I decided to “try” Home yesterday just to see if there was any reason to log in daily, weekly; am I missing out?

Before jumping in [Home and this article] I think it is worth quoting two Home articles from the official’ish blog, which pretty much summed up my prior opinion of Home.

Midway games will be available on a pay-to-play model, but will also have free “timed plays.” And as you master each game (meaning: you pass level 10), you in turn unlock unlimited plays for that game. Add into this the 100 + rewards (one reward for each level of each game that you beat – including a free personal space), and we think you’ll find the Midway a great value. [source: Home blog]

Like a real arcade at a fair or on a midway, right? Micro transactions are a good way to slowly let your cash slip away.

“Andy’s Room” transports players to the world of Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and the other toys owned by Andy Davis. Packed with mini-games and fun interactives, Andy’s Room is a must-have addition to your personal space collection. Pick yours up this Thursday from the Estates store in the PlayStation Home Mall. [source: Home blog]

Ah, another micro transaction.

After jumping into Home, I made a virtual avatar, and decked him out with my minimal choices in my wardrobe. If I do not want a “bland” online presence, it looks like I need to play to play; rather shop to add some personality. Same for my virtual home space, which was virtually empty.

I walked around and explored a little while in the main meeting area, played a fireworks mini game and won a sparkler, and walked around in the midway space (play to play, no thanks) and poked around in the mall.

One thing struck me over and over. In a MMORP such as WoW you are paying a monthly fee, which enables you to upgrade your character’s (avatar) appearance by earning new levels, items, etc. The best I can tell, in the world of Home, you get in for free, but in general you do not earn anything to change your avatar’s appearance. I could be wrong on this one; instead you use micro transactions to do the needful.

Maybe there are free game spaces, and options to earn free items, but I did not stick around long enough to see if I could uncover anything useful. I just cannot see myself paying $0.11 for a “cactus in a pot” decoration for my apartment. Forget about paying $1.99 (and probably a lot lower and much higher) for a new jacket for my avatar.

Good for Sony for striking gold. I could not believe the number of avatars that I saw running around that must have spent a decent amount of money in the mall. Every one of these clowns has given Sony some real money for an upgraded virtual appearance. I wonder how much they have spent decorating their home space?

With all that said, maybe I am being unduly harsh. If you are use to throwing money fees at an online service, this is really the same thing, assuming there is some value to be found in Home over and beyond playing dress up. I have yet to find it, but I admit that I did not look too hard yesterday. I’ll try again later.

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