Sony’s PlayStation Home reportedly Going to be Released in the Next 10 Days
It is being reported by UK’s Times Online that PlayStation Home, Sony’s long-awaited Second-Life-like service, will be released in the next ten days.
Home, which has been in development for at least a few years, will allow users to create an avatar for their account and socialize with other PlayStation 3 owners. Home will have features similar to Second Life but obviously much more limited than Second Life’s virtually limitless possibilities.
Users of Home will be able to explore a world inhabited by other users complete with various destinations like shops and player-customized homes, perform emotes with other avatars, play various minigames and so on. Eventually users will be able to purchase, with real money, cuztomizations for their avatars, such as new clothes and items for the homes.
Where Home differs interestingly from Second Life is that it seems that it is designed to be a sort of enhanced version of services like XBox Live or the Playstation Network. For example, users will be able to jump into games with other users straight from inside Home. In this sense it looks like Home might be an attempted step up from the avatar based online-services of XBox live and the Wii, which offers more interactivity and customizability than its competitors.
Phil Harrison, former head of Sony Worldwide Studio and current employee of Atari, had some good words about Home, saying that Sony, “brilliantly realized their ambitions,” with Home, and added that they “will have a very successful platform.”
Home looks like an interesting approach to the online experience being offered by consoles. Up until now, services like XBox Live and the Wii’s online service have offered a small amount of user input and have been mostly just designed to give a simple and straightforward way to buy and download content and play games with friends. But with the advent of Home, online console services might make a move towards being game-like themselves.
It’s hard to say whether Sony Home will make a noticeable impact, but it presents some interesting developments for what may come to be expected of the online console experience. If Home’s Second Life-like environment catches on, we may see Nintendo and Microsoft respond in the future with developments of their own avatar-based environments.