Speculation has today risen about what industry analysts are calling Sony’s XBOX-Live killer. When it comes to the current generation XBOX and PS2, there is no contest as to which is better in terms of online play: XBOX Live is simply better. Sony, however, is going to address that with their next-generation PS3, or at least that is the current buzz.
It seems that the new service will be called Playstation HUB. The name seems a little strange to me, like something alien-related, but whatever. The ambiguity of the name also leads many analysts to believe both the PSP and PS3 will be using this same network. The ability to chat with a PS3 online buddy of yours at any wireless hotspot with your PSP would definitely be cool. But more than just friends lists and the such, the most important aspect of an online service, and why XBOX Live is so popular, is the interface. Every game should be seemlessly integrated in a way that the online works the same way in all of them. I have a feeling Sony will definitely join the bandwagon with that, as their different-online-world-for-every-game model just isn’t cutting it.
Also, it seems, Sony is going to take things a bit further. After all, the objective is to beat XBOX, not copy it. They are allegedly going to integrate their Sony Connect service with this online HUB. For those who are unaware, Connect is Sony’s entrance into the ever-popular legal music (and now video) downloading industry that pretty much came out of nowhere in the last two years (thanks to the iPod+iTunes boom). No details or official statements have been made yet, but I suspect you will be able to purchase content on their store and store it on the PS3’s hard drive or memory card. The PS3 would then be able to play that, and the PSP would most likely then be able to receive the same downloaded content streamed from the console. This is of course all of my speculation, but it would definitely be pretty cool, especially combined with Sony’s Location-Free technology that would let you access the content from ANYWHERE that has internet access.
Again, all of this is speculation and none of it is really official yet. Time will reveal all, and I’m sure the upcoming (February 26th) Taipei Game Show will harbor much new PS3 info.
The HUB service is to debut in September of 2006, analysts predict. This leads them to belive the PS3 will be released around the same time in North America. Sounds good to me, as that Spring 06 number isn’t really seeming accurate at this point. I can’t wait. When the official release date does come out, expect to see a countdown right here on this site.