OK – I was silent for awhile. As much as Sony has been in this gaming industry strong since 1995 (and some may argue even longer), they’re really learning (and in some cases stumbling) their way through this whole online experience. As much as they profess that the “PlayStation Network” experience is thriving, I’m hoping these are the beginning stages of what will eventually become a mature online community. I don’t feel connected to anyone when I’m on the PS3 (unless I go to the PlayStation Store).
But honestly… these online updates every few days has got to stop.
Microsoft’s business is in software and they’ve been through their share of headaches, but they’ve learned. Two years ago, you’d log into Windows and every day there would be an update of some sort staring you in the face. However, somehow they understood that it’s a completely disruptive experience to the end user and as a result, now we have “patch Tuesdays”. (The Tuesday every month when Microsoft sends out its patches and OS updates. And unless there is a dire emergency or critical vulnerability in the wild, you won’t hear from them again until next “patch Tuesday.”) Xbox has leveraged this mechanism and taken it to an even more mature level. Understanding that the Xbox 360’s interface and OS is a lot less critical and sensitive than a full PC’s OS, they only provide updates twice a year — the Spring Update and the Fall/Winter Update. They too will break that schedule if necessary, but only in the most dire circumstances. What’s more, the updates are much less intrusive. They alert you that the game or the Dashboard has an available update. You click “OK”…. you wait for the download to complete…and 2 minutes later, you’re back to playing.
Sony has the most disruptive and bothersome method of making updates to the OS. You have to navigate through accepting an agreement — just to update what you already own. You’ll then need to go about 3 or 4 clicks and sometimes multiple restarts to get back to the XMB. And worst of all is the frequency of the updates. This has to stop. Last week everyone ran the update for version 2.0 of the XMB. Less than a week later, we’re being asked to update to 2.1. Clearly there’s some sort of issue with managing these updates, or perhaps not properly testing ones like 2.0 before they launch.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve owned my PS3 for less than one year and right now I’m starting to question some things.
Initially the PS3 was designed to be my “lead system”. This would be the system that I’d use to buy titles if they were available on all other systems — the rationale being that the PS3 version would look better (and because I prefer the Dual Shock, so the playing experience would be a bit better for me.) I’m almost 180 degrees in the other direction. For a lot of reasons, the PS3 is starting to cut away at that confidence I had. I’ll talk more about this in subsequent weeks, but Sony is definitely losing my confidence and the 360 is starting to look like the system I’d recommend without hesitation to any gamer looking for the best game selection, connectivity/online gaming experience and the best end user experience overall.
Sony: It’s time to get serious. Price is not the only area where we needed to see improvement.