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PlayStation Home (also marketed and referred to as Home) is a virtual 3D social gaming platform developed by Sony Computer Entertainment's London Studio for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network. It is accessible on the PS3's XMB. Membership is free and requires a PSN account. Home has been in development since early 2005 and started an open public beta test on December 11, 2008. Home allows users to create a custom avatar, which can be groomed realistically. Users can decorate their avatar's personal apartment with default, bought, or won items.

Users can travel throughout the Home world which is frequently updated by Sony and its partners. Public spaces are made for display, entertainment, advertising, or for networking. Home features many single and multi-player mini-games. Users can shop for or win new items to further customise their avatar or apartments. Home's primary forms of advertising include spaces themselves, video screens, posters and mini-games. Home hosts a variety of special events which range from prize-giving events to entertaining events. Upon installation, users can choose how much hard disk space they wish to reserve for Home.


HistoryEdit

Home[4] was originally named 'Hub',[5] and started as a 2D online lobby for the PlayStation 2 game, The Getaway: Black Monday. However, the online userbase for the PlayStation 2 was too narrow and the project was soon ported to the PSN for the PS3. Phil Harrison, then president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, liked the idea of having a virtual 3D community hub for PlayStation gamers, and transferred the project to become PlayStation Home.[6] In a 2007 keynote speech, Phil Harrison used the term "Game 3.0" to describe the service.[7]

Home had been speculated since the launch of PSN and Sony had expressed interest in such a service, specifically trophies (known at the time as "entitlements") for first-party titles.[8] PlayStation Home, as a feature, was first publicly mentioned in an interview with NG-Gamer.[9] This was later detailed by Kotaku[10] and finally confirmed by NG-Gamer.[11] It was officially announced by Phil Harrison on March 7, 2007, during his keynote speech at the 2007 Game Developers Conference[12] and was originally scheduled for a global public release in October 2007.[13]

Home was delayed and expanded[14] multiple times before initially releasing.[15][16] Invitations to the closed beta were offered to winners of a weekly Warhawk online gaming event.[17] In July 2008, further invitations were sent to some Home XMB theme downloaders in Japan and North America.[18][19] SCEE and SCEHK did the same, but without releasing a Home XMB theme.[20] Users who purchased more than HK$60 or SG$12 worth of content in a single transaction over the PlayStation Store from August 29 to September 12, 2008 were also invited.[21] In November 2008, SCEA invited annual Qore subscribers.[22] After major version 1.0, invitations were sent worldwide.[23][24]

The Open Beta test began on December 11, 2008. In March 2009, an ARG game that proved popular was released by nDreams for Home, titled Xi that involved puzzle and intrigue. In June 2009, Peter Edwards, Director of Home for SCEE, reported that the number of users exceeded 7 million and that 80% of users are male aged 18–35.[25] At TGS 2009, Kaz Hirai announced that Home has been downloaded by 8 million users.[26] Jack Buser, Director of Home for SCEA, stated that the name of the "beta" was not going to be removed.[27] In a Eurogamer interview with Peter Edwards on July 24, 2009, Edwards commented that the service will no longer be beta when it "represents a kind of final quality."[28] On October 14, 2009, Jack Buser commented that "the vision of Home has evolved." He said that originally, they were building Home as a "social network for gamers", but it has now developed into a "game platform, first and foremost."[29]

On December 17, 2009, SCEA released its first in-Home Massively multiplayer online game, produced specifically for Home, Sodium. It is a series of games, the first being Sodium One.[30]

In February 2010, emails were sent out to a select few PlayStation Home members inviting them to participate in a new private beta test for the service. This beta test was for feedback on certain changes suggested by the Home community.[31]

The first global public space was released on June 10, 2010 allowing all users from the Asian, European, Japanese, and North American Homes to converge in one space. The space was the "FevaArena Global Pitch Area" which was dedicated to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This space allowed all of Home's users to participate in events, mini-games, and celebrate the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[32]

In June 2010, Sony released a virtual replica of their E3 2010 booth in all versions of Home.[33] The virtual E3 booth, slightly modified, returned the following year with previews of seven different games and the PlayStation Vita (with virtual rewards for watching the videos as well as a demo of a new PlayStation Home game, "Scribble Shooter"). In addition, Sony's E3 press conference was streamed live in PlayStation Home in a special virtual theatre, as well as other live interviews that occurred during the week of E3 2011.[34] The E3 virtual booth returned again for E3 2012 featuring previews of 12 games as well as a virtual avatar of Christina Lee (host of PSN's Pulse) hosting a special E3 Quest for all 12 games with rewards. Finishing the quest grants access to the VIP section previewing upcoming PlayStation Home games and content, including the upcoming MMORG Mercia, as well as Hell Fire Games upcoming Home Tycoon.[35]

On April 20, 2011, Home released version 1.50[36] which dramatically improved the physics and graphics engines.[37][38] Sodium 2: Project Velocity was also released.

