With Microsoft’s Xbox Live dominating the discussions of what a consoles online experience should be, many Playstation 3 owners have grown weary. With the Playstation Network, they are provided a free community to connect them with fellow gamers, but one that is often considered disjointed and detached in comparison to Live.
When the PSN’s social space Home was announced at last years GDC, many felt that Sony was finally going to step up their game and give them a viable community. One that not only rivals Live in scope, but surpasses Microsoft in ambition.
The Beta of Home has been under way for quite some time now, and details of what’s changing have been leaking out for awhile. At the Imagina conference being held in Monaco, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s John Venables and Ron Festejo showed some new screens of an advanced build of the “game” that showed the Home Square newly revamped as an open-air outside locale, with tables scattered all about containing fully functional games like chess and checkers, as opposed to the previously shown indoor facility.
Also, it seems the Theatre and Bowling Alley have changed in order to make them a little easier to recognize. The Theatre has been relocated to the ground floor after beta testers complained about the length of time it took to walk up the stairs. An estimated 12 seconds. Lazy avatars!
Sony revealed that apartments would have balconies that will provide gamers with a lay of the land, and said that around 8 or 9 “apartments” would be available at launch, with “premium apartments’ available for purchase. No details yet about just how much those premium pads will cost.
One of the premium rooms that was shown off was a wood cabin called the Norwegian Lodge, a realistic domicile that was much larger than the standard free apartments. And while all the apartments shown were all based in reality, Fajesco commented that more fantastical apartments may become available if PS3 owners demand them, like an “apartment in the clouds.” Uhmmmmm, I’m good. Thanks, anyway.
Not everyone has gotten to take part in the Home beta, so what follows is a collection of Home beta vids showing the aforementioned features, plus a whole lot more. Enjoy!