I’ve been in the beta for a week as of today, and I have to say two things:
1) It’s pretty.
2) It’s pretty boring.
I can see that much of the boring stuff can easily be fixed later, and probably will be. Like the fact that the mall contains absolutely nothing to buy, so every third person is a clone. That there’s almost nothing to decorate my apartment with. Or that not all of my friends are in Home – they don’t have Home (or a PS3!) yet.
Those “issues” will (hopefully) pass by the wayside. (I really hope that Sony doesn’t cheap out and charge for everything. We need to have a good selection of free stuff too!)
But what about the fact that there’s just nothing to do? Will that be fixed? There seem to be two primary purposes to Home:
1) Meet other gamers.
2) Enter games together (this is Home’s “crown jewel“).
I can see how (1) will be solved by Home. Just enter the world and start talking to people! But what about (2)? The only game I know of that supports Home game launching (HGL – new acronym!) is Warhawk. And even that seems to be disabled in the current build.
So once Home goes public, how many games will support HGL? Just Warhawk? A couple other first party titles? Will Sony make sure that their titles are retroactively patched with HGL? Will Sony pressure other studios to support HGL? I know one thing for sure – HGL is never coming to Call of Duty: World at War (my game du jour)! (See Activision’s track record.)
Sony needs to pressure development studios to support HGL in all new online games (I can hear Darrin coughing now). Sony needs to patch recent titles. Sony needs to pressure third parties for patches too. It’s obvious that HGL is only useful if a wide variety of games are supported. We can’t play Warhawk all day every day.
So the question is: by the time Home actually becomes useful because it has enough HGL titles, will it be too late?