In November 2011, a new Hub brought a variety of games including Cogs from Lazy 8 Studios. The Hub also featured a new Activity Board and a new User Generated Content events system. Surrounding the Hub are now districts based on game genres to suit the users’ mood.[39][40] Users can also now watch full length movies for free as an effort by Crackle via Loot. The movies are available on all Loot Entertainment on Demand (EOD) screens.[41]

OperationEdit

Home is in third person and users can walk around in that way. Upon entering Home, users are greeted with the "Message of the Day" which contains Home news. During loading screens, users are presented with help tips about how to use Home, such as clicking L3 to open the Chat Log or that new items are marked with a star in the Wardrobe or Furniture browsers.

User interfaceEdit

PlayStation Home has no on-screen interface during exploration, however, all of Home's features are available from the controller. The options are; Quick Chat, a Gestures menu, the Menu Screen, the Safe Screen, and in-game XMB. In time, users will be able to play music on their PlayStation 3 hard drive. Whether this will be private or public will be determined by licensing issues that Sony is attempting to resolve.[42]

The "Menu Screen" (formerly the Menu Pad; and before that, a virtual PSP; pre-Open Beta) is laid out similar to the PS3's XMB. There are seven categories including Navigator, Personal, Social, Wardrobe, Redecorate, Options, and Help (Redecorate can only be used in Personal Spaces or Clubhouses). The Menu Screen, under Personal, features an inventory, which has portable objects such as the "Bubble machine" as well as companions that follow the users around (e.g. a pet dog). Users can take screenshots of Home in either first or third person view with the camera and save them to their PS3's HDD. With the use of Loot's Active Duty Camera (premium item), users can also record videos in Home while in Personal Spaces or Clubs to be saved on their PS3. In time, some items may have a limited quantity before repurchase.[43] The Personal category also lets users see their purchased items, rewards, downloads, and their PSN profile. The Social category lets users see their friends location, group activity, game launching events, the Message of the Day, and news.

The "Safe Screen" is used for reporting, changing communication settings, and quick access to the user's Personal Space and XMB friends list. The Navigator (formerly World Map) is also laid out like the XMB. It sorts locations into categories based on the space's purpose (e.g. core spaces, or new and featured spaces or games).

CommunicationEdit

Users can communicate in a variety of ways in Home. Along with the existing PSN messaging system, users are able to write text messages to each other using either a physical or on-screen keyboard. These messages appear in speech bubbles over the avatar's head and in the 'chat log'. Users can switch between text chat and voice chat in the chat log. Voice chat, with the use of a headset, is available within personal spaces and/or clubs, or on private voice chat channels with groups of up to 8 users. The user can also perform visible gestures (or "e-motes") such as waving, nodding or dancing.[44] A 'Quick chat' feature, with predetermined phrases, is also available. Users can also indicate the emotional status of their avatar, which is displayed below their name. Some avatar costumes also have additional e-motes.

EconomyEdit

Although the service itself can be used free of charge, premium content is available to purchase from various stores in the shopping complex and in certain spaces. Users browse and pay for items, such as virtual clothing and furniture, by accessing a shop and using its PlayStation Store interface. Items are paid for in real currency using funds from the user's PlayStation Network Wallet.[45][46] Alongside content designed by SCE, actual companies are also able to sell virtual goods through their own stores in Home. For example, Diesel, Ligne Roset, and Game are represented in Home with their own stores where users can purchase virtual items based on their companies’ own clothing and furniture designs respectively.[47] Other brands and company's are also represented.

Advertising is prominent in Home's public spaces. Currently, this is primarily PlayStation focused although other video gaming-related brands are also represented. Most advertising is targeted to specific regional audiences.[13]

In a future update, the full PlayStation Store will become accessible through Home, along with virtual TV, radio and media playback.[48]

Pre-order bonusesEdit

One of the ways Sony has used advertising in the North American Home is with pre-order bonuses for PS3 games, mainly from Amazon.com. The first Home pre-order bonus was for the PS3 exclusive Killzone 2. Users in the North American Home who pre-ordered Killzone 2 from Amazon.com received free I.S.A. and Helghast costumes for their avatar.[49] Also, on February 16, 2009, if users located a Helghast soldier in the North American Home, they were granted access to the Killzone 2 demo.[50] Other Amazon.com pre-orders bonuses include inFamous ("Reaper" costume[51]), Darksiders ("Ruin Head Mask" and "War Armor"[52]), MAG ("S.V.E.R. Barracks" personal space), and BioShock 2 ("Big Daddy" costume[53]).

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time also received a pre-order bonus, however, its bonus was from Game Crazy. If users pre-ordered the "Space Package" for the game, users received a PlayStation Home Avatar Skin (t-shirt).[54]

Total Game Integration

"Total Game Integration" (TGI) is Home's unique way of promoting upcoming PS3 games that include a Home pre-order bonus from Amazon.com. Instead of pre-ordering directly from Amazon.com, users can pre-order the promoted game from within PlayStation Home to receive Home and/or in-game bonuses. The first game to utilise the Total Game Integration was Killzone 3 ("Helghast Jetpack" with flying action).[55] The second and last TGI pre-order that redesigned the Central Plaza was for Dead Island ("Exploding Zombie Outfit" with exploding action).[56] The next TGI pre-order was for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception ("Nathan Drake" costume with rolling gun firing action). This TGI pre-order featured a game space, called "Fortune Hunter", specifically designed for the Total Game Integration. The mini-game utilised the entire space which was a partial recreation of the Yemen level from the Uncharted 3 multiplayer.[57] The most recent TGI pre-order was for Street Fighter X Tekken (in-game bonus, "Boost Gem Trial Pack 1"). For the first time in Home history, users were able to brawl using their Home avatars and could unlock Ryu and Kazuya costumes (which allow users to throw fireballs and perform custom jump kick attacks) by completing all 10 SFxTK challenges. A portion of The Hub was redesigned for this TGI.[58]

The vouchers for the Amazon.com pre-order bonuses are sent out within ten days after the games release and expire 90 days after the games release. The European and Japanese versions of Home also had chances to get these pre-order bonuses as well but through different pre-order promotions and events.

