Untold Legends gets Xfired

Online service debuts on the PlayStation 3 with the latest installment in Sony Online Entertainment's adventure series; Xfire for the Wii in the works?

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Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
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In August, Viacom brass let slip that the conglomerate's latest acquisition, the PC gaming service Xfire, was working on a version of its utilities that would run on the PlayStation 3. A Sony Online Entertainment rep later pegged Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom as the first PS3 game to make use of the service but offered no details about how exactly the launch game would implement Xfire.

Today Xfire confirmed that some of its features would be implemented into Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, and it spilled the beans on exactly how it would work with Sony's new platform. What's more, the company is licensing its own software development kit for publishers who want to incorporate Xfire features into their PS3 games.

Xfire CEO Mike Cassidy told GameSpot that his company will be providing cross-platform text chat and friends-list features for the game, allowing Dark Kingdom players to see and talk with Xfire-equipped buddies on the PC and PS3. Cassidy said that support for more Xfire features will be added to Dark Kingdom later and that the goal was to have all of them up and running on PS3 games in the future. He said that currently there are "less than 10" PS3 games set to integrate Xfire features.

Although Xfire is an advertising-supported service, Cassidy said PS3 gamers won't be subjected to sales pitches. Despite the lack of ad revenue in the company's presence on Sony's console, Cassidy painted it as a win-win, where Sony Online gets 5 million-plus Xfire users that might see all their friends playing Dark Kingdom online and become interested in it, and Xfire gets an influx of new subscribers, who will be advertised to if and when they decide to use the service on their PCs.

Cassidy said the company's move into the console realm is something its publishing partners and customers have been asking for, and the company has further designs for gaming in the living room.

"We are in talks with one other console maker," Cassidy said, a likely reference to Nintendo, which is set to launch the Wii in the US two days after Sony releases the PS3. The only other console maker of note, Microsoft, has built its own Xbox Live service from the ground up and has announced its own cross-platform plans to integrate it with cell phones and PCs with Live Anywhere.

It bears noting that gamers won't necessarily need to sign up for Xfire to play Dark Kingdom online or chat with other gamers. Sony Online Entertainment producer Andy Sites described it as an "optional service."

"We support the PlayStation Network friends, matchmaking, and messaging service, and we've also integrated Xfire," Sites said. "So you can use both, or you can choose to use Xfire, or just the PlayStation Network. We've integrated them so they work well together."

As for how easily the Xfire service works with the PS3, both camps agreed that everything came together well. Sites said his team implemented the Xfire features themselves with "minimal support" from Cassidy's crew and called it "very easy to integrate."

"It's not technically hard to do," Cassidy said. "We did the whole Dark Kingdom thing in about three and a half weeks, but it was a race. ... The Sony Online engineers worked like crazy and we worked like crazy, but we were able to pull it off."

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