Qore Episode 7 Review

By Mike on 4:02 pm

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Earlier this year, Sony released Qore, an episodic interactive magazine on the world of Playstation 3. This week, Sony released Episode 7 (December) of Qore for free to all registered PSN users. Normally, each episode costs $2.99 while a one year subscription costs $24.99. The episodes are released on a monthly basis. Back when it first came out, I was sceptical about it. Sony said it would contain videos, game trailers, interactive media including advertisements, and special downloadable content for Qore subscribers. I had to question the need for it. Most of this stuff is available for free on sites like IGN and Gamestop. Would people really pay $2.99 a month for it? It seems the answer has been a resounding no. Sony has not released any details as to how many subscribers Qore has, or how many individual episodes have been purchased. My guess would be not that many. A lot of people latched onto it in hopes of getting free passes into the Home Beta and exclusive demos like Motorstorm 2. Home Beta invites ended up being given out randomly though, (I was invited to join the Home Beta at random but turned it down because the the EULA contained an NDA that wouldn't legally let me report on it in my blog) and most of the "exclusive" demos were released to the public a couple weeks later anyway. In an effort to draw more attention, Sony released the 7th episode of Qore to the public free to download on December 4th.

So what does Qore actually contain. Episode 7 has seven featues: Skate 2, Bionic Commando, Flock!, Damnation, What's Hot, Blast Qore, and Download Center. The first four are game previews, making ofs, and featurettes. In the case of Featurettes, Skate 2 looks at Skatefest 2008, a real world skateboarding event in SoCal. Damnation has a featurette on Steampunk culture. These videos are in 720p HD but are fairly short. Production values are good but the featurettes feel like they were added as an afterthought. They don't really say much either in their brief air time. The videos can be paused but there is no way to fast forward or rewind. It seems like that would logically be there but it has been left out for some reason. The rest are just game trailers and offer exactly what you would expect. Video previews of the game, artwork, etc. Stuff that's usually made available for free on the PS Store anyway. "What's Hot" contains a couple of Bluray trailers, an interactive ad, a special on Voodoo Fest in New Orleans which is really just another ad, and upcoming Blu-ray and game releases. Once again, this is something you can easily get for free of IGN and its sister site RottenTomatoes. In the download section, there are three downloads available. The Flock! demo and a free copy of Calling All Cars are only available to annual subscribers, showing Sony really wants people to fork out $24.99, natch. The only thing available to non-subscribers is a Killzone 2 XMB theme, which also would normally be available for free on the PS Store. Last but not least is one 2D minigame called Blast Qore, which involves two space ships battling each other with Asteroids style controls. A slight diversion but nothing really special about it.

So, is Qore worth the money? I think I can say it is definitively not. $3 is not a lot to spend on something but Qore has too little content and what is there is stuff you can get for free elsewhere on the internet, at the same or better quality. The features are too short and say too little while the rest is basically just ads and trailers that are normally available on the PS Store anyway. Exclusive content is virtually non-existant. The minigame is perhaps the only saving grace. In addition, Sony has just released PULSE, a video news magazine available for free on their Playstation website. I said Qore would be nothing more than paying Sony to advertise and it was exactly what I expected it to be. I still hold that Qore will not survive past its first year. It's just not worth the money. Sony should have released all episodes of Qore for free given that it already is ad backed. You can download this free episode and see for yourself. It weighs in at 1.3GB.

Score: 5 out of 10

What Works:
-Free Qore Blaster minigame
-This episode was free
-Interesting featurettes in 720p HD

What Doesn't Work
-Featurettes too short and say little
-Can't fast forward or rewind videos
-Game trailers are normally available elsewhere for free
-Not much in the way of truely exclusive content
-"Exclusive" downloadable content chintzy and normally available on the PS Store anyway at a later date at no extra cost.
-You're paying Sony to advertise their products to you
-Qore offers little value, even at $3 per episode

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