Sony's somewhat perplexingly lagged behind Microsoft in its online web-portal/console integration, advancing tentatively rather than roaring forward like a vanguard. Logging into the company's nascent-seeming PlayStation Network through a web browser's been like using one of those functionally stark ISP webmail portals you get free with your cable or DSL subscription, but probably don't even realize exists.
Trophies — Sony's PS3-based answer to Microsoft's Xbox 360 achievements — came along years after Microsoft popularized the concept. Even then, keeping track of how many bronze or golds you've unlocked and whether you're a "wallrunner" in Prince of Persia or a "flyswatter" in Resistance 2 was impossible the moment you put down your gamepad and stepped away from Sony's whirring black obelisk.
Good news for trophy wonks, then, per Sony's PlayStation.Blog. Starting today, trophies are available online to peruse with your PSN ID, viewable in all their bronze, silver, gold (and for you insanely skilled freaks of nature, platinum) glory.
The bad news? That's about all you can do with the feature. No comparing trophies with friends, no option to pull a trophy-laden gamer card into your PSN forum ID, no interlink with a virtual trophy room in PlayStation Home. In short, Sony's simply made it possible for those of you with kakorrhaphiophobia (and who thus need to keep their accomplishment cards close at hand) to function a trifle more normatively.
The update in fact seems to highlight more of what's missing than what's not. Where's the option to send quick messages to friends through PSN's web interface? A PSN to PC messaging connector? The option to see and interact with this stuff on a PSP? More granular gamercards? A bunch of really cool new features no one else has implemented or even thought of yet?
One thing at a time, okay, fair enough. I'm patient, and I wouldn't personally use a lot of that stuff. But I'd like to see Sony back up a bit and pull together a really full-featured update along the lines of Microsoft's so-called "New Xbox Experience" instead of simply dribbling nominal tweaks.
Matt Peckham applauds Sony for its ongoing attempts to get the PSN up to snuff, but can't (yet) see any reason to tinker with his trophy list online. You can follow him at twitter.com/game_on.