Home Will "Leapfrog" Competition, Open Beta Launch "Imminent"
For those who don't fully understand the purpose of a super-ambitious online service like PlayStation Home, Director Jack Buser is poised and ready to elaborate.
During an interview with Gamasutra, Buser addressed the Nintendo Miis, the fact that Home can entirely change how we relate to other people in a virtual universe, and the "revolutionizing" of the Friends list. He called Miis "par for the course" this generation, but Sony will "leapfrog" the competition with Home due to the simple fact that it will feature a personal space for your avatar. Furthermore, now that we really don't use arcades as a gamer congregation location of sorts, Home is a new option for a new generation. Buser explains:
"Users can express themselves in more ways than just how their avatar looks. That's important, because in the real world you might learn some things about a person by the way that they're dressed or the things that they talk about, but you don't really know someone until you see how they live. Do they have dishes in the sink, what posters did they put on the wall...
We really see this as revolutionizing the concept of the "friends list" for console gamers. Before, your friends were either people you already knew or people you'd met in a specific game, and with the latter, you'd probably only ever play that one game with them, and never really get to know them. PlayStation Home gives you a neutral space where you can really get to know someone. Even in the real world now if you're a gamer and you want to get to know other gamers, there really is nowhere left to go."
For those of you who have had the pleasure of testing out the closed beta, you'll probably agree with Buser's comments. As for us, we still maintain that while Home has a very long way to go, the foundation is most impressive, and we've no doubt it will be a smash success. Of course, one of the last questions Buser had to answer was whether or not Home would really release this year, and he replied quite simply that the launch of the open beta is now "imminent." He added that the public announcement is forthcoming, so stay tuned, excited PS3 owners!
12/1/2008 Ben Dutka