Meet the People Who Call Home...Home

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Posted by patrickklepek (3471 posts) -
PlayStation Home was supposed to be something for everyone. It didn't catch, but for some, it was everything they were looking for.

In case you'd forgotten, PlayStation Home still exists, and, yes, it's still in Beta.

Sony's ambitious virtual world may not have become the all-inclusive revelation proposed by Phil Harrison back in 2007, but it's still kicking. The service recently received its biggest back end update yet (version 1.5), and it's making money for Sony.

You might not love Home, but plenty of others do, and they truly do care.

I've been endlessly fascinated by Home. I published a series at G4 called "My Life in Home," where I hopped back in and tried to figure out the appeal, even if that appeal was lost on me. I researched those stories in January 2010, when I hadn't booted up Home since December 2008. Since then, Home has remained just a skipped over icon, finally changing last week.

Much has evolved in Home. It's faster, with plenty more places to go. I can't knock Sony's virtual E3 booth, either, even if it's pretty hokey, but that's coming from someone who's been attending E3 for over a decade. For someone who's never been, I'd imagine it's pretty neat. There's still an obnoxious amount of loading in Home, but some of that's been remedied by a new interface that appears before you actually launch into Home, allowing you to queue downloads for new rooms.

Much about Home hasn't changed, though. The art style is still...well, let's call it questionable. There are more items to mask your sort of real-looking face, but the general look of Home has remained. It's still a glorified chat room that just happens to have other things to do. Then again, I know plenty of people who treat World of Warcraft the same way. It's not inherently a bad thing.

I spent an hour on the phone last week with Sony's director of Home, Jack Buser, but you'll read that conversation tomorrow. Today, I'd like to introduce two people: Jason Sorensen, editor of HomeStation Magazine, and Tammy McDonald, CEO of a content creation company who pays the majority of its roughly 20 employee salaries by producing items, worlds and games for Home.

Each represents pillars of Home's success. They have little to do with whether you (or me) like it.

== TEASER ==

Where Everybody Knows Your Name (And PSN ID)

Sodium 2 is one of the "big budget" games launched in Home, with multiplayer and decent visuals.

Sorensen is an editor, not unlike me. He just writes for a very different audience: Home users.

"Home is indeed a very misconstrued entity," said 31-year-old Sorensen, who goes by NorseGamer. "It has the interface of a video game and it's populated by video gamers who are used to the handholding of a video game, but it's not a video game, and the fan publication that I run is devoted to examining Home from a sociological perspective, rather than a gaming perspective."

Sex, gender and avatar politics are some of the most common topics amongst Home users.

A quick glance at the headlines for HomeStation Magazine prove out his point.

"Yes, Sex Sells — But At What Price?" is an examination of the sexualized expansion of clothing in Home.

"Home Athletes: Club VIP (Very Important Pixels)," highlighting a group within Home featuring purple and gold jacket-laden members, jackets that can only be earned by beating a certain number of Home-exclusive games. The latter was written by Burbie52, a 59-year-old member of Home and founder of the Grey Gamers, a group catering to Home's oldest crowd.

New issues of HomeStation Magazine are uploaded roughly once per month, but the website updates daily. If you want direct insight into the diversity of the Home community, here you go.

"There are some genuinely fascinating human stories in Home," said Sorensen. "People who meet in virtual reality, fall in love, relocate, marry and start new lives together. Quadriplegics who can walk. Deaf people who can communicate without any social stigma. Agoraphobics who can travel. Schizophrenics who need not worry about being shunned."

When I last checked in with Home, the experience reminded me of the a/s/l era of an Internet dominated by America Online. That was fine in my teenage years, but not something I'd like to return to. Then, I thought about my own Internet habits. I'm a frequent visitor of the NeoGAF message boards. And that's it. Outside of interacting with Giant Bomb's users, it's the only place I'd call my virtual home. Sometimes I don't care for it, but it's always one thing: familiar.

That's when I started to understand part of the appeal of Home. It's just a community that happens to exist on a game platform. The games part means much less than the people in it, their shared appreciation for games simply being the connection that brought them together.

