What In-Game Communication Really Means?

In-Game communication has become an important feature to console gamers. The expansion of online gameplay is a huge part of it. When the PS3 was first announced, many wondered if it would come with features such as in-game communication and custom soundtracks. To the sadness of many, it did not. Why? Because Sony did something that the other console did not, leave it in the hands of the Developers. This will not be an article bashing developers or cursing Sony. It will simply explain my views on the subject.

Let me start off first by saying that I have no need for in-game communication or custom soundtracks. Why? Because I can simply mute my television to hear the music that I want or send a text message to someone that I really want to talk to. The majority of the individuals on my friend list are people that I have never spoken to or even played a game with. (Amazing? No, I seem to find that to be quite common with many gamers). I also enjoy the game music for the most part. Currently, I have a hard time thinking of a game that has music that I absolutely detest. This is just my opinion of course.

When it was leaked/announced months ago that in-game communication would be coming in update 2.4 this summer, Playstation fans went crazy. It not only gave them a feature that so many of them desperately wanted, but it also took away a talking point from X-Box 360 owners. I enjoyed that part personally. (Yes, I do prefer the Playstation Brand to any other, but I did buy the 360 when it was first released. I wasn’t really impressed and got rid of it. I do not regret my decision). The greatest joy I received from the announcement came from the fact that the PS3 would become an even better console. Additional functionality definitely would not hurt.

Word has come that Sony will be releasing the 2.4 update before Metal Gear Solid 4 is released. This is great news. Not only is one of the biggest titles to date coming to the PS3, but the PS3 will be taking another step to being the must have console. (It already is in my opinion). Be it pressure from Konami or Sony realizing that it must make moves fast to further establish the Playstation Network, this is a necessary move. It will foster the growth of PSN. I stated earlier that I do not speak too many of the people on my friend list. That could change if one contacted me and asked me about the game that I was currently playing. (likely Super Stardust HD). A few conservations later and voila, that person is not only on my friend list, but he/she is now actually my gaming friend.

I don’t see in-game messaging changing the way games are played. I see in-game messaging help turn the PSN into a community. This community would then be further fostered through Home. It is apparent that the two were originally planned to arrive at the same time, things have since changed. I think this may be a great thing overall. The community will now develop independent of Home and will then evolve through the implementation of Home. The thirty something friends that I have on my list that are not friends and family will actually be able to say that I am more than a name on a list. I like the thought of that. I like the thought of what PSN could be in the post 2.4 world.

Do you think that the 2.4 update will have a substantial impact on the community? Why or why not?

Thanks for reading.