Friday, March 09, 2007

Sony Gets Second Life with 'Home'

Sony looks like it will follow in the footsteps of Linden Lab and other such - with the launch of 'Home', its 3D virtual world exclusively designed for the PS3, and another 3D game, 'LittleBigPlanet'.

Showing off 'Home' at the Game Developers Conference this week, Sony Computer Entertainment's President of Worldwide Studios, Phil Harrison, explained how it gels with the PS3 ecosystem, and what Sony calls the 'Game 3.0' era, or the era in which power will be put back firmly into the hands of gamers.
Sony's 'Home' sounds almost like Linden Lab's Second Life, which has around 4.5 million residents. But 'Home' is said to be deeply scaled back.

Available for free to PS3 users, 'Home' offers a way to connect in multimedia space, and interact with various forms of media available on PS3.

Like in Second Life, 'Home' players can create animated proxies or avatars, and further customize them as they wish. A small private space is allocated to each member, which can again be customized as per individual tastes.

Players can buy clothing, furniture, and videos to play on virtual screens in their virtual apartments. They can meet each other in the main public area, and communicate with each other.

But unlike in Second Life, 'Home' offers video games, virtual arcades, music, movies, and a whole lot of Sony approved media downloads.

Also unlike Second Life - where users create nearly all of the content with almost no limits, 'Home' promises to be much more of a controlled environment.

For instance, users might be able to design their own avatars, clothing, and so on, but Sony would step in as moderator in case of public spaces.

To observers, 'Home' seems almost like a new reason being given to consumers to buy the PS3, which is lagging behind the other consoles.

The 'Home' beta version is slated for launch next month, and the official debut is scheduled during Fall this year.

'LittleBigPlanet', Sony's other 3D offering, allows players to build obstacle courses, puzzles, and other games for avatars who resemble beanbags or 'sack boys' as Sony calls them.

This game is slated to debut early next year. A sample version will likely be available during Fall. Sony remains incommunicado about pricing of both new offerings.

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