"In real life, none of us would probably ever interact with each other," said Sorensen. "Yet we all find purpose, validation, relief or enjoyment in Home, and we work together as friends and colleagues."

If you wanted a slice of E3, Home had trailers--and even live streamed the press conference.

Imagine what it's like when your favorite place on the Internet disappears. While it was a bummer that Mortal Kombat multiplayer didn't work during the PlayStation Network outage, it also meant the Home community suddenly found themselves without its primary means of communication.

"One thing that happened to every Home fansite is that visitor traffic numbers went up considerably," explained Sorensen. "The beating heart of Home isn't its gaming experiences--and it never will be. The true strength of Home, and where its long-term revenue generation opportunities are, lie in its ability to provide a social environment for people to interact and express themselves. The core community is quite resilient, and took to various fan websites to maintain those connections."

Sorensen's prediction that Home isn't about games is noteworthy, given Home's director told me there would be even more games coming to Home in the future, filling out the service. It reminds me of my original critique of Sony's approach to home during the series of articles at G4, where it seemed Sony's desire to court everyone basically ignored those who already got it.

HomeStation Magazine isn't the only dedicated magazine or community for Home users, but it does appear to be the most well-written. It probably helps the authors are mostly older.

Home, like other virtual services, gives people a place to be someone else, perhaps the person they'd like to be, rather than the person they are in the real-world. That's not the case for everyone, but viewed from that perspective, Home could seem extremely attractive.

"Thoreau once famously wrote that most people lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them," said Sorensen. "This is why social networking websites and virtual realities are so inherently addictive: because they give people a sense of significance and at the same time allow for tremendous creative expression and control over one's own self-portrayal."

For some people, that world is Second Life. For these people, it's Home.

Where There's Virtual Smoke and Virtual Fire, There's Real Money

Heavy Water wasn't called Heavy Water originally--it was Vision Scape Interactive in 1997. The company was a jack of all trades for-hire developer, working on over 100 different titles. Everything changed four years ago, when Electronic Arts approached Heavy Water about creating the EA Sports Complex space for Home. Heavy Water decided to take a gamble.

EA Sports Complex was one of the first publisher-specific spaces to appear in Home.

"Home was not up at the time and there were quite a few unknowns in the process," said Heavy Water CEO Tammy McDonald, "but my husband, Matt McDonald [CCO and president], saw Home as an opportunity to create a hybrid of content that spoke to our strengths and we could take advantage of our ability to use old-school development techniques to optimize content and tools."

EA Sports Complex launched in spring 2009, formally announced at CES the same year, sporting what you'd expect from a publisher-branded space in Home: trailers, mini-games, leaderboards. It was also a place for fans to hang out.

Right now, Heavy Water is one of the largest contributors of content for the Home platform, with much of its business now defined by Home. McDonald couldn't share specifics on what kind of money it's making off Home ("We make enough money to do what we love, and we love working in Home") or how profit sharing works with Sony ("We work within a variety of models with Sony, some is work for hire and others include a royalty share"), but it's clear Home is working out for it.

The company was employing more than 120 people in the San Diego area at one point, but that's down to about 20. The difference seems to be the impact outsourcing's had on the industry.

"We have an art team in India that we have been working with since 2003," explained McDonald, "so we can have as many as 100 additional artists/animators or as few as five, just depends on what our needs are at the time. It all comes down to planning."

Heavy Water most recently launched the second line in its "Heavy Ink" series, featuring tribal tattoos and full body looks modeled after classic pin-up girls aimed at "female fans of Home."

Even with such success, for the foreseeable future, Heavy Water doesn't expect to leave Home.

"Home is our core focus and our pipeline is set up around creating content, games and interactive experiences in Home," said McDonald. "Creating games for other platforms that do not have an obvious connection to what we are doing would be a distraction at this point."

