After a good bit of frustration, I managed to get the Playstation Home Beta up and running on my PS3. Following about an hour in Sony's virtual world, I thought that I'd share my initial impressions.
First, it feels dated. Yes, the graphics are impressive and it's clearly using the power PS3 hardware, but that's not my issue. The whole mechanics of moving around and the the animation associated with that movement. It's pick up and play, because we've seen this 3rd person experience for what, like 10 years now. Of course, the stiff walking animation that feels entirely inorganic doesn't help that impression. Despite the considerable effort/money that was put into it, you've got something that gives the appearance of a face-lifted application from a generation ago. Sony's own Little Big Planet has more convincing human behavior in sack dolls.
Second, it's like walking in a nightmare where Sony related content is pumped into every orifice of your body. At a most basic level, it feels like Sony has built an virtual experience where you can stroll through a world of advertising. Again, this feels like the VRML experiences of more than a decade ago.
Third, all of that advertising might be easier to swallow if Sony wasn't charging you for every facet of your virtual life. Check out these two items available in the mall. Take a close look and you'll see a virtual residence being sold for $4.99 and a couch for $0.99.
$0.99 for something that you sit on... virtually. By comparison, the residence is a bargain. Horse armor is more practical. And it's obvious from the limited selection of free clothing, etc that the world is going to be filled with this stuff.
On that note, if you are parent, stop reading this, go to your PS3 and make sure that your kids don't have access to your credit card. Delete all of your wallet information off the machine.
Sony would be far better off creating more interesting things to do in this virtual world and less emphasis on making me watch Twilight trailers at every venue. It's such a blown opportunity that it gives me a headache.
don't pwn alone (tm)
Readers of the blog know that I am HUGE fan of MGS4 and LittleBigPlanet. I really like my PS3, but I have to call Home for what it is.