I never really considered myself all that big a fan of multiplayer games. I played them sure, but I was very much more of a single player gamer. I preferred running my hero through the story and settings that the game designers had in mind. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy getting in some GoldenEye action with my friends when they were over, just that I’d rather be running James Bond around and having him gun down copious amounts of bad guys.
This probably all stems from either my group of friends or I constantly moving around when we were younger. It made it hard for us to do much of any real console gaming together. That all changed with Xbox Live, and while I didn’t do much with it on the original Xbox, the 360 has Live integrated so well that it was practically impossible to ignore. Because of that I’ve regularly gotten in rounds of multiplayer gaming at least once or twice a week. Gears of War and Call of Duty 4 sucked up a great deal of my gaming time.
Now, however, with my 360 in Red Ring Heaven, I didn’t realize just how much I would miss the social interaction of Live as well as the gaming aspect. I’ve been spending more time with my PS3 in the last day or so and it’s become painfully obvious how very different their online schemes are. Now I’ve only played Warhawk online on the Playstation 3 and it went very smoothly, so game performance wise I don’t really have any way to judge. But I realize now just alone the gaming experience feels on the PS3.
While playing on the 360 you can always access your friend’s list to see what people are playing and maybe toss an invite to a game their way, but on the PS3, yeah I can see when my friends log on, but that’s it. If I’m in a game, I can’t send them a message, I can’t see what they’re playing, and trying to organize a get together in Warhawk is a major pain the ass.
I’ve definitely been spoiled by how easy Microsoft made the multiplayer experience on the 360 and in my opinion it’s worth the yearly fee they charge for it. I’d gladly pay something similar for the PS3 if they gave me the same kind of social interaction that Live allowed. On the 360 I felt like I was actually part of a community and was able to participate with my friends in gaming almost as easily as if they were sitting on the couch next to me. On the PS3, gaming feels very isolated and alone, it’s a very stark contrast to the 360’s experience.
It took me awhile to warm up to the Playstation 3 but I really do think it’s a great system. It’s a bit too big and the controller still bugs me, but then I’ve never liked that particular design. I am glad to see Sony has been digging themselves out of the whole that their marketing department helped put them in when the system launched and I do enjoy playing games on it now. But gaming on it makes me feel like the kid who’s been grounded and sent to his room and sadly watches as his friends all play outside.