The recent 4.30 PlayStation 3 patch included a complete overhaul for the PSN Store, which now resembles the clunky setup on the Xbox 360. I’ve been waiting for a few days, just in case any tweaks were made, but now it seems this is what Sony are happy with. So how does it compare with the old store?
Well, I’ve logged on a few times since the re-launch, at different times of the day, and I’ve waited on average about 40 seconds each time to get the store to load up. The previous version usually took under ten.
The scrolling screen effect for general browsing feels dumbed down for children with short attention spans. It’s also very similar to a store made for touchscreen devices, not a PlayStation pad. It’s all large picture tiles, making browsing slower and less focused than before. Films and TV take up as much (if not more space) than game related items too.
Using the search menu is a tediously slow process now. Gone is the on screen keyboard, replaced by scrolling individual letters, akin to entering your initials on an arcade machine. Yes, it comes up with results as you write, which is cool, but it takes longer to write anything, which is not.
My biggest gripe is trailers though. Game trailers and shows like Access have been shoved ridiculously far back into the digital ether. With the old store, players could simply scroll through the ‘What’s New’ section to find all the latest updates for the week. After looking through the front end, and all the relevant sounding side-menus I couldn’t find a single trailer. Even using the search function for the weekly magazine show Access provided zero results. How foolish of me, all trailers and the like are now in the App menu under ‘Other Media.’ Why has Sony made it so horribly complicated to enjoy our weekly supply of high-def footage?
Update 4.30 has been agitating the PS3 faithful on the forums in other ways too. The new permanent Singstar demo button has been planted into the game section of the XMB as the default highlighted icon when you turn on your machine. And no, you can’t delete it.
Trophies have been moved across to the right under the PlayStation Network section instead of their usual home under Game. You’ll want to turn the settings for them to ‘offline’ too; otherwise, they’ll try to sync up with the server every time you want to check them, which is very annoying when you’re in the middle of a game. You can still click your PSN name on the far right to sync them up when you want later on.
Hopefully Sony are keeping an eye on the forums and will tweak the new store to improve the experience. Surely, helping to promote games with easy access to trailers should be higher in their priorities rather than flogging over-priced individual episodes of Red Dwarf and Family Guy? Yeah, I’m not holding my breath either.