In-Game Soundtracks Off Limits To PS3?
Update: Just to clarify, while it is true that Microsoft owns the patent on this particular feature, Sony can still offer custom soundtracks...only in a slightly different way. You may notice that some PS3 and PSP games allow players to do this already, but not in a way that goes against Microsoft's patent.
Sony has already added plenty in the way of enhancements and upgrades to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network, but one of the most popular features only available on the Xbox 360 may never arrive. As it turns out, Microsoft actually owns the patent on custom in-game soundtracks, which has been available in past Xbox and Xbox 360 titles.
According to Ripten, in-game soundtracks may forever stay with Microsoft consoles - despite what you may have heard about the upcoming Cross Media Bar for the PS3 - because MS holds the patent for soundtracks created by the player. Perhaps some of you remember titles like Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, which allowed the user to burn songs from CDs onto the system, thereby letting you listen to your favorite tracks when playing the game. Evidently, Microsoft secured this feature for the new generation when they were awarded the patent in mid-2006. It's called the "Method and Apparatus for Creating and Playing Soundtracks in a Gaming System," and unfortunately for PS3 owners, MS has the exclusive rights to it. Sorry, guys.
We suppose Sony could find a way to produce a feature that's similar (but not the same) and implement it, but that would require finding a technical loophole of some kind. Maybe they can find it...maybe they can't. But the bottom line is, customizable in-game soundtracks may be out of the question for Sony platforms.
3/31/2008 Ben Dutka