Get PlayStation Home in October, access Home features on PS3 via PSP and Mobile. Online multiplayer and a persistent online world set for 2008?
PS3 Home was announced on March 7th as an avatar-based achievement system for the online PlayStation community. This is Sony’s answer to Xbox 360’s Xbox Live and the Wii’s Connect 24, but resembling an online game akin to The Sims and/or Second Life.
A closed beta phase for around 15,000 users will take place between April and August, with an open beta for around 50,000 operating between August and October. Followed by the official launch, an under 500MB free download, later in October 2007.
Certain Home features are likely to be accessible via PSP and mobile phone in some form, Sony said, while users can also expect to visit paid-for special events, and experience increasing levels of integration with the console’s more traditional features as development accelerates. For example, it will be possible to track down friends easily from day one, but users will only be able to seamlessly launch into multiplayer games together once Sony has finished coding that functionality. This will be added via a streaming download solution that makes adding extra functions easy as pie.
Currently Home is not a persistent world, so when you leave Home, all of your possessions go with you. For instance, it is not currently possible for other PS3 users to visit your apartment while you’re not there. Sony are working on the persistent aspect of Home, and expect to implement it in the long term.
Which might mean you shouldn’t expect to see online multiplayer via Home and/or a persistent online world until 2008. On a brighter side: advertising, while prevalent, will be kept to a tasteful minimum level. Other initiatives like content (user-to-user) auctions, downloadable content sales, and premium events are on the way.
GI also points out that one fun way to advertise for developers is that it will be possible to develop small demo-areas within Home that promote new titles, or to re-publish an old video game as mini-game within a Home Space.
Read all 80-something questions and answers on SCEdev.
Update: Just came across this Sony boss Phil Harrison interview where he says “When you come back to the Cross Media Bar (the PS3 menu name) [after exiting PlayStation Home], you can see that we have this Home icon. But also, underneath it you can see we have Favorites and Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame icon lets you jump straight into Hall of Fame, you don’t have to go into Home to get there. And this is where what you just described will be exposed.
Inside Favorites, you’ll create bookmarks, shortcuts to the spaces you want to visit most often with your buddies. So it could be that you like hanging out in the SOCOM barracks room, something like that. You just bookmark it, and that will appear as a long list of thumbnails in that area. Next time you log into PS3 you can dive straight in there. Your personal apartment will appear there as well.”