Home Is Where The Fun Is

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Reviews

Welcome to the first post of The Social Joystick. Throughout the lifespan of this blog I will be exploring the different methods video gamers- both hardcore and casual- employ to connect with others who share their interests.

Ever wonder what exhausted video gamers do after finishing an intense gaming session? The answers may vary but for those who are sporting a Playstation 3, Playstation Home offers a relaxing and social environment that is designed to cater to the specific needs of video game specialists.

Brought online at the end of 2008 by Sony, Playstation home is a virtual world heavily inspired by games like “The Sims” that houses the bustling community of Playstation 3 users. In Home, users are provided a living space in which they may thoroughly customize every feature of their character: from facial features to clothing. After stepping outside their personalized apartments, Playstation Home residents are greeted by a vast explorable world that is constantly changing.

The sections of Home’s environment are based off of the major genres of video games. For example, the Action District is heavily influenced by action and shooter games while the carnival game hosting board walk is reminiscent of the casual gaming genre. In addition, there are places where users gather simply to talk such as The Hub. The Hub is located at the center of Home’s world and acts as a social meeting place for Home’s many users. There video gamers can easily meet friends and divulge in deep conversation through their in-game avatars.

When I first stepped into Playstation Home’s content-rich world, I was amazed by the visual similarity between Sony’s virtual world and the real world. However, despite the the striking similarity between the environment, there existed an equally striking difference between the social atmospheres. Compared to the real world, Playstation Home is a bustling social hotspot. Every where you look in Home, users are engaged in heavy social interaction whereas in real life, gamers are usually shy and soft-spoken. I believe the true value of Playstation Home lies in its ability to facilitate communication between video gamers by making them feel at “home” in their most comfortable environment: an alternate digital reality. By being able to interact with others through the anonymity of their avatars, Playstation Home users are uninhibited by shyness and embarrassment which allows them to be outgoing and garrulous.

Of course, Playstation home is not devoid of flaws. Its method of text input is slow and taxing because typing on the Playstation 3 involves navigating an onscreen keyboard with a game controller. Although this problem has been largely solved by the recent introduction of voice chat. Moreover, due to all of the data originating from Sony’s servers and not the Playstation itself, the loading times of traveling between locations can be quite lengthy. Finally, the Home world is riddled with advertisements of new and up-coming games. While these might be informative to some users, others view the continuous stream of advertisements as intrusive and annoying.

Overall, Playstation Home is an innovative idea that has brought gamers together in an exciting and lively setting. I think that Playstation Home is far ahead of its time and that in the future this type of virtual world communication will be the basis of the next social media revolution.

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Comments
  1. I thought this was a really great first post! As a person who owns a Playstation 3, I feel that I would enjoy Playstation home and the way it creates a very social side to gaming. I feel that with all other games, it’s hard to interact with other players unless one has a microphone and you don’t really get to interact on a deeper level. In a game like the Sims, it seems that it is more of a social event than a video game, which seems like a really innovative and interesting idea. Hopefully Sony comes out with more of these games to get gamers to interact and communicate with each other better.

  2. As someone who doesn’t play a lot of video games, Playstation home sounds really cool! It’s interesting that players can communicate via their in-game avatars – I’ve always felt like gaming was a solitary joy, unless you were playing a multi-player game. Great post and awesome images!

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