Offline Home

by BONZO, HSM Editor

I know what you’re thinking: offline Home?

Now, I don’t mean that Home should be turned off and taken away. Rather, with the recent articles published on the concept of Home losing all support and being removed, and the question of what would be worth spending fifty dollars on, I would hope Sony would provide us with the option to buy Home.

In other words, an offline version of Home.

A version of Home which would have all my content I’ve purchased, or, if Home were on the verge of being removed anyway, its full catalog. Even now, not on the verge of Home being removed, but on the verge of Home either reaching a peak, or indeed peaking, I would love the option to buy an offline version of Home. A Home not contingent on the servers being live, but a Home I can access in single player, offline access, or a Home where I can host my own instance, or server, if you will.

Basically, it’s the way most multi-players work now. Not like MMOs, which rely on central servers hosting them, but like multi-player games, meaning anyone who wanted to join me in a session would have to also own the offline version of Home. Of course, in this situation, any content I’ve purchased for Home now should also be available to me in the offline version. All my wardrobe, furniture props, personal spaces, and companions.

Private Sessions

This would serve two purposes. First of all, when Home goes down for the update, it is inaccessible for hours. That’s not really an issue, but it would be nice to have access to Home even as it is being updated. The second purpose is the primary basis for this article; what if Home did go away? The detractors have been screaming for Home to disappear, which is really a selfish thing. Just because you personally don’t use something, doesn’t mean no one else does. I personally don’t care for Call of Duty, but just because I don’t doesn’t mean I want Activision to immediately cut off all support for that franchise. That’s just absurd. But if Home ever did lose support, and it was going to be shut down for good, I would like to still have access to the content I have purchased. Even if it were on a basis where only I could access it. Ideally, I would like friends who have purchased a stand-alone Home to be able to invite me and vise-versa to their Home.

That brings up an interesting concept: if Home were available offline, or stand alone rather, would you own the public spaces? If so, would you be able to decorate them?

That alone would be a neat feature. To be able to decorate the public spaces only in the stand-alone version, but still be able to access the public live version separately. This would allow for a private server, with the caveat that anyone who wanted to visit would also have to own Stand Alone Home. It would be like a free roam version of Home. Could this be done?

Empty Streets

Consider that Red Dead Redemption, in it’s entirety as a world, exists in a single-player-access-only method, and in a free roam public version with a cap of sixteen simultaneous users occupying a single instance. What is the difference between these? Both have a population of NPCs, and both have missions available. The differences are that the missions are not the same, and in the multi-player free roam mode, anyone can access it. In the single player mode, you are the only human being controlling a character.

So what if stand-alone Home had the same concept? Multi-player free roam separate from the MMO that’s currently live, where only the people who have purchased stand-alone Home have access to it, with the option of making a private free roam mode where you can invite friends over, or single player mode, where you are the only occupant.

There are several benefits to this. For one, if you could decorate public spaces, this means you can place a camera anywhere. Record machinima anywhere. Invite the friends you want over, which would probably have a cap of sixteen users, but that’s already more than what a personal space in the live version is limited to. You can access Home at anytime, on or offline. The only difference is, it wouldn’t be as populated. Games in stand alone Home would still be accessible, but limited in reward accessibility and leaderboard placement.

Decorate public spaces

More importantly, people who have spent money in Home have usually spent quite a bit. Granted, we spend for the experiences, and not tangible content. But if Sony announced today that Home would officially go offline next week, it would be devastating to a lot of people. We would wonder, what about the stuff I paid for? Well, everything you own would disappear. Personally I would love the option of purchasing a stand-alone version of Home, which would still give me access to the content I’ve purchased. This at least would give me the illusion that I still own it.

The difference between a multi-player game and an MMO game is that MMOs  continue to exist whether you are playing or not. They continue to run, and other users continue to access them, but are not contingent on your participation, but are dependent on the servers which host them. A multi-player option game, is not contingent on others participating. So if Home could exist as both, the current live MMO, and a stand-alone version, which you can access offline, that to me would be worth a fifty dollar price tag. I would want the option to be able to access that environment, even if I were the only one in the event that Home ever did indeed go offline.

