There was only one part of the release of the PS3 that I thought they might be able to compete with the XBox 360 and that was the online. Ever since I saw the John Carmack interview two E3s ago, I knew that the difference between the graphics of the machines wouldn't be exploitable by most game programmers. But I did that since XBox Live has been around for 3 years, that the Sony guys might be able to take it to the next level. But according to this NYT review, they have flubbed it horribly.
If there is one thing one would expect Sony to get perfect, though, it would be music. Wrong. Sure, you can plug in your digital music player and the PS3 will play the tunes. But as soon as you go into a game, the music stops. By contrast, one of the things I’ve always enjoyed most on the Xbox 360 is being able to listen to my own music while playing Pebble Beach or driving my virtual Ferrari. Doesn’t seem too complicated, but the PS3 can’t do it.
In that sense it often feels as if the PlayStation 3 can’t walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. In the PS3’s online store (which feels like a slow Web page) you can access movie trailers and trial versions of new games, but when you actually download the 600-megabyte files, you’ll be stuck watching a progress bar crawl across the screen for 20 or 40 minutes. Astonishingly, you can’t download in the background while you go do something that’s more fun (like play a game). On the Xbox 360, not only are files downloaded seamlessly in the background, but you can also shut off the machine, turn it on later, and the download will resume automatically.
The PS3’s whole online experience feels tacked-on and unpolished. On the Xbox 360 each user has a single unified friends list, so you can track your friends and communicate with them easily, no matter what game you are in. On the PlayStation 3 most games have their own separate friends list and some have no friends function at all. There is a master list as well, but in order to communicate with anyone on it, you have to quit the game you are playing.
That's not only subpar, that's shameful. I spent many hours last week getting addicted and unaddicted to the the triple threat of online shooters releasing for the 360: Gears of War, Call of Duty 3 and Rainbow Six Vegas. The online shooting world is so hot now even the Rainbow Six Vegas Demo has captivated folks on my friends list. The full game debuts Wednesday.
I feel sorry for PS3 diehards, but not so very sorry. Actually, I wish there were a way to get them onto XBox Live, just so I could have the pleasure of fragging the lamers.