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PlayStation (Games) Sony Entertainment Games

PlayStation Home Beta Opens to the Public 206

Yesterday Sony launched the open beta for PlayStation Home, the virtual world designed for PlayStation Network community members. Eurogamer has an in-depth look at the features of Home. They point out some glaring weaknesses, such as a poor communication system, a flawed business model, and the inability to form groups without entering games, something the recently revamped Xbox interface does better. "It's not alienating, it's easy to identify with, and the socialising and advertising are entirely in context. But you're left pondering the inevitable question: why would you want to spend any time here?" Home's debut to the public saw a few typical launch-day problems, but Sony was quick to address them and get things back on track. Gizmodo has some screenshots and basic information available.
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PlayStation Home Beta Opens to the Public

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  • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:19PM (#26098861)

    I loaded it up early this morning, and in short, it's terrible. It's everything bad about Second Life meets the Xbox NXE meets Miis. I was going to write a lengthy explaination as to what's wrong, but Tycho over at Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] has done a much better job hitting on everything, and using bigger words in the process. So without further ado:

    The Beta for Playstation home is now available to everyone, and now you know what I know: this is what happens when your marketing department tries to make a game. Here is everything you need to understand about Home, if you should accidentally launch it from your XMB: press and hold the Playstation button in the center of your Dual-Shock or Sixaxis controller. From the menu that appears, select Quit.

    There are things about Home that are simply beyond my understanding. Chief among these bizarre maneuvers is the idea that, when manufacturing their flimsy dystopia, they actually ported the pernicious notion of scarcity from our world into their digital one. This is like having the ability to shape being from non-being at the subatomic level, and the first thing you decide to make is AIDS.

    If you approach an arcade machine and there is a person standing in front of it, you will not be able to play it. Likewise, if you see people bowling and think that bowling is something you might like to do, you probably wont be able to. Unable to play arcade games like Ice Breakers and Carriage Return the first several times we logged on, these games had begun to take on an epic stature in our minds. These were gushing fonts of liquid fun, habit-forming and dangerous - for the good of our virtual society, the supply had to be controlled. When we were finally able to play them, we learned that they were the equivalent of browser games.

    There is nothing about the experience of using Home to suggest that you are actually moving through a single, contiguous environment. It is very clearly a handful of walled off zones, where you are confronted by incessant load screens in a desperate search for stimulation. From the moment you enter one of their ultrahygenic "amusement regions," it's clear that all life has been burned away. You get the sense that this is a place in which no interesting thing could ever happen.

    There is already a growing school of Home apologetics, fostered by the same Order of Perpetual Masochism that lauded the rumble-free Sixaxis at launch and suggested, hilariously, that Lair and Heavenly Sword were videogames. They're under the impression that because something is free, this places it on some golden dais beyond censure. It's no virtue to give away something that no-one in their right mind would buy. Sony has no idea what this world is for, and that ambiguity infuses every simulated millimeter of it.

    This is the terrible secret that roils beneath their false universe: it is nothing more than a cumbersome menu, a rampart over which you must hoist yourself to accomplish the most basic tasks.

    (CW)TB out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:37PM (#26099391)

    I own a ps3, I bought it when it first came out, I rent blu ray disk.........I'm close to a sony fanboy. Seriously though, home is a terrible terrible experience (I was on the beta before it went public, it was insanely slow then, I don't know about now.........it sucked too much for me to try it out again). It's reskinned second life with a massive amount of Sony advertising.

  • by somanyrobots ( 1334451 ) on Friday December 12, 2008 @11:36PM (#26099729)

    Why would you bother calling someone else a fanboy?

    Probably because it's the easiest way to defend yourself when you're a paid sockpuppet.

  • Re:Oh God... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday December 12, 2008 @11:43PM (#26099771) Homepage Journal

    "Home is two years too late"

    Looks at the entire PS3 community worldwide packed onto the Home servers...

    I don't see it.

