Yeah that was one of the nice features of XBL that i missed on PSN. Its nice to talk to your friends in a game and avoid listening to all the racists, annoying kids , and listening to obnoxous trash talk .
I would have to agree with your statment to a point. I was one of those lost to the original xbox when I finally got my hands on xbox live (but i never forgot about my playstations. just couldn't afford two consoles so no PS3 ...). Though I love having party chat because sometimes I just want to talk with my friends. I do miss the fun lobbys. That being said I would also say things like matchmaking took from fun lobbys as well, Not just party chat. But there are still games that you can have the fun lobbys as long as the game designers have the custom lobbys to support such a network. Forza being one of them. For all the glitchy falts forza has had. I can forgive all because of the community created by the custom lobbys. Witch im going to miss soo much because microsoft felt they needed to be Dbags (I will never forgive them for this by the way). Games that are just matchmaking take the most away from the community in my opinion, but party chat did't help it eather. I think as long as game designers keep the custom lobbys in the game were theres a host and you can search them. The community will stay intact. I would say Forza 4 is the perfict representation of this because if you were in a custom lobby no one was in party chat because you had to communicate with the host.