I remember watching the 2007 GDC Sony press conference when they announced PlayStation Home, an ambitious 3D chat room and pseudo-themepark for all things PlayStation. I thought, at the time, “So, this is what it looks like for Sony to take a risk with their online service. Interesting.” Mind you, at the time I was waiting for Sony to challenge Xbox Live’s domination of console services, in spite of the then $50 per annum price. They just lacked the same stability and… frankly… I could never stomach playing an FPS on that tiny DualShock 3.
I saw a lot of potential in that initial presentation. Common areas, a flexible infrastructure to play games in, collectibles. But then it launched to be an absolute mess. Most of what you could do at launch was walk around, text chat, rearrange your apartment, participate in the farce of 3D chat room dance parties, and maybe play some cheapish games that would feel more like the remote control boats at Six Flags. Oh, and ads. Tons of ads. But what really closed the door on PlayStation Home to me was the terribly unresponsive interface. I felt I was playing on a remote PC routed hacker-style through servers in Russia, South Africa, and Uruguay.
Today, I learned that PlayStation Home has it’s head on the chopping block, and the ax falls March 2015.
It’s about time.
PlayStation Home was pushed by Phil Harrison after seeing it’s predecessor, a 2D multiplayer lobby on PlayStation 2 called “Hub”. Imagining potential, he killed the project on PS2 and moved it up to PS3. Today, PlayStation Home has played host to many micro games and even some larger game experiences. Home even ran an alternate reality game (like we haven’t had enough of them). But ultimately, all those experiences were built on the same stilted, unresponsive system, the very system that was supposed to enable all these experiences.
So, for anyone who tried PlayStation Home, this comes as no surprise.
So, to bid PlayStation Home goodbye, we should pay homage to the greatest thing that Home gave us: an epic troll. This should come as a surprise.