A disappointing start to what was a hugely anticipated PS3 venture.

User Rating: 7 | PlayStation Home PS3
Even though still at the public beta stage, it's hard not to feel let down by Home. What was promised to be this huge, flexible space to meet up with friends and make new ones whilst creating your own online identity is, at the moment, little more than a shopping mall. Home currently consists of your Home apartment, Home Square, the shopping mall which has five shops inside (one of which is not even open, another of which currently has no objects for sale), a cinema and bowling alley/pool hall, and it is possible to purchase a second Home apartment, a summer house, from one of the shops. Altogether, a rather lacklustre offering. Your apartment, however, is a homely yet modern space that you're free to do with as you will. Already furnished in a clean, minimalist style, you can pick up, move around, add and delete furniture to your heart's desire, although the lack of any snappable grid system will frustrate those perfectionists who worry that the sofa doesn't align with the coffee table.

Posters and billboards and huge videoscreens abound in Home, but far more popular, and far less numerous, are the chess tables, video game machines, pool tables and other interactive elements that many of us were looking forward to. Even at quiet times, finding anything free to use can be tricky. Also, another much-hyped area of Home was going to be the trophies room, where you could show off your achievements and wonder at those über-players who've got more platinum trophies than you have bronze. At the moment, it simply isn't there.

Of course, being a beta excuses it from many faults. Sony need to see how a relatively small space copes with the ebb and flow of public traffic, before opening up bigger, more complex spaces. But even so, Home has little to offer anyone at the moment above to social networking level.