    "coast on their reputation"

    Yep, that's why they just tacked on a controller gimmick to their same old hardware...wait no that's Nintendo.

    They tacked on a "controller gimmick" like Guitar Hero and Rockband... the new controllers coming out these days are actually fun and immersive, and have expanded gameplay from "jam on abstract function-linked buttons!" to "interact directly with objects in the game world, via advanced human interface methods or just using controllers that physically represent the object you're controlling in the game on a high-fidelity analog."

    Let's see Sony since the PS2 has:

    * Co-developed the most powerful consumer electronic chip on the planet along with IBM and Toshiba

    They asked IBM to do this IIRC. Also: it's a pain in the ass to code for, and ROI is minimal if you're not writing high-budget scientific simulation programs. A lot of modern supercomputers still use current processors, some have tried Cell but it seems mostly experimental. This is a good field for Cell; game console... not so much. From a business and consumer perspective this was a mistake; too much expense (cost, price) for too little return, and much cost passed on to the consumer.

    * Help push through the next gen media format BluRay and included it in the PS3

    i.e. Marketing format war with HD-DVD, in order to push the PS3 and secure the rights to a licensing monopoly in order to rake in cash while making BluRay discs more expensive (no competition). They learned well from DVD+- and Beta/VHS; if you let competing tech get a hold, you'll have to price war with them and lower costs to consumers for the final product to gain market share. They raised costs for manufacturers by banning combined HD-DVD/BluRay as per agreement; and increased market penetration by pushing PS3 as an incidental BluRay player. If they had a legal monopoly in the game console field, they would have gotten a DOJ injunction for this stunt.

    * Massively upgraded their first party developer studio array to over 20 compared to only 10 for Nintendo and, lol, 3 for Microsoft

    Yet Nintendo puts out far better stuff... plus Nintendo intentionally broke up and spread their internal development worldwide. Division One brought us The Legend of Zelda and Metroid on the Famicom Disk System; they are now Retro Studios, a second-party developer created by Nintendo by shipping all assets related to Division One (prior and current projects at the time) into a second-party subsidiary. Nintendo has several of these.

    * Developed the incredible and gigantic Home online service

    It's been out for a day and has proven itself to be a piece of shit.

    * Branched out into smaller but high quality game development with PSN games

    Competing with WiiWare and XBoX XNA, but I don't know if Microsoft plans to ever develop its own first-party stuff on XNA.

    * Created at movie download service for sub-HD movie purchases and rentals

    Never heard of it.

    * Created the console with most enormous graphical power advantage over its competitors ever in console history

    Big deal. Have you seen Megaman 9? That's probably the most awesome game I've seen in a while. Tales of Symphonia 2 also is good. Lots of stuff out there is good... most of it's just "look we have shiny graphics" crap. Eye candy doesn't make a good game, it makes a good movie.

    Yeah, they are just 'coasting' on their reputation...

    They pretty much are. Most of the industry is coasting on good graphics and flashy technical specs, rather than anything substantial like fun or good games.

  • Simply Pointless (Score:3, Informative)

    by LKM ( 227954 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:35AM (#26101147) Homepage
    I own all three consoles, I love Little Big Planet, I think Motorstorm 2 is the best arcade racer ever, and I was pretty hyped for Home. I got into the Home beta a few weeks ago, and I think it's the most useless and boring and pointless thing I've ever seen. I'm beginning to suspect that Sony has continued to delay this thing since PS2 times not because it was hard to implement, but because they were desperately trying to find a reason for it to exist. They still haven't found one, and neither have I.
  • Re:Oh God... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @05:58AM (#26101411)
    explain how this (the ps3's graphics card) NVidia RSX Reality Synthesizer [wikipedia.org] has the

    most enormous graphical power advantage over its competitors ever in console history

    Over ATI Xenon [wikipedia.org] Both cards have their advantages, and neither is a clear winner. I dont own either console so I dont give a crap, but I dont see either card having any sort of significant advantage over the other.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."