Written by Jayson
Had to admit; I didn’t spend a single minute on the new games I bought over February. I was embroiled in a month-long event held in PlayStation Home where the highest ranked player gets exclusive virtual rewards for their avatar; rewards only to the elite where it will never be found elsewhere. And for the first time in Asia PlayStation Home, I saw a wave of countless players at the SETSUBUN 2013 Ogre Extermination event, engaged together in a war against the invading Ogres with the aim not just to drive them out but to aim high on the charts to see who stands on top when the event ends.
Then again this topic is about one humbly ignored feature on our PlayStation 3 consoles; namely PlayStation Home. And if you ask me, yes; I’m a proud PlayStation Home user.
When it was first launched, PlayStation Home started out like any virtual social network where players online are represented as avatars, roam around in virtual spaces to chat with other players from around the region and sometimes around the world. Exchanges stories, comparing trophies and playing social games within and build communities and clubs, as well as a place to relax when not engaged into any games at the moment. Given my work commitments, it was the one place I was able to go to, if not, the place I preferred to visit now since I’m somewhat bored out by the crowded weekends at Orchard Road and Bugis Junction, two of my favourite hangouts.
PlayStation Home is the ultimate in social experience…well to most people; count out Asia.
One reason PlayStation Home is hardly given a thought in Asia (Singapore falls under this region along with most Southeast Asian nations from my knowledge; Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea) notably the lack of content and events compared to the other big three: USA, UK and Japan, whom enjoy an extensive array of events and virtual content. Asia is mostly left out from such events due to unknown reasons; some licensing and some law issues. This has lead the Asia region of PlayStation Home to be mostly seen as empty most of the time and the players in response angrily make new accounts to visit the other regions’ servers to enjoy the content and events offered there because there is nothing for them in theirs.
While I understood their reasons for switching over, I (almost) never have a single thought of following that path and thus I chose to remain in my ‘empty’ Asia region with a few friends. We were together though good and bad times; even during the outage of 2011, until when we can go back, the first thing was to find each other all over again. I’ve made friends from Hong Kong, Malaysia, USA and even Sweden. Some have left but some stayed. Hope was fading at that time wondering if our region will ever survive but we held on to that fragile strain of belief that it will improved over time.
And you know what? It did.
Over the time, Asia PlayStation Home eventually grew, with supporting developers making the much sought supporting move to make content for this ‘empty’ region (and went home laughing with money in their pockets at those who said they’ll fail). And slowly the crowd came back. Gone were the days we would just walk around with the default looking clothing we would see worn by models and such. We are now roaming around as fantasy creatures and medieval warriors and robots. Agents and security officers as well as the ability to levitate and riding on horses (even a lion!), skateboards, bicycles and bikes and all! And yes, have a virtual NPC companion by your side, a small kitten to an adult lion, how about that!?
Asia PlayStation Home eventually began growing up to be almost on par with the other regions now than it was before. And it also has its own Asian-exclusive event too; the Money God event, happening every February where we eventually got a small cash offering (used for buying online PSN content only, sorry) just by finding this mystery avatar.
And then we were in this month-long SETSUBUN 2013 Ogre Extermination event to exterminate Ogres from Edo. Not only that but to earn points and be rewarded with virtual content as well as to rank up high on the charts and be rewarded with exclusive virtual content guaranteed never to be found in shops…ever! As a result, an all-out war raged against the ogres who are hard to kill and among players in Asia PlayStation Home to scramble for the highest kills and to get their names on the score chart. Mindless hording for something that isn’t real? More like a get-together to wipe demons off Edo!
To me, Asia PlayStation Home has improved…okay there could’ve been more done but to see so many players putting their heart and soul during that event already feels like a damn victory.
So what next after this? Who knows? But surely in Asia PlayStation Home, that feeling of ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ is already there.
So while not playing any games, why not drop by and say ‘Hello’ to the many players in Asia PlayStation Home, each with a story to tell and if need be, a help to offer in a game you may have trouble with.
If not, then feast on this March starting with BIOSHOCK INFINITE, the Irrational Games title that won over 75 editorial awards in 2011 including Game Critics’ Award Best of Show. Go back to a storyline of Kratos in GOD OF WAR ASCENSION and see what he did six months after the death of his wife and child. Experience another reboot (again?) this time with LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, as a frightened gal who will be destined for adventuring greatness in the future. Get it down with HATSUNE MIKU -PROJECT DIVA- F. Or go into a Zerg rush into the next chapter of STARCRAFT 2 with ‘HEART OF THE SWARM’ and see though Sarah Kerrigan’s revenge against Arcturus Mengsk.
With no other event held in PlayStation Home yet, I’ll be in a game of ‘catching up’ with my peers who have finished DEAD SPACE 3 and METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE. Then when I needed a break where else do I prefer to hang out?
It’s my Home in a Home…Asia PlayStation Home. And if you ever thought of dropping by, find me and I’ll see you there.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not represent the views of the site, SGamers.org.
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