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Henning’s PS3 Soapbox: “Gaming 3.0”

I know that Gary just posted about UT3, but I thought I’d start another post to talk about what UT3 says about the PS3. In particular, there’s this UT3 article and this rundown of UT3 mods over at Kotaku says the following:

I’ve always felt that user-created content has long been a sort of holy grail for console shooters. It is mods, I think, that help extend the life of shooters on the PC and it’s the last thing, well one of the major last things, you can’t do on a console shooter.

Not anymore.

When Unreal Tournament III makes its way to the PS3 it will bring with it the ability to import user-created content including maps, weapons and, yes, mods.

Personally, I don’t care for most mods except for one: maps! What are the most anticipated downloads on PSN (besides new games)? Maps! When two new maps were announced for RFoM, everyone went nuts in anticipation. And now that gamers have those maps, Resistance gameplay is extended that much further. Of course, everyone is also waiting for that new MotorStorm level, which will also give that game a boost of new life.

Playing Call of Duty 2 at work on PC’s, it’s always an interesting day when Alex (a co-worker) brings in a bunch of new maps to try. Of course, lots of them are junk. That’s what happens in the real world. But we find some good ones in there too, and they get added to our gaming roster of maps to play.

Now comes Unreal Tournament III on the PS3 – a console exclusive for at least 2007. Just imagine buying UT3 and enjoying the heck out of it for a while. But then it starts to get a bit old, so you download or create a couple new maps (or whatever kind of mod you care about) and voila! The game is new again. That’s the power of mods, and maps specifically. They take something good but old, and reinvigorate it with new life.

This new life and extra playability is what I appreciate about Sony’s stance on mods. You’ll be able to download a mod, stick it on a MemoryStick (or CompactFlash etc) and hoof it over to your PS3 and give your PS3’s UT3 new life. Epic is even trying to figure out ways to eliminate the whole “hoof it over” part by doing it all online.

This is exciting stuff. It really exemplifies the fact that Sony is committed to this nebulous “Gaming 3.0” concept that is a little less cloudy with every example we see. While LittleBigPlanet is the biggest, first, and most obvious effort in this arena on the PS3, it looks like UT3 will beat LBP to the store shelves.

Gaming 3.0 is part of Sony’s continuing effort to open up the PS3. First they started with the hardware by using industry standard components: Bluetooth, SATA, support for 3 memory card formats, HDMI. These choices have already paid dividends for us, the gamer. For example, when we want a bigger cheaper harddrive, a large selection of headsets, or cheaper peripherals (if the GHIII and Rock Band rumours end up being true). Then Sony extended their openness to operating systems by allowing several flavours of Linux to flourish on the PS3. Now it’s coming with Gaming 3.0 and games like LittleBigPlanet and UT3. The hardest part about promoting Gaming 3.0 for Sony is that they can’t do it themselves. They need developers like Epic to support the concept. Sony can show the way with games like LBP, but ultimately 3rd party developers need to take it up as well. At first it’ll be by bringing such openness from the PC world and port it over to the PS3. That’s what’s happening with UT3. Then developers should embrace and extend so that we get to see ever more cool stuff, like LBP. I hope more games follow the same Gaming 3.0 path, because gamers are going to love it, I guarantee it.

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