What do you want from an online social space? I’m not talking about Facebook, Linked-In or Friends Reunited but one hosted on the console of your choice. If you had an arena where you and your friends could just log on and shape, what would it look like? I ask because I’ve recently downloaded PlayStation’s Home. Originally touted as a great social tool, it left me cold.
One of the many reasons for this was your avatar. Before entering the community you are dropped in a fitting room, a model staring back at you begging you to shape it in your own image. And I don’t mean “model” solely in a technical term, I mean the kind of person you see who is trying to flog you aftershave from the pages of a glossy magazine.
I can assure you that I’m no chiseled specimen and so crafting the default features into my own was actually quite painful. There are no pleasing caricatures to be had from the world of sliders and colour bars governing your form, ala Miis and Avatars, just something that will yo-yo between an abomination and a bad photo fit.
Sony have gone too realistic with their users. Fitting in with the PlayStation’s brand image, they have attempted to populate Home with a multitude of young and pretty twenty-somethings. It feels like an application you can be refused entry to because you aren’t wearing the right shoes. Hardly the feeling a fledgling community should exude.
True, mischief can be had with Avatars and Miis but you can also get away with just throwing something together and have something passable. The amount of time needed in Home to craft a passing resemblance to yourself is large, and even then it’s only you in a certain light. It’s the uncanny valley issue in all its glory.