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iRaf  avatar 6:14 PM on 01.29.2008  (server time)
Why In-Game XMB is a bad idea....

"Since the Playstation 3 was first launched people have been complaining they can't do the same things as you can on the xbox 360 with regards to online friends list, cross game communication and chat and the ability to play your own music in games. As time has went on the call has changed from we want to be able to chat to friends online, or we want to play our own music in game, to we want in game XMB.

Now why is this a bad thing to ask for? In game XMB isn't want we need you see and asking for it may harm the playstation 3 in the long run. Lets look at the Xbox 360 here and identify exactly what it does. You would be forgiven for thinking that the Xbox 360 has in game dashboard, it doesn't. When you press the centre Xbox button a little half screen menu pops up, on this menu is your gamertag, it shows you your gamerscore, and online status, which when pressed allows you to change personal info, below this the ability to send messages, see your friend list, and players met. Below that the voice chat and messenger section which allows voice and text chat with people on your friends list. Below this personal setting which allows tweaks to online status themes controller settings etc. Finally there is the music controller which allows access to music stored on the hard drive. Now these options are very powerful, and they allow great functionality, like the ability to chat to a friend while they play another game, and then when you are ready to jump into a multiplayer game together all without ever losing the voice chat. It's quite good and you can see that the playstation 3 suffers from the lack of it.

Now to the point, this menu, shall we call it the minidash, isn't the xbox 360 dashboard, i can't browse the marketplace, see the inside xbox news pages, see my demo and xbox live arcade game collection, browse my achievements list, look at pictures. watch video stored on the hard drive, or change some of the more important settings on the system blade. To put it bluntly the xbox360 has a dashboard with everything and a minidash with just the features you are likely to need while playing a game.

If we ask Sony blindly for in game XMB we run the risk of creating a rod for our own back, we might end up getting what we ask for, the ability to get to the XMB in it's entirety from within a game. The system overheads that this might entail for 512mb of ram might not be to our advantage in the long run.

We need to be specific, we need to say we want messaging and friends list access in game, we want to have voice chat in game and the ability to play music in game. Those really are the only options we need. On the Playstation 3 when you press the playstation button on the controller in game a menu much like the xbox's pops up, it has options to shut down controller and the system at present, all that is needed is for this to be expanded slightly.

Please see that asking for full in game XMB access is only going to hurt the playstation 3 in the long run."

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