Home: A "Social Layer" For The PS3
Okay, let's be clear- PlayStation Home is this and not that. There seems to have been a lot of confusion surrounding Sony's innovative online service, but lead artist John Venables has tried to clarify the situation.
First, comments from SCEE's Darren Cairns and Liam Wickham, made at the recent Develop Conference, revolved around the philosophy that Home isn't a social network; it's more "focused on games" and it's a "visual representation of the PlayStation community." (source- GamerChip) Well, that's not 100% true, according to Venables. He describes it on Australian site WAToday as a "social layer" for the PS3, as the company's primary goal centers on making "online gaming more accessible and welcoming." In other words, it's a relatively simple and straightforward premise: users will have a "home" they can call their own, and there will be designated meeting places for gamers to chat. This is the social aspect, obviously. At the same time, we will be able to launch games from directly within Home, and there will even be "open areas set aside for special events...designed to be interactive for the audience members." In other words, it's a combination of community and gaming, as best we can tell.
The PlayStation Home open beta is scheduled to launch some time this fall, and we'll all be able to see exactly what it is. In the meantime, we can always envision what this service could blossom into a few years down the road; the possibilities appear limitless.
8/29/2008 Ben Dutka