On Wednesday at the Develop conference in Brighton, Peter Edward, director of the PlayStation Home platform group, gave an update on the progress of Sony’s seven month old online service.
Home now has seven million users, three million of which are based in Europe. 80 per cent of its users are aged 18-35, suggesting a broadening of the console’s user base, according to Edward.
European users spend an average of 56 minutes in Home per session, which is getting media agencies “very excited” about the service. “Reaching this number of PS3 users via other media would be incredibly costly,” said Edward, who referred to Home users as “the most active PS3 users and therefore the most important to reach.” Home also gives Sony a new way of accessing community feedback, he said, allowing the platform holder to react more quickly to user requests.
European users have downloaded six million free and paid virtual items. As Sony said previously, Home generated $1 million in micro-transactions during its first month, although that’s the only revenue information revealed to date. “This is a commercial business, it’s up and running and it’s making money,” Edward offered, although he said that this isn’t currently Sony’s primary concern.
Something not covered in Edward’s first term report was the fact that the European version of Home has fallen behind what is offered in other territories in terms of features like game spaces, as acknowledged by Home’s community manager in a frank online post in May. We asked Edward why this was the case.
“I think localisation is a big part of that. The expectation that spaces will be localised into at least the EFIGS (English, French, Italian, German and Spanish) languages leads to delays,” he said. “There are other issues that you’re no doubt aware of if you’ve read the post, [ones] more specifically related to the European business itself which I can’t really comment on, but I think technically the big issue’s localisation, and I think that’s something that’s always been an issue with the European market. Since year dot there’s always been the issue of Europe getting things later than everybody else, and normally speaking that comes down to localisation. Home is no different in that respect which is why it’s so important to get that stuff incorporated from the very beginning.”