PlayStation Home Hands-On

We check out Home's game-launching features during Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's PlayStation Day event in London.

At the first PlayStation Day in London today, Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai said that he wouldn't release Home "until he's happy with it." As one of the few individual titles name-checked by Hirai, it's clear that there's a lot of expectation around Home--a title that's expected to be a central hub for online interaction on the PlayStation 3. It may still be in closed beta and only being played by Sony Europe staff, but it's looking more and more advanced, especially when it comes to the game-launching features. We were lucky enough to get a hands-on at PlayStation Day, as well as pitch our questions to the development staff.

While Home was originally pegged as a social networking tool akin to something like Second Life or even Facebook, the developers in the UK have made a more conscious effort recently to reposition the software for gaming. The social networking aspects will still exist with a heavy amount of customisation, interaction, and competition, but the ability to seamlessly move between Home and a traditional gaming experience is going to be something you'll hear being emphasised during the coming months. Taking MotorStorm as an example, the team has made it very easy for you to organise a gaming lobby straight from within Home, using a virtual PSP to customise and launch a game.

We were shown an example of such an experience from a developer who was playing Home in the main home square environment. The home square features video walls (this time playing a MotorStorm Pacific Rift trailer), as well as shops and cinemas, and it's intended to be a hub for up to 64 people to get together and meet. It's worth noting that 64 is the limit on the number of people in one place in Home, while you can only have 50 people on your friends list. The developers clearly recognise the restriction of such a number--Xbox Live has a 100 capacity and still many people do not find this big enough--and expect to increase this limit in the future.

As long as you have a game installed on the hard drive or in the disc tray, you can jump straight into an online lobby from within Home. This means that you skip any of the game's introductions, and in the case of MotorStorm, you even get a custom loading screen that features the Home logo in the corner. Using the PSP interface, you can customise all of the game rules that you'd expect from an online game, including the number of players, private slots, and laps and tracks. Once you're ready to go, a small PlayStation control pad icon appears above your head. This indicates to other Home users that you're ready to play, and they can come over, chat to you, or just join you if they're interested. The demo that we played was running over the Internet, and even in its beta form, moving between Home and a game of MotorStorm was a completely seamless experience.

Home's closed beta has been extended to July, although more and more people will be invited to participate during the coming months. The current plan is to have Home ready for an open beta release on PlayStation Network in November, although given Kaz Hirai's fondness for the project, it's possible that it could slip again. Either way, Home is no doubt going to be huge whenever it launches, so we'll endeavour to bring you more information as and when we can.

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Discussion

153 comments
02050muh
02050muh

hope this gonna be worldwide

gorilla-x
gorilla-x

funny how this home for the ps3 looks so much like a game call second life very much the same thing, it's for PC and it's free.. SL it's a just that a second life it's fun at times, you can get married and be a clan leader among other things the sims got nothing on SL,to those of you that wants to experience a world away from RL give it a try i did for a bout 2 years good luck and have fun see you in world

DaSlyOne
DaSlyOne

Wow, how did this old post resurface? I tried HOME out and it sucked. Bunch of little pre-teens running around getting excited when they saw a female avatar. Then they show off their complete lack of social skills while trying to "pick up" the female avatar. Fanboys who rip XBox Live for charging for avatar clothes obviously haven't played around in HOME where there's a charge for nearly everything. I'm glad PS3 online is FREE too, because I wouldn't pay for something so lame. Don't get me wrong, I love my PS3, it's the best blu-ray player out there. Plus, I can play all the exclusives to the system. However, my X360 is still my gaming work horse.

DIEHARD117
DIEHARD117

ps3's are the best system ever! but there way to dam expensive so i got a 360 instead and there are sooooooooo many bugs with it. and this PlayStation home makes it look even more superior to every over system.

solidniko
solidniko

i hated the problem(ring of death) with the 360 SO much i got a ps3

BalramRules
BalramRules

Especially the Chamber Apartment Space : )

Jadman131
Jadman131

@Mazza223 No they don't your spelling and Grammer do

mazza223
mazza223

in my opoinion so dont be mean 2 me 4 dis...................................PS3's SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i mean wii's, 360's and ds's are better so dis aint a comment on dis its a comment on ps3,s THEY SUK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mike1146l
mike1146l

no you don't have to pay for it

simaslamer
simaslamer

Looks awesome I wish i new how to get it. Go ps3!

PrinceofSarcasm
PrinceofSarcasm

i was a closed beta tester but no that home has become open beta all psn uses are beta testers

Artemios
Artemios

I beta tested it before it was released to beta public...it's coming along great. Honestly, sony and nintendo, with the launch of their next gen consoles and their innovative ideas are forming a new era of gaming...PSN Home, Mii's, Motion sensor controls-->it's all heading to the virtual realm :) Can't wait to see what else they've got in store for us gamers...have a great christmas break everyone

PSgeek
PSgeek

I hope I can play home?!?!?!?!?!!!!!

wkociol
wkociol

Do i have to pay for this 'home' thing???

djthebandit
djthebandit

I am a beta tester, this is shaping up nicely believe me! Can't wait to see what HOME will bring in the future!

TheClown24
TheClown24

home is going to finally move psn away from xbox live AND its free!

BrandonC3000
BrandonC3000

I think it would actually be far less of a hassle to just pick up a mic and invite all my friends to a party. I'll stick with my Xbox 360.

