With the news that Sony has just launched a new social network site in Japan called the ‘Play Community’, it is the only confirmation we need that the future of gaming is social.
So much so that Sony have taken it upon themselves to bypass the Japan Social network Mixi completely, with a stand-alone version of their own.
Based pretty much on the look of Mixi, ‘Play Community’ has replaced the official PlayStation community sites in Japan and comes complete with some additional gaming features and a new social echelon, which is set to revolutionize how games are played and developed.
Play community allows you to integrate and merge your existing PSN friends list and there’s a special section for recruiting friends for multiplayer partners. This opens the door for greater gaming social activity worldwide.
Already the evidence that Massive Multiplayer Online gaming is the new trend in gaming cannot be ignored.
You only have to look at Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 which has its own social network integration built into the game. Your achievements and milestones are automatically posted to Facebook.
The new Snowboarding Supercross game SSX, allows you to share unchartered routes with your PSN friends. This makes the whole solitary experience, which is the nature of this game just that bit more social.
In fact it’s becoming clear with some game developers that single player versions are becoming a second-rate gaming experience.
In AC Revelations for example you need to play the multiplayer version to unlock rankings and disclose some of the games darker secrets and mythology. It’s impossible to progress in this game unless you co-operate with your online buddies.
Perhaps the strangest form of this social interaction can be found in ‘Journey’. The whole basis of the game is to force you to befriend nameless online strangers to help you through, and solve puzzles together. You’re not able to find out the PSN names of these individuals or chat, but you have to rely and trust one another to excel.
On the flip side in Dark Souls, single play isn’t really single play. During the game you have to align yourself with various factions and depending upon your choices these factions will send other real online players to either help you or to kill you.
The future of gaming is definitely social and it won’t be long before this social networking phenomenon is fused with gaming rental and cloud services like Love film and Steam.