Sony’s announcement of its entrance into the virtual world market in March wasn’t taken very seriously by many people . Sony’s virtual world “Home” connects PS3 (Playstation 3) users over a broadband connection to other PS3 users where they can create avatars, watch and upload movies, and socialize. Initially, Sony didn’t get the fanfare response they were hoping.
One reason is that Home isn’t as open as Second Life or There.com. In fact, most people considered Sony’s Home to be a very controlled environment. Most of the development of Home will be created by Sony and users will have few options to customize the world beyond avatar tools. One of the advantages however is that users receive an apartment when they enter the world. I still think owning individual land is a major piece of the Virtual World experience and serves as a factor for virtual world adoption, more on that later.
A new game being developed for PS3 with virtual world implications is generating quite a bit of excitement. Little Big Planet is a game that allows users to create and share their own content, download and play other users levels, and allows for cooperative play with other users. The graphics and physics engine are amazing and the hope is that Sony will tie this game into Home, allowing user to meet, form social networks, create group level challenges, and more. Could Sony possible allow Little Big Planet to become a developer tool kit for it’s virtual world? Watch this video to see how intuitive the building tools are and to see the amazing graphics and physics. Remember, PS3 is a console based system and the game itself runs on a disc, it isn’t streamed over the web like Second Life.