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.
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?
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.
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.