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COMMENT | PlayStation Home dies with a whimper, but will anyone miss it?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
PS Home, PS3, Sony

COMMENT | PlayStation Home dies with a whimper, but will anyone miss it?

PlayStation Home, Sony's attempt to create a shared persistent virtual universe for PlayStation gamers, is no more. The service shut down today with barely a whimper, not a single official special event to mark its passing. Just a blank screen and a network error.

We're not convinced that anyone noticed.

Still, let's take a look back at PlayStation Home from its unlikely birth to today's demise. Did you know, for example, that it started life as an attempt to one-up the Xbox 360's killer feature?

COMMENT | PlayStation Home dies with a whimper, but will anyone miss it?

Back in 2007, Sony announced PlayStation Home to a disbelieving GDC, revealing that players would be able to create their own avatar, socialise with friends in a shared space and customise their living quarters to suit their tastes. It was essentially an attempt to counter the Xbox 360's achievements system, which Sony had no equivalent for at the time, the idea being that playing games would unlock 3D 'trophies' that we'd be able to show off to our friends.

This evolved into the Trophy system we know today, which was eventually implemented in 2008. Rather than abandon Home, though, Sony soldiered on and launched the service the same year.

Despite receiving little attention, Sony still did their best to keep things updated, resulting in a massive overhaul in 2011. This new update was a revelation, adding new 'districts' and the ability to play a number of free games, while giving developers the opportunity to peddle their own games and items. It was a great idea, even if, for most, it went largely ignored.

Which leads us to today. Despite a few fun cosmetic items being released every once in a while, the service dwindled and attracted nowhere near the level of developer attention it needed to become a thriving marketplace, due mainly to its primitive tools. As such, we're surprised that Home lasted as long as it did before Sony pulled the plug as of 8:00 this morning.

COMMENT | PlayStation Home dies with a whimper, but will anyone miss it?

Could Sony bring it back? Possibly. We reckon that Morpheus could be a unique hook and a more immediate way to interact with friends in a virtual reality environment, perhaps. Integration with a new retooled version of PlayStation Home could work well and might actually help to sell the device, even if it ends up as an app rather than a full service.

That's all idle conjecture, though, and for now we're content with letting PlayStation Home slip quietly out of our minds forever into the 'nice idea, shame about the execution' pile.

Do you still use PlayStation Home? Feel it didn't live up to its potential? Will you miss it? Let us know in the comments.

Add a comment2 comments
Quietus  Apr. 1, 2015 at 16:06

I read 'PlayStation Home', and thought 'what's that?' That kinda says it all, doesn't it?:)

cheekyangus  Apr. 1, 2015 at 17:04

There was plenty content/games added reasonably regularly before the "2011 overhaul" which wasn't as big as said as most of the improvements had been added as part of the numerous updates in the interim.

The problem was mainly that the PS3 didn't have enough power to allow the ability to switch in and out at a moments notice and act as a glorified lobby as was the original idea.

It was meant to have game launching from the start but the feature didn't arrive until much later. Even when they eventually added the game launching promised when Home was announced not many games properly supported it. The biggest problem was though that it took SO long to load it up that you'd get annnoyed and just use the games inbuilt matchmaking in the future.

From a gaming perspective too many of the games seemed like flash games reimagined in 3D. There were more substantial games like Red Bull Air Race, the Sodium One Tank Shooter, Wipeout-esque Sodium Two Project Velocity but they were fewer in number.

The alternate reality game XI was the most unique thing that Home did and was what was responsible for earning the loyalty of many of the most long term users. It wasn't the easiest to repeat experience though given its use of real world events and the planning needed.

Last edited by cheekyangus, Apr. 1, 2015 at 17:06

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