When in Doubt, Just Click the Dance Button

Home isn't perfect, which I'd argue comes from the now-flawed premise it was based upon, compared to what the audience latched on to. Community Theater, something I'm flattered to learn was largely prompted from my last pieces on Home, was a step in the right direction, giving back to the people who fell in love for what Home was, not the "Game 3.0" it was "supposed" to be.

It's worth checking out how Home has changed, if you haven't. Chances are there's nothing that will shift your original opinion either way, but if you take the time to look, it's moving forward. If you already have a "home" on the Internet, though, there may not be much for Home to offer you.

As for how that Home might be changing, stay tuned for my conversation with Jack Buser, the authentically enthusiastic man at Sony spearheading Home. The man is a true believer.

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3471 posts) -
PlayStation Home was supposed to be something for everyone. It didn't catch, but for some, it was everything they were looking for.

In case you'd forgotten, PlayStation Home still exists, and, yes, it's still in Beta.

Sony's ambitious virtual world may not have become the all-inclusive revelation proposed by Phil Harrison back in 2007, but it's still kicking. The service recently received its biggest back end update yet (version 1.5), and it's making money for Sony.

You might not love Home, but plenty of others do, and they truly do care.

I've been endlessly fascinated by Home. I published a series at G4 called "My Life in Home," where I hopped back in and tried to figure out the appeal, even if that appeal was lost on me. I researched those stories in January 2010, when I hadn't booted up Home since December 2008. Since then, Home has remained just a skipped over icon, finally changing last week.

Much has evolved in Home. It's faster, with plenty more places to go. I can't knock Sony's virtual E3 booth, either, even if it's pretty hokey, but that's coming from someone who's been attending E3 for over a decade. For someone who's never been, I'd imagine it's pretty neat. There's still an obnoxious amount of loading in Home, but some of that's been remedied by a new interface that appears before you actually launch into Home, allowing you to queue downloads for new rooms.

Much about Home hasn't changed, though. The art style is still...well, let's call it questionable. There are more items to mask your sort of real-looking face, but the general look of Home has remained. It's still a glorified chat room that just happens to have other things to do. Then again, I know plenty of people who treat World of Warcraft the same way. It's not inherently a bad thing.

I spent an hour on the phone last week with Sony's director of Home, Jack Buser, but you'll read that conversation tomorrow. Today, I'd like to introduce two people: Jason Sorensen, editor of HomeStation Magazine, and Tammy McDonald, CEO of a content creation company who pays the majority of its roughly 20 employee salaries by producing items, worlds and games for Home.

Each represents pillars of Home's success. They have little to do with whether you (or me) like it.

== TEASER ==

Where Everybody Knows Your Name (And PSN ID)

Sodium 2 is one of the "big budget" games launched in Home, with multiplayer and decent visuals.

Sorensen is an editor, not unlike me. He just writes for a very different audience: Home users.

"Home is indeed a very misconstrued entity," said 31-year-old Sorensen, who goes by NorseGamer. "It has the interface of a video game and it's populated by video gamers who are used to the handholding of a video game, but it's not a video game, and the fan publication that I run is devoted to examining Home from a sociological perspective, rather than a gaming perspective."

Sex, gender and avatar politics are some of the most common topics amongst Home users.

A quick glance at the headlines for HomeStation Magazine prove out his point.

"Yes, Sex Sells — But At What Price?" is an examination of the sexualized expansion of clothing in Home.

"Home Athletes: Club VIP (Very Important Pixels)," highlighting a group within Home featuring purple and gold jacket-laden members, jackets that can only be earned by beating a certain number of Home-exclusive games. The latter was written by Burbie52, a 59-year-old member of Home and founder of the Grey Gamers, a group catering to Home's oldest crowd.

New issues of HomeStation Magazine are uploaded roughly once per month, but the website updates daily. If you want direct insight into the diversity of the Home community, here you go.

"There are some genuinely fascinating human stories in Home," said Sorensen. "People who meet in virtual reality, fall in love, relocate, marry and start new lives together. Quadriplegics who can walk. Deaf people who can communicate without any social stigma. Agoraphobics who can travel. Schizophrenics who need not worry about being shunned."

