Interview: Gamers Should Come Home
PSXE: So in other words, we can expect a bigger emphasis on Home exclusive games – and the general relation of video games to Home – in the future?
Jack: “That’s one of the things we’ve really been focusing on recently: get as many games in Home as possible. We already have over 100 games now. We’re focused on bringing those types of experiences to users; to bring true games to users; the kinds of games you cannot play on any other platform. One of the things Home brings to the gameplay experience is the idea of the social game experience; you’re seeing a lot of innovation in this on other platforms like Facebook. But with Home, we can really leverage the power of the PS3 console to really speak to gamers. Our social games aren’t necessarily super casual experiences; they can be like hardcore shooters but still fit inside the framework of casual games.”
PSXE: I played Sodium One for the first time last night; it was really very fun. We’re hoping that game is successful so we’ll see more like it…
Jack: “At GDC, we announced a couple metrics for Sodium One: it had 1.3 million engagements in the first 6 weeks in North America. If you look at Home as a game platform, it really solves some fundamental issues that developers have faced, like ‘how is anyone going to find my game?’ It can be tough to get noticed on traditional consoles; you might not ever get discovered if you don’t have the big marketing budget. But Home is a 3D user interface at its core; it allows gamers to discover games very organically. So you can see that with Sodium, over a million people in a few short weeks found it, and that’s the power of Home. In my mind, it speaks to the future of the industry.
And the other thing about this is that Home supports multiple business models. There’s the Midway, where you can buy 50 tickets (only $0.99) and play the carnival games, and some of the free-to-play games in the Sodium Hub. You can always upgrade your free experience to a premium one through virtual item purchases; with the Salt Shooter in Sodium, for example, you can play a five-level demo for free, but a one-time purchase unlocks the other 45 levels. You gain social capital by playing these games, so Home is very flexible.”
PSXE: Readers have asked about a Trophy Room in their own personal space; might that be added at some point?
Jack: “The first step towards Trophy integration has been to award virtual items based on Trophies in select games. You see that in SFIV and RE5; you get particular Trophies that you can actually take with you into a 3D Home representation. There are items for your wardrobe and apartment, and you can display them however you see fit. What’s Step 2? …I can’t talk about it yet but I can tell you the idea of Trophies in Home is one we are committed to, and we’ve already begun…”
PSXE: Will Home somehow integrate the new upcoming technologies, like PlayStation Move and 3D?
Jack: “Well, we haven’t publicly talked about those technologies in the context of Home but in general, Home is an evolving platform from a technology and feature standpoint. But if there are features or technologies you want to see in Home, please be sure to let us know. A good place to do that is in our forums, or you can let us know in Home (specifically, tell our community managers). That feedback guides development so while there’s nothing specific for Move and 3D just yet, please let us know what you want.”
7/15/2010 Ben Dutka