If you know me or have been following me on Twitter for any amount of time, you have most likely noticed that I’m passionate about a few industries and video games is one of those. I grew up gaming on an Atari 800, Atari ST, 286, 386 DX/40mhz, ran a BBS, coded my own games in Pascal and was a huge fan of the early Sierra adventure games. When my friends and I started playing Warcraft, Unreal Tournament and Team Fortress, I always wanted to have one of the fastest computers among us. This meant building new PCs constantly from parts gathered at the best bargains I could find from all around town and spending a lot of money.
While I did get an NES and SNES as a kid, I always felt that my hardcore gamer side wouldn’t be thoroughly satisfied by a console hooked up to a TV. I’ve watched as game consoles have come and gone and was a late adopter of the PS2, but when the PS3 came out and promised Full HD movies and games, I was ready to be an early adopter of the console.
Finally, I could buy a 1920×1080 progressive scan HDTV for my living room that would be almost as high resolution as I’d get from a computer monitor and I’d have movies on blu-ray in Full HD via the PS3. Well, the $600 PS3 was almost a mandatory peripheral to my new HDTV based on this criteria and it’d just have to follow the HDTV purchase. In fact, it followed the TV right to the register the same day. I felt a little insane and a bit like a baller (even though I really didn’t have a ton of money and in retrospect probably could have stood to spend a little less money), but it felt completely worth it at the time. Now, I got home and was impressed by the HDTV and the lovely 1080P goodness of blu-ray and the PS3, but I was instantly upset that most games were in 720P.
So, you’re probably wondering why this is titled “PlayStation Home Beta for everyone”. Well, the PlayStation Home Beta is out and everyone can use it now. I was lucky enough to have a slightly early go at it, but really I had expected it so much earlier that I really expected it to be complete by now and not still in Beta. Of course, I expected more quality games to be out for the platform as well. But, all in all I still believe that the PlayStation 3 has a much more future looking vision with the platform and while I’ve read so many blogs and people talking on forums about their disappointment of Home, I’ve got to say I think it’s going to be great.
The Nintendo Wii’s success and continued success was largely a surprise to most of the industry and although everyone knew casual gaming was big and knew it’s always been a powerhouse for Nintendo, the pieces never really became clear until the sales figures of the Wii showed up. I see PlayStation Home as a great outlet for the casual gamer that’s in the hardcore gamer of all of us. It’s something we can hop into late at night, stroll up to an arcade machine and pretend to deposit quarters or explore worlds that sponsors of the environment are likely to put together. I’ve already caught myself getting sucked in on a game in the arcade and I can only imagine how more arcade games and more islands could be created just for sponsors with fun events and get to know other players sessions. I think there’s a huge growth opportunity for Home and I know PlayStation is working on it, but it’s really unfortunate that it’s just now starting to show.
So what’s really disappointed me with Home and several other games in this generation has been the lack of 1080P support despite all the press releases saying how it’d be running in 1080P. This is true for the 360 and the PS3, but I’m more surprised that Home wasn’t in 1080P. Sony pushed the platform for HD and the biggest community part of the platform that they’ve been pushing for the longest time runs in 720P instead of 1080P? That doesn’t make any sense to me. I know it’s processor intensive, etc., etc., but that’s really the only thing about the whole thing that’s got me down… I bought a 1080P display for 1080P visuals. Please oh please stop with the 720P madness. I suppose it doesn’t really matter too much, but it still bugs me a little. Hopefully we’ll see more 1080P content in 2009 and less 720P.