBox, because that goes really well with XFire.

They'll call it... (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | about 8 years ago | (#16091493)

the PFire.

is has some subtle meanings.

Love Xfire (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 8 years ago | (#16090091)

I was using All Seeing Eye, but Yahoo bought them, and havnt updated to many new games. Xfire has always been active updating games, but the user interface is a dumbed down.

As a old tribes player, the game is old enough that there isnt always a full server, or the servers are password protected. Xfire lets me play that old game.

Also, PS3 might support Xfire IM?! Lets hope so.

Re:Love Xfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16090462)

Tribes is still alive and well, I am an admin on one of the most popular servers running a variation of the Shifter mod. It's usually got at least 25+ people on and has been that way for years. As the oldies say, Tribes will never die!

Innovation! (2, Interesting)

The Dalex (996138) | about 8 years ago | (#16090099)

Is Sony incapable of creating their own? I use Xfire and it's pretty good, but I was very interested in seeing what Sony would do in response to Xbox Live. I didn't expect them to outsource their system (look what happened with the rootkits). Maybe it's a way to avoid liability issues...

Re:Innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16090213)

> Is Sony incapable of creating their own?

Yep, they can't run SWG, Everquest, FFXI, etc ... Those SOE people have no idea.

Re:Innovation! (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | about 8 years ago | (#16090290)

Is Sony incapable of creating their own?
In Sony's defense *GASP* plenty of companies acquire a company's product if it will already accomplish what they would rather not spend hundreds of man-hours developing. Microsoft has done this (repeatedly), Apple has done it, Sony has done it.

Plus, if the product already exists, its no longer about innovation. It's about reverse-engineering and overhead.

Re:Innovation! (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | about 8 years ago | (#16090490)

spend hundreds of man-hours developing.
I'd estimate a rock-solid service of this type to be tens of thousands of man-hours. The scaling and reliability issues are challenging. That includes significant maintenence and feature-addition, and isn't entirely programming either (art assets, etc.), and I'm not including testing in that count, which would probably push it up into the hundreds of thousands if you include stress testing with real beta customers, although Sony probably wouldn't be paying for that directly.

Buying that is not at all unreasonable. Sony isn't Microsoft, they aren't even Nintendo.

Re:Innovation! (1)

The Dalex (996138) | about 8 years ago | (#16090497)

Since I was modded a troll, I guess I didn't raise any legitimate questions. I'm still very surprised that Sony, a company that normally keeps things proprietary and tightly controlled, would turn to an outside company for a service such as this.

Re:Innovation! (1)

Reapman (740286) | about 8 years ago | (#16090359)

This is actually pretty smart.. Sony can create their own "Live" system, go through all the growing pains of learning the mistakes Microsoft already made... orrrrrrrrrr they can go with a product that is established and works. Assuming they don't make XFire stupid in some way, this is probably the fastest way for them to "catch up" to live. Although honestly I don't think Live will make / break the consoles, I tried it once and wasn't impressed. I prefer the old fashion friends sitting on a couch within easy reach of a smack if they beat you at something :D

But when... (2, Insightful)

Hangin10 (704729) | about 8 years ago | (#16090196)

But when does Nintendo release XCube (XWater, if you want some other ironic/humorous tie-in) to compete with XFire and XBox Live?

Does anyone else detect a rather lame naming gimmick catching on across the board?

Re:But when... (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 8 years ago | (#16090241)

Xactly!(sorry, couldn't resist)

Re:But when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16090394)

Actually, XWind would come before XWater.

Re:But when... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 years ago | (#16094212)

So then who's the poor shmuck who gets stuck with XHeart?

*glances at the PSP pitifully.*

Re:But when... (1)

koden1 (1002036) | about 8 years ago | (#16090564)

You mean like iMac, iPod, iLife...

Re:But when... (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | about 8 years ago | (#16090707)

One company has a working gimmick, multiple with the same gimmick is a fad.

Re:But when... (1)

Captain Irreverence (761516) | about 8 years ago | (#16092357)

I predict that the Wii's online service will called "Download X-Treme!"

Re:But when... (1)

tbannist (230135) | about 8 years ago | (#16096102)

No, no, no. Nintendo has to releases their own online service now... WiiWater.

braindead (1)

Superfarstucker (621775) | about 8 years ago | (#16090422)

Two completely different and incompatible market segments. Simply fucking brilliant!!! I'll just message my PC buddy and ask him if he wants to play Final Fantasy XCIIV ONLINE, now featuring absolutely no game play!

wow... (0, Offtopic)

Spacehog320 (985368) | about 8 years ago | (#16090687)

wtf are you thinking sony? GERR... ok..f-this im gonna go play halo

Ha! (1)

Kirin Fenrir (1001780) | about 8 years ago | (#16090954)

Ha ha, Sony, man you guys are so fuc-

...wait, you did what? You bought PS3 rights for XFire? That...that's actually SMART. You did something smart in regards to the PS3!? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY SONY!?

Foreign Entanglements (3, Interesting)

ClamIAm (926466) | about 8 years ago | (#16091106)

So Xfire is not owned by Sony, right? This is interesting because there is the very real possibility of this deal entangling Sony with a foreign entity[1]. We saw this during the last console cycle when Microsoft and Nvidia disagreed on chip pricing.