September 22nd, 2012 by | 10 comments
BONZO is an editor and artist for HomeStation Magazine.

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10 Responses to “Offline Home”

  1. Bobsfed says:

    This is a great idea Bonzo! I’ve wondered that myself. Like what is going to happen to Home when the ps4 comes out and Home is no longer profitable to Sony. Are we also not going to be able to access all the items and personal space’s we bought over the years? I think they should at least make it so you can access you Home account and personal space’s offline. That way if Home or the server is under maintenance we could still work on decorating our personal space’s during this down time. And Red Dead Redemption is an awesome game too!

  2. Gary160974 says:

    great idea, but home downloads a lot of stuff as required, which without doing the math sounds like you would need a massive amount of data on a disk, because you would need every item home has got or ever had just in case your friend you invited had an item you never bought. same as accessing off line I dont want all that data saved to my hard drive

  3. Dr_Do-Little says:

    London, 4h00 am… A programmer can’t sleep. Algorithm swirl in his head… “There must be a way, there MUST be a way!”

    Great read Bonzo, neat idea. I was thinking of the huge amount of data required myself but we can dream. Maybe the PS4 could handle some sort of offline Home. So we would’nt losse all the trinkets we paid for.

    • gary160974 says:

      Thing is if you want to meet multiplayer just buy a multiplayer game, Saints row allows two people to play through complete game, plus have user created avatars. Red dead redemption allows private games or multiplayer games with mini games with in game. uncharted 3 has private games. Midnight club has a social scene where people show off they latest creations. Really no need for home to be a multiplayer game. With a bit of imagination and friends with a similar game taste’ you can extend your home experience, get into home wanna ride a horse game launch into RDR, wanna drive Midnight club, wanna chill hanging around a penthouse Saints row. There is a bigger ps3 world out there than home. But I get what you mean by what if home is no longer supported. But I suppose if you broke it down home isn’t that good that it would replace a games collection, and if as users we didn’t want a game collection why would you buy a PlayStation.

      • KrazyFace says:

        That’s the problem though Gary, these world’s you’re mentioning aren’t as big as Home, or come close to its customizing options. Sure you can make a good avatar in SR, or have fun “horsie riding” in RDR, but the combination of these things isn’t there; to experience each idea you’d have to quit the game and re-load another one with a different avatar. Breaks up the fluidity of the whole experience. Not only that most things in Home share a common aesthetic, when you look around in all Home spaces you KNOW where you are just by the look of it, this would be lost by game hopping. The closest game that’s even similar to Home so far (IMO) is TDU2, and the property, furniture and clothing items (in comparison to Home) are limited. Oh, and their PS3 servers are RUBBISH! I *think* they’re powered by hamsters on wheels…

  4. Burbie52 says:

    This is a very interesting idea Bonzo. I think I would pay the 50$ if this was possible. I would probably do that once a year like the Plus subscription if it was possible even. It is a very cool idea, I like it. I wouldn’t even care if I couldn’t decorate the public areas, the idea of having all of Home to share with friends is cool enough.

  5. fredjr01 says:

    Cool idea but my thing is this home makes sony millions od dollars a year and would be crazy to just give up that kind of cash! And as for some people wanting it gone well why are they worried about it if they dont use it delete it….. Sony should just make it an optional download for ps4 & ps3 cause I like my ps3 and have spent more
    than enuff money in home and think it would be messed up for sony to screw me out of my money or items bought so I think they should just make it a free app. And those who dont like it well dont download it that simple!!!! Thanks for listening

  6. fredjr01 says:

    Also an offline version so while they update we can still go to our apt.s & items and all but make it where when update is done we can still have our apt. The way we did it while they were updating…..

  7. It could be done but why offline? (I’m asking.) I’m going to suggest that someone will eventually set up a Facebook type setup only with avatars who meet in a public or perhaps even a private space by invitation. Expect to see lots of ads cus it’d still be for free.

    Maybe this has been done with avatars by invitation only ala Facebook with public and private apartments. If it’s been done, hey! I’m only on passenger on this flight. I don’t know diddley squat.

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