Sunday, November 18, 2007

PLAYSTATION Network: The Final Stand

As our new site will be opening in about a week, I thought I'd do my last PLAYSTATION Network article today. Prepare to read on, this may just be the most controversial article you will ever read (sarcasm).

I'm not going to be fancy on this, the only image you will see in this article is the one on the left there. This article will also be featured as one of the first posts on the new site. I'm going to make this readable and break it down into categories. These features are needed outside Home. PLAYSTATION Home is a great feature for the PLAYSTATION 3 that I will certainly enjoy using, but we need to be able to do them in XMB's 2D as well as Home's 3D.

The PLAYSTATION Network has been alive a year already. Let's start.

In-Game XMB

Let's face it, this is the one thing that all PLAYSTATION 3 owners have been dreaming of since the console was released. It was something that was supposed to be in the system in the first place, as it was shown in all the prototype videos.

With In-Game XMB, as Insomniac's Evan Well says, many of the Live features that give it an advantage over the PLAYSTATION Network would fade away. In-Game XMB would allow the playing of custom soundtracks, accessing friends lists, game invites, messages.

So much innovation could be applied to the In-Game XMB. You could go under Photo and click on Take Snapshot, or go under Video and click Record Video, then save it to your console and share them through the PC and the PLAYSTATION 3. You could check the status of your current downloads, change resolution settings. In-Game XMB would allow unlimited possibilities for the console.

Game Invitations

No online gaming network is a network without cross-game invites. Wouldn't you like to be playing some Resistance, when you receive a game invite from your friend Joe asking if you want to play Warhawk? You agree, Resistance automatically ejects, a screen pops up saying insert Warhawk, you insert it, and your automatically inside the room he invited you to.

Gamer Profiles


Achievements are some reasons that people buy multiplatform games for the Xbox 360 rather than the PLAYSTATION 3, because they want to rise their score to prove that they are the best. The PLAYSTATION 3 was originally said to have some sort of achievements called Entitlements, but then the idea was dumped. Bring back the Entitlements and watch the sales of multiplatform games rise.


Clans are another thing needed in the PLAYSTATION Network, as an option from the PLAYSTATION Network menu. With Clans, matches can be organized, and you can enter your clans in tournaments, timed matches, so you know nobody else will join. You can have a clan symbol, and represent your clan through your profile in games.

Profile Version 2.0/Gamertags

Gamertags, such as displayable gamer profiles through games and through the PC are also needed. We want to show people who we are, what we play, and if we are good at it. Thats how you know who to recruit for Tournament teams, and your Clan.

Instead of seeing a custom profile made by the developer in game, how about showing the same custom gamer profile you make on the PLAYSTATION Network? I'm not just talking about our language and about me. We want to be able to show our signature line, our games played, our entitlement score, all of that.

It would also be nice to be able to see the picture and profile of the users under Player's Met, and not just their name.

Also, let us set our own PLAYSTATION Network avatar, or add a batch of new avatars every week based on the newest released games and even Sony movies and sponsors.

Time To Notify

DeadPixels on the GT Forums came up with an idea as well, that being using the information board for something well, useful. That needs to be implemented as well to complete the features above. Perhaps customizable with themes.

Private Chat

With the in-game XMB/dashboard, private chat cross games would be nice too. In order to avoid the annoyance of 10 year old Resistance players.

News Ticker

They just released that news ticker and haven't updated it once since it was released. Update it, make it so you can click on the news, and then it will take up the screen, showing images and such with the news. Possibly a link to a demo related to the news as well from the new PLAYSTATION Store.

XMB In General

We need those PLAYSTATION Network features above added under PLAYSTATION Network, such as Entitlements, IM, and under Friends, Game Invites.

Also, the ability to change the icon for the PLAYSTATION Network section in the XMB for themes would also be nice, as it makes most themes look ugly.

