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Is PlayStation Home the future of all videogames?

OK, reality check: PlayStation Home isn’t exactly a darling among core gamers. Or is it? According to Home’s director Jack Buser, more than 22 million users have logged in to the social gaming platform, and many of them rank among the most powerful of power users, if only judging from the disproportionately high number or Platinum Trophies they’ve got. So perhaps it’s more of a perception problem.

Earlier today, we unveiled the new core experience in PlayStation Home. After seeing the new Home in action, we chatted with Buser about the challenges faced by Home, and how Home might very well be the future of gaming. Crazy talk? Maybe. But read on and decide for yourself…

GamesRadar: There’s an obvious perception problem with Home. You’ve told me there’s a robust community and I believe that, but those who are not in Home have a notion of what Home is. A lot of them might have come in for an hour, fiddled with an avatar, looked around, and left. How are you going to change those perception problems and get those gamers who either aren’t interested in the first place or abandoned Home after an initial visit to see what the Home has to offer?

Jack Buser: This new core experience is the first step toward that. We have been working extremely hard to bring games to Home, to the point where we now have hundreds. This new core experience is going to immediately tell people who are willing to give us another chance to come in, they are going to immediately see that this is a place for them. Total Game Integration is another initiative, where people will be playing their favorite game and they’ll realize, “Hey, to get this special weapon, to get these extra experience points, to get this exclusive content, I have to go into Home and check it out.” They come into Home, they immediately see how much it has changed and they stick around. We’ve already seen that start to happen. The Killzone 3 event was a tremendous success. We had lots of people just flooding into Home who hadn’t been there in a long time.

GamesRadar: What’s one of the worst things you guys have heard about Home? From the press, or users, or even internally.

JB: We hear all kinds of things about Home, good and bad. I’m a huge gamer and I read everything. I read our forums every day, I read every major outlet and some minor outlets, I read all the comments. The one thing that gets me is when I see folks posting and they say things like, “Hey, I wish Home had voice.” Home has voice! Come in, check it out. We’ve got voice turned on. Or, “There’s nothing to do in Home.” There’s tons of stuff to do in Home! When I see these things it just motivates me to work harder. Many times we see things that we resolved a long time ago.

GamesRadar: So those are outdated or incorrect assumptions about Home? And your overarching goal is just to get people back in?

JB: You’ve got to understand, Home is different from what gamers are used to. Gamers are used to games launching, and that game is that game for all time. It’s not going to change that much. It might get some new map packs and it might get some DLC, but it’s not going to fundamentally change. Home is pointing toward a future that’s not here yet. I always say games will look a lot more like Home than they do themselves in ten years. This idea that you have a persistent game that’s constantly evolving and changing based on user feedback, that on day one provides a day one experience and years from now has grown into this massive gaming experience. That is something that’s totally different than what gamers are used to. I understand if people tried it before, but it’s different. It’s totally different. It’s constantly changing and growing and evolving, and games are actually going to start to look more like that. 

GamesRadar: So Home is perhaps the training ground for the future of games?

JB: I am actually very candid when I say absolutely. We are doing things in PlayStation Home that point toward the future of this entire industry. When we look at the competition, we just sort of shake our heads and say, “Wow, those guys are years behind.” We see all these core games starting to look toward social games for new types of gameplay and new types of framework. We also see social games looking toward core games so that, instead of these 2D, flat experiences, they’re actually providing very robust, high-definition 3D core game experiences, but with this really cool framework. We’ve been doing that for years.

GamesRadar: So that gap between Farmville and Killzone isn’t going to be there in 10 years?

JB: Right now, we’re there. Here’s what a lot of people don’t realize, even in the industry: it’s not just about a business model. Social games are not just a business model. When you build an FPS to go on a disk, it’s very different from building an FPS that’s free-to-play. There are game design considerations that you need to take into account, very big ones, when you make a game like that, and you know what? Nobody knows how to do that yet, and we’re there. We’re figuring that out right now. 

GamesRadar: So the notion of Home being in perpetual beta isn’t just a gimmick? As much as it’s a destination in itself, you’d like it to be a testing ground and a development space for the future of games as PlayStation sees it?

JB: It’s not just us. It’s our partners as well. You see very large publishers actually building content in Home that they wouldn’t otherwise in very large disc-based games, because they want to try out these new business models and these new types of gameplay. You have players coming in to find an experience they couldn’t find anywhere else. We have our company, ourselves, learning so fast with this platform. We are absolutely blazing trails for the future of this industry.

Aug 23, 2011

17 comments

  • khan-piesse - May 1, 2012 7:06 p.m.

    I like home because it makes me feel like im in a different world... one that you can change with a press of a button, im able to explore a futuristic world with no war,fights or anything negative, Yes, the downloading,not much to-do,Slowness,bad interface,updates, advertisements,forcing you to buy stuff and Boundaries can be annoying... BUT! THE! WORLD! IS CHANGING! Lol your hearing this from a 11 yr old... In my opineion... i hope that "Home" takes over All games :D
  • MyCoolWhiteLies - August 24, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    I'm legitimately curious to know more statistics about home. Of those 22 million, how many only logged in once or twice? Also, of course a huge chunk of people actually active in Home will have a lot of trophies. If you have time for Home, you have a lot of time to kill, and you probably play a lot of games. Just saying. If I was a teenager again, I probably would be in there too, but as it is, I'm not, and I still haven't seen anything new that really interests me. I think the interface in general is a great idea, but I'm still waiting for it to truly be fleshed out.
  • Vordhosbn - August 24, 2011 4:54 a.m.

