Sony Wants PS3 Owners to Feel at Home

Sony Computer Entertainment unveiled today at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco "Home," a new online user community which lets users create their own avatars for use in exploring a real-time virtual community. This service is designed for use with the PlayStation 3 and will be available as a free download this fall.

Home, explained Sony, will let PlayStation 3 owners "interact, communicate, join online games, shop, share private content and even build and show off their own personal spaces to others in real time." Users will be able to create their own customized avatars and will be given apartments which they can personalize with things like furniture and art. One will be able also to fully engage different forms of media in this environment, showing off personal videos and pictures in one’s Home space while communicating with others through built-in text, audio and video chat.

Home, which will go into closed beta testing this spring, will also let gamers display 3D trophies that will be unlocked through in-game achievements, as well as real time score rankings in PS3 games.

"This is a significant step forward in the area of user community services and emergent entertainment experiences,” said Izumi Kawanishi, Corporate Executive and CTO Software, SCEI, in a written statement. "While the 3D graphics demonstrate the power of PS3 and the PlayStation Network, the most impressive feature in Home is the variety of ways in which multiple consumers, as well as our third-party partners, can experience the next generation of communication by interacting and sharing among each other.  I feel strongly that this unique blend of community, user-generated content, collaboration and commerce will expand the future of computer entertainment.”