PlayStation Home was ahead of its time, and like other platforms such as Second Life, PS Home is one of those platforms that keeps popping up every time someone starts talking about the metaverse. With everyone envisioning what the metaverse should look like, it’s now the perfect time for Sony to bring back PlayStation Home.

The community-based social network platform felt less like “social media” and more like a MMO-ish life sim, complete with digital avatars and apartments that could be customized. With a selection of public and private spaces, you could essentially “play” however you wanted.

Public Spaces

Public spaces were general areas where you could mingle with other players, play mini games, shop for items to customize your avatar or home, and watch trailers for upcoming PlayStation titles.

The Central Plaza was built like a small “town” where you could run around and hang out with other players. It was a prominent space for advertisers, and I fondly remember listening to a small selection of music generated on a pre-made playlist. If you hung out with me then you’ll remember that I voted to play the same Dave Matthews Band song over and over and over…

Surrounding the plaza were several different public spaces. In the bowling alley you could, y’know, bowl with friends or random players. There were also a few billiards tables and some arcade cabinets. Beyond that was the Theater where you could watch game trailers and other PlayStation-sponsored videos.

The Mall was constantly packed with things to buy. The two-story mall displayed several different stores where you could use actual funds to buy things like clothes, accessories, premium private spaces or clubs, and other items to display. Anyone else remember playing chess in the mall? I lost every time.

Private Spaces

Private Spaces offered a selection of “homes” for you to purchase and decorate, and many people upgraded from the generic free apartment to extravagant mansions filled with items collected in-game. The Hollywood Hills mansion, for example, was a massive private space where you could host your friends and look over the LA Skyline. The mansion offered some interesting stuff, including a swimming pool, jacuzzi, and a built-in entertainment on-demand system where you could watch actual movie clips and listen to music.

Game Spaces

Game Spaces hold a special place in my heart. I met a lot of online friends in spaces like Abstergo Lab, the Resident Evil 5 Studio Lot, SIREN Lounge, and Uncharted: Sully’s Bar. Each space showcased its own mini game and experience, all intended to advertise a specific game. The SIREN Lounge was a spot I frequented back in the day. I remember clicking obnoxiously to enter the Ward of Despair mini game so I could earn some new clothes for my avatar, but the lounge also offered some fun features. At 12 am CST, a siren would go off in the main lobby. The space would turn red, and three shibitos would creep out of the woods. So many friends were made in spaces like this.

In addition to specific Game Spaces, PS Home had Game Developer Spaces, where developers like EA Sports and Namco Bandai Games advertised main titles while showcasing mini games. The Namco Arcade was literally an arcade with classic Namco games, different machines that offered rewards, and a Love Seat where you could test your compatibility with other players.

However, these spaces weren’t just for games and developers. Other companies took advantage of PS Home’s digital world. US servers had spaces for Ford, Red Bull, and Diesel all with their own mini games and digital rewards. The Red Bull Air Race was the first non-gaming company space to open in PS Home Open Beta, with two leaderboards highlighting both the scores of your friends as well as the scores of everyone in PS Home.

Why Should PS Home Return?

Beyond it simply being fun, the service arguably helped lay the foundation of what the metaverse could look like. Before games like Fortnite began blending universes in a digital experience, PlayStation Home was introducing a virtual universe that was more accessible than Second Life and more capable of creating a mix of big brands. In a COVID-changed world, a network like PlayStation Home would provide a new form of casual connection, brand advertisement, and digital events (remember the digital PlayStation E3 booth?). It’s beyond time for PS Home, or something like it, to become a part of our households.

It’s hard to ignore the demand, and as technology continues to evolve (PS Home VR would be pretty rad), the possibilities are truly becoming endless.