Sony says seven million people have now signed up for PlayStation Home, but the service is still plagued by a disappointingly low return rate of only 25-30 percent of PSN users.
Peter Edward, the platform director for PlayStation Home, told the Develop Conference that the service has attracted seven million users since it went into open beta in December 2008, including three million in Europe alone. European users spend an average of 56 minutes per session on Home, which he described as “a huge amount of time,” and six million items have been downloaded since the service went live. Some of those items were free, he admitted, but said, “This is a commercial business, it is up and running and it is making money.”
“Home is slowly broadening the appeal of the console market out to a widening demographic,” he continued, although 80 percent of Home users still fall into the 18-35 male demographic. More worrisome is the low return rate: Edward said that only 25-30 percent of PlayStation Network account holders have visited the online space more than once. Home saw massive interest when it first opened but visitor numbers declined due to lack of content, he added; those numbers are slowly starting to come back as Sony builds the service and the number of concurrent visitors now reaches “many thousands.”
“Obviously there have been a lot of trials and tribulations along the way,” Edward said. “Now, we’re starting to see a huge amount of content coming into the platform… Content is arriving which we didn’t even know was being developed.”