Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sony Innovate as much as Microsoft...

...which is to say, hardy at all. The BBC Reports that Sony are lauching their own version of "Second Life" called "Home"*. This bit made my eyes weep for mercy:
We want to start a movement called Game 3.0. It's about emerging entertainment, powered by the audience at the centre of the experience.
In terms of screwed-up, over-hyped business speak, what goes around comes around.

So it's a kind of "walled garden Second Life", is it? I can't imagine Sony relinquishing as much control as LindenLabs, nor can I imagine a feverish crowd of creative types clamouring to create objects (even if they were allowed to entertain such a diversity of thoughts) using a console. It's all about the community, Sony dudes. You ain't got it.

I think Nintendo are in a much better space with this, judging by the success and methods of a) Animal Crossing on the DS, and b) Wii Mii avatars. With both of these, rather than meet in a shared space (where you can read "shared" to be "owned by third party"), the emphasis is on sending a character - your character - out to someone else's space. "Visiting", rather than "meeting". The downside is obviously you don't bump into so many strangers - apparently that's what people in "Web2.0" love to do - watch strangers. The upside, however, is a much greater sense of both ownership (over "your own" space) and community - you know the people there, they know you, there's a lot of trust. Social networking has partially been about finding strangers, but once found, you need a way to "enclose" a private network. Nintendo know that this first part - swapping codes, etc - can be done through any means whatsoever, from face-to-face, to IMs, websites, or what have you.

It's this idea of "ownership" - that users aren't just users and consumers - that Sony never quite seems to grasp. Still, I'm sure (as ever) that it'll be interesing to watch. And that I'll be utterly, utterly wrong.


* Does anyone else find the ever-increasing lust for large companies to invade what should be private with their consumption-fueled machinations creepy? "My Computer" was never that. "Home" is not somewhere I want Sony to be.

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