Welcome to PlayStation Home
Many of you gamers have been waiting a long time for this. Sony’s finally released its next-gen social networking site for PlayStation users. PlayStation Home lets you and other gamers create your own avatar – a virtual representation of yourself –
Many of you gamers have been waiting a long time for this. Sony’s finally released its next-gen social networking site for PlayStation users. PlayStation Home lets you and other gamers create your own avatar – a virtual representation of yourself – and then interact with other users in a 3D environment.
Using PlayStation Home, you’ll be able to chat with other users (and even invite them into your own “home), as well as stream music and video. And it’s all available free to registered PlayStation Network users.
PlayStation Home was actually originally named Hub, and it started as an online lobby for the PlayStation 2 game The Getaway: Black Monday. But since the project wasn’t completed before the launch of PS3, developers of PS Home decided to start porting code to the new platform.
Basically, the concept of PS Home is one of a virtual clubhouse for PlayStation owners. “The idea behind Home is to create a virtual space for PS3 owners to meet up, talk and play games,” said Tim Clark, editor in chief of Official PlayStation Magazine UK, in an interview in December 2008. “The easiest way to think of it is as a hybrid of Facebook, Second Life and the prettiest game lobby ever.”
In PS Home you create your own avatar (or use one of several preset avatars) through which you can access the Wardrobe from the Menu Pad at any time and location. Your character can be customized by gender, skin tone, hair, body shape and facial structure. You can also customize your avatar’s clothing and accessories using a set of standard items, or you can buy new clothing from one of the clothing shops available to you in Home. You can save up to nine different versions of your avatar for quick access at any time.
Each user in PS Home has a private apartment space, called a HomeSpace, which you can modify and change any time you’re in it. The initial basic apartment you receive is called the Harbour Studio, which is a studio overlooking a harbour. The Harbour Studio is free and offers you limited options for customization and personalization. In the future, Sony plans to provide tools that will enable you to create your own Home space and content.
You can invite other Home users (even cross-region) to your HomeSpace. In time, Sony says users will be able to stream their hosts’ music from their console’s hard drive. And, while videos may also be enabled in the future, they aren’t a feature of this beta version of PS Home. If you want to buy a more lavish Home like the Summer House, these are available for purchase, along with other furniture, from the Shopping Mall.
Another spaces feature of PS Home are clubs. You can buy your own Club, at which point you become the leader of that Club. As leader, you can elect up to four sub-leaders for your club and have 32 members in total join your club. You can also set up and decorate a private clubhouse for meetings, which features a notice board where you and other club members can post messages and announcements to other club members.
Although PlayStation Home has no on-screen user interface, all of its features are available from the controller. The options are: Quick Chat, Gestures (menu), Menu Pad, Safe Screen and in-game XMB.
The Menu Pad (press Start) controls your avatar’s appearance (Wardrobe, where to travel (World Map), settlings, etc.), and has 11 options including a Help menu for beginners. It also features an inventory, which will eventually show all the items available for purchase in PS Home.
Press the Select button to access the Safe Screen, which is used for reporting, changing communication settings and quick access to your Personal Space and XMB friends list.
You can communicate with other users in a variety of ways in PS Home. Write text messages to each other using either a USB or Bluetooth keyboard or with the PS3 controller using the on-screen keyboard. Text messages appear in speech bubbles over your avatar’s head, as well as in the chat log. Your other options include voice chat through a headset (currently only available within private spaces or by making Phone Calls to specific users) and gestures (“e-motes”) like waving, nodding or dancing. A quick chat feature – a library of short, preset text messages – can also be accessed by users.
Tons of events happen in Home, and more will occur as users sign up and the site grows. Sony plans to include exclusive game previews and developer interviews, as well as live sports and music events.