PlayStation Home TVEdit

On December 23, 2009, SCEE launched PlayStation Home TV to the European Home, with news and event information. If users have a community event they think should be featured in Home TV, or any other news, they can email Home TV. New episodes of Home TV are released monthly. They are featured in the Home theatre.[59]

Avatar and Personal SpacesEdit

Users are given an avatar and an apartment which they can personalise with their own choice of decor and furnishings. The user's avatar is the means of travel and communication. The user's personal spaces and clubs are means of expressing their selves and meeting new people and friends.

AvatarEdit

Users can create their own avatar or use one of several preset avatars available.[60] Users can access the Wardrobe from the Menu Screen at any time and location except when in another user's personal apartment. They may customise a variety of the characters features including gender, skin tone, hair, body shape and facial structure. They may also customise their avatar's clothing and accessories using a set of standard items; items bought from one of the clothing shops in Home's shopping complex, or won items from Home's mini-games or PS3 games that support Home rewards. Users have two sections in their wardrobe. One is the main wardrobe for frequently used items (capacity of 500 items), and the other is a storage section for less frequently used items. New items are marked accordingly and users can also filter the wardrobe view to only display favourite items, purchased items, rewards or recently acquired items.

Personal spacesEdit

Each user has a personal space which they can modify and change suitably. The initial basic apartment, the Harbour Studio (a studio overlooking a harbour), is free and offers users limited options for customisation and personalisation. Users may invite any other Home user (even cross-region, unless space is region locked) to their Personal Space.[61] Some personal spaces, such as the PlayStation Home Mansion personal spaces, have a built in TV that plays content from PlayStation (such as PlayStation.Blog). Loot's personal spaces have a variety of content that can be played on their Entertainment on Demand (EOD) screens.[41] More audio and video options may be enabled in the future.[62] Users can also place their own digital photographs in picture frames to display on the wall of their apartment.[63] While the Harbour Studio and basic furniture is provided to all users free of charge, premium Personal Spaces, dedicated furniture for the premium Personal Spaces, and other furniture is available to purchase from shopping stores. Some furniture and decorative ornaments (or even entire personal spaces) can be won from the mini-games in Home and PS3 games that support Home rewards.

Premium personal spaces are available from the Home Estates store in Home's shopping complex. The first premium personal space was the Summer House. Various premium apartments are available to all of the regions; however, some are region exclusive. Sony has released many premium personal spaces for Home, from both first party and third party developers. Loot's Sunset Yacht (formerly Amaterasu Yacht) personal space is the first personal space to allow users to set the mood of the personal space (e.g. sunrise, sunset, day, night). In addition to the standard features of Personal Spaces, Loot's Space Apartment also allows users to view Twitter feeds from a ticker, search for photos from their Flickr account and display them on photo screens.[64]

PS3 games can also have premium spaces dedicated to them, for example, the Visari Throne Room is based on Visari's Throne Room from the last level of Killzone 2.[65]

Sony has also provided the opportunity to receive free apartments. The Chamber Apartment was the first and was only available in May 2009 in the North American Home.[66][67]

The PlayStation Home Mansion (North America and Europe)[68] is Home's first expandable personal space.

Blueprint: Home is a personal space designer tool which allows users to create, build, and save up to five of their own personalized apartments. With a variety of different style packs, users can craft their own personalized apartment, ranging from 60 square meters and up to 25 rooms. Users can move their apartment instantly from places like a country field to the top of a skyscraper. Users can also add rooms, doors, windows, wallpaper, flooring, ceilings, feature objects, exteriors, skies, and environments.[69] Blueprint: Home was developed by nDreams and released on August 1, 2012 in Europe and North America.[70]

ClubhouseEdit

Users are able to purchase and form clubs. There are currently four clubhouse designs available to purchase – the Basic Clubhouse, the Desert Haven,[64] nDream's War Room Clubhouse,[58] and the Crystal Seashores Personal Space and Clubhouse.[71] Each club has a leader (the user who purchased the club) who can elect up to 4 sub-leaders and can have up to 32 members in total (including the owner). A user can only be a member of up to five clubs and if the user owns a club, they can only be a member of up to four clubs. Though the user can own multiple clubhouse designs (e.g. Basic Clubhouse and Desert Haven), they can only be the leader of one club and can decide which clubhouse design will be used as the meeting place for their club. In a similar way to Personal Spaces, the club's owner is able to set up and decorate a private clubhouse as a meeting point for club members, and the club members can enter the clubhouse at any time. The clubhouses also feature a notice board where the leader or sub-leaders can post messages and announcements to other members. There is also a video screen in the Basic Clubhouse. Japan's Basic Clubhouse's video screen has the option to access a Home members page after they've entered their PSN information.[72] Users can block other users from being a member of their club. In addition to all the standard features of the clubhouses, the War Room Clubhouse helps club owners or sub-leaders get their message across during club meetings or discussions. It also includes a special access point allowing users to teleport from the War Room to other set locations

