November 12, 2009, 9:01 AM — Yesterday images of an upcoming Sony Playstation 3 interface update were leaked. Along with some fairly trivial tweaks, the images revealed PS3 Facebook integration. You can take a look at Joystiq or Scrawl; apparently when the posts went up the images were still available on the UK Playstation site. If true, this is a pretty solid rumor.
I suppose since Microsoft is bringing Facebook to the Xbox 360, Sony has to bring it to the PS3 just to try to keep up, but really I don't see much point in having it on either device. Microsoft's Preview Program of its upcoming implementation of Facebook (and Twitter) on the 360 hasn't caused much of a stir, at least in the circles I travel in. I used both services exactly once just to see if they worked. The Nintendo DSi also includes Facebook integration. I've used that exactly once as well.
And I'm not the only one. Microsoft's Eric Neustadter, Operations Manager for Xbox Live, speaking on Larry Hryb's (aka Major Nelson) podcast a couple weeks back, was talking about Facebook on the DSi and he said:
"I find the in-game uses, OK, may be interesting, the out-of-game, hey, it's a camera, use it to connect to Facebook or whatever - I don't find that at all interesting," says Neustadter. "Don't we all have phones that do that? Why do we need our gaming device to do that?"
(Thanks to Kotaku for the transcription.)
I don't mean to pick on Neustadter but I admit to chuckling when I first heard him say that. Usually the Microsofties on Hryb's podcast stay so firmly on message; it's amusing to hear one slip up (and surprising that it wasn't edited out). And as I've stated, I agree with him.
Facebook on the PS3 is, if anything, even more of an odd choice since the PS3 already has an integrated web browser that you can use to go to facebook.com. Maybe there's more to the PS3 integration than just looking at your FB friends' photos and updating your status, but I'm having a hard time imagining what they could do that wouldn't be spammy. Uploading screenshots from in-game, maybe? Inviting Facebook friends into a match? Perhaps a way to pull Facebook games out of their web pages and make them 'stand alone' games on the PS3? For now Sony is giving the "do not comment on rumor or speculation" line. I just can't help but feel there are better ways for Sony to spend their development resources.