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So it's out now. Technically it's an open beta, but that's just in the same way everything Google makes is still a beta. It will always be in beta. I played with it some last night, and here's my thoughts:

1. Sometimes it won't log in. Only took two tries for me, but some are having more problems.

2. It's very crowded. They need to use more than one server because it's shoulder to virtual shoulder everywhere you go.

3. Some things weren't as promised. Main thing is the movie theater. Last year they showed an area you go to and there are many choices you can go in that show different things just like in real life. In reality there is one theater showing a movie trailer. Imagine 100 people all crammed together all talking and you can't get them to shut up. Also, there are ads around that you can make full screen, but you can't make the movie screen full screen. That means you have 100 jackasses all dancing or standing in front of you while you are trying to watch something. They also said the videos would stream in and start right away. Instead they load the whole video before it plays. I sat there and waited to find out it was a movie trailer for that Vampire movie all the girls like.

4. They charge real money for every little thing. They took the idea that MS introduced and ran with it. I can't see spending .49 for a cowboy hat for my avatar when I wouldn't wear one in real life.

5. I'm an adult. I should be able to turn off the curse filter but can't. Also, the filter isn't very good. Sometimes people will say something that gets blocked that obviously isn't a curse word.

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I played it a bit on the weekend, I thought it was fun. I played a game of chess and checkers with some guys and while it was slow (them, not the server) I would definitely log in to play again. Some multiplayer games would be cool as well.

Apparently you can unlock free stuff by playing the arcade games in the Bowling Alley. I'll have to download that area and have a look. From what I read it also appears there are areas that are game specific, so you need to own the game to unlock them. Interesting....

I think I'll probably log on a couple of times a week just to check out what is new, different, etc....

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You don't need to own them to download the areas that are game specific. I downloaded one of the Farcry 2 areas and I've never played the game. Another thing that bugs me is the use of area voice chat. There was racism and asshatery abound last night by guys using their headsets. It feels like jumping through hoops to block the person since you have to find them first.

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Oh ok, that's cool then (with the not owning the game). Maybe I need to download more areas and really give this thing a go... We must be on different servers, because my experience was quite pleasant. Weird thing to have a blocking of text cursing but speech is uncensored. I would call that a flaw.....

The reports I've read of the size of the 'mirco-economy' that these types of generate is amazing. One report indicated Sony could earn $17m a month, not sure if that was people paying for things or combined with that and advertising from real world companies. Still, that's a nice little cash cow. And just shows what I said a long time ago about Sony playing this console war long term with a multi prong approach. Still time will tell I guess.

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