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October 22, 2009

Playstation Home - Thoughts?

Just curious if anybody has any opinions or experience with Playstation Home?  It's the new "3D social gaming community that allows PLAYSTATION®3 users to meet, chat, plan, and launch into games together. You can create your own custom avatar, decorate your personal apartment, play mini-games, shop, watch videos, attend special events, and much more" that Sony created to go with their Playstation 3 and Playstation Network.  I'm assuming you can't get on it with a Playstation 2, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, we have both an Xbox 360 and a Playstation 3, but we only had one network cable and it was a bitch to get behind there and switch them, so I have played almost exclusively with the Xbox (though the Playstation was a lifesaver when my Xbox suffered the RROD (Red Rings of Death) and I was without it for a couple of weeks).

So we finally bought a network cable splitter and I now have both of them hooked up to the net.  I was playing around with the Playstation and saw the "Home" icon and it rang a bell with me.  So I installed it and got started with it.  It looks pretty cool.

Basically, it's just what's advertised, though I haven't explored it much.  You create your avatar and you have a really basic apartment.  You go through a small tutorial that explains how to move and do things.  Then, it lets you leave your apartment, and that's when you start having to download other locations, like the Central Plaza, the Mall, the Theater, and stuff like that.  When you leave your apartment, there are quite a few other avatars milling about the plaza and the various locations.  The best thing is that this is all free.  To start, anyway.

Like I said, I haven't played around with it much, just wandering around the plaza (and spying on some conversations, since if you're close enough to somebody, what they say pops up on your screen), the theater, and the mall.  Of course, the mall is where Sony will start making their money, because as I said, you start out with a very basic avatar and apartment.  The Mall is where you buy things using what are called "microtransactions."  To buy a really good couch for your apartment, for example, can cost 99 cents or $1.99 or whatever, depending on how good it is.  Clothes can be as low as 49 cents.  Of course, people who really get into it will start spending money on improving their experience, and that will all add up eventually.

I have a couple of questions that I hope somebody who finds this post can answer, though. 

1) Is this now the place to find games online, or do you still do that within the game itself?  For instance, playing NHL 10, do you find opponents while playing the game, or can you also find somebody on Home to play with and then launch the game from within Home?

2) What's the best way to meet people in this thing?  There were lots of people milling about, but either people were on their own or they were talking like they were friends.  Is it best to meet them within games first and then on Home?  Or are there good opportunities to meet people on Home itself?

3) What has your experience been like with it?  Is it full of people on the make, with guys acting like assholes and women trying to fend them all off?  Or, since most of the people there are gamers of one sort or another, does that common thread make the social interaction a little less annoying?  Yes, I know people playing online can be real assholes too, so I'm not expecting that everybody will be nice and courteous and stuff like that.  But from what I've seen, social chat networks like this often boil down to guys hitting on women, and many of them (both men and women) looking to hook up, either virtually or for real.  I'd like to think gamers wouldn't be like that, that if they're looking to "hook up," it's to play co-op Far Cry 2 or something, but who knows?  That's why I'm asking you.

I'll still hop on and explore some more, maybe some of the gaming spaces that the web site talks about.  But I'd love some input from experienced folks.


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