The State of Playstation Home

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Since many people have long forgotten about PlayStation Home, you may be surprised to hear Sony is still supporting it, it’s growing, and yes, it’s still in beta. It’s been over four years since Phil Harrison first showed it off at GDC 2007. Back then PS3 owners were eager to get their hands on it. They craved YouTube videos uploaded by closed beta users, but the reception it was getting by people who had access wasn’t good. Everyone was saying there was just nothing to do. I and many other people didn’t understand, then came the open beta and while it was cool for awhile, there wasn’t much to draw people back into it. So what did Sony do wrong? What’s it like on Home now? How does the future of Home look? Let’s find out. I was one of the gamers that was anticipating Home, I liked games like Second Life and The Sims, and while I knew it wasn’t going to be on that sort of level, I was interested just because I’m a big PlayStation fan and the possibilities seemed endless to me. My little sister still uses Home from time to time so I’ve been able to slowly see it grow. For this article I’ve dipped back into PlayStation Home myself to see its current state.

My journey

So after the usual PS3 update, I downloaded the 44mb file that is Home. After download and installation, which only took about a minute, I was asked how much space I wanted to allocate. This ranged from 3gb – 12gb. I chose 5gb which was honestly overkill as most of the home spaces ranged around the 30mb area. I logged in on a Thursday night/Friday morning from 11:30pm – 1:30am PST. So that’s 2:30am – 4:30am EST. I didn’t expect to find that many people online, boy was I surprised.

There was more people playing than back when the open beta kicked off in December 2008. Every Home space I went to had at least some amount of people in it. More obscure places had about 5-10 while the more packed areas were uncountable. As I entered the plaza there was as many people as I seen on launch day, it was pretty amazing. I decided to visit the newer spaces mixed with the spaces of the old Home to get an overall feel for how it is currently is. The movie theater is finally more than just one theater, and it looks like it’s updated on a regular basis as I seen posters for Sony movies and videos such as the E3 trailer for Dead Island. One thing I noticed was every single theater you entered had a mandatory 7.7 MB download, which makes no sense. The theaters are all the same, and you’re not downloading the video file as that gets streamed to you once you enter the theater. It’s really unnecessary and it screams why Home is still considered a beta.

While I was at the bowling alley my experience was pretty negative. Guys were trying to hook up with girls, there was constant spam, vulgar screen names, and overall negativity. I started considering that all the people here are the people that get banned on forums for trolling and using all caps. I decided to explore more though. I decided to take a visit to one of the more relaxed rooms, the gamer lounge. The vibe in there was completely different. There was actual people sitting in lounge chairs and at tables talking about video games. One booth I came across was discussing the state of DLC in modern gaming today. Talk about a complete 180. I also visited a Ford sponsored area which had about 30 people in it. It’s a small space that just has a couple cars and it was packed.

Readers Comments (7)

  1. Bleh, no appeal for me. Just seems unnecessary really.

  2. Splitting Void July 2, 2011 @ 03:03

    I’m not much of a social chatting person. I like helping people and teaming up with people in MMOs and multiplayer games through. Games that give you in-game currency to buy stuff would be good.

  3. idkn
    all the mini game, the people i met… it was funn
    but than killzone2 came out
    and ewer since i dident hawe time for much else, but i still go on home here and there

  4. I’m not much of a social chatting person either. I just sit in forums and chat with people all day. By no means is that the same thing. =o)

    I used to use Home quite a bit before and I think generally it’s a great experience that is the polar opposite of conventional gaming communities. Where normally you would play multiplayer games with people and see the same person over and over. Eventually you’d like the person for one reason or the other and add as a friend, send clan invite, etc… which could ultimately end up as a friendship outside of the game.

    Home on the other hand you meet people and strike up conversations much like traditional real world interaction then find out “oh, you like Warhawk? We should play!” and then you have a multiplayer gaming buddy. Sure it has fallen short of what was originally presented but I still think it’s a great concept and still has plenty of potential. I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon and I am perfectly fine with that.

  5. Playstation home is a beautiful experience where everything has mass and weight afforded to it but it’s still a shallow experience. Sony is the only company I know that forces you not to give them your money by placing furniture limits on every room and preventing you from having more than 2 active furniture items in each room simply means that every home area is ultimately sparse and attains almost zero interactivity and it just becomes pointless to buy more things. People don’t just want to visit game zones in home, they also want to have interactive fun with a select group of friends in their private apartments. I want to be able to walk up to my fridge in home and get a drink and have my avatar drink it like I can in Habbo Hotel and then sit in front of the TV in my room and watch some streamed media with the ability to change channels. I want to be able to slow dance arm in arm with someone close and I want to be able to play my own selection of music as we dance together like I can in IMVU. Mostly though, I want the idiocy of furniture limits removed, especially for interactive furniture and I want to see more interactive furniture in the shop. The best thing that Sony could do though is to take one more page from IMVU and give us a space where we can buy a tennis court if we want one, mini golf courses and such like.

  6. Home HAS gotten a lot better than … when it was new. Sure we’ll never have the fun we had with proximity mics again but still it’s improved vastly. It’s still too much of a pain to be fun. That’s why I’ve never even known about those furniture limits. I’m not buying things in home because I’m not having enough fun because it’s so much of a pain to get to home.

    That’s the thesis right there.. Home is so hard to get to and that leads to b which leads to c which leads to d which leads to noone is in Home.

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