The Sony PlayStation 3 – Amazing Hardware, Blu-ray Movie Playback, Average Software!

PS3After enjoying the absolute in adventure gaming with the legendary Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and bathing myself in Blu-ray movies, there is one thing that is annoying the hell out of me and it hasn’t passed yet. The software setup on the PlayStation 3 is so behind the times!

Let me clarify before I go any further. The PlayStation 3 is a visual power house. The PS3 has already triggered jaw dropping sensations, but it sits there in its quite ugly black box (I have it laying down horizontally) with the most dismal online layout. Remember I am comparing this to my Microsoft Xbox 360, which has connectivity with the community as its core principle and I miss this completely when using the PlayStation.

This is not a rant to prove to myself and others that the PlayStation 3 is a mediocre console and should hang its head in shame, in fact quite the opposite. I love the PlayStation 3 for its graphical splendour and a selection of cracking games. This instead is my moment to tell you the reader why Sony is so close to impressing me thoroughly, however is just missing out on the one important trait that any new gaming entertainment machine needs and that is the consistent online environment.

There is nothing wrong with it as such, but times have changed dramatically since the original Xbox. In this new high definition era, you can’t concentrate on just a few areas and hope for the best outcome, you need everything. The Xbox 360 is always there to inform you of your friends list, messages, what people are playing, whether you can join them, their gaming highlights and the list goes on and on. The PlayStation 3 feels like the original Xbox where you are disconnected from your online buddies every time you change the disk or dare watch a movie.

PlayStation 3 XMBI hate this sensation. Maybe if I hadn’t experienced the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, I would be far more forgiving and would compare it to the PC online drudgery, however I have tasted near perfection so I am going to be far harder on Sony in this area. You may disagree with me and of course this is your right, but something really needs to be done if Sony are as interested as they suggest in making the PS3 a true next generation console that has it all.

The Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) also has the opportunity to list your friends, but it doesn’t! Why on earth not? Why can’t I log in with my PSP and see who is online, what system they are on, send them a message etc. Madness! The Xbox 360 doesn’t have a portable companion, yet the PlayStation 3 has, but haven’t maximised the potential here either.

Hints are already appearing on the Internet that they will indeed add a feature to check friends online and messages when hitting the PS button sometime quite soon, but I just hope it isn’t just a token gesture to keep us all happy a little longer. Yes your service may be free and of course we all love free, but Xbox Live isn’t exactly breaking the bank either and as far as community and online connectivity is concerned, the Xbox 360 has it in the bag unless something drastic can be achieved.

James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.