Following on from the previous article in this series, ‘It’s good to be back Home‘ I’m now going to address the availability of clothes, furniture, and even ‘personal spaces’ for a modest fee, known as a microtransaction. I must admit, I felt a little sick when I saw the rows of virtual t-shirts, jeans and trainers, each priced at a few pence each. I just could not understand why anyone would want to pay for stuff like this!
Being the intrepid reporter that I am, I felt I had to try using the system in order to comment on how it works. I picked up a reasonably cheap yellow t-shirt from some kind of brand that I’m not going to give airtime to here, some jeans, and some trainers. The whole experience left me feeling a bit hollow inside. We’ve run out of clothes to buy in the real world, and now we’ve been reduced to paying good money to clothe an avatar?! Seriously?
I would have posted this as an aside, but I wanted to include the a picture of the new visual style of the store:
(Click the above image for high-res goodness)
The update to the PLAYSTATION Store will be around mid-April, during which there will be a firmware upgrade required for the PS3 in order to use the new store. This is because the store will be software-based, and not a website, as is currently the case. There will be no content updates due to the store between now and the update.
Visually the store redesign seems to have taken a page off the SingStar Store, which is no bad thing. Seriously though, this is great news. Whilst the old store could have said to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, the new design doesn’t seem to have any critics (so far).
Who benefits from the update? Only PS3 users at the moment, although the PC version of the store will probably be updated sometime in the future. The new store should be very fast, compared to the old store, due to its software-based nature. I have to admit, whilst browsing the store, it has felt like wading through treacle.
Anyhow- here’s to more good stuff coming from Sony! (And to some extra content for the store after the redesign). Yet what I’ve noticed on the official forums, has been an ever-increasing demand for the release of Home and the long awaited in-game XMB.
Sony is apparently pitching features like these to developers to extend the lives of their titles, using strong first and second party development showcases to prove that Home can effectively market outside of traditional means. We hope they take them up on their offer, because we’re definitely excited about the prospects.
Kotaku has examples of extra Home integration with Warhawk, Resistance: Fall of Man and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. If developers add this extra functionality into their titles then the PS3 could leap ahead of the Xbox 360 for sheer richness in online offerings. As of yet, the Xbox 360 is quite far ahead.