The Sony Playstation 3 was supposed to be the must have game console over the holidays.
People lined up and waited through miserable weather to buy them, many of which hoped to make a profit selling them on eBay. Cosmic justice was not on Sony’s early adopter’s side. Either that or the fact that the console was just way too overpriced at $600+. Sony had hoped people would buy it for their next generation video player, but that hasn’t been a compelling proposition with a dwarf-sized number of Blu-Ray titles actually available. If you are into buying TV seasons, for example, forget about it on either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray.
Another complaint about the PS3 has been the lousy community interface. Compared to Xbox Live which just surpassed the six million member mark four months ahead of schedule, the PS3 community is a lot like, well, many Second Life sims: ghost town. So what is Sony’s next move to garner interest in their new console?
Playstation Home: the virtual world.
Joystiq got to take an early look behind the scenes of Playstation Home and compared it to Second Life. I love how everything virtual these days seems to get compared to SL when there are a small few (there.com comes to mind) actual competitors. Sony isn’t making the comparisons that I’ve seen anyway yet, and I doubt that’s what they are putting together.
I do think Sony has a good idea and could have a viable use of a virtual world. Rather than some static menu of options (the “blade” as it is known in Xbox Live) PS3 players will soon be able to trick out their virtual apartment with game achievements, chat in text/voice with friends in a 3D space and even add working arcade machines to their homes. It will only be Second Life comparable if Sony opens up the development to others, but don’t count on that since they have been terrible historically dealing with indie developers. Just Google the whole PSP homebrew history if you want to follow that debacle.
Sight unseen I’m excited and next month an early beta is supposed to be available for free download with the actual launch in fall. I’ll post plenty of screenshots and details here when this arrives assuming of course it doesn’t come with an NDA like Kaneva.
What makes this fascinating is Sony playing the full on virtual world card in the console gaming arena menu screens. Nintendo is also playing in this field with their Miis (avatars). Xbox Live is going to have the older looking interface by holiday 2007, if they don’t announce something.
Any VTOR readers own a PS3 or Nintendo Wii yet? If not, will a (free) virtual world community compel you to buy one? What do you think of this Playstation Home news?
Update 3/8/07 8:30am PST: via Playfuls.com Sony response on Second Life similarities:
When asked also about the obvious similitude with Linden Lab’s Second Life game, Sony said that “Home is a much more rich, user friendly experience than Second Life, allowing for ease of entry and use, as well as being fully-functional with the technology and capabilities of PS3.”
Sony plans the HOME download to be less than 500 MB.