When I last checked in with Home, the experience reminded me of the a/s/l era of an Internet dominated by America Online. That was fine in my teenage years, but not something I'd like to return to. Then, I thought about my own Internet habits. I'm a frequent visitor of the NeoGAF message boards. And that's it. Outside of interacting with Giant Bomb's users, it's the only place I'd call my virtual home. Sometimes I don't care for it, but it's always one thing: familiar.

That's when I started to understand part of the appeal of Home. It's just a community that happens to exist on a game platform. The games part means much less than the people in it, their shared appreciation for games simply being the connection that brought them together.

"In real life, none of us would probably ever interact with each other," said Sorensen. "Yet we all find purpose, validation, relief or enjoyment in Home, and we work together as friends and colleagues."

If you wanted a slice of E3, Home had trailers--and even live streamed the press conference.

Imagine what it's like when your favorite place on the Internet disappears. While it was a bummer that Mortal Kombat multiplayer didn't work during the PlayStation Network outage, it also meant the Home community suddenly found themselves without its primary means of communication.

"One thing that happened to every Home fansite is that visitor traffic numbers went up considerably," explained Sorensen. "The beating heart of Home isn't its gaming experiences--and it never will be. The true strength of Home, and where its long-term revenue generation opportunities are, lie in its ability to provide a social environment for people to interact and express themselves. The core community is quite resilient, and took to various fan websites to maintain those connections."

Sorensen's prediction that Home isn't about games is noteworthy, given Home's director told me there would be even more games coming to Home in the future, filling out the service. It reminds me of my original critique of Sony's approach to home during the series of articles at G4, where it seemed Sony's desire to court everyone basically ignored those who already got it.

HomeStation Magazine isn't the only dedicated magazine or community for Home users, but it does appear to be the most well-written. It probably helps the authors are mostly older.

Home, like other virtual services, gives people a place to be someone else, perhaps the person they'd like to be, rather than the person they are in the real-world. That's not the case for everyone, but viewed from that perspective, Home could seem extremely attractive.

"Thoreau once famously wrote that most people lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them," said Sorensen. "This is why social networking websites and virtual realities are so inherently addictive: because they give people a sense of significance and at the same time allow for tremendous creative expression and control over one's own self-portrayal."

For some people, that world is Second Life. For these people, it's Home.

Where There's Virtual Smoke and Virtual Fire, There's Real Money

Heavy Water wasn't called Heavy Water originally--it was Vision Scape Interactive in 1997. The company was a jack of all trades for-hire developer, working on over 100 different titles. Everything changed four years ago, when Electronic Arts approached Heavy Water about creating the EA Sports Complex space for Home. Heavy Water decided to take a gamble.

EA Sports Complex was one of the first publisher-specific spaces to appear in Home.

"Home was not up at the time and there were quite a few unknowns in the process," said Heavy Water CEO Tammy McDonald, "but my husband, Matt McDonald [CCO and president], saw Home as an opportunity to create a hybrid of content that spoke to our strengths and we could take advantage of our ability to use old-school development techniques to optimize content and tools."

EA Sports Complex launched in spring 2009, formally announced at CES the same year, sporting what you'd expect from a publisher-branded space in Home: trailers, mini-games, leaderboards. It was also a place for fans to hang out.

Right now, Heavy Water is one of the largest contributors of content for the Home platform, with much of its business now defined by Home. McDonald couldn't share specifics on what kind of money it's making off Home ("We make enough money to do what we love, and we love working in Home") or how profit sharing works with Sony ("We work within a variety of models with Sony, some is work for hire and others include a royalty share"), but it's clear Home is working out for it.

The company was employing more than 120 people in the San Diego area at one point, but that's down to about 20. The difference seems to be the impact outsourcing's had on the industry.

"We have an art team in India that we have been working with since 2003," explained McDonald, "so we can have as many as 100 additional artists/animators or as few as five, just depends on what our needs are at the time. It all comes down to planning."

