Home should not be shown at trade shows. Absolutely not. Not under any circumstances. Why? Because it is boring. Home is not a game. It's not even a user interface. It's a...thing. Once Sony get around to deciding what that actually is will probably be the time they decide to release it, but until then - and especially in the state it was in for my TGS demonstration - it should be kept as far from prying eyes (and hands) as possible.
TGS is a games show. It's for games. Loud, exciting, playable things. But Home? So not a game. The build I was treated to yesterday went a little like this: I log on as "Ricky". Who was a girl, but hey, who am I to question someone else's naming conventions. Then I move around a bit. And I find, about three seconds into the experience, that I'm running around a near-perfect recreation of Sony's TGS booth.
Great! I think. Yeah, I'm already at TGS, and can play all these demos, but wouldn't it be awesome if people at home could be doing this, and seeing the trailers I'm seeing, and playing the demos I'm playing? It would. But in this build? No way. Not a single demo pod was active. Not a single booth was running a trailer. The main Sony theatre screen (the in-Home one) was showing a short, looped trailer, but it wasn't the same stuff I could see with my real eyes not 10 feet away.
So if Home wasn't going to be a multimedia extravaganza for me on the day, what was it going to be? A chat room? Nope. There were eight other people in the room. All eight of them were Sony employees. None of them spoke English. That was the end of that.
And if not a chat room, could I...well, what could I do, exactly? Could I explore Home? Nope. I wasn't allowed outside the virtual Sony booth, so the service's plazas and apartments were off limits. There were no games available to play. There was, literally, nothing to do.
Oh, wait! There was one thing. Some booths allowed you to sit down at them. And a few even let you access the web page of the game you were looking at for more information. But that was it. It was, I think, one of the most empty and pointless titles on the showroom floor.
Which isn't to say that Home is either empty or pointless. The final product, whenever it ships, could yet be the best thing to happen to the PS3. It could be a revolutionary new UI. it could be a great communications tool. It could be a games portal, it could be a media hub, it could be all of those things, it could be none of them.
But until Sony sort that question out, they'd do well to keep the game off showroom floors, and away from members of the public who may walk away wondering why they'd just wasted 15 minutes wandering around an empty virtual PS3 booth when they could have been wandering around the real PS3 booth doing stuff.