PlayStation Home Has Become The Weirdest Place In Gaming

It feels like an age ago, and in gaming terms I guess it was. The launch of PlayStation Home, one of the cornerstones of the PS3's launch era, was meant to usher in a new kind of online interaction. A place where the connectivity of Xbox Live could be turned into a virtual world, blurring the lines between community and the games they play.

And for a while, this was the case! Sony live-streamed press conferences and shows into the service (which to its credit it still does), Warhawk tried to bring its strategic features into Home, and most of the junk you could buy was related to video games.

But over the years, Home has changed. It never really caught on. It's a profitable service for Sony (and the third-party companies creating content for it), sure, and people use it, but it's hardly the bedrock of the PS3 community it was supposed to be. It's certainly no Xbox Live, and even Nintendo's fledgling online service seems to have more meat on its bones.

And yet it remains. So who, then, uses Home in 2012? If we're going by the weird shit that goes on sale every month for the service, I'd have to say...I have absolutely no idea.

Below you'll find some of the items and add-ons made available for sale in the service over the last year or so. Note that I'm not cherry-picking the weird/creepy ones; the kind of bizarre content here reflects a tone that's consistent throughout the offerings, which I think more than any survey or market research is able to sum up the kind of person using Home these days.

It's like someone took The Sims, smashed it together with late 90s-Eurotrash and added a dash of Second Life, just for colour. The results are, well, if nothing else the most unique and baffling array of content you'll find on any modern console.

I'm not saying that what Home's current users are doing or enjoying (or, to be more precise, buying) now is wrong. If you've found an online home and you're enjoying it, that's awesome! And if I sound condescending in any way, that's not my intent. Just because something is different doesn't mean it's worse. I've simply grown genuinely and increasingly fascinated by the shift in tone Home's gone through in the last few years.

But boy, I look at stuff like this and I wonder what Phil Harrison, the platform's champion, thinks. Because I bet when he helped launch Home in 2007, this was not what he had in mind.


Comments

    I completely forgot about Playstation Home... I think I now remember why.

    What... what am i seeing here?

    These looks like advertisements from freakin' Second Life...

    Home has found its niche. Sony now catering to DLC 'whales' who enjoy all these options. Remember actually wanting to get into the home beta? How wrong I was. Sony now do a fine job of keeping the Home stuff in Home as apposed to the early days. Almost as if the secret club aspect of it is part of the appeal.

    Last time I was on Playstation Home I was stalked by some kid who thought I was a girl. I left him waiting for me under a tree at the beach.

    Let's not pay any attention to the fact that I was using a girl avatar and wearing a long red dress. << >>

    I actually used to really enjoy home. Especially the Xi ARG that was run, that was some of the most gaming/community fun I have ever had!

    One stage I really got in to it. Now I log in only from time to time. But I agree with the article, it certainly has a very different feel to it now. The Sodium games are a lot of fun, though.

    I also can see the appeal of it too. One of the biggest reasons for using home some days were literally to be someone else for a little while. Isn't that why a lot of us play games in the first place?

    Playstation home is okay - but so many things hold it back. A serious lack of interaction is one with almost every piece of furniture being a type of chair or eyecandy. Sure, you can get interactive furni but the restriction of 100 slots means you can't really deploy it in a larger space without that space looking very empty. I fail to see the reason of adding dream islands and yachts when you are forced to furnish them with furniture you either have to sit on or furniture you cannot interact with in any way - jebers, even HABBO lets you open the fridge and gdet a a drink or get a coffee from the mocha master and then interact with your pet and IMVU lets you do things like buy music to share with your friends online and dance with them arm in arm.

    I can't believe you can actually gamble in Home now, with real money. Of course you can't trade your in-game casino credits back for bucks. I almost spent $1.60 to buy in to a game of Poker, but then I just thought it was a bit ... wrong. I did win about 16% of 1c on the pokies though with my first tug of the lever ... then I left.
    I did a 'shake fists' and 'running man' first of course

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