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Home active users on the rise

PlayStation 3's virtual world surpasses 6.5 million downloads; reaches "tipping point"

Peter Edward, director for Sony's PlayStation Home Platform, has told GamesIndustry.biz that the PlayStation 3's virtual world platform has now been downloaded over 6.5 million times, and that after the initial interest peak the active user base has now started to rise again.

Speaking in an interview ahead of next month's GameHorizon conference in Newcastle, UK, Edward stated his belief that the service has now reached a "tipping point" which should it continue to gain momentum from here on in.

And he also revealed that he was pleased with the launch of the open beta, following a long period of hype and anticipation for the platform.

"I think it's gone very well - I'm very pleased," he said. "We went to open beta in December and since then we've had something like 6.5 million downloads. We've got a very healthy active user base, and we're finding as well that people aren't just churning, they're returning - which is obviously key for something like this.

"You start off with everybody interested in what's going on, people come along and have a look around, and that then starts to tail off - but you get to a point where people come back. There's more and more content going in, there are more things to do, and people come back to have a look around - and then they realise there's loads of content.

"We're at the point now where we're starting to see our active user base go up, and we're getting more people coming back than are leaving, so we're at the tipping point of where the platform starts to gain momentum.

"That's really nice for us, because until that happens, you're hoping that it will happen, but you need the reassurance - so in that sense it's nice."

He added that he was also pleased to see third party support for Home, and hinted that there would be announcements about new additions at E3 next week.

"We've had a couple of client updates with some new features, we've got a few more features coming along soon," he said. "But the main thing is less about what we're doing on the platform - we're keeping it up-to-date, we're adding improvements and features - but the vast majority of the impact on the platform is by the content that goes on there. That's where I've been really pleased with the uptake.

"You start off by showing publishers and third parties, and it's the sort of thing they get very excited about. Then you go through the reality check, where people start wondering whether or not they want to put content on there, do they want to take that risk? And it slows down a little bit.

"But then you get people putting content on there and it starts to gather momentum, and now there's content in a constant flow - I think once you've got third parties realising that it has a positive effect, then they put more content on there, and you're at the point where you can be fairly confident you've got something that's working.

"We're at that point now - you know what you want from the platform, you know what you believe it's capable of, but it's nice to be shown that's actually happening."

The full interview with Peter Edward is available now.

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