CES 09: Hands-On With Home's EA Sports ComplexS

Sony dedicated one of the PlayStation 3s at its CES booth this year to show off its new partnership with Electronic Arts. The publisher's newly announced space in Home, the EA Sports Complex, was playable.

Yes, playable not just walk around-able, as we tried out the RC car racer EA Sports Racing, one of three mini-games planned to be available in the EA Sports Complex at launch. The other two, a tournament poker game and a driving range weren't open to us yet, with the former not exactly the type of game you'd want to play solo.

EA Sports Racing, while a rather simplistic third-person driving game does have a dash of depth. Home users will be able to upgrade their cars via the in-Home "Pro Boost Shop," using in-game currency — no, it's not something you'll be paying real dollars for — to add on turbo and acceleration boosts. Better car performance leads to better lap times lead to higher leaderboard placement lead to unlockable achievements. Or trophies, if you will.

As with other Home games, you'll be able to unlock items for your avatar — a carbon fiber racing helmet, for example.

Robert Burnett, senior producer at EA, says that EA's plans for the EA Sports Complex have been in the works for almost a decade, but that PlayStation Home provided the digital distribution system necessary to make it a reality. The publisher's plans for the EA Sports Complex area include interactivity with EA's Sports World, letting Madden players upload play videos via the web, then show them off in Home. Beyond that, it's also looking at opportunities to re-skin the Home room for timed events — the NBA play-offs or an upcoming game release.

The EA Sports Complex is officially planned to launch in "Spring" which translates to an "end of March" period according to Burnett.