Post I.T. - Washington Post Technology Blog Frank Ahrens Sara Goo Sam Diaz Mike Musgrove Alan Sipress Yuki Noguchi Post I.T.
Tech Podcast
The Bloggers
Subscribe to this Blog

Sony Launches PS3 "Home" For The Holidays

Mike Musgrove

Sony announced today that it is launching an open beta test of a new virtual world it has developed for the PlayStation 3 called "Home".

PS3 owners will be able to download and check out the new service starting tomorrow. Home is free to Web-connected owners of the game console, though users may opt to spend money to spiff up their avatars and virtual apartments.

Jack Buser, director of the Home service at Sony, predicted that people will spend their time in Home talking about everything from what books they're reading to what high-definition TV they're thinking about buying. Game publishers, he said, are already developing virtual spaces they'll be able to use as venues to promote their wares and try to build a new sort of community around their products.

"This changes the meaning of online play," he said. "Now, the people on your friends list will be people you know and know fairly well."

"The PS3 community is one that has already demonstrated that they participate in this sort of thing," he said.

Home was announced at a game developer trade show in San Jose a couple of years ago. When Sony first unveiled it, gamer response was very positive, though that enthusiasm has waned a bit as the service hit a delay or two.

I got a brief early look at Home earlier this week -- and there wasn't much there there as yet. You start out designing an avatar in a spiffy studio apartment overlooking a harbor. After that, the next destination was a central plaza where a few avatars were hanging out and making some small talk. There's a virtual bowling alley, but all the alleys were occupied, so I didn't give that a try. The doors of a virtual shopping mall were open, but none of the stores were online. Inside a movie theater, a few patrons watched a loop of a commercial for a Navy Seals game from Sony.

PS3 Home.jpg

I'm hoping that the offerings in Home get a little more interesting as Sony opens the service up this week.

Buser would not discus the size of the Home development team, how many years the service has been in development or how many PS3 users will be able to log onto one the virtual space at a time.

By Mike Musgrove  |  December 10, 2008; 12:30 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
Previous: Video: Vint Cerf's Views on Obama's Top Tech Job | Next: Coming Soon: More 3D Flicks

Add Post I.T. to Your Site
Stay on top of the latest Post I.T. news! This easy-to-use widget is simple to add to your own Web site and will update every time there's a new installment of Post I.T.
Get This Widget >>

Blogs That Reference This Entry

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Good synopsis of Home. I agree, there is not much to do. And although at 46 I'm certainly not the target demographic, I just don't see much value yet. Sony has even built in everyday frustrations of line ups as you mention. It's great I paid $500 for a system that lets me simulate waiting in line to bowl!

Last night I took 70 pictures and wrote my impressions too for anyone interested:

I do like that harbor condo though.

Posted by: mikec7 | December 12, 2008 12:04 PM

Matt Rhodes shared a great perspective on this at the Community 2.0 blog:

Posted by: PurpleSweater | December 15, 2008 12:36 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company