Sony Says Home Is Successful, Profitable
While the rollout of the service was plagued by delays and an apparent lack of coherent vision, according to PlayStation Home director Jack Buser, Sony’s online virtual world has become an important and profitable part of the company’s PS3 empire. Particularly, Home microtransaction items like avatar clothing and other perks are becoming a way of life for many PS3 gamers.
“The proof is in the pudding," Buser commented. "With numbers like we have, it goes without saying that Home has been a huge success for our company, something that we have been very proud of."
He cites statistics to back up this claim. Home boasts 14 million users (people who have downloaded the client and logged in at least once), an average user session of 70 minutes, 100 games, 50 virtual Home spaces, and 85 percent rate of returning users logged on at any time.
While he declined to site actual dollar figures, Buser also said that every virtual item that the company has created and sold via Home microstransactions has been a moneymaker.
“Once those items reach maturity, they are profitable,” observed Buser. “So you see us creating a tremendous amount of virtual items, because it is such a high margin business for us to be in.” Unfortunately, Buser didn't define what "maturity" entails, so it's anyone's guess how long it takes your average item to recoup its cost.
To further encourage Home activity among hardcore gamers, Buser says the company will pursue a strategy called “Total Game Integration,” where users can unlock in-game objects by doing things in Home and vice versa.