Improving The PSN
It’s often easy to forget just how far the PS3 has come since its launch back in late 2006. Not only are there better and more games, with better graphics and more evolved gameplay; but the PS3 itself has come a long way as well. Back when I first bought my old 60 GB PS3, the PSN Store was just a web page, and functioned like the browser. The first thing I ever downloaded was the Resistance: Fall of Man demo, which took about 6 hours to download and at least 2 hours to install.
You couldn’t background download, or have multiple downloads going at once. There was no Home, no video store, no Netflix capability, and no Trophies. The list of improvements goes on and on, and it really is astounding to think about how much better we have it today. But there will always be more to add, things to improve, and ways to make the PS3 better. It’s unfortunate that we will never be getting cross-game chat, but I have thought of plenty of other improvements that I would love to see Sony put into future updates.
First up; give us a better game profile. Sony needs to take a hint from popular social networks (especially Playfire.com, which is made for gamers) and create sections on the PSN Gamer Cards that allow us to show our age, sex, languages, location, what games we played recently, favorite games, and to display whatever trophies you are most proud of. It might also be a good idea to include other players’ friends lists, to make it easier to find more players who like the same games as you. It doesn’t need to be too much information, just most the stuff gamers usually want to know about each other. Below I’ve included a very sleek example created by Emissark/eMesark that would work perfectly.
Messages, and the alert you receive for them, are another thing that I would love to see redone. For example, there’s a little envelope up in the corner of the screen that lets you know that you have unread messages, but not how many. The easy solution is to just put a number inside that little envelope to let you know that you have 5, or whatever, unread messages. And while they’re at it, perhaps make that envelope fade in and out a little to get your attention. It would also be nice if there was a little chime, like with trophies but different, whenever you receive a message. They should also include an alert when a download has stopped, because even with some single player games, once you start playing, your downloads will stop without you even knowing. One other idea is to allow players to customize where there alerts show up on the screen. Perhaps in the settings they could create an option under “Display” that will allow you to select top or bottom left, center, or right of the screen for alerts to pop up.
In order to get more people aware that there was a PSN Store, Sony put PSN Store portals in both the Game and Video sections of the XMB, as well as its usual spot. This isn’t a big deal, however I find it unnecessary to have so many of them, and I usually just use the portal in the PSN section of the XMB. My thinking is that they should remove the Game and Video portals, and whenever you turn your system on it will start with you looking at the PSN Store icon on the XMB rather than the “Whats New” icon. Another small thing that bugs me is that whenever you hover over the Whats New, Home, or PSN Store icons, a blue background fades up, and I personally don’t like that. Like I said, it’s small but it bugs me.
One of the things that I would love most is if I was able to organize downloads. Whenever new content is added to the store I usually just jump in and start clicking on what I want to download, then later when I’m looking at the list I have to pause some things so that others can get done first. It would be nice to just click Triangle on the downloads and be allowed to move them around in the order you want them done. A similar idea is to create custom folders in each category. Just select an item and say “create new folder”, like in the video section, and select all the other videos you want in that folder, then label it “Uncharted 3 ownage” or whatever and all those videos will be nice and organized in one place.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I really hate the “PS Move” warning that is popping up in more and more games. That’s an extra 15 seconds I have to wait before owning noobs in Resistance 3! It really wouldn’t be so bad if you only had to push a button once to skip the whole thing, but you actually have to hit X several times to get through all the frames explaining how you shouldn’t hit people or your lamp, and how to make sure the camera is facing you instead of the wall. Every time I see that warning I feel insulted. And I don’t even have a Move so this information is completely irrelevant to me! Sony wants to cover there ass, and I get that, but isn’t including a warning with the actual controller enough?
The PS3 continues to improve and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next. Perhaps Home will start hosting “free movie nights”, or perhaps the “PlayStation Rewards” program will show up and we will start getting extra goodies for our trophies. There’s a lot of possibilities, so we just need to keep throwing ideas out there and let Sony know what we want.