XMB Second Opinion

These are just my thoughts here, for this part of the article. I personally thing the XMB is a bit last generation. It's been featured in the PSP, the PSX, and Sony TV's. Shouldn't we get some new nicely designed interface for the next-generation console? Xbox 360's Blade design is very nice, why not make an interface similar, but not the same? Meaning, something brand new.

PLAYSTATION Network Promotions

Promote the network, have events featuring celebrity gamers, free downloads for the day (like an old arcade game such as Calling All Cars!), official tournaments, and such.


Here is the biggest issue next to no in-game XMB, the PLAYSTATION Store. Let's start because there is a lot to cover.

The Design

As of now, the PLAYSTATION Store is one ugly mess. First off, it's a webpage that updates once a week. The webpage interface is simply annoying and is a major turn-off. What Sony needs to do is replace it in an update with a program, like how Folding@Home is a program. You click the program, the XMB fades away, and the store opens.

Now, this new store should be able to categorize content by type (Game, Trailer, Add-Ons, Demos), name (A, B, C, D), genre (Action, Arcade, Adventure, etc.), or featured/newest. Along with that, we need title searches as well.

Constant Flow of Updates

Next along the line, these Thursday updates are not going so well. We get around 4-5 videos a week, and 1-2 demos. If Sony gets it's act together and starts getting a few more demos, and puts more videos and add-on content, that would be great. Don't do this all on Thursday, give us 3-4 videos on Monday, Tuesday give us a demo, Wednesday give us like 2 videos and a map pack, you get the drift, right? Otherwise, the store is a wasteland on days besides Thursday.

Game Demos

Now with demos, have you realized your competitor gets a major amount of demos compared to the PLAYSTATION Network, and usually either before us. Whenever we get it before them, it's about maybe 2 hours before them, and they get it as well. You need to pursue 3rd party developers.

Downloadable Games

Next, we have the downloadable titles on the PLAYSTATION Store. It's great to see new downloadable titles, but we would like to test run the titles right? You need to provide a demo for every arcade title that you release.

You know, Retro is good. Sony once said that they want to produce more original titles than offering retro. Well, those original titles take quite some time, and some Sonic 3 & Knuckles or Ys I & II would hold us off till we got them. Retro may be old, but enhanced retro makes it new.

You should try and get at least one game on the store a week.

PSone Classics

As for the PSone Classics, this was supposed to be a special thing that would allow us to reminisce the old days. So far we only have around 16 PSone titles since December 2006. Every week, give us at least three-fjve new PSone titles, that will build up over time. Need help on what to give us? Here are some hints:

- 007: The World Is Not Enough
- Crash Bandicoot 2
- Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
- Digimon World
- Digimon World 2
- Digimon World 3
- Dragonball GT: Final Bout
- Gran Turismo 2
- Final Fantasy VII
- Final Fantasy VIII
- Final Fantasy IX
- Final Fantasy Tactics
- Medal of Honor
- Metal Gear Solid
- PaRappa The Rapper
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
- Silent Hill
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
- Vagrant Story
- Warhawk (PSone)
- Wipeout XL
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Get in contact with those third party developers and get those games on the network. And if you can, why not enhance them by adding online play, and leaderboards. Thats not completely necessary though.

Your doing a PSone Classics service, right? Why not a PS2 Originals service such as Live is soon starting? Offering it as a download would only cost around $10 per game, and many users would buy, especially since the lack of backwards compatibility in the new system.


Even though paying with cash is good, there is one bad factor: the taxes. For every item you buy, you need to pay tax. That means you can't buy a $4.99 game without adding $10.00 to your account due to taxes. There is a way to solve this.

Add in PLAYSTATION Points, meaning you buy the points at the store or online, and when you buy the card you pay the tax on the card or what not, and then when you get on the store, you use your points straight. So if you have 2000 points, you can buy four $4.99 games (500 points each).

It will be making the method of buying PLAYSTATION Store items much easier.

