Speaking to Develop, core members of the Home development team have admitted that the PS3’s social community service was “probably announced too early”.
In part one of our interview, published online today, game director Peter Edwards explains how plans for the service were less than concrete at the time of reveal at GDC 2007. “At that time, there were so many ideas of what it could be – everyone was very excited about the possibilities for it. Our angle for it at the time was that it could do any number of different social and gaming activities.”
While much of the post-reveal buzz might have lauded Home as Sony’s answer to Second Life, the team was internally refocusing on the core audience – PS3 owners. “We have an audience of gamers, so it made sense to focus on that and give something for those guys to latch on to,” he says. “Besides, there are loads of social networks around with their own strengths – there’s no sense in us just trying to replicate all of that. It makes more sense to focus on the strengths of the PS3.”
As a knock on effect, says Edwards, interest from developers cooled slightly once they realised how far the service had to go. “GDC 07 was a long time ago. I think there was sort of recognition amongst developers of ‘Oh, this is interesting, but there’s still a lot of work to be done’. When we talked nitty-gritty to developers and showed them the tools we’d been developing alongside the client, they started to get a little cagey about whether they want to be involved. We’re now, however, coming out of that – now it’s at a really nice stage where people realise that it’s not that difficult, and also that the possibilities are pretty vast. So we’re back at the exciting stage again.”
For more on the evolution of Home over its four-year development cycle, and why the team thinks developers should be excited about the possibilities that Home brings, check out part one of our interview here. Part two will be published tomorrow.