St33lblad3
St33lblad3

I cant wait until the open beta been waiting for Home ever since it was first announced.

llescaflownell
llescaflownell

Sounds very interesting, it would be nice to have a nice virtual break in between games and monotonous real life. Definitely like how the PS3 is evolving.

Leefx
Leefx

Guess who got his invite to test home with a code on email today!! Woot!! not allowed to discuss it publicly though, its all hush hush apparently :) Get checkin your emails guys....ya never know!

crimped
crimped

it would be cool to watch movies with friends from around the globe, not so much if there are kids who think they are MST3K.

michaelsgreat
michaelsgreat

Sounds like something to do in between playing real games and having a real life. Interested to see where they go with this, though. They could make it really interesting and innovative or just the same stuff we've already seen.

sam1771771
sam1771771

sounds strange... i would rather call my friend and tell him its time to play cod4

PStringa
PStringa

no its free but theres premium content for people who wish to buy it.

Al_Elric
Al_Elric

is it gonna have a paid subscribtion is what i want to know

andrewil
andrewil

im gettin a ps3 for christmas because i LOVE the way the ps3 is going.everyone thought that ps3 was gonna be just to show off how advance sony could really be.but it isnt.it's opening new doors for gaming.personally,i think virtual life is the way forward.it's basically a 3d myspace.and i love the fact that you can have a virtual picture frame with real life photos of stuff in them.how sweet is that? GOD I WANT A PS3!!!!!!

DAKYON
DAKYON

I AGREE WITH Valauliver

Mlarose
Mlarose

i can't wait for this game! hopefully is comes out between oct.-dec.....and its free awesome!!

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

this is gonna be awesome, but wouldn't those video walls use a lot of bandwidth?

GWfreak
GWfreak

This is going to be sweet, but if waiting will make it better I can wait...

hardcore-demon
hardcore-demon

This looks very cool, though I do want it soon, it would be better to wait to let them make it better. Awesome anyways!

JOTJ
JOTJ

home sweet home! if they get it right anyway, this has the potential to be a huge failure or an amazing achievement which will make the ps3 even better than the Sh**box 360 and while the wii is great for partys it just cant compare in the proper games

burstlimit514
burstlimit514

So is it comming in November or Spring of next year? Im hearing both. and i agree with Valauliver the longer the better (or something like that) and you dont have to get it even though its free.

NYrockinlegend
NYrockinlegend

Looks like a great way to meet new people and make new friends and meet friends and challenge them to games online! Well, it's not THAT great, but it sure is something, and it could help out somewhat as well as give more advanced opportunities for the PS3. I'd like to see how this turns out, and it's FREE!

whantwhant
whantwhant

Valauliver you carnt tell me your not getting inpatiant ether. weve been watting now since 07 and getting told different stuff by the different playstation repusentertives so i think to my shelf why did they tell use this in 07 if its not ready yet and i think people would be a lot more patiant if they gave use a proper fixed date in black and white

Valauliver
Valauliver

You guys who are complaining that this is taking to long to release need to stfu until you actually know anything your complaining about. If they released it now, or last year when it wasn't ready you'd then complain it was crap and Sony are such a let down. Oh but no now that its taking ages to come out your complaining about that. Just give Sony a break you morons. How many games are out there that weren't ready to be released, or had such crap design and the designers knew it (i.e. Cat Woman) but publishers push the game studios to hurry it up, and guess what the games suck, about 75% of the video games industey is like this. The only publisher I know that isn't a complete prick is Vivendi Games and Activvision (Well Activision Blizzard now). Its why all Blizzard Entertainment games have been a massive success, cause Vivendi Games give them all the time they need. I've been waiting a year for Wrath of the Lich King expansion for WoW, I know it'll be worth the wait. My point being, the longer this takes to be released you can expect it to be even better than the last time they released news for it. So stop bloody whining at Sony please. And all of you saying "I didn't buy a PS3 for this".... ummm its DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT, if you don't like things like the Sims or Second Life YOU DON'T HAVE TO DOWNLOAD IT. So stop complaining about something you don't have to have jesus crhist this world is full of idiots that whine about everything, especially this damn country -.- And please don't say The Sims and similar things is crap, the first Sims remains to be the #1 selling video game for the PC of all time, so yeah sucks my ass. The way I see the Sims is something to play everynow and then, same I'm going to do with this HOME. I don't even play on my PS3 that much, World of Warcraft ftw :)

twedrossnake
twedrossnake

I think its a great idea !!!! and will show even more playstation dominance over the red ring of fire 360. Ps3 rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

whantwhant
whantwhant

i wish they would give use the chance to play home early in open beta so they can get it ready properly for 09 because waiting till november means sony want have time to sort out all the problems by 09 thats my appion anyway carnt wait till home comes out goner be great

t3rray
t3rray

Looks cool to just just stop playing games and interact with other people for opportunities and etc.

johny52
johny52

i thought home was a place where every1 in the world could go i didnt think it was 64 anyway cant wait to get its goin to be awesome

sludge12345
sludge12345

never mind forget my question its free probably the july beta is for qore

sludge12345
sludge12345

looks awesome but i hav one question about home is it free? lol

Gamer434
Gamer434

well i say watch your ass XBL because playstation is gunna be the online ruler ahahahahahaha im gunna kill myself if they dont do this right and it sucks but if it doesnt everyone who has a xbox 360 get rid of that piece of **** and all u gay wii users can suck my balls cause wii sucks