Posts Tagged ‘PSHome’

23
Feb'09

Home Is Where the Mystery Is (updated! 3-23-09)

   Posted by: thebruce

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Update! – (March 23, 2009)

“Xi has begun!” says the official US Playstation blog. Clearly stating:

The world’s first console-based Alternate Reality Game starts today in PlayStation Home.

Called Xi , the adventure takes place in a series of secret areas in Home – and beyond – changing day by day, week by week, in real time. Anyone with a PLAYSTATION 3 can join in the fun for free – in English, French, Italian, German or Spanish.

To discover the mystery of Xi, simply log on to PlayStation Home and look for the graffiti on the wall in the main square. Find that, and all will be revealed…

So, if you’ve got a PS3, go check it out!  See what the hype is about, and whether this really is an “Alternate Reality Game”.


Xi Greek Letter, mysterious symbol found in PS HomeSony is beginning to make good use of their communal Playstation Home virtual space for the PS3 community. While still in an open Beta phase, it’s being adopted by many, many players.  But all is not static and ordinary in this organic, virtual utopia.

North America and Europe have both been receiving odd messages, and finding short, strange video clips eerily displaying a symbol or logo of the greek letter Xi, and what looks like robot head.  At first glance, they may look like bugs in the system, little holes in the code from developers that haven’t been fixed yet.  But… that seems too easy an explanation. Especially since it’s happening world-wide, they’re not getting fixed in a timely manner, and well, the videos are blatantly placed for optimal viral effect. :)

In Home, the player has a PDA that is viewable at any time. That’s the interface to community updates, news, locations, general commands, etc - a typical ‘start’ menu.  In the Community section, however, the News tab has been showing strange text messages; but these don’t seem to be aimed at players, but rather mistakenly placed messages between… well who knows?  The Updates tab has also been showing some odd Java-based code content.  These updates have only shown for short periods of time, but they’ve coincided with discoveries of hidden video clips found in various locations of Home spaces.  It appears these updates have occurred on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Discussion of this mystery is spreading, but the primary sources of player sleuthing are at the Playstation forums for Europe and the US, and at Pandemic Studios.  One user has also set up a Google site to help track the updates.  It’s not easy when the pieces of the puzzle vary from place to place and don’t match up between the US and Europe regions.  So the mystery must be in the content, not the context.  What can you make of these snippets?  I’ve done my best to try to organize what’s known, but dates and locations are hard to nail down.

“AlphaSpace/AlphaZone”

News:
ACCESSING RECORDS…1 ENTRY RECEIVED…FILE
PARTIALLY CORRUPTED…Date…unknown.It has
been days since we had an accurate report from the
computer.The CPU is…failing. Fast. Communications
are…too erratic. External is down. Internal is patchy at
best. Core life-support functionality…that’s restricted
but still working. For now.
Update:
–Open Alpha Test Space–
if s==”AlphaZone3″ then
OpenDoors(AlphaSpace[8])
end
(Video-EU-robohead) at the end of the Redbull video
(Video-EU-zone1) ‘AlphaZone 1′ (EU)

“Barrier”

News:
Visual recognition confirmed.
Security barrier now open.
Update:
– r =
Validate(cSecurityAvatar[g->MAINTENANCE_DATABASE]);
if (r) then bBarrierOpen=true;
Trigger(AudioSecurityOpen);
else
–Transmit(AlertSecutity) //jess :)
Trigger(AudioSecurityFailed);
end
(Video-EU-hallway) at the end of the Redbull video

“Water Pressure Valve”

News:
Three weeks ago there was a significant drop in water
pressure – too large to be explained by any leak.
Yesterday, another drop in pressure was noticed.
Update:
–Home maintenance Aqua – 3/cs:1
svalve=GetWarningSource();
if sValue==’FEC819′ then
–Home Square
CallEngineer(t1);
elseif sValue==’A76bC1′ then
–Central Plaza
CallEngineer(t2);
else
–Apartments
NotifyMaintenanceControl();
end
Return 0;
(Video-EU-stairway) at the end of the Redbull video
(Video-US-hallway) at the end of the Bowling alley “I Love Ninjas” video

“Xi_S93″

News:
jess are you there? ————- Xi is almost ready.
Update:
function Xi_S93() {
MemCpy(&Stapler,&35623,sz);
for ctr=1,MAX_EXP do
SecureWrite(exp[ctr]}
end
Wipe(&Stapler); }
(Video-US-robohead) after the movie theatre previews

“Maintenance Elevators” UPDATE!

News:
HELPFUL REMINDER
Maintenance elevators serve as vital conduits for
Maintenance personnel only, not as a short cut for
alpha testers. Please respect Maintenance rules.
Update:
–Maintenance Power Usage – period to 20th February
2009.
 
% change on previous period
————————————————–
Security +2.1
Repair  -3.8
Manufacturing  +0.6
Staff areas  -7.2
Elevators   +28.4
(Video-EU-underground) after the Redbull video
(Video-US-underground) after the MLB video, Central plaza

An additional mystery (and it’s uncertain if this is related to the strange code, messages, and videos above) has been discovered only in the US Home, where if looking out to the upper-left-most area of the Central Plaza from the right side of the exit doors still within the bowling alley, you can make out the corner of an ad billboard that looks like the latter half of a “KILLZONE 2″ title banner. Some have also found a very low-resolution, blurry clip of what looks like a screenshot from the game.  Could this be a hint that a Killzone 2 space is coming to Home soon?

My theory is this: Sony is brilliantly using mystery within the tool itself, to hint at upcoming additions to available content (it seems to me the timing of new spaces and content is related to the updates above) – rather than just announcing updates, this viral aspect increases hype and discussion, getting people into Home who may not be already.  Well, it worked for me: after hearing about this mystery, I decided to check it out myself.   Home is still in open beta – but third party content spaces have been added already, including spaces for Far Cry 2, Redbull, and Uncharted.  I think people who are speculating at upcoming Spaces with these snippets as clues are on the right track, and the current mysteries may very well be pointing to a new space soon, such as for Killzone 2.  But it’s just a theory.  The significance of Xi, however, remains a mystery. The announcement of a new game would certainly be a strong possibility as well.

UPDATES!

This area will be kept up to date with news on this mystery…

  • (2/24/09) A ninja named Locust_Star could be heard/read shouting “sensootaka sannyuu mokuyoubi” – or, “sensou taka sannyuu mokuyoubi” which translates directly to “war hawk coming thursday”, confirming the arrival of a Warhawk game space with the v1.11 PSHome update Thursday.
  • (2/24/09) A new daily message indicates that there will be certain ninjas running around between 9-10am PST (12-1pm EST) within PSHome, carrying messages to their masters, which could be intercepted.  Version 1.11 of PSHome will also be rolled out on Thursday.
  • (2/23/09) TheSixthAxis has a new entry that’s quite suspicious… The RSS summary for this entry reads: “XI, My Friend. Open Up. I remember when all this was just grass. Sorry, glass.”  TSA has previously posted entries hinting that they have inside info.
  • (2/23/09) The recent video shown on the EU server Redbull video is now available in North America’s Central Plaza.

Whatever the mystery is, however, it’s creepy enough, vague enough, and enticing enough to have people going bananas over this “Xi” the world over.  Suffice to say, they want answers…

Xi Protest

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Categories: ARGs General, Video games, Viral General