PlayStation Home is coming to an end — at least in Japan.
Sony announced today that it will shut off the PlayStation 3’s 3D open-world gaming network in March in its home country (as first spotted by Kotaku). That will mark more than six years of the free service that was supposed to act as a hub for PlayStation console owners. Sony says it is preparing a “large-scale event of last resort” (according to the Google translation) to celebrate the end of Home, and it will provide more details about that in the near future. PlayStation Home gave gamers the opportunity to spend money on in-game items, and Sony was likely hoping it would act as a significant source of revenue. That didn’t pan out, as the service never really caught on.
We’ve reached out to Sony for more information on how Home will come to an end, and we’ve also contacted Sony Computer Entertainment America to ask if Home’s days are numbered in the West as well. We’ll update this story with any new information.
Sony’s idea for Home was to build an always-online 3D world where gamers could make custom avatars to gather in an online space. You could collect stuff and show off your digital clothes, items, and domiciles to your friends. If you wanted, you could also launch into other PlayStation 3 games with your group of digital cohorts. Sony also enabled brands, like Nike, to build virtual stores and experiences in Home.
In 2008, Sony’s long-term goal for Home was as to make it a kind of replacement for the PlayStation 3’s menu-based interface. In the end, Home was a lot more like the PC open-world 3D chat-room Second Life. That game also enabled people on the PC to make wild avatars and walk (or fly) around a digital world.