Home is where the bandwidth is

Posted on Fri 12 December 2008 in geek

After a few false starts last night I finally got a chance to play with PlayStation Home for a bit this morning. The simplest description of it would probably be Second Life for consoles.

First impressions are actually pretty good. The initial avatar creation process certainly gives you plenty of knobs to tweak to create your customised model. Everyone gets their own corner apartment overlooking the harbour bay (why let real life limitations impact the virtual world :-) which they can pimp out to their own tastes. It all looks pretty enough and once you get connected there didn't seem to be much in the way of lag issues.

Getting out and about involves teleporting from location to location rather than a free-for-all sandbox type setup. Media seems to handled well, the first thing we came across in the main square was a bunch of people dancing to a promotional video running on the virtual big screen. I've yet to setup my own apartment's media but the idea is people visiting your apartment can hear music streaming from your PS3. It's certainly a nicer way to meet new people compared to randomly friending people who where involved in your last CoD4 frag fest.

Sony obviously have big ideas for the future of the environment. Although the basics are free they expect to sell branded items for people who want to pay for custom sets of polygons. The other major source of revenue will be from advertisers who will want to stream their advertising in the various lobbies and public areas. Some companies have already gone the whole hog and have their own islands and areas for people to congregate in. There is talk of users being able to generate their own content but I don't know how this will work.

So is this the future of social networking? I don't know but it certainly looks nice and I can see the attraction of getting players to congregate in Home before launching directly into games. Whether the novelty will wear off after a while is still to be seen. However seeing how much thought Sony have put into the setup it will certainly be interesting to watch.