On December 2, 2010, an exclusive, free club released for PlayStation Plus subscribers only in Europe. The PlayStation Plus Private Members Club[73] is a bar area with several tables of "Shed", a two to four player card game with special rewards. The space also has Plus news, by reviewing a cocktail menu or watching the trailers running on the video screen. On April 11, 2012, a new club in North America released, called the x7 Club, and can only be accessed by Plus subscribers, or users who have purchased one of the select Home exclusive items. All x7 members get early access to select content before it gets released to the public, special discounts, and free items. The club features a dance floor and a mini-game called FLIRT.[74]

Stage Sets from LootEdit

Stage Sets are premium personal spaces where users, if they have a video capture system, can make their own machinimas in Home.[75][76] Loot also has an array of items available at their Loot store in the shopping complex.[77] Loot has released four different Stage Sets for users to create and film their own machinimas with, and has provided various tools within the Stage Set (e.g. lighting, props, etc.) to help the users create their own machinimas.

Public SpacesEdit

There are four different versions of Home: Asia, Europe, Japan, and North America. Countries join whichever SCE division they are under. Japan is the only country with its own version of Home. Each region has different features as well as some similar ones. SCEHK operates the Asian Home, SCEE operates the European Home, SCEJ operates the Japanese Home, and SCEA operates the North American Home.

"Spaces" on the Navigator are broken-up into categories based on the Spaces' publisher, purpose, or personal spaces. Home consists of locations from Sony Computer Entertainment and various third-parties. These include a central meeting point; a bowling alley and gaming arcade; a shopping complex; a café; and various game, developer, and company spaces. The spaces' names and availability vary based on the user's location.

Core SpacesEdit

The Core Spaces are the spaces made by Sony Computer Entertainment, specifically for the Home environment. These are the main spaces of Home and are updated the most. They are also where most events occur. The Core Spaces from SCE are the central meeting point, the theatre, the bowling alley and gaming arcade, the shopping complex, the café, the PlayStation Events spaces and the Districts.

The Home Square (Europe,[78] Asia,[79] and Japan) or The Hub (North America[40]) is Home's central meeting point where users commonly meet and chat. It is where much of the advertising occurs, and it connects all of the core Home spaces together. There are five distinct districts for specific game genres. Europe's Home Square and The Hub feature a "districts design" to access the districts. They also feature an "Activity Board" allowing users to access reward giving quests (e.g. users will have to visit various places and/or play various mini-games), as well as users created events.

Districts:

  • The Action District is reminiscent of a first-person shooter level providing access to action and horror games. From the Action District, users can access the game Bootleggers '29 as well as the Dead Island Total Game Integration, and Novus Prime.
  • The Sportswalk has instant major league sports scores, headlines and highlights, and sports-themed games. The Sportwalk features PlayStation Home Hold' em tables (and access to its space) as well as PlayStation Home Sports Trivia.
  • The Adventure District features adventure-themed games. It features a jungle with tropical areas to explore, including an ancient temple, a coastal shoreline and a beachfront bar. The space also serves as an access point for the game, Cutthroats: Battle for Black Powder Cove.
  • Pier Park (North America only) is a waterfront boardwalk with a carnival, puzzle, outdoor and arcade games. Users can ride the Pier Park Ferris wheel with their friends. Users can access the RC Rally space and dance at the dance zone, which is reminiscent of the "Listen@Home" kiosk that was featured in the former Central Plaza. Indie Park and the Theater Lobby can be accessed from Pier Park.
  • Indie Park allows users to access various bite-sized games showcasing various indie developers. This zone allows indie developers to showcase their work for players to experience first hand. Indie Park currently features the mini-games Espionage 9, Gnome Curling, Los Penguini Brothers, Savage Cosmos, Electrokid, and Give or Take. The Bowling Alley can also be accessed from Indie Park.

Other Core Spaces:

