Talking Heads: Social Gaming- Is the PS3 Disconnected?

In what I hope to be the first of many different formats and collaberations on this blog, I talk to fellow gamer Rockers Delight about social gaming and how the PS3 compares against the Xbox 360 in this regard.  In the following transcript Los Havros will be denoted with LH and Rockers Delight with RD.

LH: Thanks for taking time out to have a chat!  We’re going to be talking about the PS3 and its lack of social connectivity.  I have to admit, I’m a bit confused here.  I couldn’t help but notice some of your recent tweets noting that for you the PS3 user experience feels a bit ‘disconnected’, ‘unsociable’… your ‘loner console’.

I find this area of debate fascinating, but could you expand on what you mean.  Is it simply a lack of cross-game chat, or is it more?

RD: Hey, Los Havros! You are indeed right, more than once I’ve referred to the PlayStation 3 as my ‘loner console’, most recently spurred by a 360 gamer switching to PS3 and Tweeting the same thing.

Let me point out, though, that despite my feelings of solitary with my PS3, all my real life friends are in fact PS3 gamers, not 360. So, despite being new to the console, I do actually have a decent-sized friends list.

It’s difficult to know where to start, and to also refrain from sharing all my thoughts on this at once. To sum up how social a console the 360 can be, it feels like you’re missing a leg if not connected to Xbox Live. PS3, on the other hand, wouldn’t make much difference to me if I was playing online or offline.

The fact the PlayStation 3 is sold without any device for communicating is a good starting point. It shows that connectivity between gamers isn’t a priority for Sony, unlike Microsoft who box every console with a basic headset.

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The Stone Age Gamer

This article originally appeared on TheSixthAxis on July 25, 2008

Let’s talk tasty treats for a moment, shall we?  The general consensus is that as tasty as vanilla is, it just has to be chocolate.  Chocolate is so much richer and decadent than vanilla.  Right- keep those thoughts of ice cream and chocolate in the back of your mind for the minute.  All shall be revealed in due course…

I had a discussion the other day with a fellow PS3 gamer.  You’d have thought that we perhaps shared common ground?  Wrong.  Very wrong indeed.  I was talking to this gamer about the latest PS3 update and the Trophy system that had been added.  I received a blank look.  That wasn’t a good sign, I thought.

I then venture out and ask whether he’s played online at all with his PS3.  He said he hadn’t.  It turns out that he hasn’t even registered with the PlayStation Network!  This means, my friends, that he has not experienced the soft, blue glow of the PlayStation Store containing all the latest PS3 game demos, PSN games, film trailers, themes and more.  He will also not be able to collect Trophies without registering, let alone play any games online- the bread and butter of the online experience.

I mentioned all of this to him.  He didn’t care.  He told me that he ‘just wants to play games’.  I have to admit that it had never occured to me until now that there were gamers out there who didn’t care about what else they could do apart from play games.  In my opinion they are not getting the fullest, richest experience.  They are munching on plain vanilla ice cream.

I however, am indulging on the rich chocolate experience of the PlayStation Network which is a glorious feast for the senses and showcases some simply cracking entertainment.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This writer is a trully next generation gamer, not stuck in the Stone Age.

This leaves me wondering: which category do you fall under?  And do you know any other gamers who are like this?  Feel free to leave a comment on this subject, or send me some hate mail if I’ve really rattled some cages.  Till next time!

PS3 Fan Noise Controversy

Updated December 2008

I’ve been reading an interesting article in PS3 Fanboy entitled ‘Clean your PS3 fan with quick-n-easy test‘ which is for 40Gb PS3s and works by running a fan test, which speeds up the fan and also supposedly ‘blows out the dust…essentially cleaning it up’. Fair enough.

What is interesting though is the controversy and misinformation about PS3 fan noise in the comments section at the end of the article. To be honest, it looks like it has turned into a bit of a flame war so let’s try and rationalise things a little bit.

Some people are saying that the 40Gb PS3 sounds really loud, and the 60Gb version doesn’t (who knows about the 80Gb version, whatever) and they use examples such as this on YouTube. Now, I have a 40Gb PS3 and let me tell you it doesn’t sound like that at all; in fact, I can barely hear it. So I’m thinking that with the YouTube example given, and what such people are saying, I can infer two conclusions: either a faulty PS3, or a PS3 being run with the fan test. It’s as simple as that.

Other people have been saying that the 60Gb is louder than the 40Gb, although I couldn’t possibly comment on that. However I’ve been gaming with a mate who has a 60Gb PS3 and it sounds comparable to mine; I believe any difference will be negligible.

So what on earth is the point I am trying to make? Once they’ve started up PS3s are very quiet, I mean sometimes it doesn’t even sound like they’re turned on (although the lights are lit up of course). In general, PS3s are made to a very high quality; they keep very cool and the sound is kept to a minimum so if you have a particularly loud PS3 then there is a good possibility that there might be something wrong with it.

December 2008 update: I now find myself in possession of an 80GB PS3.  As to why this is the case, I direct you here for more information.  It is my observation that the fan noise on this model is slightly louder than my old 40GB model.  Why is this the case?  I honestly don’t know, and can only speculate.  Still though, the noise is not really that noticable and nothing for concern.

If your PS3 sounds very loud, then my advice above still stands.  There might be something wrong with your PS3, so get it checked out.  The people to call are the Sony care line.  In addition, you may want to check out the comprehensive PS3 fan guide.

GamePro interview with Scott Steinberg, marketing VP of Sony

GamePro interview with Scott Steinberg, marketing VP of Sony– Interesting read.  There’s discussion of the Blu-ray victory, Microsoft’s 2008 game line-up, and possibilities for new PS3 downloads (including the possibility of movies, music, and PS2 games).

Sony’s marketing VP tells GamePro that Microsoft may have “already leveraged all of their big assets” for the Xbox 360 in 2007, leaving 2008 wide open for the PlayStation 3.

Nothing is true, everything is permitted

Assassin's Creed
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve finally completed the story of Assassin’s Creed, even though I’ve had the game since Christmas.  However, I can tell you that it is not easy trying to complete a game when you only return home about once a month, and have studies to attend to.  I only completed Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune itself about a week ago.

Yet what I want to explore is the issue of using walkthroughs, and to what degree.  In recent memory, I have only used walkthroughs very rarely.  Generally I’ll only turn to a walkthrough to get past a bit in a game which has actually stopped me progressing any further.  After I get past a tricky bit, I’ll then discard the walkthrough and continue to enjoy the game at my own pace, and deal with the challenges ahead myself.  I’m sure that most people would agree with me in this respect.

However, a much more controversial use of the walkthrough in my opinion is finding all certain extras in order to complete the game “100%”.  In Uncharted, there’s 60 treasures to find and I admit that I have used a walkthrough to find a few after completing the main game the first time round.  The way I view Uncharted is that the levels are linear, and that entails being able to enjoy the story and gameplay once more, whilst being able to grab the extra treasures.  If you’ve missed a treasure in Uncharted you’ll have to start that particular chapter again.  However Assassin’s Creed is more of an open, free-roaming world in which you can go back to any city and look around for flags or Templars for as long as you want.  I am therefore more reluctant to use a walkthrough in this case.  I find a particular thrill in finding a Templar, hidden in a remote place and adding him to my tally.

That brings me to the case in point, as I see it: such items, be they flags, treasures, coins etc- are put there by the developers for the skilled or explorative gamer.  Not for a lazy gamer to simply collect by reading a walkthrough, else why bother?  I’m intrigued to hear any other voices or viewpoints on this matter.