It's been well over 2 years since I've had a PlayStation 3 and I've never really given online play any consideration, in large part because I have a 360 as well and I'm not the biggest fan of competitive MP. But now NHL 10 is out and the bulk of my friends are playing this game and they all have PS3s, so it was a no brainer to pick up the game on Sony's system. This is where my issue starts.
The PlayStation Network is garbage.
I'm not talking about actually playing a game and encountering lag, I'm talking about everything prior to that. Setting up a game, viewing your messages, not being able to have voice chat, no party support, no game invites; all of those things are completely disconnected or non-existent and it really knocks the experience down several pegs.
If this were the first year of PSN I'd be little more inclined to forgive these shortcomings, but when we're approaching year 3 and it's still so far behind Xbox LIVE I can't help but voice my displeasure.
My first bone of contention is the fact that Sony stupidly decided not to include a headset with the system, which to me is a massive blunder. I also find it disappointing that Bluetooth is the preferred tech, since the only voice chats I've had has been between myself, a friend and all the background noise is his room. I'll chalk that problem up to the fact that he has a generic BT headset for a cell phone, but my point still stands, not having a certified, tested headset packed in with every system is proof positive that Sony's online strategy is "fly by the seat of it's pants".
I find more often than not, I am setting up games with friends over the phone and that should not have to happen.
Now to be fair to Sony, I don't know how many patents or proprietary features Microsoft has that may be responsible for Sony's lackluster online, but something tells me it's simply them not knowing or caring.
"It's free, what do you expect?" is likely the Mission Statement at Sony. Just like Home will forever be in beta.
I'm really not trying to influence people one way or another, I really like both systems, but my experience thus far with NHL 10 has been so rife with issue that I needed to write something. Heck, maybe someone with more PSN pedigree will be able to give me some pointers and then I'll change my tune, but for $50 a year Xbox LIVE is a steal for the seamless integration it offers.