While I was supposed to continue my experience playing The Sims 4, something horrible came up over the weekend. Something so horrible that I had to interrupt the next episode so I can rant about it. I honestly don’t like doing it since, well, I don’t like getting riled up about anything. But for me, this isn’t something that could wait for next week and I had to get off my chest as early as possible while the wounds are still fresh.
Sony will be taking down PlayStation Home on March 31, 2015.
A lot of fans, including myself, was hit hard by this bit of news. I honestly loved PlayStation Home! For a while, PS Home was the only reason why I would actually take hold of a PS3 controller! While most would consider Sony’s little virtual world experiment a failure, I still think it was a fun place to visit now and again.
I think Home really took a lot of unnecessary flak. It wasn’t a game in the strictest sense… it was a social hub where gamers can meet new people in computer generated environments. I guess “hardcore” gamers, my brother included, never did understand Home’s reason for existing in the first place. Heck, I don’t even think I have a complete grasp of what Sony set out to do with Home! But, like the movie Inception, sometimes you don’t have to understand something completely to enjoy it.
Do I think Sony’s decision to discontinue the PS Home service is a mistake? Well, frankly, yes! Even after more than 6 years of being in service, I still see a lot of people logging into Home everyday! There is a strong, loyal fanbase of users who love Home! I’ve seen other people there who actually know each other and they probably met one another in Home!
Also, I don’t think Home isn’t a way for Sony to generate revenue. I’m not kidding myself into thinking that they created Home out of the goodness of their hearts. No, they used it so that people would buy stuff. Stuff like new clothing, hairstyles, houses and even actions! Initially, I honestly thought buying these virtual actions was a waste of money and I could use the cash to buy better (and real) stuff. But I did try to buy some items and, I have to say, I’m pleased with my purchases for the most part. Yes, they only exist in Home’s virtual world but, as long as I had fun using them, then I don’t think I wasted my money.
I’ve even used Home as the basis of a final paper during my high school days. I used Home to “interview” random people about why they felt it was okay to do things they wouldn’t do in real life in a virtual world. A lot of the people I interviewed were actually helpful and I managed to get an A on my paper! See? PS Home can help you with your schoolwork!
Speaking of which, I’ve also used Home as a way to escape the pressures of the real world. Logging into Home was a way for me to interact with people in the safety of my own house. In real life, I’m pretty shy and I have a difficult time just going out and making new friends. Home allowed me to be a totally different person and be more outgoing, more boisterous and less shy. I could be a wisecracking female. Or a girl that could stand up to bullies. Or someone really sexy who wasn’t afraid of showing off some skin. Home was my way of expressing the different facets of myself.
On the other hand, I do understand why Sony is pulling the plug on my beloved Home. I do know hundreds, maybe even thousands of people love it, Home is still a very niche service. It definitely didn’t hit the number of users that Sony wanted to get. It wasn’t a killer app by any means. There wasn’t anything to really hold your interest for a long stretch of time. As much as I love Home, even my interest would wane after a couple of weeks of logging in. I’m pretty sure a lot of PS3 users felt the same.
Also, even though most users are pretty well behaved for the most part, Home still can’t shake off the stigma of being a world filled with losers and idiots who don’t have a real life. Like a YouTube message board, Home will get filled up with clowns that think it’s funny to troll other users. During the early days, it was like the wild west: anything goes! Guys would walk up to girl avatars and say rude and nasty things because… well, they could!
Even when Sony revamped the entire Home service and created several districts, Home still struggled to find a huge audience. And when that didn’t work out, that was probably when Sony pretty much gave up on it’s virtual world experiment. And I think it’s sad. I think the people that immediately dismissed Home for being garbage wanted the immediate gratification of earning something, like getting a Trophy, making a huge number of friends immediately or even hooking up with a girl.
Like I said earlier, I don’t have a complete understanding as to why Sony created Home but, in my opinion, the service wasn’t created for those things. Home was created for gamers from different locations to meet each other that they may not otherwise meet because of their diverse tastes. I never played Call of Duty and I probably never will. But I’ve met a handful of hardcore CoD players because they just so happened to log into Home. I don’t like heavy metal music but I’ve had some fun conversations regarding different bands because I happened to meet them in Home.
So, come March 31 next year, I’ll be bidding farewell to PlayStation Home. While it would be a relief to delete Home and get some extra hard drive space, I think I’ll keep in on my PS3 for a while. I’m sentimental that way.
Okay, next week, back to your regular scheduled program… my playing The Sims 4. Oh, and I’ll probably review it as well!
What are your feelings regarding the news that PlayStation Home is shutting down? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!