Random Thoughts

Rotten to the Qore?

June 7th, 2008

Sony launched a new initiative this past week in the form of Qore, an interactive video magazine exclusively for the Playstation 3.  Qore will be released monthly at a cost of $2.99 per issue or $24.99 for an annual subscription.  You can think of it as a video version of the Official Playstation Magazine.

For your $2.99 (or $24.99) you get:

  • Video interviews with game designers and publishers
  • in-depth sneak peeks at upcoming Playstation games
  • access to exclusive downloadable content
  • access to exclusive betas

So, the real question becomes, is it worth it?

I purchased the first issue of Qore for $2.99, and immediately began the 1.5GB (!!!) download.  Once it was downloaded, I ran the installer (and yes, I’m as baffled as everyone else at the need for installers on downloaded PS3 content), and then entered the magazine (it shows up in the same section of the XMB as your downloaded games and demos).

QoreThe first thing I was treated to was a high definition trailer for The Incredible Hulk.  Now, I don’t have anything against this trailer, but aren’t trailers usually availble on PSN (or the Apple website, or any other number of online locations) for free?   After all, it’s advertising.

I get past the Hulk trailer, and then get Veronica Belmont introducing the first issue of Qore.  I like Belmont, she’s got the right attitude for this type of presentation, and given her background in video podcasts, she’s very believable as someone who would be genuinely interested in this content.

After Belmont’s introduction, we end up at the main menu, with a list of the content of the “magazine” to the left.  The content for the inaugural edition consists of interviews with the designers and previews of SOCOM: US Navy Seals Confrontation, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Secret Agent Clank, Soul Calibur 4 and Afro Samurai.  It also has an invitation to the upcoming SOCOM beta.

Also, for a limited time, if you purchase an annual subscription to Qore you get the downloadable game Calling All Cars (not a selling point for me, because I already have the game, but if you’re interested in it and haven’t already snagged it, it could be the difference between a Qore subscription being worthwhile or not).

In looking through the content, I couldn’t help but be disappointed.  The interviews and previews are reminiscient of the preview pieces that used to show up on the DVDs included with the Official Playstation Magazine, but the DVDs with OPM always had the benefit of offering demos of games at a time when downloading demos wasn’t an option.

You effectively get electronic press kit information, with some minor downloadable content, and none of it is significantly better than anything that was previously available for free. You also have advertisements before each feature, typically in the form of a PS3 game advertisement, but there’s also a Burger King in the SOCOM section.

So, is a Qore subscription worth it?

Right now, no.  The content here is just not compelling enough to warrant the $25 annual price.  Individual issues may be worth purchasing if they’re coming with access to Betas that are difficult to get into otherwise (for example, the first issue’s access to the SOCOM beta may be worth the $2.99 price of admission to some people), but let’s not kid ourselves, Qore is a money grab, plain and simple, and a poorly disguised one at that.

$25 a year is too much to ask for what is essentially a series of advertisements in a fancy wrapper.

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