Sony: Open Home Beta "Fully Robust"
It used to dominate the news on a weekly basis, especially in the months directly after its unveiling, but since then, we haven't heard much about PlayStation Home. We're well aware of the delays, of course, but the last report says an open beta is scheduled for this fall. Well, that's still the case, as Sony's PlayStation Network director Eric Lempel says.
In a recent interview with Next-Gen, he said very clearly- "The Home open beta is still on schedule for release later this fall." He was asked about PSN director Susan Panico's earlier comments when she said the initial beta rollout would be "similar to Gmail" and it will work just fine as an "open, functioning beta." This statement was met with mixed results by gamers; some still bitter about the delay saw this as an excuse to release a half-done Home this year. But that really is not the case:
"If you think about Gmail and Susans reference, Gmail when it launched in beta was a fully functional email service. I personally was using it and it offered everything youd expect, but was in beta just to say that theres more to come and maybe its not fully polished. The reason weve been delaying [Home] is so that we can deliver a high quality service that the users will enjoy. Even though it will be in beta, it will be a fair representation of what the service can be and its potential, so it wont be a 0.5 release, it will be a fully robust service."
So there you have it. Despite the fact that the official launch of Home remains in 2009, we'll still be able to jump in and test it out this fall. Besides, one has to remember that Home will likely be a service that receives ongoing upgrades and enhancements even after its official release, so if you look at it this way, the open beta rollout isn't much different than a regular ol' launch. Oh, and just as a final side note, Lempel did reconfirm Sony's plan to launch a downloadable movie service for the PS3 in the US this summer. That is a very cool option, and one that should make selling PS3s an even easier proposition.
7/4/2008 Ben Dutka