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>If this Gamepolitics article is to be believed, Sony is officially releasing Home tomorrow. Sony previously had been rolling it out in larger and larger numbers, similar to what Microsoft did with the NXE; I somehow got into the beta a few weeks ago.

I’ve maybe checked it out once or twice since I initially installed it, and the experience hasn’t gotten better. It’s still unclear to me what exactly the experience is supposed to be. When I see Sony’s press releases, describing it as…

…a ground-breaking 3D social gaming community available on PS3 that allows users to interact, communicate and share gaming experiences…

…well, I guess that sounds interesting in theory, but in actual practice it’s useless. It’s certainly useless without a headset; the canned responses are not particularly robust, and that assumes that you’re interested in participating in a chat room with a bunch of teenagers. Maybe it’s better with the chatpad thing that’s coming out soon, but that’s not even the point. There’s no real need for a 3D social gaming community; it serves no practical purpose. The gaming community is a robust and diverse many-sided thing but the side that most people end up witnessing, whether in forums or in multiplayer matches, thrives on anonymity and calling each other assholes. You can’t get into virtual fistfights in Home, and you certainly can’t pwn someone in Home because there’s nothing to play other than a few crappy minigames that start to get boring about 20 seconds in.

You can look at advertising, though. And what the press release doesn’t tell you is that Home is slathered in advertising. There are game posters and game trailers all over the place, and I’m sure that non-game-specific branding will soon follow, if it’s not already there. Maybe you can buy a Mountain Dew T-shirt for your virtual dude and then meet up with your similarly-attired “friends” by the bowling alley and watch a trailer for SOCOM. Boy, that sounds like a great time. Meanwhile, I’ll be getting on with the rest of my life.

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