Sony announced the open beta version of the much anticipated online 3D social network service – PlayStation Home. In the online 3D realms of the PlayStation Home, gamers and other interested individuals can interact through computer-generated characters. Jack Buser, director for PlayStation Home, posted more details about the Home experience on the PlayStation blog. The easiest way to think of it is as a hybrid of Facebook & Second Life.
Gamers can hook on USB keyboards or Bluetooth to talk and interact with others in virtual settings. Sony initially plans to offer PlayStation Home as a free software download to all PlayStation 3 users. However, game companies and other entities would be charged for creating shops or events or for trying to sell or advertise products.
New users will start off by decking his/her avatar in an empty apartment-like room. Home has very few public areas, only the gaming center and revamped Central Plaza. However, to everyone’s surprise, US-based Home users can’t compete against anyone outside USA, for example, located in Japan or Europe. Junji Shoda, in-charge of Home’s global business strategy, justified this policy by saying that regional cross-border barriers existed to avoid ‘sticky cross-border intellectual property’ issues.
Revamped Central Plaza also has a new four-player minigame called ‘Saucer Pop’ in which the user launches a flying saucer and dodges around popping bubbles. New Listen@Home will allow users to select songs or vote for favourites.