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.
Round about when I was feeling satisfied with my ghastly attempt at interior design, I think Home crashed for me. A few crashes and PS3 restarts later, I was back. Soon afterwards the rest of the environments had finished downloaded and I decided to spread my wings and explore PlayStation Home. My dramatic arrival into the Home Square for the first time was swiftly followed by a total crash of PlayStation Home and my PS3.
Over the next few sessions messing about on PlayStation Home, I was able to stretch my legs and have a wander around the Home Square and the Shopping Mall. My only bugbear with the areas was that loading times were painfully slow when moving between areas. I’ll explain more about my experiences in the Shopping Mall in the next post in the series, ‘PlayStation Home: Capitalism at its worst?‘.
It was about this time, that my PS3 broke and was exchanged for a new machine. When I got my new PS3, going on PlayStation Home was the last thing on my mind. I had lost all of my game saves and other data that was on the old PS3. I was devastated. It would be another 3-4 months before I would step foot in PlayStation Home again…
Of course, with the new PS3 I had to re-download the entire thing again from scratch. I’ve noticed the Home feels a lot more stable. Sure, it’ll crash for me now and again, but still, quite a difference from the Home I originally experienced. I proceeded to wander round all of the different spaces within Home: Home Square, the Shopping Mall and the Home Theatre. I also thought it was worth having a look at the third party content, such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Far Cry 2 areas. Yet something felt missing. I felt I was just aimlessly wandering through PlayStation Home without a purpose.
And then Xi came along and changed everything… Which I’ll be covering in the third post in the series, ‘PlayStation Home: We’re all going to Xi‘. But is Xi the right kind of thing for PlayStation Home? Is more needed? Or should Sony try a different approach? I’ll try and do my best to answer such questions in the fourth and last post in the series, ‘PlayStation Home: The next chapter?‘