The Metaverse is the latest stinker to make waves in the virtual world landscape, but why move forward when we’ve got gems returning from the past?
There’s definitely been a hole in the hearts of many PlayStation players since the closure of the PlayStation 3’s virtual world, PlayStation Home, in 2015. Sure, it wasn’t great, but it sure was something. Projects like Neotopia have made it their mission to bring the PlayStation Home concept into the new console era, and Sony did recently renew the trademark for PlayStation Home for the second time this year. However, a non-profit project has been working on reviving the original.
First things first, let’s talk about the original. PlayStation Home was a virtual 3D social gaming platform for the PlayStation 3 developed by Sony Computer Entertainment’s London Studio. Like many virtual world games, users would create their own avatar to represent themselves. They’d have their own apartment they would fill with items free, bought and won. They could communicate with other users, and play solo and multiplayer mini-games. The open beta in 2008, remained in beta its entire life, and closed in 2015.
Destination Home is a non-profit project that has spent years attempting to bring PlayStation Home back to life, with an offline version being available to download and play on modded PlayStation 3 consoles or emulators. Recently, they’ve been collaborating with the PlayStation Online Network Emulated (PSONE) fan group, which has allowed them to make it possible to play PlayStation Home online once again. According to the group, online access to public and private lobbies should be available by the end of the year.
Recently, Destination Home posted a teaser to its official YouTube.
According to the group’s website, the project does not accept monetary donations of any sort. It has instead opted to take cache donations from players. Cache donations are information collected by the game stored on consoles of the era. Destination Home uses this data to learn more about PlayStation Home. This, in turn, informs their project. From these cache donations, Destination Home has recovered Spaces, furniture and clothing. They then restore these features for preservative and educational purposes.
Video game preservation has come into the spotlight recently with Microsoft vice president Phil Spencer‘s comments on the topic, but the work of emulation and video game preservation is largely done by the gaming community itself in the form of passion projects. Yet another case of an incredibly talented group of fans taking matters of preservation into their own hands. We love to see it.