Update Required

Firmware updates are great, since they continue to add new features to the PLAYSTATION 3. But why isn't actually "getting the feature" updated? When a new update is available, you need to go to your Network Update option, find the update, download it (which takes about maybe 10 minutes), install it (maybe 5 minutes), and then restart.

Have a screen pop-up upon the start of the system when an update is available, click download, have the bar load up once, then twice for the install, and make it fast. Once thats done, restart.

Essential Accessories

There are two things the PLAYSTATION 3 needs (in NA at least) that it currently does not have. One is PLAYSTATION Network cards, as a lot of the PLAYSTATION 3 user base do not own credit cards. The second is an official headset packaged in every box, a headset builds a community, and helps with making friends. It could even be the cheapest thing as long as it works.

The Final Stand

Now, thats my last PLAYSTATION Network article. And if nobody listens, I guess I didn't get through to anybody then. I hope you enjoyed the read. But if your like me and want these features, a great new way to try and get them is to post a link to this article at IGN's new PSN Central discussion base. It specifically asks you what you want to see on the Network.


Anonymous said...

agreed, i dont mind without ps2 titles thogh

Anonymous said...

yeah man i agree with this features 100% PSN need a total makeover..

Anonymous said...

i love how this site acts all rebelish, but in all serryusness, i agree

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think your comments were well spoken, and these are the features I wish PSN would add in the updates. In game chat is the most important feature of ONLINE GAMING.

Anonymous said...

Some good points made here, it seems Sony has a lot of work to do. Unfortunately I think PSN will always be playing catch up to Miicrosoft's XBOX LIVE. The LIVE service is well established now being 5 years old and soon it will be further improved with the fall updates.

Anonymous said...

This is probaly a little random, but I found out yesterday that you can infact access the xmb when using the browser, just tap the home button. This gives me some hope because I would imagine that using the xmb when in the browser is not to far from using it in game.

Andronix said...

I love the article, and am looking forward to the launch of your site. You have listed almost everything on a PS3 owners wish list.

Sony are working on a PS3 Gamercard, I just hope its not tied up with HOME ie, that a 2D version is visible as with the 360.

I love your idea about gamers being able to stick a picture of themselves listed with their account/gamercard. Their must be loads of PlayStation Eye integration. and maybe video messages.

Good Luck!

andronix @

bojan said...


I wholeheartedly agree. Sony seriously needs to step it up, and FAST.

Robert said...

Spot on exactly what the ps3 needs, I just got my ps3 about a week ago and I love it.

The difference between 360 and ps3 for me is that the ps3 is a better console never mind online gaming and such but the 360 has a better feel to it and the way its laid out... and download content, add in all the afore mentioned features and sony will have one hell of a console

derrickgott007 said...

The original poster is a whiny crybaby. "I want it now, and I want it free" is what this douche cries every day while he sucks his thumb curled up in his mommy's lap.

TerminateNDestroy1989 said...

Although these are the features that Live has, I agree. If they don't catch up now, whenever we have all the shit that Live does, Live will have a whole load of new features.

As a PS3 and 360 owner, I can say I usually play my 360 more due to Live. Although I like my PS3 better, it's just the way it is. *sad face*

Anonymous said...

2 other ps1 games they should put in the store are mortal kombat trilogy and hydro thunder both need online play too that would be awesome

Anonymous said...

good article. although, i think sony is getting close to adding things like in-game xmb. before when i would listen to music/watch video and try to send a message, it'd ask me to quit, not anymore. push the ps button and send away. it's probably harder to do with games but it'll happen sometime in the future. but things like cross-game invites.. i think that'll take some more time for sony to implement, but that would be very cool.

superaktieboy said...

You are well right.. i agree with you a 100%.. although you have forgotten 2 things, we can't play music when navigating through the xmb's settings category.. and also when accessing the PS Store.. they need to fix those too..

whoelse said...

I agree though theres no way the XMB will be replaced. The XMB is a great interface but it needs working on.

