Sony’s Qore Experience for the PS3

The Qore Experience

Sony launches an online magazine on its Playstation Network...and expects you to pay for it.

Jun. 09, 2008 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

If you fired up the Playstation Store on your PS3 this week, you may have noticed something called Qore under “New Releases.” What is Qore? According to the Playstation store: Qore is a high-definition gaming lifestyle show aimed at giving you the insider track on the world of PLAYSTATION. The official Playstation blog tells us much the same thing, calling it “a highly interactive, monthly lifestyle gaming program covering the world inside PLAYSTATION.”

That all seemed pretty vague to me, so I plunked down $2.99 ($24.99 for an annual subscription) in order to discover what Qore was and whether or not it was worth the cost of admission. No sacrifice is too great for our Electronic House readers! Knowing that the lovely Veronica Belmont (co-host of Revision3’s Tekzilla) was the host of Qore had nothing at all to do with my decision, honest.

Downloading (~1.5 GB) and installing Qore is just like downloading and installing any game-related content off the Playstation Store. It shows up under the “Game” listings on the XMB. I launched Qore and the first thing I see is a preview for the upcoming Incredible Hulk movie, staring Ed Norton and Liv Tyler. It positively sparkles in 1080p and I enjoy it. But then I could’ve downloaded that anywhere, for free. Following that preview (which is skippable), Veronica pops up and promises much fun and goodness. Then we get to the main menu.

Hmm. The main menu looks a bit… sparse. There are four features covering five games, a “What’s Hot?” item that just lets you replay the Hulk trailer, and a Download Center. There’s also a very simple mini-game hidden here; hit the L2 button to access it. Don’t get your hopes up, it’s not much more than a Pong variant.

I jump into the feature for the upcoming LucasArts release, “The Force Unleashed.” Once again Veronica appears to do her cute geeky spiel. Then comes an ad. An ad!? I paid for this, and I have to watch ads as well? Granted, most of the ads in Qore are for videogames and include lots of gameplay footage, so you probably won’t mind them (with the exception being Burger King ad in the Download Center). And they are pretty short. But still, it’s the principle of the thing.

Once past the ad I get to the meat of the feature. There are three talking head vignettes discussing various aspects of the game, two slide shows, and a comedy sketch featuring some young lady who wants to be Darth Vader’s apprentice. The vignettes are pretty good (although sound levels can be all over the place—keep the remote handy), but I think they would’ve been nicer had an interviewer been present to talk to the speaker. They feel a bit sterile with just a producer or designer talking to the camera. They do splice in plenty of gameplay footage though. The slideshows are fairly well done. You can zoom and pan the images (one of them is random game art, the other is a few pages of a graphic novel based on the game), flip through images manually or let it play, and if doing the latter you can set how long each image is on screen for. What you can’t do, and this is a crying shame, is use these images in any way. Why not let us export them for later viewing or at least set one as our PS3 wallpaper?

It turns out “The Force Unleashed” was the biggest feature. The other games covered are “SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Confrontation,” “Soul Calibur 4,” “Afro Samurai” and “Secret Agent Clank (a PSP game).” Veronica briefly introduces the SOCOM feature but not any of the others. All of them have ads for different games. Depending on how much time you spend on the slide shows, you can watch all this content in 30-40 minutes. Note I said “watch” and not “interact highly” with! Qore is a passive experience.

Last thing to see is the Download section. In here we get a SOCOM theme for the PS3, an invitation to the SOCOM Confrontation beta, which isn’t active yet, and, if you’ve ponied up for an annual subscription, a free copy of the very forgettable David Jaffe game, “Calling All Cars,” which came out last year and usually sells for $10.

So was it worth $3? Technically it’s hard to say “no” since you probably spend more on your morning coffee and donut, but at the same time, Qore #1 felt mighty light on content. I think the real bait here is the SOCOM Confrontation beta invite, if that’s your bag. Most of the content isn’t much different from the stuff you could see on (for free). Actually if you remember the old “cover disks” that you’d get with gaming magazines back before the internet took over the world, Qore is pretty similar; not surprising since Future Publishing produced the content, and they used to publish the now defunct (in the U.S.) Official Playstation Magazine and its cover disk.

Sony and Future Publishing really need to do better if they expect Playstation 3 owners to come back month after month. Let’s see more content, more downloadables, more interactivity and more personalities. All kidding aside, Veronica Belmont is wasted here. She’s a great choice for a host but we see her for about 2 minutes and she’s just reading off some inane script. She’s better and smarter than that, and she needs a co-host to work off of. Get the PSN community involved, report on Warhawk leader boards, show Gran Turismo races, take questions…something. Right now Qore is too sterile and impersonal, totally non-interactive, and isn’t taking advantage of the medium. Pass on this one, unless you’re truly desperate to play the SOCOM beta.

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