Every day that goes by we draw closer to Christmas. Last time I took you back to the beginnings of PlayStation Home. If you missed my debut, you can catch up with us here. This time I’ll present you with the gifts of PlayStation Home present.
Part Two: PlayStation Home present
By Jamie Stephens
Home has undergone many changes since its launch and provides PlayStation users with a lot of content. When writing this article it dawned on me that I had no idea where to begin as I would need to do a lot of content counting. Thankfully, within the last few weeks Sony released the latest statistics for the PlayStation Home platform. As you’ll soon see, Home is the gift that keeps on giving! Let’s take a look at what all of this means for Home users when they boot up Home on their PlayStation 3.
That’s a lot of people to play games with.
When Home launched in December 2008 it had a small user base of just more than 200,000 users. Fast forward two years and Home users have the potential to socialize with more than 18 million other PlayStation gamers. The Home user base is a lively and varied bunch. You’ll often come across clusters of friends talking about things they achieved in real life that day or groups of gamers dressed in clothing of the same theme. Occasionally you’ll come across people dressed in elaborate clothing while all doing the ‘running-man’ or ‘Salsa’ dances. No matter what space you visit and no matter what ungodly hour you enter Home, there will always be PlayStation users online taking part in the many ways to socialize and play games inside Home.
Home user base growth is astonishing. All data points are taken from statements by Sony. Trend line was added by the author.
Waiting for your friends to come online? Play games!
Games can take several forms in PlayStation Home. Games inside PlayStation Home are divided into three categories: Minigames & Actives, Arcade games and Full environment games. Between Homes launch in December 2008 and now, the collection of games inside Home has grown from 9 to 236 games.
Minigames & Actives are the game type that most people will immediately think of when they think of Home. These games are placed within a scene or ‘space’ and will require users to complete certain actions in order to obtain a high score on a leaderboard or to unlock Home items. Great examples of the Minigames type are Oscar's Lobster Mania, and my personal favorite, the Super Fun Robot Goalie Time, where you go head-to-head with a robot goalkeeper in a penalty shoot-out! ‘Actives’ include games such as a pool on objects such as pool tables within Home, or the bowling game in the Bowling Alley. Each game is initialized by pressing ‘X’ close to the associated object.
Arcade games are exactly what the name implies. Arcade cabinets can be found in certain spaces inside Home and allow users to play quick bursts of smaller scale games for fun. Some of my favorite arcade games are found in the Bowling Alley.
Full environment games are games like Sodium One, Novus Prime and Dragon’s Green. These have proven to be immensely popular in Home, and as a result, more of these games have recently been announced. I’ll be looking forward to those games in my next article.
More or less every Home Space has games inside to play, regardless of whether it is a Sony space or a third-party publisher space like Capcom, Ubisoft or Namco Bandai.
Users can even put Home games you purchase inside their Home Personal Apartment. You can have pool tables, arcade cabinets or even a teleport pad to the Sodium One game space.
Users have no shortage of Home space objects or clothing items to buy.
Whether you have a male avatar or a female avatar, the basic Harbour Studio apartment or your very own Batcave, Home has you covered when it comes to decorating your avatar or your apartment. Between December 2008 and now the range of items available for free or to purchase has grown from 114 to over 7000. There are many shops flaunting their wares in the shopping center which can be visited to fill your wardrobe or furnish your mantelpiece. Shops include Billabong, nDreams, V-Store, Lucasarts, Ligne-Roset, MyDeco. You can dress as Santa, Grand Moff Tarkin or even walk around in a full racing suit.
Whether you want to go bowling, catch up on the latest movie trailers, socialize with Uncharted fans or take part in an MMO, Home has you covered. The Home Plaza links to the Bowling Alley, the Shopping Center, the Theater, your own personal apartment and at the moment – to the Winter Wonderland space where you can complete minigames to get presents from Santa.
Here are a few of my Home space recommendations:
PlayStation Home Sphere
The Midway (and The Midway 2)
There is so much content in Home that this article would have taken hours to read if I had discussed it all. I hope that those among you that have not visited Home since late 2008 or early 2009 will give Home another go. Home will never be a finished product. It will continue to evolve and change to meet users’ needs or wishes.
Click those heels together and say out loud:
‘There’s no place like Home!’
Please let me know how you feel about Home and this article in the comments below.
Next time I’ll be discussing the most requested features for PlayStation Home, its potential to grow on other platforms (*Cough* handhelds *Cough*) in addition to the newest game announcements