Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
07 March 2007
Three things PlayStation Home is *not*
Sony finally got around to announcing a grand online plan and it's called PlayStation Home. Go watch the trailer, if you haven't already. I took a quick peek around at reactions and people are definitely irrationally excited, so someone's got to be the adult around here. Sober up, people.
  1. PlayStation Home is not final software - In fact, it is alpha software, so stop acting like this is what we will actually see launched in Fall 2007. Take a minute, remember your history, and go read this article from May 2000. Then ponder all the online goodness we've enjoyed on our PlayStation 2s for the past seven years:
    More than just a games console, the PlayStation 2 will offer support for DVD Video, be able to function as a set-top box, Internet access device and also feature a PC-Card interface through which it can be connected to broadband networks.

    It is through these broadband networks that SCEI plans to deliver games, audio and video content from 2001.
    Breathtaking, isn't it? Practically none of that happened. Not even close. There wasn't even a network adaptor until 2002, for crying out loud.

    History gives us no reason to believe Sony can bring its PlayStation Home dream to fruition, so just stop acting like the presentation today meant anything. It meant nothing.

    Do yourself, and all of us, a favor: take a "show me" stance toward anything Sony announces.

  2. PlayStation Home will not be simple - What I always liked about GameSpy was that I could fire it up, ping some Quake servers, and immediately jump into a game. The virtual reality interface on PlayStation Home looks like an awful way to get people together for matches or games. If I want to play a PS3 game online, the last thing I want to do is have to watch people fiddle with human-shaped cursors just to get to the "Start Game" location.

    My only experience with trying to arrange virtual people was with another Sony property, Everquest Online Adventures, and I hated trying to get a party together in person to make plans for a quest. Now, I'm sure World of Warcraft people have this all figured out, but Sony's just bull-headed enough to come up with their own ridiculous solution to a previously solved problem. (See: ATRAC.)

  3. PlayStation Home is not free - You heard me. It's only free in the sense that iTunes is free. It's actually a clever trap to bleed you dry of money.

    Understand this: Sony is going to charge money for virtual property at every turn. Want a rug for your virtual house? A chair? A different color of wall paint? Then you better open your wallet, buster.

    Microsoft pioneered downloadable content fees, and Sony will take it to completely new level. It will be glorious.
The gushing people I've seen today are amusing, if only because those will be the same people gnashing their teeth when they face the reality of PlayStation Home later this year.

Addendum: MattG is skeptical of PlayStation Home for other reasons. And Ronald Diemicke at MobyGames is thinking along the same lines as my #3, calling it a "glorified marketing space, more like a big mall designed to suck up money".

Labels: , , ,

--Matt Matthews at 19:53
Comment [ 11 ]

Comments on this post:

It's taking brand synergy to the next level. You! The Consumer! Bask in your virtual home, with your virtual Sony products, with your Sony games on your Sony console! Watch as everything cross-promotes each other and formerly simple tasks - like watching a DVD - becomes an exploration in advertisements.

The only thing Sony need are a clothing range for you to dress your little guy up in.

Microsoft's response should be interesting. If Home does take off, and is free, how will Microsoft still justify £40 a year for a service without as much visual polish?

By Blogger Martin, at 07 March, 2007 21:22  

Completely awesome dissection.

By Blogger JohnH, at 07 March, 2007 21:59  

Not so much a mall as a lawsuit waiting to happen. There's going to be porn sprays everywhere, porn on tvs, and since Playstation is more mainstream than Second Life, you can bet it's going to garner a lot of negative attention.

Sony not thinking with their heads here, as far as I can tell.

By Blogger Jeremy, at 07 March, 2007 22:32  

This argument is retarded, it goes like this:
1) we know nothing about it at this time, what we saw was just a tech demo, don't make judgements about it!
2) slanderous statement about said tech demo
3) other slanderous statement about said tech demo!

By Blogger Zachary, at 07 March, 2007 22:33  

Slanderous?!

Perhaps Zachary needs to take a minute to review what the definition of slander is.

By Anonymous Martos, at 08 March, 2007 00:18  

That defeats the main point of my counter-argument by instead taking up issue with mere nazi like behavior. Thus by invoking godwin's law you lose.

By Blogger Zachary, at 08 March, 2007 00:39  

Honestly, you'd have to be brain dead (yay for hyperbole) to think that Sony won't charge money for accessories, etc. The trailer confirms it for clothing and heavily implies it for everything else.

You're right about PS Home being too complex. It's like there are trying to create a Sims mini-game. I really don't think it's going to work. WoW still hasn't created a workable LFG system. They've tried three different ways so far: Meeting Stones, Chat Channel, and a new one that's kind of hard to explain quickly.

The chat channel imo is the best of those three. Simplicity is key, a friends list, profiles, and genre/game specific chat channels is all it really needs.

And honestly, the avatars are too realistic. It just makes them look like every other game out there. Nintendo did a great job with the Miis. They have a distinct style that's easy to recognize. When I look at Playstation Home, I think of all those crappy Sims knock offs.

By Blogger Mordrak, at 09 March, 2007 00:04  

Fwiw, the virtual home thing was apparently at least partially successful with ESPN's last NFL game before the EA Sports monopoly/exclusive licensing took over.

I really don't think it's going to work. WoW still hasn't created a workable LFG system. They've tried three different ways so far: Meeting Stones, Chat Channel, and a new one that's kind of hard to explain quickly.

The chat channel imo is the best of those three. Simplicity is key, a friends list, profiles, and genre/game specific chat channels is all it really needs.


WoW actually has at least four ways to look for groups (LFG), one of which has been wildly successful for a privileged few: Guilds. If you're in a good raiding guild, you're not going to have any difficulty finding nightly runs on the most coveted dungeons. So note that I am, in general, agreeing with you... it's all about getting the right balance of "a friends list, profiles, and genre/game specific chat channels." That's a guild.

The last way of looking for a group really isn't all that hard to explain; it's much like joining a game of Quake online. You fire up a utility, find a game you'd like to join (in this case, you select a dungeon or quest you'd like to form a group to perform), and wait for others to pop into your "room." Once you've got two, your party forms and can either start playing or you can, like GameSpy or GameRanger, wait for more before playing "in earnest."

That's a little overly simplistic, but it essentially works that way. I've hit BRD three times with the LFG interface, which is tons better than I've done with the meeting stones, but, as you say, not nearly as good as my success with guilds or another sort of specialized chat channel.

Most of the time, though, I get the invite from a group who sees I'm the right level and nearby. Ah, the beauty of being a healing class. Everyone loves ya'.

By Blogger rufbo, at 09 March, 2007 11:19  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Mordrak, at 09 March, 2007 13:08  

Sorry if this shows up as a double post. I deleted the old one and corrected something.

The last way of looking for a group really isn't all that hard to explain; it's much like joining a game of Quake online. You fire up a utility, find a game you'd like to join (in this case, you select a dungeon or quest you'd like to form a group to perform), and wait for others to pop into your "room." Once you've got two, your party forms and can either start playing or you can, like GameSpy or GameRanger, wait for more before playing "in earnest."


Yeah. Writing isn't one of my strong points, so I didn't want to mis-represent the new LFG system. I've found it difficult to find groups with it, but your mileage will vary based on class, server makeup, etc.

You make a good point about guilds. I wonder if they could cross-game clans? Does Xbox Live do anything like that? I've heard about it for specific games, but not something that persists between them.

By Blogger Mordrak, at 09 March, 2007 13:12  

Xbox (360) live atm is completely anti-clan if you want to get online achievements or play in ranked games.

By Blogger Zachary, at 10 March, 2007 03:47  

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