QUOTE(calderra @ Sep 15 2006, 08:09 AM)
The problem with PSN=Silver is... this "new" information on a piecewise solution.
-How do you have Achievements (er, Entitlements) when nobody's using the same dialler to get online? (XFire, Gamespy, and others)
-How do you chat in realtime when everyone is using completely different methods of connection?
-How do you have Game Invites across these vastly different networks?
The short answer is that you don't. The longer answer is that you might build a database that everyone has to access to pull information from (like most instant messengers), but even then, you're up to the mercy of your individual connection program for how accesible the features are and how usable it all is (ICQ vs AIM vs Messenger vs IRC vs...)....
I don't think either of your answers are correct... nothing says you can't connect to more then one service at the same time, as long as they're not trying to do the same thing... Sony's PSN will probably run on Sony's own server for things like entitlements, chat, etc. and then the console would just connect to a different set of servers for gameplay.
It would work exactly like FFXI does on the 360... when you connect to the PlayOnline servers (since it doesn't use Xbox Live) you remain connected to Xbox Live as well for things like voice chat, messaging, achievements, etc. etc. etc. Similarly all EA games connect to EA servers as opposed to Xbox Live... to the gamer they think they're playing on Xbox Live, despite the fact that they're not... Sony could do the same thing and no one would be the wiser.
I'm not saying Sony wont have servers... if they so much as offer one bullet item on their list they will have to, but nothing says they can't just let publishers provide their own servers to host the actual games and use the Sony servers to host the resulting stats and everything else.