Heavy Water most recently launched the second line in its "Heavy Ink" series, featuring tribal tattoos and full body looks modeled after classic pin-up girls aimed at "female fans of Home."

Even with such success, for the foreseeable future, Heavy Water doesn't expect to leave Home.

"Home is our core focus and our pipeline is set up around creating content, games and interactive experiences in Home," said McDonald. "Creating games for other platforms that do not have an obvious connection to what we are doing would be a distraction at this point."

When in Doubt, Just Click the Dance Button

Home isn't perfect, which I'd argue comes from the now-flawed premise it was based upon, compared to what the audience latched on to. Community Theater, something I'm flattered to learn was largely prompted from my last pieces on Home, was a step in the right direction, giving back to the people who fell in love for what Home was, not the "Game 3.0" it was "supposed" to be.

It's worth checking out how Home has changed, if you haven't. Chances are there's nothing that will shift your original opinion either way, but if you take the time to look, it's moving forward. If you already have a "home" on the Internet, though, there may not be much for Home to offer you.

As for how that Home might be changing, stay tuned for my conversation with Jack Buser, the authentically enthusiastic man at Sony spearheading Home. The man is a true believer.

Staff
#2 Posted by imsasun (1 posts) -

Ah, Home.

#3 Posted by HyperionXR (272 posts) -

Never really thought much of home. I tried it, and even got items for it... but that seems like that's about all there is to it.

#4 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

So that's what those models were for... wow.

#5 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Home has to be one of the biggest failures this generation. They hyped it so much and it amounted to nothing.

#6 Posted by Rukus (85 posts) -

So it's like a tamer, prettier version of Second Life?

#7 Edited by Blair (2500 posts) -

Outstanding topic, Patrick. I'm no fan of Home, but I find it interesting to think that a group of people are still consistently using the service.

#8 Posted by qxz86 (10 posts) -

Why is this article so littered with typos? 

#9 Edited by louiedog (2335 posts) -

Interesting, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to move on from The Palace yet.
 
And yes, I did hang out there for a month when I was 14. It was a different time.

#10 Edited by RE_Player1 (7549 posts) -
I to installed Home again recently and was quite shocked at how many people were online. The interface to me is clunky, the load times are unbearable and the games are crap. All that being said I walked away with the same view as young Patrick here. People don't flock to Home for Home, they go there because that is their community where they interact with people. Same can be said for MMOs on the decline, like Star Wars Galaxies.
#11 Posted by Slaker117 (4835 posts) -

"We have an art team in India that we have been working with since 2033"

Okay, now I get it. Home only makes sense to future people.
#12 Posted by Zero_ (1973 posts) -

I remember installing Home for the first time not too long ago and it's a really interesting product - a surprising amount of people online conversing and playing around. It was pretty cool actually, but not my cup of tea. Still - I appreciate what Home is.

#13 Posted by Clubvodka (411 posts) -
@Slaker117 said:

"We have an art team in India that we have been working with since 2033"

Okay, now I get it. Home only makes sense to future people.
I want to go to the future, somebody take me there
#14 Posted by Sil3n7 (1176 posts) -

Home just seems like some weird virtual social experiment that only completely insane people care about. There's literally nothing to do there.

#15 Posted by Scrumdidlyumptious (1640 posts) -

Home is the best online Chess/Checkers game around. The matchmaking is superb and there's never a shortage of players.

#16 Posted by kennybaese (658 posts) -
@Ygg
Home has to be one of the biggest failures this generation. They hyped it so much and it amounted to nothing.
But it isn't a failure so much. It didn't turn into what Sony was maybe originally billing it as, but it's profitable for the company and it has a pretty decently sized user base that is incredibly dedicated to the service. As such, it's a modest success if anything.

I was never very interested in Home. I think I maybe fired it up once out of curiosity, but the load times were so annoying that I dropped back to the XMB and went back to playing inFAMOUS.
#17 Posted by MJHAYLETT (437 posts) -

Home is not for me but I enjoyed the small amount of time I did use it when it launched. A group of people I didn't know sat around talking about Video Games, I added a couple of them to my Friends List and a nice time was had. It was Free to download, free to play (kinda crappy) mini games and lots of people did The Robot. Not for me but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand like some do. Don't want it? Don't download it. Simple.

