July 12, 2007 – I made the joke with a friend of mine against the original Xbox that you could probably live in it considering the size. Well now they will have the chance to rebuttal that joke with saying that Sony’s new Home will enable just that. However, there is one difference; Home actually looks like something I would gladly say that I “live” in, which I would never be happy to say about the original Xbox. Earlier, at the Sony E3 press conference we were given a look into the massive Home, and everything appears to be going quite well for the newest gaming experience around.
I know there have been some that are hating on Sony right now for Home. Saying that it is nothing more than a mesh between the Xbox Live, and the Nintendo Mii channel. However, you should ask yourself this; even if it is just a meshing of the two, wouldn’t you want to have larger bragging rights when you have some of your buddies online with you? I mean sure the achievement points are fine for simple bragging rights, but Home takes it a step beyond that. Home apparently is going to give us the chance to gloat over not only with the trophies system you will have for the achievements you make in the games you play, but a nice little pad for your friends to come and lounge around in with until it is time to play a game. Speaking of lounges, Phil Harrison confirmed during the press conference that some of the questions regarding the ease of starting up a game have been obliterated. While in Home, you will be able to start a game right from inside the Home experience. Enjoy your time with some of your friends online, and then once you are done you will be delivered back into your Home. This ease of starting up a game in Home won’t just be for the online multiplayer games, we will be able to do it in everything we play.
Sony’s press conference shuttled back and forth into Home, so we were also given a glimpse at some of the living establishments that they are working on. While some of them do not look as impressive as other, it shows that this is really our chance to express ourselves in a different gaming way.
Another announcement made at the conference surround the fresh Social Networking site. Here is where I think the advantages of Home might start to shine a little. While only a few things were mentioned that you can do on this site, like – take a picture of the screen you have in Home and post it to the site for other to see, an automated blog for your avatar and gaming life, and the overall interaction experience of the net correlating with your PS3, there was enough to increase my interest in an already anticipated “game” addition for Sony.
Home is supposed to launch this fall and as long as things continue to look as impressive as they did during the conference then I think we all might be building our own Homes. CheatCC will have the latest info about Home as soon as we get it. Continue to check back with us for the latest updates as we receive them.
Sony proves that you can go Home again
March 13, 2007 – Depending on what camp you sit in, when you hear about Sony’s Home interface, you’ll either think they are incredibly innovative or blatant thieves, but you’ll still be unable to deny the appeal of Home. Taking some of the best elements from games and applications like Xbox Live, Nintendo’s Mii Channel, Second Life, and The Sims, Home is probably going to revolutionize the way that Sony’s PlayStation 3 is viewed.
“The Central Lounge is the large social meeting space and is your initial starting point in Home. Communication is key in Home, and there are many simple ways to get to know people. Emotes are animations that get your point across fast. You can access short phrases using Quick Write, or if you have something big to say you can type with a Virtual or USB keyboard, or talk with a Bluetooth headset.”
Home is the name of the new interface Sony is going to utilize for the PlayStation 3, and it’s as accurate a name as any. In a stroke of pure genius, Sony has analyzed what makes both interfaces for Nintendo and Microsoft so appealing and offered the same, then multiplied by one hundred. One of the biggest perks to the Home system, however, is that it is going to remain free. Take notes, Microsoft.
The Home experience begins by allowing the player to create an onscreen persona to represent themselves. In this respect, Home is similar to the Mii Channel, although the persona is far more realistic than the cutesy Miis. The Home Avatar can be customized in a number of ways, including clothing, skin tone, height, head shape, etc. Expect to be able to alter all of the normal elements in a create-a-player mode, although the experience only begins there.
Your avatar is started with a place to stay, which Sony admits will likely be a simple apartment. However, the apartment is also customizable, allowing the player to choose and place different furniture and appliances. Everything is physics based, so the player can toss furniture down stairs or around the apartment and expect it to react realistically. Even better, the player can upload images to place in photo frames, making the apartment uniquely yours by putting images of family or whatever you choose around your domicile. Videos on your PlayStation 3 hard drive can be played on Virtual Television sets, streaming seamlessly from the hard drive to the virtual environment. Even virtual stereos can stream music from the PS3 hard drive or memory sticks to be played in the game world. Interestingly enough, the sounds in the virtual world are location based, so stereos sound louder the closer the avatar is to the virtual speakers.
“Your Home Space is your private apartment where you can invite your friends and family. Your free, initial apartment can be decorated and upgraded to the height of luxury with furniture, accessories, pictures and videos from your own collection.”
While most of the content will be free, those wishing to differentiate themselves from others do have the option of paying for premium content. This includes exclusive clothing, living conditions, and furniture. The player can pay for a larger living space, increased square footage, the number of floors, the look of the furniture, etc. Sony has also revealed that the player can alter the view out of their windows as well, making the perfect view as they see fit. This means that if the player is willing to pay for luxury, their apartment can become a two story penthouse-esque pad. It remains to be seen, however, exactly how much Sony is going to charge for the premium content, although hopefully it is enough that everything doesn’t have a mansion and not so much that only a few can afford luxury.
Another interesting idea Sony plans to implement is the inclusion of game specific content. By playing certain games, the player can unlock different items related to that game. This means that after playing Resistance: Fall of Man, the player might be able to access Resistance wallpaper for their living quarters or even a Resistance T-shirt. There are also trophies that can be earned and displayed in the player’s Home by achieving milestones in games, similar to Microsoft’s Achievement Points, although with a virtual representation instead of a simple Gamerscore and text. Some of these trophies even have different audio and visual effects to show off, emphasizing your achievement and simultaneously thumbing their virtual nose at Microsoft’s Achievements. Sony is even toying with the strangely Nintendo-esque idea of using the player’s avatar in certain games, although this idea hasn’t been finalized.
“The Hall of Fame is the space where your game accomplishments are stored as 3D Trophies and video for public and private display.”