The perception that Sony’s PlayStation Home was a commercial flop could not be further from the truth, nDreams CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh has said.
People say that Home was a commercial failure but we generated seven-figure revenues for several years from Home, and other studios did as well,” he told Games Industry. Try telling us that it wasn’t successful.”
O’Luanaigh, whose various PlayStation Home projects included an alternative reality game called Xi, argues that the departure of Phil Harrison from Sony in 2008 left the service in limbo, ultimately leading to the decision to terminate it next year.
Whilst many people at Sony worked incredibly hard since then to make PlayStation Home successful, I think it always suffered from the fact that its founding father wasn’t around to promote it, guide it and make sure it was championed at the highest levels,” he added.
Although initially hampered by a lack of content, PlayStation Home gradually built a passionate and dedicated following. Despite Sony’s attempt to make it either an ‘advertising platform for PS3’ or a gaming platform in its own right, it soon became clear that it was neither. It was a social platform. Users didn’t want to play games – they could do that on their PS3 anyway.
At its peak, Home had several million dedicated users, a large proportion of whom forged genuine, strong friendships that will endure beyond the platform itself.
My feeling is one of sadness. Not because Home is closing (the PS3 is entering its twilight years, and the timing makes sense), but because Sony doesn’t appear to appreciate what an incredible experiment PlayStation Home was.