  • The Home Theatre[80] (Asia, Europe, and Japan), or Theater Lobby (North America) is a virtual cinema where users can view a range of video content such as film trailers, game trailers, video game features from first-party (such as Qore) and third-party publishers (such as Eurogamer), full-length TV shows, and podcasts from various gamer organisations. The Theatre Lobby also features a shop where users can purchase film related clothes and other items, as well as play the mini-game, Scribble Shooter.[81]
  • The Bowling Alley (Europe[82] and North America[83]) or the Game Space (Asia[84] and Japan), features social mini-games such as 10-pin bowling and pool billiards. It also features a variety of arcade-machine games including Echochrome. Prizes are awarded for beating the arcade-machine games. The Game Space also features dart boards as well as arcades from the Namco Museum.comm PSN downloadable game.
  • The Shopping Centre (Europe[85]), Mall 1st Floor/2nd Floor (North America[83]), or Shopping Mall (Asia[86] and Japan), is where the majority of purchases are made. The shopping complex allow users to buy new clothes, accessories, premium locations (Personal Spaces or Clubhouses), and other items. Purchases use PlayStation Network Wallet funds, and work in a manner similar to the PlayStation Store. The shopping complex features various stores for specific products, a video screen, advertising posters, and a place to play chess (Shopping Centre only). All stores can be accessed from the Navigator.
  • The Home Café (Asia[79] and Japan), the Gamer's Lounge (North America), or the PlayStation Vita Lounge (Europe) is a two-story virtual café.[87] The space has featured "developer talks" about certain games.[88] The Gamer's Lounge is also the host space for the Featured Game nights in North America. The Home Café for Japan has been remodelled as the "Music Café" and features the first floor as a "Sound Space” and the second floor as a "Gallery Space" displaying various Sony entertainment products and a Questionnaire with rewards.[89] The PlayStation Vita Lounge features trailers and information on the PS Vita and its launch titles and will be updated with quests.[90]
  • The Hong Kong/Korea/Singapore/Taiwan Lounge is only available in the Asian Home. Unlike other pan-Asia spaces such as the Home Square, this lounge is exclusive to users of the same region only. Users can come here to find out about country-exclusive events and news.

PlayStation Events SpaceEdit

The PlayStation Events Space[91] opens to the public during special events. This space consists of five known spaces – Events Landing, The Gallery, the Presentation Podium, The Backstage Pass, The Observatory, and the PlayStation Network Sphere – and is a venue for special events, announcements, and parties.

Game SpacesEdit

Main article: List of PlayStation Home Game SpacesSony Computer Entertainment and various third parties can create dedicated "Game Spaces" for specific games. These spaces generally depict a level of the game itself and have mini-games or interactions related to the game. There are over forty Game Spaces that have been released for Home. These Game Spaces vary depending on the region the user is in.

Game Developer SpacesEdit

Main article: List of PlayStation Home Game Spaces#Game Developer SpacesVideo game developers are able to create "Developer Spaces" for their developing company to showcase their products in Home.[92] These spaces act similarly to Game Spaces except they are not for a specific game like the Game Spaces are. These spaces generally have mini-games related to their company or games and offer a wide range of content for purchase based on their company. Currently, twelve game developers have made Game Developer Spaces for Home.

Non-gaming Company SpacesEdit

Main article: List of PlayStation Home Game Spaces#Non-gaming Company SpacesNon-gaming-related companies can also create sponsored "Company Spaces" for Home.[93] These also act similarly to Game Spaces but are specifically made to sponsor the company's products.

The first company to do this was Red Bull with their "Red Bull Space" released on January 8, 2009 for Europe and North America which features the Red Bull Air Race mini-game.[94] The "Air Race" is a virtual version of the real-life event. On November 26, 2009, Red Bull released two new spaces for Europe and North America, one for the Red Bull Illume and the other for the Red Bull Flugtag. The "Illume" space has an exhibition of action and adventure sports photographs from Red Bull Illume. The winning photograph from each of the competition's ten categories is displayed on large illuminate cubes, imitating the real-life exhibit. The "Red Bull Beach" space has the Red Bull Flugtag mini-game where users can compete against one another by launching one of five flying machines off of a 30-foot high deck to try and achieve flight. It also features a Red Bull Jukebox with ten different tunes from Red Bull.[95] All three of the Red Bull spaces were released to the Asian Home on June 17, 2010. On January 5, 2012, Red Bull released their first personal space for Home, the Red Bull House of Skate featuring an indoor skate park.[96]

Phil Harrison stated that locations built around famous coffee, drinks, clothing, and record companies; along with major retailers and other such companies could feature content depending on the company's desire to create Home content.

Game LaunchingEdit

Game Launching is a feature in Home which allows users to launch PS3 games while in Home. There are two types of Game Launching: full and simplified. "Full Game Launching" support allows users to organise and start multi-player games with other Home users, who may or may not be on their friends lists. Users can set up a full game launching session by going into their Menu Screen, selecting "Game Launching", and setting up a session with advanced options. They can also join an existing session. When users have set up a game that is ready to launch, the name of the game and how many players have joined the session is shown under the users' names above their avatar's head. By using the Game Launching feature, users are entered directly into the game, bypassing the normal title screen. After the match ends, users can either quit the game and be returned to their XMB, or they can quit the game and be returned back to Home.

"Simplified Game Launching", also known as Universal Game Launching, was implemented with Core Client update v1.30. With simplified game launching, users simply insert a game into their PS3 while in Home and follow the on screen directions. Users have a limited number of options to select with simplified game launching. For instance, they cannot choose what map or level they want and what settings for the map or level within Home, they must do that after the game has been launched. The name of the game and how many users have joined the session is also shown under the users' names above their avatar's head. This allows any PS3 game to be launched from Home.

User-generated contentEdit

User-generated content for Home is slowly being implemented. In time, Home may have a greater ability for user-generated content, but under strict moderation.[97] Picture frames are the first feature to support user-generated content with photo sharing. The inFamous Game Space also supports user-generated content by allowing users to create their own unique graffiti designs in the graffiti mini-game and save it to their PS3s HDD to display for their friends. Users will soon be able to create their own apartments with nDreams' "Blueprint: Home".

