The ps3 has just 256 mb ram, I somewhere saw a list of what takes up how much. Each feature you use from the XMB uses some ram up you can't use for the game. Most games don't even run on full HD ressolution, some lag bad or have low FPS.
So I vote "less crap, more HD Games, good FPS ingame". No matter if the feature is useful or not, I'd rather have the games run smooth on high res then have some XMB stuff eat up all ressources.
Totally hear you. To address this limitation I'd hope one or some of the next-gen of systems has dedicated ram/power or whatever's necessary toward social functions, widgets, and the like.
As someone mentioned before, Sony probably takes a hit offering free online service all the time, while xbox charges. All of my friends say that Xbox's service is way better than sony's...but if that's even true, it's only because they have a higher budget because of the paid subscriptions. If Sony wants to make their online experience better than Xbox live, they're probably going to have to start charging.
That being said, I think Sony's move as a whole is pretty smart. If they charged the whole populous, then there would be an uproar and they would probably lose a lot of gamers (even though Xbox has been doing the same thing for years). Instead, they're leaving the research and development up to those who want to invest in such.
I realize that the cross-game chat function may be important to a lot of people, and perhaps it's not the best perk to throw in with the paid amount, but maybe they're also doing that to boost the paid subscriptions when the other features come out.
They dont have to start charging, they just have to find a reasonable way to make revenue. How hard is it to match 50$ a year from each person using live gold? It's even hard to understand where the cost is when most everything uses p2p to game. They have to charge for a matchmaking server? I suspect its more about making more money that offsetting a biting cost.