Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sony Pulls the Plug on Playstation Home Japan!

Editors note: I decided to post this here after moderation decided to silence over 100 pages of thoughts and opinions due to either their cowardice or incompetence. We should all be free to cognize as we so choose, particularly in a public forum. Free speech is important, Sony.

Japan Home just had the rug pulled out from underneath them. We in NA can’t be blamed for having similar concerns about our own future.

Are the financial statements in our favor, or are we on life support? Is there a man with his finger on the red button, waiting for profitability to dip? Could the difference between shutting down and staying open be a bad week in sales?

I don’t know, and I won’t claim to, but one thing I can say for certain is it’s not good news.

Sony’s cynicism towards its own service has effectively killed an entire region of Home. We owe so much of the novelty of our experience here in NA to innovations and cultural crossovers from Japan; the haste with which this news was delivered is both shocking and telling.

Are we supposed to shrug off SCEAJ "restructuring their business to focus on other priorities," as if it won't happen here, eventually? How much notice will we get? A day? A week? Japan bought in to the bitter end, and their reward from Sony was a cruel and sudden death.

How long do you think this was in the works? SCEA has been aware of this much longer than we have, that’s for certain. Their farewell message was coldly calculated and engineered to deliver the highest possible final profits at the expense of dedicated, oblivious Home users.

How many embittered refugees from Japan users will start anew in NA? Will they make suckers of us all? When will it be our turn to find out we've been bled dry and cast upon the waters? How many more spaces or pieces of clothing will get released until Sony says “thanks for playing,” and slams the door in our collective faces?

Home's survival (I hesitate to use the word success) is tied directly to its profitability. If revenue dips enough, the Home team pulls the plug in the most profitable way they can. It’s pretty simple -- heartbreakingly indifferent towards something which once had loftier ambitions, but simple.

It feels almost as if there's an over-eagerness within Sony to screw us over as dedicated Home users. We’ve survived, so far, despite a complete lack of advertising and marketing on Sony’s behalf, and despite their complete indifference towards Home’s success.

The good news is we have strong third-party developers in our corner who seem willing to put up a strong fight with us. I would like to take this moment to thank them for their presence and also for their vision, which for the past couple years have been the building blocks of our collective Home experience. You tread water with your hands tied behind your back, and I appreciate it. At the same time it’s disappointing to admit: Home hasn’t been Sony’s platform for a long time.

All Sony seems to be doing is cashing checks based on the works of third-party users and advertisers, and doing the bare minimum in terms of maintenance to continue cashing those checks. We’ve seen it with their lack of even a single mention at E3. We’ve seen it in the type of responses we get when we ask questions about Home’s tentative future, and we see it when an entire region shuts its doors overnight.

Abandoning ship would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and for many of us is not an option.

What do we need to do to keep Home alive? Is it too late? Are we already being edged out?

With the coming PS4, and no plans to integrate Home, it’s very possible. Many of us knew this was a strong possibility, but this news makes it real -- it could happen at any time, maybe sooner than we all thought it would.

All of us have shared so many precious memories over the years. We’ve seen people, events, and spaces come and go – too many to count. We’ve grown into a dysfunctional family (the best kind!) with our own ideas about what’s best for something we all love and enjoy, which is why it really breaks my heart to see this news.

My greatest hope is that I’m dead wrong, and we all have at least a few more years to enjoy together, but that seems incongruent given the present facts. It’s frustrating to see Home constantly marginalized by the people with power in their hands to make it a better place.

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