With the industry abuzz about virtual communities, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) leaped in with a 7 March 2007 press release announcing a 3D online community for the Playstation 3 called “Home“. The new game was demonstrated at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on the same date.
PS3 users will be able to create custom avatars, interact, communicate, join in games, shop, share private content, display actual personal pictures and videos, as well as build and display their personal spaces in real time. Users will also be able to display 3D trophies for virtual achievements as well as for real time score rankings in PS3 games.
Home will be in a closed beta test this spring, with a full launch targeted for later this year. Home will then be available as a free download from the Playstation Store and launch directly from the XrossMediaBar (XMB) on PS3.
Sony is obviously seeing some of their PS3 minutes erode as users move some leisure time over to virtual communities. Creating their own virtual community and making it a free download is obviously an effort to win some of those minutes (and eyeballs for advertisements) back. We wish them well in this rapidly evolving field of competitors. Maybe they are swinging for a Home Run?