Designing A Virtual Public Square

When Sony was preparing to build a virtual meeting space for Playstation 3 users, they took the unusual step of hiring a real-world architect, Kenji Ikemoto.
January 27, 2009, 8am PST | Tim Halbur
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"Ikemoto had nothing to compare the experience to. Typically, architects have to think about cost, availability of materials, and local building codes, and can spend up to two-thirds of a project in on-site meetings with the builders and other contractors. With Home, none of those things mattered. It was as if a developer had written Ikemoto a blank check and freed him from the usual limitations. Ikemoto was stumped. 'Without those considerations, it's harder than you might think,' he said.

Sony's team in Tokyo was also in unfamiliar territory. Many of the team's members had experience creating games and were accustomed to giving orders to programmers and designers. 'We had to do the opposite this time,' said Home producer Yoshikatsu Kanemaru.

Using standard architectural CAD software called VectorWorks, Ikemoto condensed several months' work into a few weeks. He pulled all-nighters to finish a blueprint and kept up the frenetic pace during his Friday meetings at Sony's offices, where programmers and producers transformed his ideas into computer-generated 3D images."

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Published on Friday, January 23, 2009 in Business Week
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