Sony’s Japan-Only PlayStation Community Highlights Growing Social Network Trend in Consoles

Japanese PlayStation 3 owners now have another social network called Play Community. According to video game consumer blog Andriasang, Sony Computer Entertainment’s new social network allows gamers to make friends, form groups, send messages, recruit other players for online play and create personalized profile pages.

We’ve noticed that social gaming elements on consoles seems to have gained traction with both console manufacturers and console game publishers. Last week Sony’s main rival, Microsoft, announced it had deepened the social features available for the Xbox 360, replacing the My Xbox section with a Social section. Gamers on Xbox Live can now see what their friends are playing, have played and are currently doing, as well as set notifications called Beacons, which tell their friends they are actively looking for someone to play a specific game with. Sony also recently completed an overhaul of its PlayStation Home virtual platform, refocusing it on social gaming with the addition of playable social games for the Home platform that are supported by advertising and microtransactions.

As for the publishers, Activision’s Call of Duty Elite is an additional social network layered on top of the game and even EA’s new Origin digital distribution service includes basic social features like player profiles and friends lists. There are also rumors that EA and Nintendo are in talks to bring Origin to Nintendo’s new WiiU console, which, if true, signal Nintendo’s first real attempts to build a social network to pair with its console.

Play Community is currently only available in Japan, apparently in closed beta. Sony is incentivizing new user registration with a PlayStation Vita giveaway for three users that sign up, form three friend connections, and comment on a Sony blog post.