Sony has developed something of a reputation for removing features from its PlayStation 3 console, as over the years we've seen functions such as backward compatibility with the PlayStation 2 dropped in addition to media card slots and OtherOS support. While the company has added tons of new functionality (cloud saves, trophies, auto-update abilities, etc.),it's the removals that sting and end up being remembered. Today comes the news that the company is axing another PS3 capability in the next firmware update: Life With PlayStation is being retired. Reports of outraged LwP fans rioting in the streets have already been— I said it's called Life With PlayStation. Yes, it's a thing. It's that last function in the PlayStation Network section of the cross-media bar. No, I never use it either.
By the beginning of November 2012, we will retire the services available through the Life with PlayStation application. In conjunction with its retirement, we will stop offering the Life with PlayStation application to new users with the 4.30 update. This includes the conclusion of our participation with Stanford University’s Folding@home, a distributed computing project aimed at understanding protein folding, misfolding and studying the causes of a variety of diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s as well as various cancers.
We’d like to thank the more than 15 million users that have participated in the program since it started on PS3 in 2007. PS3 users have donated in total more than 100 million computation hours to the Folding@home project to date, and as a result, contributing greatly to Stanford University’s Alzheimer ’s disease research. Considering the contribution PS3 has made to the project, we decided to retire it as a result of discussions with Stanford University.
I used the Folding program a few times when I first owned my PS3 as a neat novelty, but crunching protein numbers caused the console's fans to run at full blast and consumed lots of power when left running for the hours and hours required to make any progress. I can't say I know anyone who runs it these days, so I doubt that it will be missed by the masses. Frankly, it always seemed to me that integrating the Folding program was just a way for Sony to brag about the power of the PS3's Cell processor. As for the news/weather feed on the Live channel, that always felt like a watered-down attempt to compete with the Nintendo Wii's news and weather channels. I never found it to be useful, and while it too was a neat novelty years ago, today there are much more efficient ways to retrieve the information that it has to offer. I hate to see PS3 features go, but in this case, I think the end of Life With PlayStation will be painless. In its place comes the ability to track one's PlayStation Vita trophy progress on the PS3. Rather or not that's a fair trade-off is up to you to decide.