Home is Where You Can't Say "Hello"?S

Anything as deep and complex as PlayStation Home is bound to have its growing pains. SCEA's hometown paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, took a look at some, including some hypersensitive chat filtering.

For a time, seems "hello" was filtered out of chat (I'm assuming this is if a user entered it from a keypad himself, not as a shortcut) because it began with "hell," a no-no in Home (but entirely permissible by the FCC, so, come on ...)

Others also take issue with the blanket supposition that words like "gay," "bisexual" and "lesbian," - not to mention "Christ" and "Jew" are pejoratives, when they can be used to identify interest groups and communities that one reasonably expects would organize in this virtual world. Sony, in all fairness, faces a difficult task (are insult-recognition-heuristics out there?) but says it's working on a solution.

"The key message is it's a beta and it's evolving on a daily basis," SCEA spokesman Patrick Seybold tells the Chron. "We've said early on that user behavior and feedback will shape where we go with Home."

Of course Sony has a global corporate reputation to uphold, and doesn't want Home to dissolve into a cesspool of abuse and invective, but to assume that a word's only purpose is to insult means it'll only be used that way, and people will still find a way despite text filtering. So some loosening here would probably be prudent. I'd prefer to see something that prevents people from sitting down to give me a blowjob while I'm waiting my turn at bowling. But then that assumes sitting down can only be a sexual act, so aren't I the hypocrite.

Other complaints involve the cost of microtransactions (especially clothing) and the spontaneous disappearance of some items from their virtual apartments. But market analyst Ted Pollak says Sony deserves some slack, even if other gamers feel that Home's current state falls short of what they expect from a major brand like Sony, even in a beta.

""I have to respect Sony for its Home efforts because it's a fascinating environment and it's very, very complex," Pollak told the Chronicle. "There's no way anyone can come out with a perfect virtual world out of the gate."

Sony Struggles With Creation of Its Virtual World [San Francisco Chronicle, thanks Adam S.]