The Homerun – 18th June 09; SOCOM, Ghostbusters and Facebook
We’re very happy because unlike in the last Homerun, we have a tonne to fit in this week so lets go straight into business and talk PlayStation Home!
We start this week with North America who receives a massive content update. The first of two SOCOM spaces named the SOCOM Tactical Operations Center space. Here in this space you can plan your battles with your friends or strangers before jumping into the game. There is also a regional leaderboard taken from the game’s site to give you the low-down on who to watch out for. Additionally, you can purchase clothing inspired by the game from the mall to get in the SOCOM spirit.
But the week gets better. A new three floor Ghostbusters Firehouse apartment is available to buy and is based from the very one seen in the much-loved film. To sweeten the deal further it comes with lots of free furniture as well as some ghosts! What we also like about this space is that Sony has incorporated the Stage Set functionality into it so you can now make your very own short Ghostbusters film.
The final big development for North American PlayStation Home as well as in Europe is a new update for the EA Sports Complex. The golf area that users have been denied access to since the space launched has temporarily disappeared while development for it continues. In its place are two additional racing tracks and boost shops. The Poker tables have also received minor improvements. Don’t worry though if you’re waiting for the Golf mini-game as it will be arriving in the near future.
And by the way if you want to unlock an inFAMOUS Cole costume then simply download the demo from the US PlayStation store and complete the game. Sony also say the Killzone 2 Visari Throne apartment and Namco Bandai Museum are on their way to North America although no date has been given just yet.
Moving to Europe and although it’s not as big of an update as for the lucky Americans, there is still some decent content. As we said earlier Europeans also get the updated EA Sports Complex but that’s not all. An Everybody’s Golf space has launched today and it looks very cool. Even better is that the game now supports Game Launching, expanding the list of games that currently support this feature.
Fancy another new space Europeans? There’s more in the form of a new City Penthouse from the Estates store in the Shopping Centre. What we don’t understand however is why all Europeans get it for free, except for those who live in the UK. What’s going on SCEE? Maybe this is just a mistake and everyone is supposed to pay for it, but if not, we think that’s very unfair!
Moving on from the week’s content, we have heard back from a recent Q&A session held by Sony Europe in PlayStation Home with some intriguing information. They say one of the reasons why Europe often appears to be behind North America in content is because SCEE has the smallest team out of all regions working on Home. Although to try and combat this the SCEE team have now hired a new Associate Producer to speed development and approval process.
They explain that on average, spaces take a massive four to six months to develop which explains the long wait that occurs between launch of spaces and game releases. And they apparently have a list of 17 spaces that they plan to release in the future which we like to hear. Going further, SCEE also reveal that they have concept plans for a new Home Square in Europe. The current Home Square has been in the European Home ever since they scrapped the indoor central space. In comparison, North America has seen several editions of the Home Square/Central Plaza.
For those of you who use Facebook, you may be delighted to hear that the team have a prototype for an application for the social media platform to use inside Home. This is very interesting news and totally unexpected although we would prefer a Facebook application to be integrated into the OS just like what we will be seeing on the Xbox 360. Using the web browser is alright but integration is the best way to go.
Finally the team announced that the next client update for PlayStation Home will add new features to play with other people. We will have to wait to find out what exactly these features are. But they have confirmed their intentions for additional interactive furniture for apartments, and pool tables were one of the things mentioned. Although these type of things require a lot of coding so we are looking at a long time down the line.
So those are the highlights of the week’s news on PlayStation Home. This virtual world is really starting to gain momentum right now and Sony appears to be putting a lot of weight behind it. In a recent interview, Sony said they hope it will be a “big box shifter” in the future and something that gamers will look at when choosing which games console to side for. We agree with them to an extent although it is a long way off to reaching that stage.
Remember to read next week’s Homerun where hopefully we will again have a lot to talk about, adding more reasons why you should keep coming back to Home over and over again.