According to an article at Gamedaily,"When PS3 owners first use the system's online functionality they'll be asked to create a "Sony ID," but Vrignaud points out that you will likely need separate IDs or friends lists depending on the game. Talking about the upcoming game Resistance: Fall of Man, he said, "Even though I already have a 'Sony ID', I may have to create a new 'Resistance ID' to play. And then start thinking about just how broken the experience is when you try to invite someone to a game. Do you send it via the Resistance UI? What screenname do I send it to? If I want to add you to my 'Sony ID' friends list, do I need to send you an in-game message to ask you what your real 'Sony ID' name is? What about game invites? How does that work across even just these two IDs?
"He continued, "You think that's bad? Now let's open up a few more games from different publishers. Each of these publishers had to make a choice of what online interface to use - again, because Sony's online network just isn't ready. So they'll choose between writing their own (as did Insomniac for Resistance), or perhaps licensing Xfire, or GameSpy, or Quazal, or Demonware. So now we have five potential networks with different namespaces, and an inherent lack of ability to communicate (chatting, voice, invites, finding friends, etc.) between them, and even across to just the 'Sony ID' namespace. Think we're done? Nope... what happens if each publisher doesn't stick with the same online solution for all of their games? This is very likely as most publishers use different developers - so even across a single publisher, you may find fragmented communities.
"Getting back to how it relates to the Xfire/Gamespy suit, he explained, "What we're really seeing with this suit are online middleware companies trying to position themselves to become the eventual de facto solution that publishers will use. Just as with web search and instant messaging, these companies are trying to get momentum and user base that will cause them to be the 'PS3 online' solution of choice."
So how long before one of these network providers is declared the winner and we have a single solution for online PS3 gaming? No one knows, but it could take years. Hopefully Sony can hurry things along a bit because this is one area where users don't want choice. They just want a system for communicating online that works well.