On October 16, 2009, Rockstar Games began having "Beaterator Parties" at the Listen@Home station in North America's former Central Plaza. Beaterator is a PSP game that allows users to mix their own music and produce their own loops. Rockstar Games had played users uploaded Beaterator tracks at Listen@Home during the Beaterator Sessions.[98]

The newest ability for user-generated content is nDreams's Blueprint: Home which is a personal space designer tool that allows users to create, build, and save up to five of their own personalized apartments.[70]

GamesEdit

PlayStation Home is a host for several games, exclusive to PlayStation Home. In October 2009, Jack Buser announced that PlayStation Home has developed into a "game platform, first and foremost." Since then, several PlayStation Home exclusives have been released. The first game was Xi which was released before the change in development to a gaming platform. The more prominent PlayStation Home exclusive games include:

XiEdit

Main article: Xi (alternate reality game)Xi (UK /ˈs/ or US /ˈz/) was the world's first console-based and virtual world-based Alternate Reality Game. The game was an adventure to help find "Jess" and the meaning of Xi by collecting fragments and butterflies that took place in a series of secret areas in Home that changed frequently.[99] The game also involved the users to search for clues in the real world.[100] This game was created by nDreams who released several spaces for Xi.

The "Xi Museum" features an updated Xi Alumni Hub, the three Alpha Zone 1 spaces (Game Test Area, Maximum-Tilt Lobby, and Adventure Lobby), and four Alpha Zone 3. In addition, the Xi Museum now features a Xi Museum Shop, with items such as a Maximum-Tilt bike and the robot Stapler for users’ personal spaces. The public space "Party at Jess's Apartment" that was featured during Xi can now be purchased as a personal space for the users.[101]

SodiumEdit

Main article: Sodium (PlayStation Home)Sodium[102] is the first Home based Massively multiplayer online game released on December 17, 2009 to the European and North American versions of Home[30] and on June 17, 2010 to the Japanese version. This game was developed by Outso and published by Lockwoood Publishing. This new MMO will continue to grow and expand as Home does. Like in Xi, there is a space for the game that can be accessed through the Navigator. The space is called the "Sodium Hub" and features the "Salt Shooter Game". The first five levels are entirely free; after which, users can unlock additional levels and new experiences with the purchase of virtual items. New games, virtual items, and community events will continually be added. Sodium One is the first part of a four series game for Home.

Sodium 2: Project Velocity was released on June 16, 2011. Sodium 2 is a completely free to play (unlike Sodium One) high-speed extreme racing game, similar to the Wipeout series of games. Sodium 2 features a single player mode that allows users to hone their skills and progress through the Sodium 2 XP system. Users can complete objectives, earn Sodium Credits or compete on the world-wide leader board. In addition to single player, Sodium 2 features real-time multiplayer, where users can race against friends or strangers.

The MidwayEdit

The Midway[103] is a carnival-style space that features ten mini-games with ten rewards for each mini-game in addition to a free personal space (Darla's Den). Users can purchase a "Gold Ticket" (50 tickets) to have access to all of the games until they're out of tickets. The space also features a random "free-to-play" mini-game that occurs every fifteen minutes in addition to one specific mini-game (Miz Fortune) that is free every five minutes. The Midway was released on July 1, 2010 in Europe and North America.

The Midway 2 was released on December 9, 2010 in Europe and North America and expands on from The Midway. Just like The Midway, it is a carnival-style space and adds ten more mini-games (including Miz Fortune from "The Midway" with new rewards) with rewards. The space also features the random "free-to-play" mini-game (occurring every 15 minutes) and the one specific free-to-play mini-game (Miz Fortune every 5 minutes).

The Midway 3 was released on May 16, 2012 in Europe and North America and expands on from The Midway and The Midway 2. Just like the first two Midways, this space is a carnival-style space and adds ten more mini-games (including Miz Fortune with new rewards) with rewards (also features the random free-to-play mini-game every fifteen minutes and Miz Fortune every five minutes).

Along with the release of The Midway 3, Mass Media released a central hub for the Midways called the Hot Zone. The Hot Zone features an air hockey mini-game, a "Redemption Center" (where users can redeem their Hot Zone points), a Ticket Booth to purchase more tickets for Midways mini-games, access to the three Midways and Darla's Den personal space and a registration for "The Midway Cash Carnival Sweepstakes". Users that play any of the Midways mini-games are entered into the Cash Carnival sweepstakes (open to U.S. citizens only), where users can win weekly prizes from Sony Electronics with a grand prize of $15,000 USD (May 2012 – November 2012).[104]

The Midway, The Midway 2, and The Midway 3 were developed by Mass Media Inc.

