PS3 Phone Home

This will be brief, I've already bombarded what readers I have with two monolothic rants in the past few days, and I can be reasonably terse about this.

Sony has announced Home, a service meant to simultaneously rival both Xbox Live and Nintendo's Mii Channel. It's an impressive tool, and almost a game unto itself. It has graphics reminiscent of the Sims or Second Life, and features minigames, scenery and other interesting tidbits. There'll be lots of opportunities for those "microtransactions" that the industry loves these days.

My biggest critique of the system is that it missed the point of both Live and the Mii Channel. The power of both is in simple elegance. It is not difficult to use Live, or to use and create Miis. They are designed to be easy and effective. In this way, they can appeal to casual gamers. Home is neither of this things, and seems to offer more complication than simplification. This will definately be great for already established gamers. They've basically been training themselves to be adaptable to new user interfaces starting from when they first played. It's the casual gamers and the non-gamers, the ones who will be increasingly important as the industry moves forward, who won't want to bother.

Is Home bad? Nah. However, it's innovating in the wrong direction.

1 comment:

Scott said...

another concern is how very meta the whole thing is. So, in order to play a game with friends, I have to log into a second-life clone that will allow me to chat with their virtual representation of themselves before we can jump into another virtual world where we proceed to shoot each other? Sounds very cumbersome.

Still, you have to admit LittleBigPlanet looks pretty damn amazing. If they can actually build a game where user created content is that easy to generate, sign me up. (assuming a massive price drop, of course).