Lessons learnt after humble beginnings, says Home exec
The PlayStation Home service has “firmed up” into a successful business after two formative years, a Sony executive has said.
But Home platform director Peter Edward said Sony Computer Entertainment is “first to admit” the service was “basic” when it launched in December 2008.
“I hear all the time ‘I logged on when it first launched but there was nothing there’ – but I urge people to go back on there. It’s been two years,” Edward said in an interview with Develop.
“Since we’ve clarified our vision for Home, we’ve seen a huge amount of success, interest and positive feedback from the development community and users that this is right, that’s what makes people come back,” he added.
Home’s global user base has grown to 17 million users since 2008, according to Sony. The platform holder also says the service has 236 games on board – up from nine in the first month of launch. The online space now hosts 7,000 virtual items to trade and holds some 600 events.
“Certainly when we built the platform it was much more of a general, social platform for PS3,” Edward said.
“As it has grown up a bit we’ve also firmed up our ideas about what it is, what our strengths are, and what to build on. Hence our focus – people buy a PlayStation 3 to primarily play games. Sure, it does a lot of other great things, but PS3 is driven by games. So our audience is predominantly gamers. They want games.”
Key to Home’s success for developers, says Edward, is the free availability of its development kit.
“Studios can download the Home Development Kit now and start playing with it. That’s another area where our direction has been refined – we are focusing all our efforts on making the development experience as simple, cost-effect and easy as possible.”
He added: “Home includes a fully fledged online multiplayer engine. All developers have to do is focus on making really cool content. So there’s great support from the Home team as well as the standard DevNet guys, there’s 24/7 Network support, and the HDK is very easy to use.
“We’re actually making it more configurable too – developers are getting used to it and want to play with it more, so we’re freeing elements up for the more adventurous developers.”
Develop's PlayStation Home article can be found here