Novus PrimeEdit

Novus Prime is a free-to-play multiplayer game in PlayStation Home developed by Hellfire Games.[105] The game allows users to play missions in either single player or multiplayer cooperative format. Users can form teams of up to four players and embark on missions where they employ weaponry in battles against fleets of enemies.[106] In addition to the Navigator, users can access Novus Prime from the Action District. Novus Prime has received two expansions – Escalation on March 31, 2011[107] and Vindication on January 11, 2012[108] – each adding new missions, weapons, enemies, races, rewards, as well as a Personal Space. The current version of Novus Prime is v5.5 released on April 11, 2012 which added new features and content for Novus Prime.[74]

AuroraEdit

Aurora is a unique game world full of challenges and secrets to uncover that will evolve over time with new features, characters, games, and narrative. Aurora features the mini-game "OrbRunner" where users can gain XP and unlock special rewards by defending the isles from enemies. It also features the mini-game "Sky Fishing" where users can sky fish for various items to add to their collection journal. There are also various information points with information about Aurora. Users can also complete the 12 tasks of "Collect-O-Rama" which upon completing will grant the users the "Collect-O-Rama Pack". Another upcoming mini-game is Aurora Defense where users defend the isles of Aurora. Aurora was made by nDreams and was released on March 17, 2011[109] There have been four updates: version 1.2 on October 6, 2011, v1.3 on October 27, 2011, v1.4 on December 22, 2011, and v1.5 on April 4, 2012.

No Man's LandEdit

No Man’s Land[110] is a multiplayer third-person tactical shooter, featuring a cover-based movement system and 4v4 team battles. Following the completion of a tutorial session, players are given an introductory loadout that allows access to the Drydock and the game. Armor and weapon upgrades can be purchased from the Commerce Points in a variety of combinations, which VEEMEE plans to evolve in time. The game features two modes: Scavengers and Team Deathmatch. Team Deathmatch is the time-tested "kill-every-enemy-that-moves" game mode. In the Scavengers game mode, teams must collect salvage packs from the depleted cityscape. These resources are all that are left of the old world. Each team must bring all the salvage to their "salvage dump" before the other team does. This game mode is essentially capture the flag, but with multiple flags. Players earn points for placing salvage on their team’s salvage dump, for stealing enemy salvage, and for simply killing the enemy. The game was developed by VEEMEE and released in North America on June 20, 2012 and in Europe on July 25, 2012.[111]

Mercia: Fractured RealmsEdit

Mercia: Fractured Realms is PlayStation Home's first free-to-play RPG. The game "opens up the possibility for huge worlds and a depth of narrative that have yet to be explored on the platform." It has a detailed XP system and rewards. Players can explore the world and dungeons, fighting beasts, collecting items, and completing quests. Players can also discover the Guardians who will guide them on their journey. The game was developed by Lockwood Publishing and released on August 30, 2012 in Europe and North America.[112][113]

Home TycoonEdit

Home Tycoon is Home's first 3D city-building game being developed by Hellfire Games. Home Tycoon, similar to the RollerCoaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon games, allows users to create their own city from the ground up, explore it at street level as their own avatar, and share it with friends. The game also features a large variety of story-driven missions and activities, vehicle driving (complete with turbo-charged cars and stunt ramps), and over 50 avatar rewards to unlock. Users will assume the role as the newly-elected Mayor, where they'll gather resources and broker strategic business deals to kick-start their town's economy. Users will need to work with representatives from the mysterious yet eco-friendly TransUtopia organization and the profit-hungry GloboSyn corporation along the way. There are over 60 unlockable buildings throughout the game, and users will craft and personalize their city with apartment buildings, luxury homes, public parks, power plants, research hospitals, police stations, and other buildings.[114]

Intellivision Gen2Edit

Intellivision Productions, Inc. announced on September 14, 2012 that it will be bringing three "classic games" from the Intellivision game console to PlayStation Home as Intellivision Gen2. The games featured are Astrosmash, Shark! Shark!, and Night Stalker, which have been upgraded while staying true to the original's looks and game play. The development team stated they are "enhanced yet completely faithful conversions." The developers also stated that they're adding some features that they would have liked to have added in the original versions. Astrosmash Gen2 features more types of UFOs, more pronounced difficulty level progressions, and base weapon power-ups in comparison to the original. With Shark! Shark! Gen2, in addition to players being a fish eating other fish trying try to take down the shark, their food and foes will both swim in a wide variety of new patterns. Night Stalker Gen2 is still filled with bats and spiders, but now it has a greater variety of killer robots, each more challenging to confront, along with a variety of maze structures. Intellivision Gen 2 is scheduled for fall 2012.[115]

Other gamesEdit

Other, less prominent PlayStation Home exclusive games include Dragon's Green[116] fantasy mini-golf, Conspiracy[117] – PlayStation Home's first third-person shooter game, Slap Happy Sam,[117] PlayStation Home Hold 'em, Sports Trivia, RC Rally, Bootleggers '29, Cutthroats: Battle for Black Powder Cove, and Clusterpuck.[118]

EventsEdit

Home hosts many types of events, such as developer interviews. They are organised by Home and its affiliated content providers. Live events such as E3, sports and concerts may also be broadcast within Home.[119] Special events are generally held at the 'PlayStation Events Space'.

The first several events in Home required the users to either answer questions or suggest ideas on the Official PlayStation Home Forums for a chance to win a prize. The prize was generally a $10 USD product voucher for virtual items in the shopping complex. These events were organised by the PlayStation Home Managers.

