August 31, 2008 // 7:30 pm
- Home is highly anticipated throughout the PlayStation community. Many are saying that this is going to change the way we socialise on our consoles, and we here at That Gaming Site agree, well just myself and Ankido. Mehar our Xbox reporter and founder of the site, has different opinions, which will be expressed a bit later on.
Innovation seems to be a huge part of the Sony label. They keep bringing new creations and ideas to the table all the time. We've heard and seen the likes of Eye Pet, MAG, Little Big Planet, and the big Sony project, they called Home. Like I said before. Home is highly anticipated by many and is set to deliver a whole new console experience.
So with all this hype and excitement surrounding Home, Microsoft must be slightly worried? Or so we would all assume right? What "Game Plan" does Microsoft have to tackle the long awaited release of Home? Is it the new Dash Board and avatars? We will start with my opinions on this.
From what we have all heard about Home, it really does seem to be amazingly great and I hope the final product turns out like that. So if Home does arrive with all the mentioned features and more, I believe Microsoft really should worry. Based on everything I have seen surrounding Home and the new dash board, Home has my vote. Home seems and feels fresher, there is so much to it, than a new look. The whole idea of encouraging socialisation has been expanded beyond the cam chats and messaging but into a virtual world.
Some would say that this is not new and that it has been done before, in the form of Second life. But this isn't true. Nothing on the same scale as Home, has been attempted for a console. But its not just that. I get excited at the thought of how much more Home can still evolve. The possibilities could be near endless. What is out now has only just begun to scratch the surface of what Home could be in say 5 years time. Just think about it. You finish your game of Warhawk and you feel like something different.
How about you go to your apartment (only to be greeted by your Eye Pet, remember this is 5 years on) and watch a film with your mates. This was something that really struck me as being great. You want to buy yourself some new clothes, in real life this is. So you stick on Home and go to say the REPUBLIC shop and try the clothes you want , on your avatar. Deciding you like them, you can purchase them through Home, which will then have your clothes sent out to your house but you also get to wear a virtual set. That is an idea that is more than possible.
On that note, lets have a look at Microsoft and their response to Home.
Microsoft have announced their Dashboard make over and the new Avatars system that will be arriving to the 360 this fall.
Are avatars really the answer to Home? An ever growing world replaced with animated looking avatars? It would seem so. There has been no leak or word of anything different. Avatars does not excitement nearly as much as Home does. They seem to be offering "some" similar functions, but in an entirely different league. Its like when the PS3 was first released and people compared the PSN to the Xbox Live. Well now it is Sony's turn to say, what can Avatars do that Home can not?
If Microsoft haven't got anything else in this department planned and Sony's Home delivers, then we could well be looking at a new king for online experience.
Now we go onto Mehar's opinion:
I believe Microsoft already has a answer to Home, that answer is called the "New Xbox Experince"! With the new experince you will be able to create your self a avatar, create a party of people, play a game together, watch a movie together, etc the stuff Home is shaping up to be anyway. I highly doubt people will buy the PS3 just for Home, it really seems like something only those who have a PS3 will enjoy for as long as they can, Nintendo and Microsoft shouldn't worry.
I also believe Home is not as revoluntionary has people are saying, I could do 90-95% of the stuff being touted in home on almost any Phantasy Star game starting with the one's on the Dreamcast. If we could do all of that stuff in 2000 on a 56K modem, what's all the hype about? On the Xbox 360 I can download the Phantasy Star demo and experience what home will be.
Chris Rah Osiris's opinion:
We all know that Home is coming. People are impatiently waiting for the NA Beta invites. You can check the Official Forums if you do not believe me. This has prompted the discussion about what would be the likely response from Microsoft. E3 brought the announcement Avatars and the Dashboard revamp. Could this truly be Microsoft's only response to Home?
I believe it is. Though Microsoft did receive some criticism for Its obvious rip-off of the Wii Mii idea. (I will admit that Home took some of the same criticism originally). Microsoft is not a company that is well known for innovation. Well innovation outside of Xbox Live. Home's announcement was Sony's direct challenge to Microsoft's dominance in the online gaming market. Microsoft initially appeared to be to take little notice of Home. It even seemed as if Home was written off as a pipe dream. The announcement of Avatars changed all of this.
Avatars offers a variety of interaction for Xbox life users. Do these features measure up to Home? I do not feel that it does. The initial offerings do lay the groundwork for Microsoft to expand on this service to make it comparable to Home. I would assume that the decision to do something like this would have been made already. Avatars could possibly be the testing ground; an initial step to releasing a full-scale, Home like service. The limited release shows that Microsoft is not completely sold on the Home experience. If Home takes off, there will be additions made to this service. Microsoft will not allow itself to be left behind on the online community front.
Home is Sony's big addition to this generation. Wii has motion control. (The other consoles will have it too, mark my words.) Xbox has the Live service. Home could easily change gaming as we know it. Virtual communities in 3D are the future. Home is a 3D virtual world set up for gamers. Parties, games, and interaction are available for PS3 owners. If we make this service viable, Microsoft will have to follow.
Sony is committed to Home. You do recall the interview from several months ago that states that Home will be an essential interface for the PS4 and the PLAYSTATION brand going forward? You should remember it. Home is gaming in 4D. Seamlessly going from a conversation with a friend to playing a video game has never occurred in a console. At least not when there was a 3D representation of yourself and your friend involved.
Could you imagine a session of R2 that has breaks that load you back into Home and allow for you to discuss the match during a 5 minute cool down between frag marathons? I can. That is making Home a part of the gaming experience. It builds your connection to the game. I doubt any of you can play all day without taking a break. When gaming begins to take real life aspects such as fatigue and the need to strategize into account, the experience will become even more real. We will not have to wait for the next generation for this. This is coming to the PS3.
Home is the future. Avatars is an experiment.
Microsoft is afraid that PlayStation Home might win the battle against other Virtual Social Network programs such as Second life, which is a Social Network communicating simulator. That's the reason why they are releasing their latest feature for the Xbox 360, to make it compete with home.
The new Dashboard update adds a community channel, which allows you to send messages to friends or invite them to a "live party." With this upcoming update, Xbox 360 becomes an even more social experience. The dashboard update also brings you Avatar, which allows you to customize your own character for the live community channel. This is why Microsoft is releasing these features, because they are afraid that Sony might take over the online Community with their latest community feature, PlayStation Home.
Will Microsoft's new update compete with PlayStation's Home or will Sony's PlayStation Home take over Microsoft's Live and Xbox 360's new dashboard update, we just have to wait and see the response from both companies, upon the launches.
All four of the points draw up valid arguments that would support their theories, but we truly can not be the judge. Both Avatars and Home are great application for each system and will be widely enjoyed by both console communities. We just want to see which one will become the future and if this will change the shape of the console war.