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Home beta still lacking key features, says insider

Not a lot of people got into the private beta of Home, and the public beta has gone missing. Since the user base is so small, any inside information is really difficult to come by. One beta tester revealed to IGN, under a cloak of anonymity, a few details.
  • So far, the beta just has four areas: your apartment, a lobby, the movie theater (with 10 rooms), and the game room (6 pool tables, 4 bowling lanes, 10 arcade machines).
  • As of yet, no support has been utilized for in-Home game launches -- that is, you can't invite people to play games from Home yet.
  • Facial creation is the most detailed, but hair and clothing is still limited. Recently, body size was added, but it's not as detailed as the facial features.
  • No music, movie, or photo integration with your apartment made it into the beta. There are some generic samples, but nothing you can upload yourself. Heck, TVs and stereos aren't even available as pieces of furniture.
  • You can walk into your apartment, but you need to get invited and warp into a friends' place. That's the only way to get into another player's pad.
  • Even though a lot of things are missing that are promised in the "final" build upon public release, what is there works wonderfully. The arcade games promote communication and placing furniture is simple. Physics work well.
  • Home supports headsets and keyboard -- you press/hold R2 to talk. Instead of having one standard volume, your voice is loud relative to the people around you. So if you're in a crowded lobby, you can still have a one-on-one conversation while everyone else sounds like a murmuring crowd. That's pretty cool.
While a lot of features seem missing, a cause of concern since the October launch is approaching fast (if that's still the plan), Home is said to work well. It's very open and easy to get into and talk to people. We're glad to hear it, but we'd be a lot happier if Sony kept on top of updating the build so we could get some insight into the more advanced features detailed at E3.

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. Will not believe it till I see it...
No official words means shit...

Posted at 2:35PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Giddieon

2. Sony never said Home would be complete by launch though. So some of the feature that we've seen sofar might be part of later updates.

Posted at 2:40PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Egster

3. Either sony needs to work harder to reach the october deadline, or maybe they just want to keep it under wraps?

Posted at 2:45PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Morpheus

4. I hope beta testers realize that not all the rooms and items will be available to them. Only enough to test the engine, network and transitions... and your not going to have EVERY feature available until just before release (if at all.)

Posted at 3:32PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Andir3.0

5. still looks like NOTHING phil harrison showed at E3.

Posted at 3:35PM on Aug 28th 2007 by sectionz

6. The beta the IGN insider was testing is quite old at this point and is nothing like the current internal version of Home (which was at the E3).

The new version has a ton of new functionality, and an entirely new look not seen in that old beta.

Posted at 3:50PM on Aug 28th 2007 by JC

7. Very true they haven't updated the "Home Beta" for the longest time. Basically it seems they are working on the one at E3 and maybe will do one last upgrade to the closed beta before the open starts, but I still doubt that.

Posted at 4:16PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Spector

8. I think that Home is just an excuse for lulling people away from the fact there aren't exactly the greatest amount of games to play. I love my PS3, as I have always been a PS fan, but good God I would much rather have Sony focusing on say more games than to put resources in a bullshit social networking system. Why don't they just call it SonySpace or some stupid rip off name to show how it has nothing to do with gaming. I think Sony forgot this is a GAMING machine.

Again, I love the potential for my PS3 I just want it to be realized.

Posted at 4:27PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Chuckles21

9. @10

Every consoles first year is pretty much a game shortage. Happening to the Wii atm, and happened to the 360. This holiday season you got plenty to look forward to and it will keep going till spring. Warhawk just came out Heavenly Sword is just around the corner. Your complaining can be likened to a blind man complaining about how something looks.

Posted at 4:48PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Spector

10. With such limited things to do (in that build) and only a handful of people partaking in the anyone playing it. I would probably go nuts over it for about a week and then go back to Motorstorm or Warhawk or any other online game for my online fix.

Placing furniture could be the funnest part of home. I loved the first video where the chair just dropped like a real chair.

Its like when I play the Sims. I have more fun making the house than doing stuff with Mandy and Billy (my two latest Sims)

Posted at 6:15PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Andy

11. I'm really looking forward to Home. It will be something fun to do.

Posted at 6:49PM on Aug 28th 2007 by Drew

12. I am just so glad that instead of offering us a bunch of cludgy stuff that sort of works, they're offering just the basics, and those are very solid. That is the perfect way to start. We need to be able to operate in the space, first of all. So they've got the basic rudimentary operations down, so that the thing functions and is stable on launch.

Then you start introducing features, but the actual groundwork stuff is already done, and proven.

They'll take a couple months to let this be live, the basic version, and a couple things will crop up that will have to be corrected.

Much better to do this with a sparse feature set that you've tested as much as possible, now the test is real-world, and you fix things that are broken on something you know.

When all that's fixed, you add a feature or two, and watch what happens.

If something goes haywire, you have a very good understanding of how everything worked before you added the feature, so now it's much easier to go back and fix unforseen problems as you add new features.

This is just smart, and it's the way things will be done, increasingly.

They also need this time to gain valuable feedback from a 'non-beta-testing' audience, as the real-world always introduces something that never came up in testing.

Posted at 8:55PM on Aug 28th 2007 by John

13. I don't agree with Chuckles21, I'm excited about Home because as features accrue, I am hoping it will increasingly replace my social life on places like myspace, and even here.


I know it's POSSIBLE for them to do this, why not have the ability to place a terminal in your house, where you can log onto ps3fanboy? Or Sony blog, or any videogame online mag?

I know, fluff... does the demand justify the programming expense? Not right now... but as features are implemented and the code is optimized and added to, libraries will be created which make feature addition cheaper, and easier to test for. So in a couple years the flexibility of Home programmers to implement things will be much greater than it is right now, when it's all from the bottom up.

Posted at 9:04PM on Aug 28th 2007 by John

14. I'd love for Home to be launchable from the XMB and have all of the same functionality. Inviting/launching people into games, private chat, launching Blu-Ray, watching downloaded videos, listening to music should all be availible in Home. Once they incorporate the code into Home I don't see why they couldn't do exactly the same makeover to the XMB. Essentially, Home should be completely optional like Windows Media Center. I'm still pretty psyched about the prospects of meeting people and having intelligent conversations while simultaneously sharing a love of videogames with cool people.

Posted at 1:15AM on Aug 29th 2007 by craig

15. Its always funny to see people's comments on Home when they aren't in the Beta. How do people know its so great and revolutionary? Because of the initial display - yeah, ok. You want it to be some huge social world - not happening. (I have been in the beta for a while now, and my life hasn't changed or become more enlightened by it.)

People need to come down to earth on the Home project. Its not meant to be the new life you wish you had. Hell, I saw people going on and on at the PS3 site about how their life wasn't whole without it and how it was going to be the greatest thing in the world and they were so hurt by Sony not adding them to the beta. Honestly - I think that there are way too many desperate people out there who are latching onto this thing. Its scary.

Posted at 12:42PM on Aug 29th 2007 by NATO_Duke

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