Some events are used to promote and advertise upcoming films. In 2009 in Europe, there was a treasure hunt occurring in Home to promote the film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.[120]

There are some events in Home where users can win PS3 games. Users in the North American Home (U.S. citizens only) had the chance to win the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Fortune Hunter Edition. Users had to go to the Uncharted 2 space between the event times and play the "Mask Mayhem" mini-game. The user who placed first on the leader board in the Uncharted 2 space received the Fortune Hunter Edition.[121] Users had three chances during November 2009 to win the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Fortune Hunter Edition.

The first live-streaming event for PlayStation Home was with NASA's final lift off of Space Shuttle Discovery. This event occurred on February 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm EST. Users could watch the live stream from their (or their friends) Sunset Yacht (formerly Amaterasu Yacht) personal space.[122]

In July 2011 (the 29th through the 31st), the EVO World Finals were streamed live in North America's theatre. This stream was also used to test a new streaming method for Home. Rewards were given each day with the final reward, a virtual replica trophy of the EVO Championship Trophy.[123]

In the European and North American Home, the Home management teams have set up days for users to meet up and game launch the featured game of the night. For example, in the North American Home, there was a Resistance 2: SRPA Siege Night which was every Friday from 6 pm PT to 10 pm PT.[124] The North American Home now has a "Featured Game Night" where online multi-player games have been pre-selected in advance to be featured every night of the month for users to meet up in Home and launch into the featured game of the night.

SecurityEdit

Sony is strict on the behaviour of users in Home.[125] A variety of potentially offensive words and word combinations are automatically censored in messages that users write to each other, and administrators are able to block a users' console and IP address from accessing the service if a user behaves illegally, inappropriately or against the terms of use of the service. Video, audio and text are archived in the case of grief reports.

Users are able to report the inappropriate or offensive behaviour of other users to moderators by accessing the PlayStation Home Safe Screen.[126] Users are also able to change their communication settings to block or mute messages from users who are not on their friends list.

UpdatesEdit

PlayStation Home undergoes a weekly maintenance (on Wednesdays, formerly Thursdays), which comes with weekly content updates, such as new spaces (public or personal), games, or items. The core updates provide bug fixes and expand the social and gameplay aspects of Home. The beta has received several updates such as giving the users the ability to access the patio of their Harbour Studio,[127] to access the 'Menu Pad'; and to access the shopping complex. Other features such as Home Trophies, weather, and seasons have yet to be released. After location-affecting updates, the location must be re-downloaded. Content updates do not affect the version number; only the core client updates affect the version number.

Key version updates:

  • Version 1.03 was the first open beta version and was released on December 11, 2008.[128] The Home icon automatically appeared under the PlayStation Network category on the XMB.
  • Version 1.50, released on April 20, 2011, introduced real-time multiplayer, improved physics and graphics, and greater control over collision detection as part of a suite of new technology that developers can use to create connected gaming experiences.[38] Also with v1.5 are more avatar save slots (24), new facial building features, better furniture management, various graphical tweaks to the Navigator, improved object placement options within the Personal Space, and increased Chat Log options.[36][129]
  • Version 1.60, released on December 8, 2011, increased furniture limit in Personal Spaces and Clubhouse from 50 to 100 items (allowing 4 active items to be placed) and improved targeting in Personal Spaces. Portable items and Companions automatically reactivate after entering and leaving games and spaces. A new Help system for beginners. Arcade games no longer have the 3-minute inactivity timeout in Personal Spaces or Clubhouse. The "Community" option under Options in the Menu Pad has been removed. Additional tools have also been added for developers that will enable them to make better games.[130]
  • Version 1.65, released on April 25, 2012, replaced the Menu Pad with a new simplified Menu Screen, adjustments to the furniture slot memory and enhanced visual display of available memory use, a new Voice Chat system replacing the personal call function, alerts are now integrated better, shopping right from the Wardrobe, cross game invite system has been expanded, and improved stability of real time games.[131]

The current version of Home is v1.70 released on September 12, 2012. The patch included new features for the camera (an added emote), changes to commerce (speed up time and easier to browse and shop), and new functionality for animated portable items. New improvements include an update to the ignore and block function, a new private message sound effect, and general stability improvements.[2]

Room for PlayStation PortableEdit

Main article: Room for PlayStation PortableRoom for PSP, a cancelled service, similar to PlayStation Home was being developed for the PlayStation Portable.[132] Named R∞M, it was being beta-tested in Japan. It was to be added to the PSP in an update and could have been launched directly from the PlayStation Network section of the XMB. Just like in Home, PSP owners would have been able to invite other PSP owners into their rooms to "enjoy real time communication".[133] A closed beta test began in Q4 2009 in Japan.[134] Development of Room halted on April 15, 2010.[135]

PlayStation Home ArcadeEdit

PlayStation Home Arcade is an application for the PlayStation Vita featuring games that were previously only available as arcade cabinets inside PS Home. Once purchased, games can be used on either platform at no additional cost. Icebreaker, WipEout 2D, and a demo of Scribble Shooter are included with the application for free.[136]

GamesEdit

Title Release Date
Icebreaker February 5, 2013
WipEout 2D February 5, 2013
Scribble Shooter February 5, 2013
Frogger February 5, 2013
Time Pilot February 5, 2013
Asteroids February 5, 2013
Centipede February 5, 2013
Astrosmash Gen2 February 5, 2013
Shark! Shark! Gen2 February 5, 2013
Mad Blocker February 5, 2013

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