The only “gaming” I did last night was running around in Playstation Home, since it was announced that all the free junk in beta would turn to “paid for” junk in Open Beta. I fervently hope this isn’t true, because if it is I think Sony is in for a big surprise.
Would you pay real money for a virtual ottoman for your virtual apartment? I know I wouldn’t, and I hope a lot of these ‘basic items’ remain free.
Overall, to say I’ve been underwhelmed with the Home beta would be an understatement. I think its a train wreck, and this coming from a Sony Fanboy. I greatly prefer the PS3 over the XBox 360 or Wii, but this…service. I don’t get.
Everyone gets a big sterile empty apartment that they can decorate and do nothing in. Or you can go to the Central Plaza, which is a big, sterile open area for you to do nothing in (though I understand they’ve added a game to this area in today’s update). You can go to the mall to shop for the aforementioned virtual items, but when you attempt to pass through the doors into a store you get a big menu pop-up. There is no actual store to walk around in. There’s a movie theater that, for me at least, takes longer to download the “movie” (trailer, really) than it does to play it.
And there’s the bowling alley, the one tiny pocket of fun in the service. You can play pool there, or bowl, or access an arcade machine. I’ve only done the latter and it was ok.
As for the avatars, they are universally creepy, in that “uncanny valley” way. Also they all feel completely generic. You have a ton of analog controls to set cheek height and mouth width and brow protrusion and on and on, but everyone still ends up looking like a 20-something mallrat dweeb. I feel that both the XBox Avatars and the Nintendo Miis allow a better “reflect my personality” experience with their virtual creations.
The bright shining hope for Home comes from Red Bull. There’s a Red Bull Pavillion that’s going in (maybe today?) that, from the previews I’ve seen, looks visually interesting and has some activities to do (flying a stunt plane). But the ‘out of the box’ content for Home is sterile, boring, and pointless. If it had just showed up it would’ve been fine (given that its free, after all) but after the months and months of hype, launching this is just another example of Sony shooting themselves in the foot.
But everyone is getting it, so I’d love to hear what I’m missing. Please leave a comment telling me what you’re enjoying about Home.
Here’s some footage from the Red Bull sponsored area. More areas like this one would make Home a fun and exciting product. I really hope this is in for launch.