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Sony: Home is the "perfect storm" for publishers

Mon 30 Mar 2009 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
OnlinePublishing

User interaction, new revenue opportunities and fresh content have turned Home into the "console differentiator," says Buser

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

playstation.com

Sony's Home team has told GamesIndustry.biz that its online service is becoming the “perfect storm” for games publishers looking to interact directly with their consumers.

Three months after launch, and with the first tangiable user details being fed back to partners, publishers are now able to build more unique content for users, and turn that content in revenues.

"Every major publisher is interested in Home. Here you can speak directly to the PlayStation audience on the platform that your product is on," said Jack Buser, director of Home for Sony Computer Entertainment, in an exclusive interview published today.

"You have publishers and brands coming into Home looking to engage with an audience, but they also have the opportunity to generate revenue. It's a model that makes sense for everybody. It's kind of a perfect storm," he said.

Peter Edwards, director of the Home Platform Group at Sony, added that content creators are now looking at the future potential of the service, after a few months of creating standard software for Home.

"As is the way with most platforms, the first round of development is pretty safe. It works," he said.

"But people are getting the hang of how it works, and that's starting to come through in the content. We're just now seeing the next generation of content."

Sony hopes to show the potential of the service with first-party projects – such as the recently announced alternative reality game Xi – but ultimately it's up to publishers and developers to provide the majority of content for Home.

"We're providing some benchmark content to inspire and give ideas to other publishers about what's possible and what they could do," offered Edwards. "Xi is showing you that you can have something far-ranging and a bit outside the box, but ultimately achievable.

"We're not in the business of creating the content for the Home platform. We're creating that initial spark. Other developers and publishers take those examples and build on them," he added.

Edwards described the interaction between users and content creators as a unique opportunity to bond, where developers can cater to different tastes and react quickly to feedback.

"The most important thing is to provide the gaming audience – the PS3 is primarily a gaming audience and I think there's a great temptation to be all things to all men and all women, but actually we have an audience and the best thing we can do is cater to that audience and give it what they want – a social network for gamers that allows them to focus on their passion for gaming.

"Users can fill those gaps between their play sessions within Home. And have more of a bond with developers and publishers, and for developers and publishers to have a bond with them. It's an all around bonding exercise."

Buser added: "We're building a platform that other people can create content for, which is extremely difficult to do. We spent the time to do it right so that today we have something that is a total console differentiator."

The full interview, where the Home team discuss first user figures, the early days of development and the evolution of Home, can be read here.

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