Sony announced today that their Home service will finally be available to everyone with a PS3 on December 11th. This isn’t the full release just yet, it’s just the Beta test that tons of people have been playing with already.
As someone who’s tinkered around a bit with the Home Beta in the last few weeks, I’m not actually sold on the concept just yet. Right now it acts as little more than a glorified chat room- there’s nothing much to do besides buy some crap for your home space and play some games in the arcade. As more and more companies and games get behind the service I’m sure things will ramp up, but right now you can pop in it for a half hour and experience everything it has to offer. There is some cool stuff on the way, though.
Starting with a themed Far Cry 2 space, PlayStation Home will offer game inspired environments that allow people to discuss the specific games, plan strategies and access content and clues that will enhance the gaming experience. The number of gaming environments such as this will regularly increase, with spaces for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune™, Warhawk™, Motorstorm and SOCOM following very soon. SCEE is working with leading publishers such as: Electronic Arts, UBISOFT, Midway, Sega and Atari to create engaging environments that will provide users with an on-going gaming experience.
Course, I’m not sure if people will really want to go into Home just to launch a game, as it seems kinda counter-intuitive. The first bit of consumer branding hits from Red Bull, who has an island that you can visit to get clothes and furniture and take part in a “virtual flying challenge”. That’s just the start of where they’re going- already famous designers and brands have clothes on the way that you can purchase (sometimes with real money!) to dress up your avatar.
But there is plenty of potential here, and you’ll at least get a taste of it when you jump in the Beta. See you around town- I’ll be the guy with the badass (read: dorky) Echochrome suit.