Online gaming to decide next console war?

In their just-published April report, market research and consulting firm DFC Intelligence asks whether the online services associated with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution will be a major factor in the console war between Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

DFC's take is refreshingly contrarian. Rather than endorse the view that Sony's PlayStation 3 console is gearing up to compete feature-for-feature with the Xbox 360's Live service, DFC writes that the PS3's online service "looks a lot like the PlayStation 2 with an online store and some inexpensive community features added on."

If DFC is right, and if Sony's PS3 service does mimic the PS2's service, then the Sony publicity machine may have already oversold the PS3's online capabilities, because PlayStation partisans on Joystiq have been quick to cite Sony's early announcements as proof that Sony is going to dominate in the online space.

(UPDATE: Image link has been corrected.)