#18 Edited by Khann (2784 posts) -
I'm a frequent visitor of the NeoGAF message boards. And that's it. Outside of interacting with Giant Bomb's users, it's the only place I'd call my virtual home.

lol

*3 forum posts over a month ago all in the same topic started by you*

Snark aside, this was a genuinely interesting read, and I appreciate a little bit of a different perspective here on GB.

#19 Posted by DavoTron (148 posts) -

What a totally charming little read that was Patrick.

#20 Posted by SockLobster (456 posts) -

Second Life for people that hate fun

#21 Posted by Iazu (15 posts) -

I've never minded Home. It's always been fun to check out every so often just to see the new areas and stuff. I tried out the Sodium game a while back and actually paid the $5 for the full version. Surprisingly fun little shooter.

#22 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5250 posts) -

This should be video.

#23 Posted by CptBedlam (4449 posts) -

@wolf_blitzer85 said:

This should be video.

Yep

#24 Posted by Klaimore (945 posts) -

That was a great story Patrick, I really like how you dough deep in the story of home. But my Home is here at WhiskeyMedia.

#25 Posted by Chango (502 posts) -

Nice article. 

#26 Posted by Outrager (146 posts) -

For me, the reason I would rather play an MMO like World of Warcraft, even if it's just sitting in town and chatting with friends, than Home is because on my computer I can always alt+tab and browse the web, watch a video, or listen to music while keeping the game window up to chat. There's also not as much loading as there is the last time I tried Home.

#27 Edited by Slaker117 (4835 posts) -
@Clubvodka said:

@Slaker117 said:

"We have an art team in India that we have been working with since 2033"

Okay, now I get it. Home only makes sense to future people.
I want to go to the future, somebody take me there
I'll take you, but you'll have to wait a bit.
#28 Posted by natetodamax (19170 posts) -

I kinda already suspected that anyone who's still serious about using Home is doing so for the community interactions and nothing else. I guess that's good to hear.

#29 Posted by Sinful (211 posts) -

So Pat, getting a huge check from Sony for this advertisement?

#30 Posted by Pop (2605 posts) -

Pretty awesome article, I didn't know Home had a magazine or that anybody was still in it, but I understand what they're doing there. Home going down(with PSN) must of been horrible for them, what if GB went down for a month Dave would probably die in a week doing his radio thing xD.

#31 Posted by SamStrife (1282 posts) -

All the hate for home is crazy and unwarrented.  By all accounts it's been a success for Sony and publishers and the cimmunity that go love it.  Just because you as a "hardcore" game doesn't like it, doesn't make it a huge failure.  Get over yourselves and realise there's more to the industry than your elitest ways.

#32 Posted by MackGyver (516 posts) -

Great article Patrick.

#33 Posted by AmericanNinja (157 posts) -

Home TNT Ryan?

#34 Posted by drew327 (558 posts) -

Great read but wow the grammatical errors

#35 Posted by Cribba (290 posts) -

I love how you got to this before 8-4, who have been raving about doing a podcast about Home for months now.

#36 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1236 posts) -

Very interesting perspective on the service. Judging from my superficial experience with Second Life your take does make sense, I have to say. Then again, it reinforces why none of these services are probably for me since GB takes up much of the available time for that sort of community thing nowadays.

#37 Posted by darkjester74 (1570 posts) -

Great piece as usual, Patrick.  However, I can't help but notice:

"We have an art team in India that we have been working with since 2033," explained McDonald,

Art from the future!  :-)

#38 Posted by Ciffy (215 posts) -

"We have an art team in India that we have been working with since 2033," explained McDonald, "so we can have as many as 100 additional artists/animators or as few as five, just depends on what our needs are at the time. It all comes down to planning." 
 
