As part of today's Sony roundtable Q&A at E3, SCEA president Jack Tretton has been discussing the state of the Home online world for PlayStation 3, suggesting there was "a lot of learning... and a little naivete" in its construction, but that the "worst thing" Sony could do was look at Microsoft's new Xbox 360 avatars and try to react based on them.
According to Tretton's comments at the roundtable, attended by Gamasutra, the apparent delays to its Home PS3 application are down to complexities that perhaps the company did not full understand up front.
The online world application has been delayed multiple times, most notably from late 2007 to Spring 2008, and still doesn't have a formal release date. Tretton explained:
"Home is not [just] a software title. It needed a lot of hardware engineering support. It didn't get built up beyond what you'd expect from a software title until very recently... there was a lot of learning recently and a little naivete about how we'd build it.
It took us a while to figure out what it was and how you'd build it. I'd rather ship it two years from now and have it be filled with a lot of great stuff than open it up as a ghost town - so I think we've got to do a good job of populating it. The shell is there, but we have to get all the good destinations."
As for further questions on how third-parties such as Ubisoft or Nike would be persuaded to populate Home, Tretton acknowledged: "The cost of entry is enormous for any development decision... the best proof that there is something there with Home is that these guys are there with it."
Finally, when asked about Home as it related to Microsoft's newly announced customizable avatars for Xbox Live, Tretton explained:
"I don't know enough about Microsoft's avatars.... I think we're going in a bit of a different direction with Home.
We made a line in the sand and made a strategic decision on Home and that's where we're going... my understanding is that [Microsoft's avatars are] a more simplified vision.
That may be enough for some and not enough for others. We are who we are... you have to be who you are. You can't backpedal down a road if it doesn't appear it's going to plan.
You have to be aware what's not resounding with people... we've got a plan for PlayStation 3. I think the worst thing we could do is look at the competition and try and do what they're doing."
[UPDATE: Gamasutra now has a full write-up of Tretton's roundtable Q&A, including lots more detail on the state of the PlayStation Portable, the PS3 as a Blu-ray player as opposed to a game console, and much more.]