Sony Phones Home

1 12 2008


I was fortunate enough to be able to access the beta for Sony’s program Home. An online massive multiplayer experience very similar in the fashion of Second Life. The program has incredible features that rival any online community. The Nintendo Wii for instance have chibi (anime-like) avatars who would only capture a brief glimpse of your character but it presents a wider generalization of your persona.Xbox and Sony opted for more detailed avatars. These avatars were the first things that struck me when I entered the game. Highly customizable avatars which start off with presets that fit many different flavors and styles to  fit your personalizing needs. You’ll notice there is a whole array of footwear,jewelery,hats, and various apparel that will be made available. I’m almost positive the game will feature some kind of online currency, to purchase all those “essential” needs for you avatar like a phone that matches your new shoes or what-not.

So you start off with your own beautiful plot of virtual space, a studio apartment right next to a harbor . You can customize all of your furniture add couches and chairs, but like I said, the variety of the items will cost you in the future. But the real joy is going outside to visit the Home community.

Out in the central plaza you will meet the majority of people walking aimlessly typing and talking through there Blu-tooth headsets. Your avatar will respond to character and can easily interact with the passerby with simple gestures or greetings. All around you find various posters and video screens constantly playing game trailers which is pure marketing genius.

At the local bar you can bowl with a friend or shoot some pool. You can play checkers at the mall and simple games at the arcade. The pool physics are a little difficult to grasp,but the arcade games are rather simple and addictive.Bowling is great with a group of friends. There is something highly amusing like walking over to a techno streaming from your speaker at a rave dance party with your avatar and then breaking out the robot or the worm, which leads to the creation of clubs.

Clubs are offered at first for free, but this will be changed when the game is released. The club offers players there own little slice of customization and such, similarly to the sandboxes of Second Life. They even offer similar building tools with boxes which will be customized in shape and diameter in  the future, but are now inaccessible. The placing of furniture and appliances is simple enough as pointing placing and clicking. But the real thrill is from organizing an actual club with a message board and your own music streaming twith bubble machines only adding to this surreal virtual reality.

Home is going to be a huge endeavor for Sony. Bringing together a whole online community where you can virtually access your buddy list and invite friends to play in a match, or watch streaming videos of Navy seals playing SOCOM, this is truly riveting technology. Almost in comparison to one of my favorite animes Ghost in the Shell, directed by Mamoru Oshii. Everyone will be linked to computers, playing out there entire lives as virtual avatars and humanoids, forever leaving reality for the escape of the Digital Dawn.






One response

9 12 2008

Thoughtful writing, Brendan. But do you see this operation as a potentially “closed” given the corporate focus?

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