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Additional Thoughts On The Live Area

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With a new handheld comes a new interface, and to that end Sony has wished the XMB out into the cornfield. An ambitious undertaking, Live Area is Sony's effort to revamp the user experience, showing games and gamers in your local area as well as allowing for friends lists and messaging. Purplexir has written about the feature, but I'd like to reiterate some key features, as well as expanding a bit on the subject. Touted at the Sony press conference was Playstation's Near, and application that not only tracks movement (hello, Orwell), but involves what Sony is calling "Location-Based Entertainment." When bringing up a location, a map shows the avatars of all NGP users in the area. You can check what games they have recently played, and bring up stats on the history of the most popular titles being played in the area. Should you be of the trendy persuasion, you can purchase the displayed titles from the provided links. Gamers can also review titles, which will be shown as an aggregate score. I did notice, rather interestingly, that the Live Area features a sort of Facebook-style news feed. From what little i saw in the demo, updates seem to be automated -- notable events such as making a hole-in-one in Hot Shots Golf make it into the list -- but users can "like" and comment on each item in the feed. Sony didn't reveal whether or not one can give their own updates (like Facebook), but hopefully one of the Big Brains at Sony HQ has recognized the value in pursuing such a course. Personally, i think that as long as Sony is aiming to bring the social experience to the forefront, they should go all in, allowing users to create detailed profiles, or simply allow for integration with a user's Facebook account. Naturally i haven't the faintest idea what cost or implementation would be involved -- it's worth noting that Mark Zuckerberg wields the power a god could only dream of -- but as long as Sony is looking to put the social aspect of gaming front and center, it would make sense to create something more substantial than that being offered by Nintendo. Another nice feature about the Live Area is that users can switch back and forth between the game they're playing and the game information screen, which looks to offer a link to the Playstation Store for the purposes of purchasing game-specific DLC. From what the demo showed, going between games and the home screen/Live Area looked to be a much quicker switch than that offered by the PSP Go, but I'm curious to see how it all pans out. Regardless, it looks like this is a step in the right direction for Sony.

4 Comments

fillerbunny9 said:

all I have to say about XMB is good riddance! I have hated this interface since its introduction, and the choice to continue using it with the PS3 has been an irritant.

Shin Gallon said:

I'm not sure why there's all this hate for the XMB. It's a simple, easy to use interface, which I frankly prefer to the "navigate dozens of ad-riddled sub-menus" 360 UI.

fillerbunny9 said:

it's not simple to navigate on the PS3. there are piles upon piles upon piles of submenus, particularly when you are looking for something in the config area. it is a massive fustercluck when trying to find something. I really hope the next menu iteration is something that makes sense.

also, fuck the 360's new UI. aside from rendering themes useless, the ads everywhere are horrendous, especially when you cannot turn them off if you pay for Live. "Bladez" or whatever they called it was considerably better.

Phoenix0879 said:

Odd, fillerbunny, I've never had the slightest problem finding a single thing I've needed in the config area. The only gripe I have is I have yet to find a way of changing my facebook info that doesn't mean deleting the old setting and re-entering a new one (I change my password every month or so). But that's hardly a serious flaw.

I rather like the XMB, best interface I've seen on a console.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Phoenix0879 on Additional Thoughts On The Live Area: Odd, fillerbunny, I've never had the slightest problem finding a single thing I've needed in the config area. The only...

fillerbunny9 on Additional Thoughts On The Live Area: it's not simple to navigate on the PS3. there are piles upon piles upon piles of submenus, particularly when you...

Shin Gallon on Additional Thoughts On The Live Area: I'm not sure why there's all this hate for the XMB. It's a simple, easy to use interface, which I...

fillerbunny9 on Additional Thoughts On The Live Area: all I have to say about XMB is good riddance! I have hated this interface since its introduction, and the...

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