PlayStation 3 owners have been waiting for a particular feature for quite some time. PlayStation Home is promised as a unique experience that will bring gamers together and truly form a community out of the collective owners of Sony’s console. It is, at heart, a Second Life clone. For the unfamiliar, Second Life is a virtual world, where players control an avatar and can go to gatherings, concerts, get news, play games, and trade items with virtual friends. After several Each person can customize their clothes and facial characteristics, with millions of potential combinations.delays and an extended closed beta, the open beta period is in sight, wherein all PSN users will be able to jump into the virtual space.
The first step came about two weeks ago, when an additional 100,000 users gained access to the closed beta. Shortly thereafter, the Bowling Alley was opened, complete with bowling lanes, pool tables, and a smattering of arcade machines, where prizes for your character can be won. There’s no matchmaking, so you simply wait in line for your turn. You can chat with those that are actively participating to find out how far along they are in their game, so the wait isn’t usually too bad.
Today, Sony put some items in the stores in the Home Mall area for the first time. A new living space, some extra furniture, and a few clothing items are free to the current beta testers for a limited time, giving them some new customization options. They haven’t quite reached the millions of customization options they promise for the final release version, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
The world itself, while limited in Spaces right now, is certainly not crowded. There are always good handfuls of people in each area, and there do seem to be quite a few spontaneous chats, both typed and spoken going on amongst groups of 2-10 people. The verbal chats, over headset (and done while holding R2) are where the community aspect really shines. Other than that, right now, it seems like the primary use of Home is to have impromptu dance parties.
The Home Theater area right now has only been showing a low-res Socom trailer for quite some time. The setup is perplexing as well. If you sit in the chairs, you can only get a weird behind-the-head third person view of the movie 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.screen, with people (and their text bubbles) often blocking the view. However, if you walk up to the front and get very close to it, you can focus on the screen, making it take full screen on your TV. Hopefully this is one of those things that will be worked out before the release version.
For the time being, the view from users within Home is one of optimism and hope. Many expressed that it looks like it has a lot of potential, but couldn’t really express potential for what exactly. The bowling and pool mechanics are simple and surprisingly fun, allowing for a good bonding activity. Home does have potential to be a good community builder, and maybe even the next step in the replacement of current forums and chat rooms.