Sunday night I thought I’d try out Sony’s “open beta” of “Home”, their virtual world app where you create an avatar and wander around, essentially a closed version of Second Life.
I powered up the PS3 and selected the “Home” app.
Not surprisingly, the PS3 told me “a system update is required”. Sony’s system updates are slow, so I groan and hit ok.
About 45 minutes later, the update is done. The PS3 reboots, and I again select the “Home” app.
“You must install Home” it tells me. Ok, so the menu item for Home doesn’t actually have the app, it has to download. I hit ok.
Half and hour later, Home is downloaded and installed. I once more select the “Home” app.
“System update required,” it alerts me. Yup, ANOTHER one. I sigh and hit ok. Twenty or so minutes later, it’s installed. But now it’s time for bed. I shut down the PS3 and go to sleep.
So last night, I power the PS3 back up and select the “Home” app, and… you guessed it. “System update required.” I mash “ok” and wait another 20 minutes.
It restarts and I select the “Home” app. It actually launches! Or rather, it launches the EULA. After a lot of EULA stuff, it then tells me Home needs to install an update and reserve 3GB of space on the HD. Gah. I hit “ok” and after hitting “ok” a few more times to prompts like “Home will be using your HD, so don’t shut it down while it’s saving”, I finally get to the starting point of Home, building an avatar.
It only took a massive number of updates and patches, but I was finally able to build my sims-esque avatar. The selection of clothes was very limited (about 5 choices for shirts, pants, etc) – I knew Sony would do this, to try and get you to buy virtual clothing for your avatar. Once my fairly generic-looking avatar was done, it dropped me into my apartment, an extremely minimalist studio apartment overlooking the bay, with sailboats moored to the docks. It was rendered well enough, but very antiseptic looking.
I then went to a new location, oddly they have FarCry 2 and Uncharted locations, so I went to the FarCry 2 train station. The map took a little while to download, then I was dropped into the level. Other people have ghost-like templates until their models are loaded. I found this odd, shouldn’t the standard model textures be pre-cached? There aren’t that many options available…
There was very little to do on the map, except wander around. There was an upstairs, but that required another map to download. People were generally standing around going “**** you all!!!” or using one of the dance animations over and over (such as using the Metal fist-thrust to appear to be punching each other).
I then switched to the “movie theater” location. A bunch of people were dancing in the front, and there was a bubble machine there for some reason. On the screen was a giant progress bar, which took a long time to load. Seems instead of streaming, Sony chose a “download and play” model. Finally the movie was done downloading, and turned out to be a clip, maybe 5 or 10 minutes long, of some new CGI Resident Evil movie, which looked like an in-game cutscene but apparently is a direct-to-video movie. Once played, it started again.
Lastly, I took a trip to the Sony Mall, which offers a scant selection of items to buy for your avatar. There is an alternate apartment for $5, clothing between $0.50 and $2, and furniture around $2. There were no free items.
I shut down Home, probably never to return. Definitely not worth the effort of installing. It’s basically Second Life without the user-generated content, which to me was the main interesting thing about Second Life.
To sum up: yawn.