Wow, they've been working with India for NEGATIVE 22 years?  Nice.  Yes, you can has typo. :P

#39 Posted by teekomeeko (618 posts) -

Good read. I'm not a fan of Home, but understand it and don't see how so many hate it. It works (with some charming level of jank to it), it makes money, it has a dedicated community, and it doesn't bother anyone that doesn't care for it. It's not what was promised, but if that's fine to the community, good for them.

The people who talk the most shit about Home are pretty much just being self-righteous and ignorant; if they are not part of something, they don't want it to exist for some reason. Not exactly surprising with "gamers," but I try not to discriminate against something that I have nothing to do with.

Also, for God's sake edit this article. Hell of typos in this piece.

#40 Posted by bartok (2422 posts) -

Fun article.  I hope there is some seedy underbelly of Home you crack wide open.  

#41 Posted by Afroman269 (7387 posts) -

Craziness

#42 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

@AmericanNinja said:

Home TNT Ryan?

The servers probably couldn't handle it.

Last time I tried Home was when they launched the Buzz Quiz area where large groups of people could play user-generated Buzz quizzes. My gf actually got into it, but the questions largely became mostly video game related after a few days.

#43 Posted by Lazyaza (2167 posts) -

I still have zero interest in home but this was a good interesting read, thanks Patrick!

#44 Edited by TOYBOXX (310 posts) -

PS Home isn't a bad concept, rather, it's a concept coming from a company that doesn't really have a clue how the online space works compared to how successful everyone else has been with online products and services.
 
The problems of Home is minimal, but given over time, can be a pain that leaves the question in the back of the gamers mind: "Is this really worth visiting anymore?". Now mind you, I haven't been on Home since sometime 2010, and things have been updated since then. My experience with Home had users wait 2-3 months for new spaces to explore; the items were over priced ($5 for a Lightsaber - really?), and particular spaces were designed to nickle and dime the user (Carnival space). Not to mention horrendous load times, and videos that must be watched on Home instead of the XMB.  
 
Again, this all may seem minimal at best, but given over time, for me personally, I've felt there were other things to do besides visiting Home. And, yes, it was a great idea, but, seemingly, it was executed poorly as everything else Sony does. 

#45 Posted by lockwoodx (2479 posts) -

For a more interesting article he should have visited second life.

#46 Posted by ShaneDev (1696 posts) -

I tried Home once, I didn't like it at all and then uninstalled it from my PS3. Nothing has ever convinced me to go back and nothing probably ever will. Its interesting to see what the people that use it think of it but even as a social tool I think its a bit poor. Maybe all the interesting stories this guy mentioned do exist somewhere in Home but I never saw anything like it.

#47 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11476 posts) -

So basically, Home is like every bad MMO in that the people who are still using it because it's a way they can socially interact with all their internet friends (my general assumption being that they don't have any friends in real life). It's clearly created its own niche, and it's clearly not for any of us. Great article Patrick!

#48 Posted by drowsap (679 posts) -

Great story but can you tell me what an NPC is

#49 Posted by Vager (1653 posts) -

Kinda did this back when I was playing Ultima Online. All I ever did was craft armor sets and try keep good relations with the server's player base despite being the head guild smith of the most notorious murderers guild on the server.

I hate PvP, I never participate in it and being killed and looted by other players is a terrible experience. Yet that environment makes it insanely interesting socially and economically. Similarly to how EVE is like but far less complicated.

I constantly gave out low quality armor sets to new players as a political/business strategy of sorts. The players that would stay and grow to be more powerful trusted me as they're sole vendor for quality armor/weapons. The ones that became murder's also did not try to kill/loot me, even if they considered my guild an enemy.

I made huge profits by reselling armor sets that I obtained from my guildmates who murdered and looted one of my customers. Despite this, I still maintained good relations with the person most of the time. Once and a while giving the armor back to keep that relationship, if it seemed to sour.

I kinda want to experience that again.

#50 Posted by geirr (2476 posts) -

Basically a severely limited version of Second Life.

But it looks better!

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