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Sony's Edward Talks PlayStation Home As It Hits 7 Million Users
Sony's Edward Talks PlayStation Home As It Hits 7 Million Users Exclusive
June 25, 2009 | By Jon Jordan

June 25, 2009 | By Jon Jordan
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More: Console/PC, Exclusive



Sony's online social gaming service Home may have had something of a troubled gestation, but it's maturing quickly and offers many opportunities for publishers, according to Peter Edward, director of the PlayStation Home platform for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

Since the launch of the open beta in November 2008, the PlayStation 3-exclusive online world Home has gained 7 million inhabitants worldwide, 3 million of which are in Europe, and they have downloaded 6 million virtual items.

Edward said the global figure for downloads scales with users, but he was unable to disclose a precise total. The average Home session duration is 56 minutes.

Of course, the demographics are skewed towards the hardcore, but not significantly so: 80% are male, 18-35-years old rather than the 90% Sony expected.

More figures demonstrated their appetite for content. In five months, Red Bull's free Air Race game has been played by 873,136 unique users, clocking up over 2.5 million visits and 575,000 hours of gameplay. Average session duration is 39 minutes.

The game cost around 110,000 euros to develop, but has had an estimated marketing value of 1.5 million euros, according to a third-party media consultancy.

The three-month campaign around the Watchmen film clocked up 812,544 unique views - compromising 9.3 million viewed minutes - of an exclusive video with director Zack Snyder.

Over 3.2 million visits were made to the Watchmen area in Home. The two free avatar items - Rorschach and Nite Owl costumes - were downloaded 1.65 million times.

The two-week Star Trek campaign resulted in the sale of 450,000 costumes, 250,000 views of the video, while in two weeks, 125,000 people played Transformers puzzle games to gain a free virtual t-shirt and, if they completed all of them, a virtual trophy for their living area.

Home is the visual representation of the PlayStation community and it's the place companies can connect with their fanbase, Edward argued, pointing out the success of the EA Sports area and Capcom's release of custom Street Fighter clothes as examples of publishers making the most of the virtual environment.

Of course, there's also the opportunity to make cash by selling virtual items: something that will increase as Sony releases its in-Home currency to support Pay2Play features.

But it's not just about the money, Edward warned. "For Sony, revenue isn't the main driver for Home. We're in this for the longterm," he explained. "Home is the starting point for PlayStation 3 online, and that's something that gamers are going to expect as more games support Game Launch from within Home."

This sees Home acting as a lobby for online PS3 games: first seen with Warhawk, and since rolled out to the likes of LittleBigPlanet, Resistance 2, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift and Street Fighter 4.

"Players can set up their teams, choose the map and talk tactics before jumping into the game," Edward concluded. "This will become an essential component for all PS3 games."


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Comments


Don Langosta
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Sony seems convinced that Home is so much of an incentive to buy a PS3 that they don't need to do a price cut, despite the fact that most people are very negative on Home and it doesn't appear to be moving units.



Here's some free consultation for you, Sony: people don't want to have to load a lobby to load a game. They just want to play their stupid game.

steve roger
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"Players can set up their teams, choose the map and talk tactics before jumping into the game," Edward concluded. "This will become an essential component for all PS3 games."



I agree Don. Why would I set up two lobbies to get ready to play a multiplayer game. One for Sony and then the actual lobby. I am going to discuss tactics I am going to do that in-game. Also, are games going to make this lobby time with Sony worth while?



This is just poorly conceived.

Kouga Saejima
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Hey you won't believe it but Home is optional.

Christopher Plummer
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I'm a fan of the vision of home. It's definitely not a finished product yet but for a free optional service it continues to grow and improve in areas that excite me. The XI ARG was well done and shows that their commitment to quality extends to their free experiences as well. I also enjoy being able to display my 3D trophies because they attract attention from everyone. Regular trophies are cool but they're really only useful for comparing with people who also have played that game. The ability to display what I'm most proud of is just an altogether different experience; one that is much more interesting to me.

Angus McQuarrie
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As one of my coworkers pointed out, the math doesn't add up:



In five months, Red Bull's free Air Race game has been played by 873,136 unique users, clocking up over 2.5 million visits and 575,000 hours of gameplay. Average session duration is 39 minutes.



873,136 unique users * 39 mins average session = 567,538 hours of gameplay for all users, per session. This is rather close to the number of total hours of gameplay, which suggests that the 39 mins is not actually average session duration, but rather total time spent per user in the game.



With 2.5 million hits, it suggests the average user spent 14 mins as the average session duration, and showed up an average of 3 times.


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