RIP PlayStation Home, 2008-2015

RIP PlayStation Home, 2008-2015

PlayStation Home, one of the most ambitious (and weirdest) things Sony has ever done with video games, closes down today. It will not be missed, but it should at least be remembered.

The service... platform... game... thing was first announced at GDC 2007 (well, technically it was first announced here), and seemed as ambitious as hell! Designed to be a virtual space where players could meet, talk, do stuff and then play actual PlayStation games, Sony's Phil Harrison said at the time it was going to be the dawn of "Game 3.0", ushering in a new era of connectivity and social gaming and togetherness and...

...and none of that ever actually happened. The service was dry, took too long to get anywhere, limited communication between users and was only used properly (as a means of getting people together to play games) by a handful of titles, most notably Warhawk. Every time Sony tried to drum up interest, whether through the introduction of themed clothing (you could dress like a Helghan, or Chun-Li) or events like live-streaming E3 into Home's cinema, the world looked, shrugged and went about its business using systems and services that were faster and more fun.

Yet despite the general gaming public's distaste for Home, it somehow survived over the years and transformed into a sort of abstract art piece, a venn diagram where "European dance music fan" meets "airport clothing store consumer" meets "Second Life".

Those who stuck around and used Home after everyone else left took a look at what it could do, doubled down and that turned it into something different; a kind of furniture brochure social network, where people and businesses could make a buck or two selling custom cheap games, objects and outfits in the game. It was a... unique place, and definitely not what anyone in 2007 would have expected Home would end up like.

Looking back on Harrison's grand plan, it's easy in 2015 to write Home off as a failure, the funniest of the many disasters Sony ran into in the early years of the PS3. Had it shut down in 2009 and never been heard from again, that would be fair. But it didn't, so it's not, and I think there's something to be applauded in the way it stuck around (and, in the end, was actually a profitable venture).

Considering the way it failed utterly to deliver on its initial promise, the fact it survived this long is testament to the loyalty and craftiness of its users, who took a broken thing and turned it into something that might have been less ambitious and much less popular, but at least worked, and served somebody's needs.


Comments

    Yeah....it was weird....
    All I remember was trying it once, having some kid run up to me and call me a "lesbian", and then never loading it up again...

      Really? Is that the reason why you stopped?
      I thought it was a quaint attempt at something too grand for its time. I used it up until Mortal Kombat 9 released... I just kind of never logged in again. I used to hang out at the ten pin bowls club so that way even if I didn't find someone to play games with, I still could amuse myself

        Lol, no, but it did kinda turn me off. I played the one time very early on in its lifecycle. There really was like, nothing to do, cept talk to randoms and maybe buy one of 8 outfits....

          Yeah, it launched pretty uneventfully really. At the time I was on Telstra cable which was separate from everyone else's internet connection, so I don't remember having loading screen issues. When I moved out and cancelled my internet that's kind of when I just never bothered to log back on

    I rather liked it, but it was too clunky and when they did add decent content it was locked behind paywalls.

    Of course it didn't help that I hardly used my PS3, either, so my infrequent visits meant tons of updates to download before I could get started (on top of the PS3's infamous firmware updates) and a general lack of engagement with the brands that Home became a showcase for.

    I think technically it was successful. It just had no one using it. Kind of like Top Ryde City Shopping Centre.

    Last edited 01/04/15 11:12 am

    Used it once when it first came out. That was enough for me. I didn't see the appeal of it.

    I checked it out when it first launched, saw that it was just a really basic version of the old 'replace a few mouse clicks on your desktop with a VR simulation because that sounds futuristic' idea, then left.
    The only time I remember going back was for EVE Online's E3 booth where you could play a game to get a Dust 514 beta key.

    All I remember was long load times, then when you went to another area, more long load times. Oh and having to pay for anything to make it remotely interesting, even though virtual shopping for no reason in a virtual environment can never really be called "interesting".

    The most memorable thing I got from it was a really interesting conversation I had with two people, we had really different views on a lot of things, we just sat in the home square, bubble makers filling the air with shiny orbs as we discussed life and debated over our opposing views. Other than that I usually wondered around confused, like when they added that weird sci fi area that seemed to have a mystery to solve but was confusing as hell. Sorta sad to see it go but I didn't use it enough anyway. Glad I never made any in game/app(?) purchases.

    I had some fun with it. I probably spent tens of dollars in the show grounds and the casino.........its was probably a little ahead of its time. in a decade when people have actual broadband internet and everything loads instantly it might come back..........

    I managed to have a few good conversations with people over the years, between a lot of trolls coming up with creative ways to spell homophobic slurs to beat the text sanitising.

    Talking Swedish rock bands with a Swedish guy who put me onto the band Graveyard, that was a highlight.

    The best thing I remember in Home was the Xi event / AR game that was held back in 2009. It was interesting despite the clunky nature of Home.

    I suppose I'm fairly typical in that I logged in, made an avatar, walked around for a bit and then just shrugged and said, "I don't get it." ... And then never went back.

    I set my apartment up with my Limited Edition White Knight Chronicle Statue I received.. Never really opened it ever again it felt very Sims like but just didn't make sense because everything you could do within it you could do from the main menu but much faster.

    Oh those loading times...

    I would have hated to have invested time/money into this and have it all wiped.

    I tried it once when it first came out and that was it. I assumed it shut down years ago.

    Wasn't too bad, had some fun with it, good for trolling, me and other mates would all just use the Stormtroopers and tell people to "Move along" alot, which always provoked someone. Good times!

    Rip Home. My girlfriend and i spent many hours enjoying you. Would love to see you come back on PS4. But alas i doubt it. :(

    I actually really liked it. The games on it were quite good, and I rather liked the whole 'weirdness' of it. Was a good escape.

    The loading times really were a bitch thought.

    My favourite thing on PS Home, though, was the Xi ARG. Wow, had so much fun working that out with a bunch of people and solving all of the riddles. Super fun times.

    The biggest thing though for me was it showed just how out of the box Sony could dare to be. Sure, it was weird, but quite frankly I'd much prefer a company which tries new things and fail than just do the same old stuff again and again. More experiments please Sony! :p

    I only ever used Home for a short time when released. It was a welcome idea and to some extent enjoyable. Sadly, the loading times, lack of actual content and my general dislike of meaningless anonymous online gaming interaction was hardly enough to keep me interested.

    I'm genuinely surprised it lasted to 2015.

    EVERY BODY LETS GO TO SONY BECUASE THE SHUT DOWN PS HOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now