Just like you don’t need this burger, Fatty, you don’t need an in-game XMB

Today is the start of a new Ripten mid-week feature, where I, the resident Brit, get to rant about an issue in the gaming industry. This weeks rant concerns the much wanted In-Game XMB for the Playstation 3.

There was some fuss over the last PS3 firmware update before it even hit. 2.0 was rumoured to contain a number of much wanted things – such as being able to play your own music during games, or bring up the cross-media bar (XMB) during gameplay. This final feature is perhaps the most wanted by Playstation owners, but I’m here to say they don’t need it.

To me this is obvious, and it may also be to you and I’m sorry if I’m about to patronise you with subtleties, but somehow I think that what I’m about to say might be a revolution to those muppets at Sony.

You don’t need or want to look at photos while you’re playing a game. You don’t want or need to watch videos/movies on your system while you’re playing a game. You don’t want or need to surf the Internet while you’re playing a game. You don’t want to go onto the Playstation Store while you’re playing a game. You don’t even particularly want to change your systems settings while you’re playing a game.

This is what you don’t need – you don’t need these options that are on the cross-media bar to come up during gameplay.

You already know this, so why do you want an in-game XMB? You’re personally holding back Sony by telling them you want this, by making them implement all the XMB features into one update, you’re holding us back from what we really need.

To prove that you’re responsible for Sony’s dilly dallying, I shall quote Peter Dille, Sony’s Senior VP of Marketing, who wandered onto the subject in an interview with GameInformer:

As far as in-game XMB access, we know it’s a feature that’s important to our consumers. Because PS3 packs so much advanced technology ‘under the hood’, it takes some time to implement major, new functionalities, but we are working hard on addressing this feature, as well as continually expanding the capabilities and functionalities of PS3.

You see what he says? All this mumbo jumbo about taking time to implement “major, new functionalities” and that the feature is “important to our customers”. You greedy little leprechauns, what have you done!? Sony is spending so much time making sure that an in-game XMB is perfect — this could take them another year to get everything ‘under the hood’ working to their ridiculously high standards.

So what am I waffling on about? Of course we need an in-game XMB, I hear you cry at me in a slight tone of annoyance. No, what you need is in-game messaging, and voice-chat to friends who are playing other games. This is what you need.

Yes in-game music would be nice, but it can wait (surely). If we could get the message to Sony, that all we desperately need is in-game messaging and voice-chat with those on our friends list, then perhaps they could give it to us now, or soon, instead of trying to get everything to work for this “in-game XMB”.

Lets set the scene. You want to play Warhawk with your friend who is currently playing Uncharted. You send him a message. They can only see what you want if you write “Want to play Warhawk now?” in the title box, since this will come up as a notification while they are playing. But wait, the title box can only be a certain amount of characters long, so it comes out as “Want to play Wa”. Already frustrating.

You now wait for your buddy to quit Uncharted and come play. But what if they don’t want to straight away? What if they intend to join you in 10 minutes? They aren’t just going to quit and tell you that. So you wait and wait and wait. You finally give up and go into Warhawk and enter a game.

You get engrossed in the game, but suddenly recieve a message from your buddy, asking “What game you in?” WTF!? You’re not quitting out of the game that you are pwning in, just to tell him which game it is. Maybe he can find you anyway.

Uh-oh! “The Game is Full” is what you’re friend sees…he’d love to be able to tell you that he can’t get into your game and ask you to quit so you can join him in another game, but he just can’t be bothered. So he enters his own game. Both friends playing Warhawk, but not with each other.

The amount of times this has happened to me is many, and it shouldn’t be this way! It’s very simple. People CAN already send messages to each other in-game, since we get a little notification. But why oh why can’t we read the message and then open a mini keyboard, not even a predicative text keyboard, so we can reply to them. Why not let us speak to them with our mics?

This is what we need. Thus, start a revolution with me. Stop asking for an in-game XMB and make sure Sony knows that we’d prefer in-game messaging now, and the holistic package can come later.

If there is something you would like to rant about, feel free to contact us or comment below.