The Homerun 02/04/09; Xi and SCEE responds to criticism
On Monday, a brand new space was opened as part of the Alternate Reality Game. Alpha Zone One delivers gamers the chance to beat the clock by completing mini-arcade games within six minutes.
Surprisingly, these arcade games are quite fun and, unlike the ones you can find in other Home spaces, you are not required to queue to play them. I mean after all, you would never be able to do it all within six minutes if you had to wait to do themâ€¦
But thereâ€™s more. Sony are sneaky souls and, intentionally or not, two extra spaces became available to everyone – providing you got an invite from someone who is in one of those areas.
We wonâ€™t spoil the details but today, one of those spaces went available to anyone and it contains a new game where you sit on an arcade-style hover bike and, using the sixaxis technology in the controller, tilt the bike left and right to avoid trees flying towards you while competing with friends with points.
Another addition to Xi this week was the introduction of a new video featuring the infamous Jess. Jess is a character who is behind the whole mysterious â€˜Xiâ€™ puzzle and shows us an actual billboard in London with the letters NY in a gigantic font. The climax of the short video quickly flashes text to the audience. What could it mean?
You can discover the video for yourself at the top of the page! Xi is clearly not confining itself behind the four walls of the online virtual world.
Apart from the content described above, there is nothing else to buy or discover this week.
As is often the case in sport, what goes off the pitch can be as big as what happens on it. And this week for European PlayStation gamers, this was very much the case. A thread in the EU PlayStation forums that has been pinned by the moderators for some time, expresses a userâ€™s opinion about the state of European Home, and about the lack of content in the region.
We know this is an issue, and luckily so does Home Community Manager TedTheDog, who has replied to the thread frequently, including recently where he stated:
We usually can’t announce things before they’re ready, often for contractual reasons but also from a simple standpoint of it will irritate you if it’s delayed. And the games industry can suffer long delays indeed.
I still contend that the crux of the matter is we need more content and less disparity between the regions. Solve that and everything else follows to a point.
The localisation problem won’t go away, it’s always going to slow us down, but we have to aim to get the appropriate content and then close the publication gap as far as possible.
Promising words, but obviously we canâ€™t judge on how much will change, if anything does, until we start to seem some results.
If thatâ€™s not enough for you in todayâ€™s post, there is even more: Next week, we may see some big and exciting content, for Europe at the very least. MusterBuster, a moderator on the EU PlayStation forums, has announced that two third-party stores will be arriving in the Home Shopping Centre. The shops are Alter Ego, and mysoti. Not only that, but a new patch may be arriving too:
Additionally, a patch taking us to version 1.2 is tentatively scheduled for the 9th of April. Patch notes and confirmation of the release date for this will follow once itâ€™s finalised.
So, there is something to look forward to in Europe, however, we do not know right now if North America will get the same treatment though we can be sure that if 1.20 arrives in one region, it will arrive everywhere else at the same time. Perhaps next week, many of the demands made by some PS3 gamers will be answered, and who knows where Xi will take us nextâ€¦