After one and a half year of waiting, Playstation Home will finally arrive on the 11th of December.
The Playstation 3 exclusive program debuted in March of 2007 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. At that time, the Playstation 3 was really struggling. It was selling well below expectations and was largely unprofitable for Sony. Thus, Sony needed to show something at the Game Developers Conference that will bring the excitement back to their high-definition video game system.
Sony showed two products during that time, one being LittleBigPlanet and the other Playstation Home. While LittleBigPlanet went on to be the darling of the Playstation 3, Playstation Home went into obscurity with the exception of a few public appearances to show that it still exists.
It wasn’t for the lack of effort from the developer’s part. The Playstation Home is an ambitious project that would serve as a gateway to the Playstation 3. Users can log into the 3D virtual world and chat with others. In addition, they can model their own space, play different mini-games, participate in many events and many more activities.
Even with the all the ambition, Playstation Home would remain completely free. Sony would pay the bill by charging for certain optional virtual products in addition to in-game advertisements.
Originally, Playstation Home was scheduled for a fall 2007 release. A closed beta would begin in the spring of that year and gradually evolve into a public release of the final version. However, it stayed at the closed beta phase for more than a year. The schedule fall release was delayed until spring of 2008. But that wasn’t the end of it as the Playstation Home was set back again for a release date near the end of 2008.
On December 11th, Playstation Home will be available for free to download and play. It is still in the beat phase though; so expect many of the promised features (like the trophy room and ability to upload your own videos) to be missing until Sony adds them in future updates.
News users can look forward to exploring several areas in the open beta: bowling alley, shopping mall, movie theater and the central plaza. In addition, they can visit game specific areas like the ones for Far Cry 2 and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Users can also customize their own avatars and apartment spaces. Finally, they can buy virtual items in the shopping mall.
Sony already has several big companies on board with Playstation Home including Capcom, Red Bull, Electronic Arts and Paramount.
You can find Playstation Home under the PlayStation Network section of the Playstation 3’s XMB on December 11th.