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Gaby Benkwitz aka Consiliera

You nailed it, UGC (user generated content) for the masses is the key to an explosion of new stuff; not only more cloths and furniture but also games (which would greatly expand the TTB - time to boringness).


Aleida aka Cecille Enoch

User generated content is definitely interesting. Just look at the creative community in Second Life, but also classic games like The Sims 2. I'm glad you mentioned the legal problems. Just a quick glance at the user generated content in Second Life reveals copyright infringements and the lack of control over this by Linden Lab. Next to that content creators aren't even well protected against content theft by other SL residents. This is definitely a very big problem. I don't think Sony as a company who has a movie & music portfolio wants to slip into such a situation. Licensing is a good way to control this even though it leads to slower introduction of new content for users of HOME. But is that important for the gamers who spend some time in HOME, before playing a game?

Don't forget Playstation 3 is a game console. People did not buy it to use HOME and interact with other Playstation 3 owners in their virtual condo. Or spend small amounts of money on virtual clothes. Even though micro payments can be succesful... Hundred Playstation 3 owner can buy a virtual couch for € 1,- but they could also buy a new game title for € 70,- . As a gamer priority goes to game titles and not a virtual space to hang out with friends. With a gameconsole you can hang out with friends in real life, just on your couch. Sony didn't put 2 controller ports on it for nothing. Next to that there are plenty of online options in games.

You mention the success of Xbox 360. Keep in mind that there's a very big price difference between the Xbox 360 and a Playstation 3. You can already buy an Xbox 360 for € 180,- and get 5 games. A Playstation 3 sells for € 400,- and you'll get 1 game. While the game portfolio is the same. It's clear people will go for the cheaper Xbox 360.

The Playstation 3 is a luxury product, it's a product for early adopters (a somewhat adult gamer with a big wallet). It has a Bluray player, but this technology hasn't fully replaced the DVD yet. Sony even chose Bluray before it was set as the next standard, that's a big risk. The HD revolution has just started. Not everybody owns a HD (ready) TV yet. I have 2 HDTV's in my household and my grandmother owns a big badass Sony Bravia, but I don't think that's normal *coughs*

With the succes of Nintendo's casual games it's tempting to take a similar road for Sony. But I don't believe Sony will do so. Every company wants make money, but when looking at Sony's history and philosophy ... it will not take the easy road.

Looking forward to the next post.

Markus Breuer (Pham Neutra)

Thanks for the well thought out comments, @Aleida

Where I don't aggree is the assumption though, that Home is basically a hangout for hard core gamers, before they play a game. That was SONY's initial assumption, probably. But if you talk to the some of the avatars in Home, you will quickly see, that there is a substantial number of people, who use this just as a platform for socializing - like SL, There or IMVU. Just check the profiles of the accounts. There are not THAT many around with a large number of "trophies" (which you can win in most PS3 games)

And it is my (maybe not too well-founded) opinion, that SONY could monetize these customers and use them to make inroads into target groups, which could be rather profitable - and which are currently not attracted by a "next-gen console".

Your price comparison between PS3 games and virtual goods is certainly valid. But outside a core group of hardcore gamers, not many customers buy a 70$ game each month - while a sizeable number of virtual worlds users pay between 20 - 50U§ each month for virtual goods and services. Clothes and furniture is rarely bought only 1 piece per month ... ;-)

Aleida aka Cecille Enoch

Thank you for your reaction Markus :) I'm still very skeptical about the importance of HOME for a Playstation 3 owner...

That HOME is used as a platform to socialize, that's one of the main reasons for Sony to create home. But not having trophies doesn't mean you're not using your Playstation to play games. There are still a number of titles that do not offer trophies.

I'm definitely curious on how HOME will develop and picked up by Playstation 3 owners. Will it be seen as a virtual space gamers can reach out & connect to play 'not HOME' games together or will it become a game of it's own. I'm also very interested to see the difference in the growth between a 'virtual space' on a gameconsole versus a 'virtual space' on a personal computer. But I guess only time can tell ...

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