Playstation Home Initial Thoughts

Like many PS3 owners, I didn’t waste any time trying out the new open beta of Playstation Home when it went live a few days ago. Due to large influx of users when the service initially opened up, I was unable to get on right away, so I spent some time on the net reading the initial responses of those lucky enough to manage to get connected early on.

I found the typical mix of those screaming about how much the service sucked, what has Sony been doing for the past couple years, why do I have to pay 40 cents to buy custom clothes, Playstation Home is the anti-Christ and should be destroyed, etc – and those defending the other side saying it was still in beta, it’s a free service, shut up, etc.

Reality is usually somewhere in between (though I side more with the “shut up” people – those who honestly complain that much about a free, beta service are in need of a serious dose of life-priorities), and eventually I got online and was able to gauge things for myself.


The first area you encounter when logging in for the first time is your apartment, which you can decorate with different furniture, wallpaper, devices, etc. It overlooks the sea and its pretty serene. The graphics, as have been commented on, are fairly good – definitely not the best of what the PS3 can pump out, but considering the CBE is taking care of processing a complex, semi-unpredictable MMO environment, they are very good. In other areas such as the mall and movie theater, Sony has incorporated videos onto screens, and they are clear and crisp.


With all the nice visuals and player processing, the PS3 does remarkably well with little lag (that I saw). The only time I noticed lag was first entering into an area when I’m sure initial setup was going on. Past that, running around the square or the mall, everything was very smooth.


Home supports keying in text from the controller, using a USB keyboard, or a USB microphone. I tried both the controller and a keyboard. Keying in things from the controller is definitely a huge pain and limits the amount of communication that can go on. There are some preset messages that help a bit, but they only get you so far. After hooking the keyboard up, I definitely had a lot easier of a time talking to the couple other people I could tell had a keyboard hooked up, but I’m guessing the majority of people (for now) are only using a controller. I did hear a few people voice chatting in the game, and that seems like a great option as well for people who don’t mind having their voice heard. I may try with a headset next time.


I personally am not so big on chatting – I rarely use AIM during my personal time, and prefer email or non-real-time messaging such as Facebook. So while talking to people was enjoyable for a little while, I was looking more at Home for other entertainment it provided like online games, such as bowling, pool, and video games found in the bowling alley. The arcade games available include a break-out clone, echochrome, and dropping blocks/match up style game called “Carriage Return”. They were fun for a bit, but I probably enjoyed bowling the most. Up to four people can play per lane, the interface isn’t too bad, and you can chat/heckle while playing, its pretty fun all in all.


Home is interesting – I hesitate on making any final judgment since its in beta and a lot of content/areas aren’t available yet. For me, I think if Sony opens it up more, adds more consequential interaction/games it will be more enjoyable. I don’t see myself using it too much until that happens aside from bowling every once in a while. Dancing in the music area is kind of funny to watch (as 50 people line up and do the running man), but even that gets old after a while. I think Sony could do a lot of things with home, add parks with chess/checker boards, add go-kart arenas with racing, minigolf, etc – I think that could be a lot of fun. We’ll see how it goes. All in all, its a neat experience for now, and holds a lot of potential – I definitely don’t see it being the travesty a lot of other, less forgiving PS3 owners do.

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