PlayStation Home to open tomorrow


PlayStation Home to open tomorrow

Public beta phase for the avatar-based social-networking service for PS3 is to start on December 11.

Since being announced back at GDC 2007 by Phil Harrison, PlayStation Home has been the subject of a lot of expectation. Originally planned for a 2007 release, Home has had several delays and setbacks pushing it back to late 2008. Earlier this week The Times suggested that the release was coming "within the next 10 days," but it turns out gamers won't have to wait that long with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Sony Computer Entertainment America today jointly announcing that the Home Beta will be open to all on December 11.

PlayStation Home will allow users to interact and communicate via unique avatars in real time using text or voice. Within Home will be a variety of mini-games, videos, and clubs--areas where users can come together and share similar interests. Each aspect of Home will be customisable with players able to buy new clothes, furnishings and even whole new apartments direct from the Playstation store. Clubhouses will also be available for those wishing to create clubs, though for a price--quite how much was unclear, with Sony simply saying, "To be a Clubhouse owner, user will need to buy the entitlement to run the club."

There will also be regional game related content, with users "accessing PlayStation Home in the SCEE regions" having a Far Cry 2 space to explore at launch, with spaces for MotorStorm, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, and SOCOM promised soon in the region. SCEE and SCEA also confirmed that they are working with EA and Ubisoft, among others, with a view to creating more such spaces. The Far Cry 2 space will also be available to those in SCEA territories with Resistance and Guitar Hero spaces additionally promised for the region.

Companies will, as expected, also get the opportunity to use Home as a marketing space. Sony has detailed plans involving both Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures, which will involve "dedicated spaces, sponsorship of in-world events, virtual items and exclusive media viewings in the PlayStation Home Theatre." The first such event was confirmed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe will be centred around the upcoming movie of acclaimed graphic novel Watchmen, and will feature a selection of "virtual Watchmen merchandise" as well as a chance for some to virtually meet members of the film's cast and crew in a Watchmen-themed environment in 2009.