    Until the "countryside" gets decent broadband like the rest of the UK, Home is just a pointless waste of time for me. Takes an annoyingly long time to load anything, and after waiting that long the features don't feel all that exciting, or worth the wait.
  • khan-piesse - May 1, 2012 7:08 p.m.

    Yeah... im in Australian outback and it takes ages :( But i still love Australia!
  • avantguardian - August 24, 2011 1:18 a.m.

    "Is PlayStation Home the future of all videogames?" god, i hope not.
  • Terrorrizor - August 24, 2011 12:59 a.m.

    I was like HOLY CRAP JACK BAUER!!! And then I saw it said Jack Buser. I like PS Home, but not that much. I didn't even log on to get my free items after the psn disruption.
  • Terrorrizor - August 24, 2011 1 a.m.

    I REPLIED TO MYSELF MUAHAHAHAHA!!! I'll be on my way now >_>
  • disturbeddemonlord - August 23, 2011 10:40 p.m.

    It looks like the sims.
  • Terrorrizor - August 24, 2011 1:01 a.m.

    I know right? They should make an offline mode.
  • reaperman22 - August 23, 2011 8:23 p.m.

    yeah home has really improved since it first launched, i wouldnt say its the sort of thing i would go on all the time but every few weeks or when i dont really have any games i want to play its great to go on and check it out
  • soranamineforever - August 23, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    If Home was such a big thing, developers would be talking about how their games can interact with Home, how they can benefit from it. I haven't anything about Naughty Dog adding Home support for Uncharted 3(it may be I missed it, though), and if the biggest PS3 exclusive of the year won't do it, what will?
  • markalackiie - August 23, 2011 6:47 p.m.

    I hate it when they say 22 million have logged into home. That isn't a daily statistic its more like how many since launch. I logged on about three times to see how people interact usually about 20-30 per room. This is my observation either 1: boys are hitting on next pair of boobs they see. 2: An actual group having a logical conversation. 3: Fights 4: people dating. I never saw people going in there for anything game related. Yes that counts as a community related but they failed on the whole PS Home as your central games hub there is no incentive just another separate hub to keep track of from your games. The other issue is content and level design. The place is riddled with advertising and getting you to buy avatar items and clothing for those themed levels. Like the carnival room where you have to buy tickets to play a single game session for whatever games. The level design is very lopsided. You have a group of people usually always in one side and the rest of the level is barren, that is wasted space. Loading is another annoyance. It takes forever for home to render all the avatars in the room even for music and videos. Every second wasted waiting, a person grows impatient loosing interest. Just my two cents why PS Home is flawed.
  • crumbdunky - August 23, 2011 6:37 p.m.

    People who visited early in the closed beta, say, and haven't been back are genuinely AMAZED when they visit Home today and realise that it actually MIGHT be the thing we all imagined the first time Sony talked about it. Since those cold, eastern european, Soviet Bloc days of Home it's gathered content upon content, feature upon feature and added a lot fo the things that coyuld have already been there had Sony been a bit more thoughtful about letting us in so early. Home always had potential it's just that, for the past year or so, it[s actually begun to be somewhere you can spend a coupla hours without just doing things because they're there and y'know, it took a while to download so I might as well-no, now there are things you'd actually just DO if they were on PSN or PC or XBLA as a demo or whatever. If they can find a way to tempt gamers into the spaces for individual games or the publishers of their fave games they'll start to get gamers seeing the worth of it all over again and it could become a kind of uber specialised Facebook crossed with a game of it's own that just sprawls into everything in your collection on PS3(and maybe Steam given Valve's noises)with the added bonus of hearing and seeing like minded people all the while you're there. It's early days were blighted by sex pests and lady boy avatar freaks but these days people are starting to enjoy waiting for mates there-E.G we have a hangover chess club where we've been teaching kids the game . After teaching them a few moves we'll all head off to play Blops Zombies or some KZ3 or whatever-it's moving away from just being a place for the home junkies(who still exist in great numbers buying up stuff and making someone serious cash!)and into having a legit chance at becoming a weird hub for gamers to meet, mix and wait for their next session. Sure most PS3 users still don't use it like that but it IS increasing and the Home/doom arguments are less frequent even at N4G these days and there's still a shedload of things they could, but haven't yet, done. I'd love to see, next year or latyer this, a virtual representation of TGS or E3 or GC. We get the Sony speeches and shows relayed to Home but having the show floor in Home would be mindblowing and if you could get third parties etc putting the same demos on the virtual kiosks and booths as irl Home would be doing exactly the kind of things we dreamed it might and if it could also tie their current and previous games into that it's going beyond what i'd hoped for. No, it ain't there yet but Home is still a genius idea that merely needs to get more people on board to justify the outlay to take it to a whole new level of virtual/real world crossovers that would really make it tick for the core gamer AND anyone just interested in tech and gaming. If it becomes a big enough market there WILL be an E3 invite for anyone with a Playstation IMHO and when that kind of thing is happening who'd say Sony were daft to chase this idea?
  • oneshotfinch - August 23, 2011 6:14 p.m.

    I just don't have the hard drive space to use Home. Everything you want to do requires more downloading.
  • Its_Over_9000! - August 23, 2011 5:58 p.m.

    All I used to do on home was the cabbage patch, which even then felt mediocre at best.
  • shawksta - August 23, 2011 5:48 p.m.

    Props to sony, not bad and it does sound interesting but I hope it doesnt overhaul with cra*py advertisement people dont care about.
  • codystovall - August 23, 2011 5:18 p.m.

    After reading this article I still have no idea what home is and no interest in learning.

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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