I would like a widget style where you can have part of the screen filled with promotions and new stuff on the PS Store at the top of the screen.

Also in-store XMB, in-game XMB like in-browser XMB. Im worried how long additional features are going to take based on how empty 2.00 was. It needs all this stuff NOW!!!

Stephane said...

Oh boy, where do I start?

Besides the fact that your entire article is a long and tedious recap of every PLAYSTATION 3 owner's wishlist, you also discredit Home at the very beginning for some reason or another. I'll get back to you on Home later.

I have a question for you:

Do you think that Sony doesn't know what their consumers are demanding from them? Do you believe that they haven't implemented those demands into their system yet because they're too dense?

Just think about it for a second. Has it occured to you that it takes a lot of time and resources to realize all of those things? Not to mention that it all has to be coherent with the bigger picture.

There's no in-game XMB because hasn't been able to make it work properly yet! Your reference to the prototype video is irrelevant seeing as it's a damn prototype. It's not based on any real-world situations. Do you know how much of a hit a game would take by using OS features? Code needs to be optimized and still be compatible - this takes time. Yet you still manage to write things like:

"So much innovation could be applied to the In-Game XMB. You could go under Photo and click on Take Snapshot, or go under Video and click Record Video, then save it to your console and share them through the PC and the PLAYSTATION 3. You could check the status of your current downloads, change resolution settings. In-Game XMB would allow unlimited possibilities for the console."

Don't you see the arrogance in that? Recording gameplay progress? God...

And in your entire article you go out of your way to demand a Playstation Network that is exactly like Live. If you want Live, you get an Xbox 360. It's as simple as that. Sony needs to make it's own identity with it's online network and they're doing just that with Home.

Sony's current goal with Home is to integrate it seamlessly with the XMB, so you'll be able to use many features on both. Trophies that are viewable in Home as well as on your profile are an example of this. This is also one of the main reasons why Sony can't offer everything you want just now - they have to consider their future plans and Home integrations. It's all part of a bigger picture that none of us can see at the moment.

Playstation Network cards are on their way. You know this as the editor of this blog. Wait for it.

That goes for the rest of your demands as well. Read the comments from the Playstation blog from time to time. Sony's listening and working hard. Have patience...

One thing I agree with, seeing as Sony hasn't said anything that makes me think they're considering changing it, is the Playstation Store layout. That needs to change and I hope Sony knows this.

Sorry, but in general I find this article to be arrogant and a repetition of old Firmware 2.00 speculation threads you would find on every Playsation message board.

onADMIN said...

Hey Stephane,

I'm not trying to get off on the wrong foot here, and I'm sorry that the article aggravated you.

Like you, everyone is entitled to their opinion. This article is not to demand anything to happen instantly, but perhaps to get a reassurance that at least some of these things (besides in-game XMB) are in the works.

"you also discredit Home at the very beginning for some reason or another"

You may have misunderstood my fellow reader. Home is a great feature for the PLAYSTATION 3 that I will certainly enjoy using. When I said "all these features are needed outside Home", I meant that we need to be able to do them in XMB's 2D as well as Home's 3D.

I will fix that section of the article to make it better understood. =]

onADMIN said...

Also, when I say:

"So much innovation could be applied to the In-Game XMB. You could go under Photo and click on Take Snapshot, or go under Video and click Record Video, then save it to your console and share them through the PC and the PLAYSTATION 3. You could check the status of your current downloads, change resolution settings. In-Game XMB would allow unlimited possibilities for the console."

Those are just ideas that can be possible with in-game XMB, showing the value of the feature, not demands.

Stephane said...

It's not that the article itself aggravated me, rather than the lack of understanding the technical aspect of all these demands. Being a software developer myself, I know what it entails to actually program something and I can only imagine what it would be in a company as big as Sony's.

Now, one can simply say that if MS can feature these aspects of online gaming into their system, the same should apply to Sony. But by doing that, you're ignoring the two very different structures - one being one a closed circuit and the other on an open one.

