Filtered: Gamescom 09

I’ve been catching up on all of the announcements focusing on the PlayStation brand at Gamescom 09.  I’d like to share with you a list news items that have caught my eye and what I think about them:

  • PS3 Slim– About time!  The reduced price has been needed for months, the brand cleanup is a wise move, and Sony have finally found a voice with their marketing campaign!
  • LocoRoco Midnight Carnival– I’m a die-hard LocoRoco fan, and this upcoming PSN download looks really… well, fun!  New gameplay mechanics should keep things fresh.
  • PlayStation Home update– universal game launching from within Home looks quite compelling, but there are still numerous problems with accessing Home for some people: downloading areas, connection issues etc, that might prevent them from utilising this functionality.
  • Digital Comics Store for PSP– I’ve got to hand it to Sony- this looks pretty damn sweet!  Why has it taken this long though?!  Unfortunately though, it’s only for the US at the moment.  Boo.  Hiss.
  • New Uncharted 2 footage goes without saying *drools*
  • Firmware 3.0– Hopefully this should expose ‘what’s new’ on the PlayStation Store, and across the PlayStation Network, helping people feel more connected to the PlayStation community and kept up-to-date with what’s going on.  The rest of the firmware update is incidental in my opinion.
  • LittleBigPlanet Water!– This should be a very interesting new game mechanic, and may persuade me to visit LittleBigPlanet once again.

And that’s it!  If there’s anything I’ve missed, I’ve either forgotten about it, or I’m not really bothered about it.

For all new PS3 owners

Updated 27th June 2009

Want inspiration for what to do initially as a new PS3 owner?  Step right this way… I’ve jotted some points down covering various areas that might be of use, and tips that I’ve found helpful to get up and running quickly, but also to provide the most enjoyment:

  • The first switch-on– immediately get connected to the internet either by a wired or wireless connection.  You might need a system update for a start, and it’s pretty much essential for updating your games with the latest patches/improvements.  (See if you want clear and detailed guidance.)
  • Sign up to the PlayStation Network (it’s free!) and get yourself a PlayStation Network ID, which will give you access to the PlayStation Store, the ability to start collecting Trophies, PlayStation Home and most crucially perhaps, the ability to play against other people online.
  • Try a great game– Now is the time to try a great game that will show off what the PS3 is all about: personally, I’d recommend Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, LittleBigPlanet, and Metal Gear Solid 4, to name but a few.  Visuals like you’ve never seen before.  At least rent one of these titles!  If you’d like a wider selection to choose from, and you’re in a bit of a hurry, you can’t go far wrong with No Fuss Reviews.
  • Stay in the loop– If you want the inside scoop straight from the horse’s mouth, than you can do no better than paying PlayStation.Blog.US and PlayStation.Blog.Europe a visit.  For regular news, there’s Joystiq and TheSixthAxis.  Or for a more personal take on everything there’s always good old reliable Los Havros.  Ahem.
  • Go beyond– The beauty about gaming on the PS3 is that the experience is as deep and rich as you want it to be: sample free demos or purchase extra content on the PlayStation Store, mix and mingle with people in PlayStation Home, go it alone in-game, or go out and play on the PlayStation Network.  For those feeling a bit philanthropic, then do some good with your PS3 and number-crunch protein folding for Folding@Home that is contained within Life With PlayStation.
My top tip: Want to chat to other gamers online, but don’t have a PlayStation headset?  If you have a bluetooth headset for your mobile phone lying around, charge it up and sync it with your PS3.  Sorted!

PlayStation Home: The next chapter?

Welcome to the final article in my series on PlayStation Home.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve looked at different aspects of Home, but I’ve dodged answering what exactly Home is, and where it might be heading.

People have been complaining that PlayStation Home simply lacks things to do, content etc.  And we’re all told that to attract consumers, ‘content is king’.  So where is it?  Well, in the article ‘Sony: Home is the “perfect storm” for publishers‘ by, Sony describe Home as a platform upon which third parties can engage directly with PlayStation gamers with their own content.
Continue reading PlayStation Home: The next chapter?

PlayStation Home: We’re all going to Xi

As the penultimate article in my series on PlayStation Home, we now delve into the mysteries of Xi which pushes the limits of what you’d think possible from a virtual world merely for socialising.

What gets me most about Xi, is the sheer genius of it all.  PlayStation Home as a cohesive online world has the potential to have lots of secrets, some of  which Xi is exploiting fully, creating it’s own mythology around Home which I find very compelling.  The first glimpse of Xi you’ll see will be through a secret Home area called the Hub.  It’s worth reading what Joystiq has to say both about Xi in general and about the Hub in its article, ‘Xi infiltrates Home- and it’s kind of neat‘.  My own thoughts echo Joystiq’s: why aren’t other Home spaces this cool?  Quickly followed by the demand: let’s have more of this!

Continue reading PlayStation Home: We’re all going to Xi

PlayStation Home: Capitalism at its worst?

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?

Continue reading PlayStation Home: Capitalism at its worst?

It’s good to be back Home

Updated 25th April, 2009

Welcome to the first in a series of articles on PlayStation Home this April.  This article serves as an introduction to the other articles and so I’ve referenced future posts,  but of course the links aren’t live yet, so please don’t be mad if you’re clicking them and nothing is happening!  This article will be updated as the next articles go live.

I first stumbled my way through the front door of my swanky new Harbour Studio shortly after the PlayStation Home open beta was made available. I got immediately bored after spending literally a minute looking round my teensy little pad and learning the controls.  To go elsewhere, like the Home Square or the Shopping Centre etc, they had to be downloaded first.  So with a bit of spare time on my hands and for lack of something better to do, with the limited amount of furniture initially available I proceeded to cram as many chairs, tables, units and desk lamps as I possibly could into my modest-sized studio.

The end result, as you may have guessed, was a cross between an airport departure lounge and a poorly organised alcoholics anonymous meeting.  But without the people.  I don’t really know who was going to visit my apartment as I have few contacts on the PlayStation Network, and I’m totally anti-social when wandering round PlayStation Home.  Which is kind of ironic, seen as the whole idea of Home is social interaction.  The worst thing about my set up was that I didn’t even have a TV or entertainment system.  That could have produced a few awkward moments for my imaginary guests.

Continue reading It’s good to be back Home

PlayStation Home: a series of articles for April

Update: All articles are live, see below!

Over the course of April, I will release a series of articles on PlayStation Home to mark its continuing improvements, reflecting on what has been achieved so far, and what the future holds in store for both PlayStation Home and the community.

Publishing schedule:

This post has been updated as and when each article has gone live, linking back to them and acting as a sort of hub for them.  Whilst all articles have been published, I wouldn’t call them fully complete yet, so if you want to participate in shaping this series whith addition content, then contact me: comments or emails are most welcome.