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.
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.