Often lumped in with Nintendo’s Miis and Microsoft’s Avatars, Sony’s PlayStation Home creations (Homies? Yeah, let’s go with that) have yet to find a way to branch out from their more colorful cousins, not helped by the fact that the PlayStation Home service itself has proven to be, at best, a lacking online hub and, at worst, a colossal waste of time. But not so, says Sony’s Jack Buser, director of the service, which has trudged along in beta since it’s long-delayed release in December 2008.
According to Buser, 14 million users have logged into home in its lifespan, with over 50 virtual spaces created and 100 games available for play. But the biggest stat seems to be the amount of money Sony has garnered from the service from the 5,000 items available for download from clothing to Home furnishings, which are all “quite profitable.”
Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that these items, by nature, are pure profit (as services like Second Life and FarmVille) have shown in the past. Home seems to be Sony’s attempt to ride the proverbial wave, but the fact that Buser doesn’t come out and mention how many items have been downloaded is worrysome, for sure.
Home is clearly on Sony’s back burner, especially with the core gamer, something Buser is trying to change with what he calls “Total Game Integration”. While games like Red Dead Redemption unlock similar items in Home, on the flipside, accomplishments done in Home unlock things in such games like Bioshock 2. This is something Buser says will continue in the future.
But while Sony and Microsoft have both found success with the advent of DLC, can Sony keep that moving foward with Home? The potential is there, as Sony has still created the only fully-involved social space among the console makers, but have yet to fully realize its potential, if there is one. With the new PlayStation Plus feature, perhaps new enhancements for Home can be a part of the package. If not, Home may very well continue to be a waste of time.