DiRT 2 and the Evolution of PSN Game Invites
Well we’re pleased to see another change that’s coming very soon, starting with Codemasters’ new rally-racer, DiRT 2.
“So what’s the big change?”, we hear you ask…
Back in the first year of the PS3′s launch, things were a little rough around the edges when it came to on-line play, and your options for sending game invites were no different. Some games actually required you to manually go and find your friends via a server-list, and some games had what was known as the ‘prompt invite’ option.
In order to send a prompt invite, the gamer you were sending it to had to be playing the same game you were. There were a few variations, but most of these invites would give your friends a prompt to join your lobby/game when they received it.
The recipient was then posed with the immediate decision of joining or declining. If they joined, they were taken straight out of their game and into the new one. If they declined, the invite was forever lost and the person who sent it would have to send another. Not exactly a great duo of choices, especially if they wanted to finish the game they were currently in before accepting.
About 18 months ago, we started to see a new step in the progression of game-invites. A few of the first games to take this new step were Rainbox Six: Vegas 2, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift and Resident Evil 5.
Essentially, developers then had the option of creating ‘auto-text messages’ for use within their games. When you chose to invite another friend to your session, a message was automatically created for you and sent via the PSN. This allowed for gamers to send invites to people that weren’t playing the same game they were.
This method still had its downfalls, however, as you still had to manually quit whatever you were doing, jump in to the same title the invite came from and then manually accept. Better, but still not great.
Now DiRT 2 brings us the next big thing. Full cross-game invites. In DiRT 2, when you send an invite to your friends, they will be given the option to join immediately. The old functions of replying or closing the message to be saved for a later time still remains, but now they have a ‘join’ icon. It appears no matter where you are or what game you are playing.
If you accept, you’ll be immediately prompted to leave the game/session you’re in. If you’re just sitting at the XMB, or you’re already playing DiRT 2, there will be no prompt.
Don’t have the game in the system? No worries. The PS3 will recognize that and stop to wait for you to put it in. Once you do it takes you straight in to the game, bypasses the menus and delivers you right to the game session you were invited to.
This might seem like a small feature for some of you, but as a team who have been dealing with the sometimes-shoddy invite systems for almost 3 years now, this is a big improvement.
Now let’s just hope some of the bigger games like Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2 and MAG hop on the bandwagon as well.
As for Dirt 2, it launches on September 8 in the US, September 11 in Europe, and a date still being determined in Australia. There is a demo for DiRT 2 currently available for download in the PlayStation Store, and the game itself is already receiving praise, so keep an eye out for it as its launch day nears.