Interview: Gamers Should Come Home
PSXE: Considering the PlayStation Eye will be even more popular with the emergence of Move, might we be able to take a picture of ourselves and that as our true-to-life avatar?
Jack: “One of the coolest things we’ve done along those lines is actually something a lot of people don’t realize: we let you take any picture off your PS3 hard drive and allow you to display it in a frame in your personal space. That’s a fantastic way to share your photos with your friends. It’s real-time sharing, really. In terms of avatar customization, we believe the current state of the avatar systems is extremely powerful; the user can create a very realistic representation of themselves or do something entirely crazy (there are tons of hairdos, too). There are even costumes that can turn you into game characters, like SFIV fighters, for instance. We don’t have anything to announce at this time regarding the Eye but this idea of allowing users to further customize their avatars is something we’re very focused on.”
Side Note: We asked about how PlayStation Plus and Home might mix ‘n mingle, but that’s not something they’re willing to talk about just yet.
PSXE: When will we be able to play our own locally stored music or videos in our private Home spaces?
Jack: “We actually had an exciting announcement at E3; it was our first step towards music in Home. In a new space called the Playground – the theme was inspired by ‘80s Brooklyn – you can purchase a boombox for your personal space; this allows you to play music there. The music is the same music featured in the public spaces; ‘80s hip-hop and pop and stuff; this is just the first step towards experiencing music in Home.”
PSXE: For those who have never visited Home, what would you say to get them to log in?
Jack: “For new people, I definitely recommend checking out the PS Store where you can buy a Starter Pack; virtual items just to get you started and they’re heavily discounted. Beyond that, just come in to play the games. There are 100 games ready to go and you’ll make tons of friends; it’s just going to happen. A ton of it is free to play and more fantastic games are coming every day. So really, just try it; just check it out. Pop in and see what happens.”
I also added that it didn’t take anywhere near as much time a I thought to download all the new spaces I visited, and Jack said they’re “optimizing the platform like crazy,” so the load times are significantly shorter. He also reminds us they’ve got background downloading so you don’t have to wait all the time. If you hadn’t noticed, it has become apparent that Sony realizes gamers are gamers, and they want gaming-related reasons to visit Home. And so, that’s really the focus, here; Buser spoke about something called “Total Game Integration,” which is the idea that Home can expand on the world of the game. It basically works both ways: you’ll get things in games that will unlock items in Home, and even certain Home things will unlock parts of the game. This right here is a damn cool idea.
Last but not least, be on the lookout for a big Home-related announcement coming on Monday. We can’t tell you anything about it right now but based on the tone and subject matter of this interview, you can probably guess what it might entail… Anyway, we appreciate Jack Buser taking the time to talk to us and we must reiterate, from the PSXE standpoint: if you haven’t been there in a while (or have never been there), Home likely offers a lot more than you might think. Prior to my last visit, I might’ve been skeptical at the idea that the average Home visit lasts 70 minutes. But now I believe it…I’m actually surprised it isn’t more.
7/15/2010 Ben Dutka