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?
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.
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.