So, it would appear that the PS3 version is missing a bit of code here.
Now, I don't want to really jump on IW too hard because I know that when you're developing a game for both the 360 and the PS3, it might make sense to just allow the console to take care of ALL player communication aspects, but the PS3 seems to want to force a little more creativity and uniqueness (for better or worse).
We know for certain that it is possible to include ALL the communication features of Live in a game for the PS3 (minus sending voice messages at this current time), but the developer has to code for that link to the XMB functionality.
The best this has been done so far is probably in either Skate. or in Resistance. Both those games give you access to your friends list, and in the case of Resistance (granted, after a patch) it actually gives you access to your full XMB buddy list row with all the functionality therein. You can send messages, game invites and access every one of your friends and recent players there. And it does not matter if the player is logged into the the game, or even the PSN. You can also receive messages from in-game too.
So we know it is possible. If EVERY game did what Skate and Resistance does, you'd have virtually identical cross-game communication features that come with live.
It is ASSUMED that the the PS3 will eventually get a software update that adds XMB access to the PS button and likely give you full access to your Friends Row on the XMB... When (or if) that happens... Then great. And it would honestly seem like many developers think this is going to happen. Because even a few Sony made games don't bother with integrating the PSN buddylist into their games. So when that happens... problem solved. Sorta...
I still think it is beneficial to games to add INTEGRATED access to the consoles features. I think it is much cooler in Skate that you have that little T-Mobile Sidekick and you're never taken out of the game... you stay immersed in the world and still have access to everything you need. This creates a better game-specific community feel... As opposed to a general PSN or Live community feel.
In addition, with the limit on friends allowed in both Live and the PSN, it is also helpful to do what a few games on the PS3 do, which is allow a GAME SPECIFIC friends list that you access from within that game... So that way you don't clutter up your main friends list with a bunch of random people that you might only run into occasionally on just one titles... but you still have a away to keep contact with them when you're on that game.
The rumored 2.0 system software update originally talked about XMB integration over games... but that seems to have disappeared in the latest rumors.
It is possible that developers such as IW are relying on this... But without that, I do think they are doing their game a disservice by not coding the game to link up to the PSN buddy list.
A lot of times you see people playing a game... you don't know if they're playing single player or multi.. If you message them, they have to leave the game to check the message... Or you might just not bother... But if they could receive messages from the game AND send messages to you at your XMB while they're IN the game... this can help a lot. This would encourage more people to play your game more often... Whenever I'm messing around in the XMB and I get a game invite from someone actually playing a game like Rainbow 6, Resistance, Skate, even Blazing Angels... I'll happily jump on and play. That definitely would help feed the beast and keep people playing... It works very well, obviously on Live where they don't leave that to the developers and just have it built into the Dashboard that you have access to from anywhere.
I think IW should load up Resistance and check out what Insomniac did there. I think this is a bigger issue then people probably realize (although XMB access given by Sony is way up their on everyone's wish list).
I'm sure that access is coming (in fact it was shown working way before the PS3 was released
- At the end of that video it is shown)... but since the developers have the tools to make it work now, I don't think they should be waiting on Sony to do the work for them... When that comes, great... But if you want to build up an active online community, it is worth it to take the extra time to code this in NOW!