At the Game Developers Conference currently underway in San Francisco, Sony made an announcement about a major patch coming to its virtual social space Home, available for free on the PS3.
I say free, but besides being a PR machine for upcoming Sony movie releases and games for the PS3 and PSP platforms, the driving force of Home has been the idea of microtransactions, where you can pay from .99 cents to a few dollars for costumes, clothing, virtual living spaces, and so on. The margin is sky-high on the 1000’s of items available, so Home seems to be a big revenue generator for Sony.
The update concerns itself with improving the nature of games available in Home, something Sony notes is a huge driver of interest in their virtual service. Games will apparently be easier to create, and easier to merge with the space overall. It also promises to incorporate ease of MMO-type gaming, where virtual peeps can join each other to game in large groups together.
Personally, I’ve found Home to be a wash from its inception. I could bag on the lame money-grubbing nature of it, the asshats everywhere, the skin-deep shallowness… but I think how the boys at Penny Arcade summed it up in their online comic back when the service launched in 2008; their painful criticism still speaks directly to the Home experience: