GameDaily: Home Sweet Home: Nine Reasons Home Beats NXE
Or as I like to think of it: what happens when someone that’s never played a game online thinks when s/he reads marketing materials… lets take it one page at a time, shall we?
Page 1: It’s the intro – I’ve got nothing to complain about here. Odd, I know, but believe me: it’s not a trend that will continue.
Page 2: True, Home is going to support multiple rooms and worlds to explore… NXE doesn’t try to do that, so the basic comparison is “does NXE need this?” OK, well, far be it from me to say but what exactly happens when you explore these worlds? Is Home a game or a launcher or a Dashboard replacement? If it’s a game like Second Life, that would imply that… well, I dunno – something happens, ya? Maybe there’s more on this on another page.
Page 3: Again, the question here is “does NXE need this?” Without an answer for Page 2, this is the same exact point, but with some more eye candy. That’s fine, but still doesn’t answer the question with either point…
Page 4: I have to cry foul here, unless this is brought out for the sarcasm. Since when is a “sitting” avatar a feature of a game? I mean, what’s next? Your avatar has it’s own avatar so you can sit on your couch while your avatar sits on a virtual couch controlling a walking avatar? With the first two pages being about exploring, why would I want to lounge in a room? Honest – I’m chalking this one up to “we couldn’t have a post with 8 reasons – we need 9 reasons or else.” And if he’s so “worried” about NXE Avatars getting tired, they are sleeping when you’re offline. Duh. Wait, maybe the NXE team can consider that another feature too!
Page 5: Aha, finally a feature that’s noteworthy: Clubs. I agree this is pretty slick, especially with support up to 32 people. Very nice… if they are automatic. If they are only supported by new games I’d be disappointed…
Page 6: Load times? I guess for PS3 users this would be a major concern, what with a 2x BluRay disc slowing down game load times to a point past PC usage, but again… is this a feature? NXE has no load times, so anything that’s loading on the PS3 is going to be longer than not… This is full of loss for Sony.
Page 7: I’m crying foul on this one and I’m going to offer up props for the NXE team. Miis [from the Wii] are cute because they are cartoony. Avatars on the 360 are more realistic than the Mii’s (and with more customization allowed) which makes them more fun than the Miis IMHO, but regardless: they in no way approach the known-to-be-creepy Uncanny Valley that CGI (computer generated) humans often fall into… there’s a gap between “hey that’s CGI” and “real human” – the goal is to stay out of that gap. By the author’s own admission the avatars in Home “floors it into the Uncanny Valley” but gives them props for it! How is that a good thing? Again, until CGI can get past the Valley and look like real humans, people should be staying out of the Valley and not landing in it, on purpose… NXE got this one right.
Page 8: In-Home games? To what end? I mean, if it’s a dashboard replacement, what for? And if it’s not, and it’s a game, does that make it a collection of mini-games? Doesn’t sound right… Oh, right – the author mentions this “cumbersome disc swapping” thing that the 360 requires… except for Xbox LIVE Arcade titles. Which also added Avatar support via the NXE update, particularly around Uno and a few other games… um, OK, maybe this one is a tie, but I’d argue that the author hasn’t spent much time with the 360 before or after NXE when making this or other claims.
Page 9: Talking With Strangers. Right. Well, maybe this is the answer to Page 2 and 3 – you can meet nice and friendly people, hold hands, and go tip toeing through the not-so-long-to-load Home rooms and clubs. Assuming that you pay for the Clubhouses and other rooms that aren’t free… but again, this is another reason why I doubt that the author has spent any time playing games online… can you think of anyone that you’ve met via random matchmaking in Halo 3, CoD4 or GTA4, that wanted to hang out with after the game, be it physical or virtual? One of the new features in going from Halo 2 to Halo 3 was the addition of a “faster mute button” mechanism… maybe I’m wrong – maybe the PS3 only attracts mild mannered happy people in their Home… right. Sure.
Page 10: … Maybe it was “we couldn’t have a post with 5 reasons”?
On top of all of that Home is late. Again… I’m sitting here with a PS3, waiting for notice to download the bits – nothing yet, though. If it’s great? Being late won’t matter. If it sucks? Yeah, being late won’t matter either, but it’ll be one more thing that leaves an “ew” thought in our collective minds…
All in all, if I wanted an “@Home” experience, I would have looked into Second Life or The Sims. Both of them have been out for years and seeing as “second life” is their only purpose, I’m betting they’ve done a lot to get it right. Doesn’t mean Sony won’t, but seeing as they are out two years after their initial announcement and it’s a console “add-on,” my thoughts are that it will be a brief flash in the pants… something that will be a gimmick with little staying power. I wanted a New Experience and that’s exactly what NXE gave me: a new experience, rather than a rehashing of a three year old, 3D game…
Time’ll tell, I guess, but I wish the original author at GameDaily had researched some of this stuff – would have given me 30 minutes of my life back!
Update: Seems I’m not alone in my thoughts of “social networking”… 12/12 Penny Arcade