"You may have misunderstood my fellow reader. Home is a great feature for the PLAYSTATION 3 that I will certainly enjoy using. When I said "all these features are needed outside Home", I meant that we need to be able to do them in XMB's 2D as well as Home's 3D."

That's actually Sony's goal to a certain extent. Yet I don't see the need to make everything spread over both applications. It doesn't have to be Live + Home.

"This article is not to demand anything to happen instantly, but perhaps to get a reassurance that at least some of these things (besides in-game XMB) are in the works."

But who will give that reassurance? A lot of what was listed in the article has already been mentioned or hinted at as being under development.

Also note that my post was/is in no way an attack to you or this blog.
I just think that constantly en repeatedly pleading for these various new features is quite tiring. The Playstation 3 is getting enough bad press as it is, albeit slightly improving, I don't think it needs a publication dedicated to it to follow suit.

incredibilistic said...

Stephanie pretty much said it best. The most profound point is that Live is a closed-system while Sony's is wide open. With that kind of structure it's almost impossible to be ready for what the future might bring. All the code has to be as scalable as possible in order to account for the unknown or at least be flexible enough to edit/delete complete sections of their network.

And I agree that a lot of stuff in this feature have either already been mentioned on the Playstation Blog or are in testing phases.

Without getting thrown out of the Home beta I'll just comment that some of the things you're asking for are being implemented into Home right now.

And as Stephanie also pointed out, Home will be included a multitude of features that we're all looking for.

The biggest bottomline in this entire feature is the fact that Sony is very, very new at this. Microsoft has not only 5 years of development on Xbox Live but programmers that are experts at online development. Microsoft could be regarded as one of the founding fathers of the internet. Sure they stole the idea of a web browser from Netscape but you don't steal concepts/technology like that without understanding the technology or at least getting the right people in place to understand and move it forward.

Overall, I see your article as more of a labor of love. The fact that you spend so much time talking about it and going over it time and time again shows that you care. You're showing tough love but it can sometimes come off as more negative than optimistic.

Keep up the good work. If it matters this is the first site I check every day (and I check it probably 10 or more times a day).

J3rdstkillah said...

Real nice a lot of the features you say r ones that the PS3 really needs in order to be the sony console we all want to know and luv. We all know Sony will listen if we let them know whats wrong with there system and ideas on how to make them better i just hope they listen. If we want a better system were ganna have to help them help us. No more telling Sony they suk r telling them how much better the Xbox 360's online is better because that doesn't help us at all.

Wolf26pack said...

I agree with this article like most have but have learned to take things when in regards with Sony with a grain of salt.

I know they intend these features to come as fast as possible but now instead of thinking that "Ohh they showed in game XMB it will be here soon" or whatever new feature they announce as coming.

I now think "Ohh they showed in game XMB they must have just this week thought about it and put together a quick demonstration to show that this is what they want to do, it will be months if not years before this feature hits the system"

This makes it so when it doesn't show up right away I don't get pissed or disappointed about it not being there. Although I want the PS3 to be the best it can be. I rather Sony take it's time and get things right rather than rush any of it and have a big mess on there system. Rushed products are what pisses me off more than the wait.

I personally believe that Sony right now is understaffed in the PSN and PS3 sections because it is taking so long to implenment certain features. It also looks like Sony is in some $$$ trouble as I see them cutting down on a lot of there other products such as....

1. Desktop Computers (They used to Carry Many Different Models now only like 3 Models are available)

2. Sony Monitors are Completly not available anymore.

3. They sold there Cell Manufacturing Plant to Toshiba.

4. Started trying to sell more stocks in there Japanese Insurance Business.

5. Are trying to sell a part of there CG movie studio to other people. etc etc etc....

When I see this, I see Sony in a desperate place and in the need of $$$. Now maybe I'm just jumping to conclusions and Sony is just making some business moves that have nothing to do with them needing money.

What do you guys think?

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