PlayStation Home can be an intimidating place. Globally, there are over 200 spaces to explore with around 20 million users playing the hundreds of free games available. A little overwhelmed? Want to know where the good stuff is? Maybe we can help you!
I’m James Holding, aka Cubehouse, one of the gamers behind the PlayStation Home fan-site AlphaZone4, the go-to source of PlayStation Home news and information. We catalog and track thousands of items that are available inside Home across the world, host special events, run competitions and keep the community up-to-date with all the latest news on upcoming PlayStation Home content.
The highlight of our website is the Item Database. A catalogue of over 14,000 items, whether they are purchasable or completely free. We build weekly lists of every new item available and keep a special “Reward Items” section updated with the latest items that you can get for free, either from special promotions, playing mini-games or by unlocking them in PS3 or PSN retail games. You can browse the current items available to win or even look back through the archives to see what you’ve missed out on in the past (not recommended for those who are easily envious of others).
The database is split into different categories. The front screen shows the region flags, a list of category tiles as well as a number of shortcut links to useful areas of the database. The most useful area of the database is the Reward Items area, where we list all the items you can win. To make this simpler, we categorise them by “PS3/PSN Rewards” (from retail games) “Home Rewards” (Home games) or “Home Events” (limited-time rewards).
We recently unveiled our new website design, that offers new wiki-style editing of our site’s content. Users can contribute by helping update items in the database, add events to the calendar and upload their images into our new PlayStation Home Image Gallery service. We continue to work on developing new features with the input we get from our community, such as our new mobile phone app.
If you haven’t checked out Home for a while, or perhaps are under the impression you have to spend serious money to get anything out of it – I highly recommend you pop in and have a look around, now armed with a little more knowledge from us. If you know where to look, you can get 6 free apartments, 2 pet “companions”, literally hundreds of items of clothing (including a full yeti-costume, an ice-cube head-piece, golden fisherman waders and lots more) and an absolute ton of furniture that would rival any IKEA-catalogue. We didn’t even count the items you can get from playing PS3 or PSN games, like the amazing personal Batcave you can unlock simply popping Arkham Asylum into your PS3. We’re also not counting the items you can get from limited-time events, like a flaming Twisted Metal mask or your avatar’s own PlayStation Move controller.
People may be wondering why we run this website and what makes us log into Home. There is something great about the opportunity to actually get to know the people you play video games with. I have padded out my friends list with many gamers I have met in multiplayer lobbies, but occasionally I’ll be in Home and will meet up with somebody on my friends list to find they are from Egypt or America and have plenty of fascinating things to talk about with me.
Overall, Home really obliterates the stereotype that gaming is just for kids. I’ve met fellow gamers of all genders (male, female and those who can’t quite decide) and ages (12 to 72). I’ve met film-makers, novelists and people who just endlessly use Latin. The gaming community that once felt like a small and anonymous place suddenly feels massive and full of people from all walks of life, thanks to the expression and interactions through PlayStation Home.
AlphaZone4 was built because we wanted to share the experiences of PlayStation Home with more people. When we joined, it was very hard to know what was going on as there weren’t weekly PlayStation Home blog posts or any kind of web-based presence. We created a website for new and old users to really learn what’s happening inside PlayStation Home by building an information portal that keeps users up-to-date with all that’s going on. We keep doing it many years later because we get to meet so many wonderful people and it constantly reminds us how vast and wonderful the gaming community is.
- AlphaZone4 is a PlayStation Home fan-site run by a small diverse group of gamers who all met through Home.
- Cubehouse (Administrator) plays a lot of FPS on his PC and loves action/adventure games on his PlayStation 3. His favourite games are Metal Gear Solid 4, Heavy Rain and Portal 2.
- Milereb (Editor) is pretty much a gaming free spirit. She plays anything she can get her paws on. But make no mistake, this kitty got claws!
- RenegadeXtreme (Moderator) claims that Home is his screen-saver, like a true Home socialite. Loves playing racing and horror games on his PS3.