Trophies: The Bigger Picture

This article originally appeared on TheSixthAxis on July 12, 2008

I have recently been pondering the effect of the trophies update in the latest 2.40 (and 2.41) firmware update. Just what has Sony caused within the gaming community? And how could this addition change perceptions to the PS3’s value?

I have been playing Super Stardust HD like most of you, as it is currently the only game to support trophies. I have to admit I passed on this game the first time round, but the trophies update has caused me to think again, and give it a go. Of course now I’m totally addicted to the game, but also wonder what ‘the trophy effect’ will have had on sales of the game? My guess is that the addition of trophies has caused sales of the game to rocket, but I still hope that some updated sales figures are released to confirm my suspicions.

So after I purchased and downloaded the game I eventually earned my first trophy (see also My First Trophy by Al for a great idea of what it feels like), although it took me a little while to keep up with the frantic pace of the game! But what’s this? I find that a friend of mine has got the game as well, and also has a trophy. Game on. We never really talked to each other about it, but both knew we had our reputations as true gamers at stake. So we both spent the evening silently playing away. And every so often after I’d earned another trophy, I’d pause the game and compare trophies with him to find that he was catching up! I’m sure he was doing the same thing as me.

All I can say on this point is this is exactly what the PS3 needed: that element of competitiveness that just wasn’t there before, like achievements on Xbox Live. I’ve come across chatter on the interweb that suggests that Sony’s effort is ‘too little, too late’. Whilst I do agree that this update has been released quite late after the console’s launch, it is not too late for the prospective gamer.

Whilst this part is quite speculative, I’d imagine that it is not too far from the truth: a lot of hardcore and FPS gamers in particular flocked straight to the Xbox 360 and have no doubt been loving Xbox Live, their gamerscore and achievements. However there will have been plenty of people who have hung onto their PS2s possibly even bought a Wii. Yet now when comparing the Xbox 360 against the PS3, there is free online multiplayer over the PlayStation Network, the visually gorgeous and continually improving PlayStation Store, some fantastic exclusives on the PlayStation Network, and trophies which you can compare with your friends and level-up, just like a RPG.

Sony should take note however, that there is still much they can do to stay competitive such as enabling a PSN gamer to be able to show their stats on their websites and blogs, just like Xbox Live gamers can. Maybe Sony’s trump card that will combine the online community and trophies will be PlayStation Home. But that’s enough speculation for today.

This of course, is just my thoughts and opinions on trophies and the bigger picture. Agree, disagree? Then sling a comment this way and I’ll be happy to answer anything.

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