Worse, if the relationship goes sour, several bad things would happen. Depending on how the online service is implemented, old games could stop working. Players might also be forced to sign up for a new service, and hassling with learning how to use it and setting everything up again. Or Sony could go with another system for the PS4, leaving gamers with Xfire accounts for PS3 and something else for PS4. Contrast this with Xbox Live, where the whole service is done in-house, and these problems basically do not exist. Of course, you're still locked down to Microsoft, but that's another discussion.

But to me, the most interesting element here is due to Xfire recently being bought by Viacom. Viacom is a very large and powerful media conglomerate. Sony, while more diversified, also owns a lot of media holdings. I wouldn't be surprised if some collusion[2] happens because of this deal. Maybe Sony throws some Paramount trailers up on the PS3 download service, or perhaps PS3s start showing up on Viacom-owned TV networks. This could also be an interesting angle if any disputes arise.

Of course, all my speculation here could turn out to be total BS. Despite Internet forums and "market analysts" predicting PS3 DOOOOM, Sony has a pretty good record so far of being forward-looking when it comes to consoles.

[1] By "foreign" I mean "outside the company".
[2] Collusion is illegal, so they'll call it something like "cross-promotion".

Re:Foreign Entanglements (1)

News for nerds (448130) | about 8 years ago | (#16092923)

Then they can contract other more capable entities. Unlike NVIDIA and ATI in the oligopolistic GPU market, there are others who can implement these services, it's not rocket science after all.

Rocket Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16093251)

>it's not rocket science after all.

Funny you should say that.

Mike Cassidy, a founder of XFire, has a B.S. (1985) and M.S. (1986) in Aerospace Engineering from MIT.

Re:Foreign Entanglements (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | about 8 years ago | (#16100374)

I suggest reading all of my post first. Thanks.

playing catch up (1)

Mantooth (991503) | about 8 years ago | (#16091399)

"Importantly, Xfire just signed a deal with Sony to create a version of their platform for the new PS3"

Kind of reminds me of college when i would put off my assignments until the last minute. then stay up for days straight attempting to make a program the rest of the class won't laugh at. I wonder if sony can pull it off by their newest launch date.

They can... (2, Funny)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 8 years ago | (#16092471)

...if they fire Ken Kutaragi and hire college students. Here's your caffeine, here's your beer, let's go, people!

Very smart. (1)

Silent sound (960334) | about 8 years ago | (#16092269)

XFire is a mature service that users know they can get a quality experience from. This is the first good decision I've seen come out of the Sony management in months and months.

The $ implications of this (1)

Mark Maughan (763986) | about 8 years ago | (#16093144)

After exactly 4 years the price of the Xbox360 with 20GB hard drive, component out, and XBox Live Gold subscription reaches parity with the price of the PS3 with 20GB hard drive, component out, and XFire.

After 4 the PS3 becomes cheaper with each additional year one keeps the XBL subscription.

Hopefully MS will recognize this and start knocking that price down. Or perhaps MS will simply hope the consumer doesn't notice.

Big Update: Xfire is for 1 game only (4, Informative)

jchenx (267053) | about 8 years ago | (#16093375)

Well, according to an update on 1-UP, it turns out that this Xfire deal was only for one game, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, and it is NOT meant to be the be-all end-all online solution for all PS3 games. Furthermore, the deal is between Sony Online Entertainment, and not Sony Computer Entertainment, which is the actual group that is handling the PS3. Now, things could change, and SCE could change their minds, but still ... this is all very bizarre.

When I first heard of this news, I thought it was a good move by Sony. Their strengths are in hardware, not so much with software. Yes, SOE is handling EQ and Star Wars: Galaxies, but those are arguably not to be proud about (at least of late). So partnering with Xfire seems like a great idea. Maybe the start of some good news (finally) for Sony?

But upon hearing that this partnership really is limited to just one game? Huge steps backwards, once again. Does this mean we can expect every game to utilize a different network model? Will I have different friends lists and achievements with EA and Square-Enix, with some games not utilizing anything? It's also really late in development, so does that mean all of the network features Sony is claiming to be working on, are really really behind?

I was under the impression, as was many others probably, that there was going to be one network, and the reason why we weren't hearing anything about it, was because the devs were hard at work on it. (Compared to the 360, where MS spent a large amount of time showing off Live functionality at the E3 prior to launch) But news like this makes it seem like Sony doesn't really know what it's doing after all. :P

Re:Big Update: Xfire is for 1 game only (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 8 years ago | (#16098101)

Does this mean we can expect every game to utilize a different network model?

Again, Sony misses the point with Xbox Live. What they'll deliver is esstentially the same half-assed, free-for-all that we got on the PS2. The only "service" they'll provide will be an ethernet connection on the console and a lame portal.


X-Fire (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 8 years ago | (#16093843)

X-Fire, Damn finally Sony does something right, Slashdot in shock.

Basically X-Fire is an alliance between IM software like icq and an amazing game browser like all seeing eye.

It tracks stats and gives other players links they just click on to join the server you're in (find out what song you're listening to etc.

Endorsed by Thresh (The gaming god) it's got a tiny memory footprint to save those precious fps.

It also provides sound so you can ghost (A Form of cheating where dead players tell their friends where other players are allowing them to effectively look through walls and see 2 perspectives at once... look for telltale prefraging when two players have the same clan tag, you'll see it a lot).

If Valve had used ASE for HL2 they would still have the biggest game in the world, too many companies are liscencing tech from Gamespy and their technology is utter garbage.
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