PlayStation Home Report - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:33 PM
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Default PlayStation Home Report

In Sony's move to bolster the success of its online presence with the PlayStation 3, it decided not to simply copy Xbox Live's Achievement Point or GamerCard system, but rather take the online space in a new direction with PlayStation Home. The concept is simple: You log in, create a character and roam about the world, interacting with other users and various entertainment outlets (movie screens, arcade games, etc.)

While the concept is simple, the implementation is anything but that, and so a short while back Sony opened up PlayStation Home to a select group of beta testers. The number of testers is small and currently only taking place in Europe, keeping the flow of inside information to a minimum.

Though we don't have direct access to it ourselves outside of controlled event showings, one lucky insider (who shall remain anonymous for fear of losing his or her access to the beta), gave us just that.

What areas do you have access to within the beta, and how large are they? i.e. is the movie theater sizable or only a few rooms?
There are 4 areas, all of which were shown at GDC.

1. Your apartment. There is only one apartment available right now. I'd say it's about 15ft x 40ft.

2. The Lobby. It's the same area that was first shown at GDC. This area is quite large, about the size of a football field. There are places to sit and chat, and large screens to watch.

3. Movie Theatre. This is the same area shown at GDC. When you walk in there is a large screen playing a Spider-Man 3 trailer. There are 10 theatre rooms which currently show a variety of game and movie trailers.

4. The Game Room. The game room is about half the size of the lobby, which is more than big enough. It's easily the most popular room. There are 6 pool tables, 4 bowling lanes, and 10 arcade machines.

How easy is it to invite friends and transition into games? Are you receiving pop up notices while you're playing games from other home beta users?

This feature has not been implemented yet. None of the new features or areas outlined at E3 have made it into the beta. None. There is no support for in-home parties.

How many options do you have for customizing your avatar within home? Are you relatively restricted or is there a lot of flexibility?

The face creation system is very detailed. It's sorted by things like: eyes, nose, etc. and goes all the way down to things like: Upper face symmetry, lower face symmetry. These facial features are adjusted by a slider that can be moved in both the x and y axis. For example, while adjusting "eye location" the y axis controls the height of your eyes, and the x axis controls their distance from the centre of your face. There are about 20 of these sliders, which give you about 40 different ways to adjust your face alone.

The hair and clothing is still limited in selection. Body shape (which was added in a recent update) only has one adjustment slider.

Is the functionality of wallpaper, music, photos and video playback in your apartment working as of now?

The ability to play back content from your HDD has not been included. You are restricted to pre-set photos for picture frames. The ability to play back video and audio of any type has also not yet been included. TVs or Stereos do not appear in the list of available types of furniture.

Speaking of apartments, how easy is it to move between yours and another player's place? Can you walk there, or do you have to warp over there?

You can walk into your own apartment, but have to be invited and then warp to get into a friends apartment.

Can you go into someone else's apartment when they're not there, or do they have to invite you in?

The only way to get into is for them to invite you while they are in their apartment.

Have you seen some of the arcade games or other features that were touted, like adding or removing objects from your personal space?

Barring certain areas and apartment audio/video playback, everything from GDC is in the home beta right now. This includes arcade games, bowling, pool, furniture placement, character customization, etc. The features that are in home do work well. All the games are fun to play, and promote communication. Placing furniture is relatively painless and there is a good assortment of furniture to choose from. The physics work as promised.

Have you seen the "Trophy room" that we were shown earlier this year? If so, is it as large as was initially shown, and have you seen any titles you've played suddenly generate awards in the trophy room?

There is currently no trophy room.

How's the communication in Home working? Have they implemented the voice chat and keyboard support, or are you stuck with predictive text? Is it supporting Bluetooth yet?

Communication works very well. It supports Bluetooth headsets as well as keyboards. These were both day 1 features. You hold R2 to speak. The audio volume depends on the proximity of your character to the source. This works well in allowing you to have one-on-one conversations while still being able to hear people chatter around you.

Is there anything you can think of that's cool or that sucks that we didn't ask you about the beta?

I'll start with what's uncool. Some features that they've showed us since GDC are still not there, and nothing from E3 is. Sony also had a monthly roadmap of improvements/features/places they were going to implement but have not followed it. Home has had one update since launch. For example the roadmap said that more games were coming, pointing to chess as an example.

Also, for some strange reason, my hair changes color for no reason as I walk in and out of locations.

What's cool? Home works. What I mean by that is it's easy to go in and socialize and have a fun time doing it. People generally have a good time. It has a very open atmosphere, so you can pretty much walk up to anyone and start chatting with them. I've made friends in Home that I play online games such as Resistance or MotorStorm with. The Home beta has left me very excited about the final product, as it should be even more enjoyable when everyone I know has access to it.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:43 PM
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Being in the Beta, I cant say much but I very much agree with most of the those points. I also find it odd that we have had only 1 update sense then but I believe their using our server and methods as a geany pig for the real thing because what we saw at E3 and such was not the Home were it. Their Lobby was much bigger, nicer looking, all the apartment layouts were beautiful where currently you are stuck with 1 design (although inside can be fully customized) so I think their using our data to build the real deal but I cannot wait for it.

Mostly a year from now when companies begin to incorporate Home like how Live is incorporated into games.
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