Homerun Special: Top 5 features we want to see in PlayStation Home – 17th September 09
There are many enhancements that would make PlayStation Home better, but here are some of our favourites…
1. Media content streaming
One of the key features that Sony pushed when they announced PlayStation Home was the ability to play content from your PS3 and into Home through virtual Bravia TVs and Sony stereos for everyone to see. As we know, this has never materialised, and probably never will due to copyright and moderation problems.
However, a great alternative is to be able to stream content online, uploaded by Sony and other content providers for the sole purpose of playing it in PlayStation Home. We’re talking about music, trailers, radio, and podcasts all for free, in your personal apartment.
And best of all, you would be able to invite your friends to your apartment and have them enjoy the content with you.
But it could go further: With support for PlayTV and BBC iPlayer, why not be able to stream live or recorded programmes directly to your virtual TV! This would be very similar to the recently announced Sky feature for the Xbox 360 that allows friends to watch live content all together in one place.
2. Less loading times and lag
It takes around two minutes to jump into a space in Home after launching the application from the XMB, and that is too much. How many times have you had the sudden urge to just jump into it quickly and explore what’s new inside and “meet up” with some friends? But when you have to wait a ridiculously long time staring at the screen and pressing the X button several times, it can become a chore.
PlayStation Home is only in its beta stage of course, and the loading should naturally improve down the line anyway, but we’re saying that this is a really significant aspect of Home that needs to get fixed as soon as possible.
We have also experienced a lot of lagging when in Home, often thanks to the video content around the spaces having to download. This can make Home unusable until they finish, which can take a while, and ruin your experience.
3. XMB integration
If Sony wants PlayStation Home to be an integral part of the PS3 experience, they need to integrate the service better with the main operating system. Similar to what many have asked for with their games, a cross-game invites system would allow you to invite someone to your apartment or space without them having to boot up the service and then wait for an invite.
We also would love to be able to do common activities inside PlayStation Home that you can only do currently outside of it, for example browsing and purchasing content on the PlayStation Store. After all, it is called the PlayStation Network, so please allow us to use some of the other services available without quitting.
Finally, we want to see avatars and PSN profile integration, so you can display your virtual self as well as the standard (limited) pictures that you see next to each PSN ID. This would allow every PlayStation Network profile to be unique.
4. Personal music playback
So you like music, and you also like PlayStation Home, then why cannot we do both at the same time? We understand that Home is a resource hungry application, but we are certainly put off from going in if we can’t listen to our sweet tunes at the same time.
Of course there’s always the issue with users streaming music via their headsets, but a simple solution is to just disable the use of voice chat altogether while you’re playing music.
What would really be the icing on the cake for this feature would be to achieve something similar to the new virtual camera that is arriving in the up and coming 1.3 update that can be used for taking screenshots.
How about giving every avatar a virtual Walkman and headphones to play music with, and make them visible to other users who see you? We’re sure Sony would be delighted to see their sales for the real thing rocket!
Alright, you are probably tired by now of users hammering on about the lack of trophy rooms, but the reality is that it would enhance the service considerably.
Going though other people’s trophy collections the normal way can sometimes be a boring activity, but if this could be done in a Home environment, it would be truly unique and out of the ordinary. A visual representation of our trophy collections would undoubtedly get people more excited about earning them in games, as well as visiting PlayStation Home.
The problem here is it would require at least the majority of developers to spend their time and money developing the appropriate trophies in Home for the feature to work. It could be very hard for Sony to win them over, and we all know how unsuccessful they have been at introducing custom soundtracks into games.
But if it can be done, then it has to be done. We won’t hold our breaths, but we will try to keep all of our fingers crossed!
Those were just some of the changes that we believe would get more people excited about the service, but ultimately it is up to Sony to introduce them.
Content is due out next Thursday for PlayStation Home, including a Europe only SingStar VIP room that launches with British Mercury Award Winner Dizzee Rascal performing some of his hits. He will also be there to answer your questions, and free limited edition goodies will be available for all. But you will have to be quick, because the room will be open for just 48 hours.
Hopefully this is just the start of many artists promoting themselves inside Home! For more information, click here.
We also hope that the 1.3 update will be one of the other new things to get your hands on. For more details on what’s new in the patch, you can read the changes in one of our previous Homeruns here.