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PlayStation Home (also marketed and referred to as Home) is a virtual 3D social gaming network developed by Sony Computer Entertainment's London Studio for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network (PSN). It is available directly from the PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar under PlayStation Network. Membership is free, and only requires a PSN account. Home has been in development since early 2005 and started an open public beta test on December 11, 2008.

Home allows users to create a custom avatar, which can be groomed realistically. Users can decorate their avatar's personal apartment with default, bought, or won items. Users can travel throughout the Home world and Home constantly updated by Sony and partners. Each part of the world is known as a space. Public spaces are made for display, entertainment, advertising, or for meeting people. Home features many single and multi-player mini-games. Users can shop for or win new items to further customise their avatar or apartments. Home's primary forms of advertising include spaces themselves, video screens, posters and mini-games. Home hosts a variety of special events which range from prize-giving events to entertaining events. Users can also use Home to connect with friends and meet new people. Upon installation, users can choose how much hard disk space they wish to reserve for Home (3, 5, 8, or 12 GB).

Playstation Home
PlayStation Home Logo

The Playstation Home logo.


Facts
Full name PlayStation Home
Release Date Online
Current Version 1.55
Type Community Simulation
Console Playstation 3
Producer Playstation
Commercial No §


HistoryEdit

[1][2]The first "Central Plaza" was inside and enclosed from other spaces.PlayStation Home (or Home[4]), originally named 'Hub',[5] started as a 2D online lobby for the PlayStation 2 game, The Getaway: Black Monday. However, the online userbase for the PlayStation 2 was too small and the project was never completed before the release of the PlayStation 3, at which point the developers began porting code to the new platform. Phil Harrison, then president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, liked the idea of having a virtual 3D community hub for PlayStation gamers, and transferred the project to become PlayStation Home.[6] In a 2007 keynote speech, Phil Harrison used the term "Game 3.0" to describe the service.[7]

An online-based service had been the subject of speculation since the launch of the PlayStation Network. Sony had expressed interest in such a service, specifically trophies (known at the time as "entitlements") for first-party titles.[8] PlayStation Home, as a feature, was first publicly mentioned in an interview with NG-Gamer.[9] This was later detailed by Kotaku[10] and finally confirmed by NG-Gamer.[11] It was officially announced by Phil Harrison on March 7, 2007, during his keynote speech at the 2007 Game Developers Conference[12] and was originally scheduled for a global public release in October 2007.[13]

Home was delayed and expanded[14] several times before initially releasing.[15][16] Invitations to the closed beta were offered to winners of a weekly Warhawk online gaming event.[17] Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., stated that "Spending more time on the development and on the Closed Beta testing reaffirms our commitment to bringing a quality service, maintaining the PlayStation tradition". In July 2008, further invitations were sent to some Home XMB theme downloaders in Japan and North America.[18][19] SCEE and SCEHK did the same, but without releasing a Home XMB theme.[20] Users who purchased more than HK$60 or SG$12 worth of content in a single transaction over the PlayStation Store from August 29 to September 12, 2008 were also invited.[21] In November 2008, SCEA invited annual Qore subscribers.[22] After major version 1.0, invitations were sent worldwide.[23][24]

The Open Beta test began on December 11, 2008. In March 2009, the world's first console-based and virtual world-based ARG was released called Xi, made by nDreams, that involved users to find clues in Home and in the real world. In June 2009, Peter Edwards, Director of Home for SCEE, reported that the number of users exceeded 7 million and that 80% of users are male aged 18–35.[25] At TGS 2009, Kaz Hirai announced that Home has been downloaded by 8 million users.[26] Jack Buser, Director of Home for SCEA, stated that, "we quite like the name 'open beta,' so you can expect us to stay in open beta for some time."[27] In a Eurogamer interview with Peter Edwards on July 24, 2009, Edwards commented that the service will no longer be beta when it "represents a kind of final quality."[28] On October 14, 2009, Jack Buser announced that "the vision of Home has evolved." He said that originally, they were building Home as a "social network for gamers", but it has now developed into a "game platform, first and foremost."[29] December 11, 2009 marked the one year anniversary of the Open Beta, with events to correspond.

On December 17, 2009, SCEA released its first in-Home Massively multiplayer online game, produced specifically for Home. The game is called Sodium.[30] This makes the second game produced specifically for Home, the first being the ARG Xi.

In February 2010, it was reported that emails were sent out to a select few PlayStation Home members inviting them to participate in a new private beta test for the service. This beta is to "test and obtain feedback on changes that have been made based on suggestions by PS Home Community."[31]

On March 10, 2009 Sony announced that Home had reached a total of 12 million registered users worldwide.

OperationEdit

Home is in third person, users walk or jog in that way. Upon entering Home, users are greeted with the "Message of the Day"'. It contains administrative information such as upcoming updates, events, and event winners. The Message of the Day is updated daily.

User InterfaceEdit

PlayStation Home has no HUD, however, all of Home’s features are available from the controller. The options are: Quick Chat, a Gestures menu, the Menu Pad, the Safe Screen, and in-game XMB. In time, users will be able to play music on their PlayStation 3 hard drive. Whether this will be private or can be heard by others will be determined by a complicated licensing issue that Sony must attempt to solve.[32]

The "Menu Pad" (formerly, a virtual PSP) – accessible by pressing Start; controls the user's avatar’s appearance – with the 'Wardrobe', decorations, where to travel (with the 'Navigator'), settings, and other main options. It has twelve options including a Help menu for beginners. The Menu Pad features a navigator and an inventory, which has portable objects such as the “Bubble machine”. "Home Stuff" in the shopping complex, will soon have inventory items for purchase, which the user can use at any time. Users can take screenshots of Home in either first or third person view with the camera and save them to their PS3's HDD. Another new type of items that will be released are limited time items, like a shrinking potion; users can only use it a limited number of times and are able to acquire more uses of it by going to the original store the item was purchased from or from their Menu Pad.[33][34] The "Safe Screen" is used for reporting, changing communication settings, and quick access to the user’s Personal Space and XMB friends list.

CommunicationEdit

Users communicate in a variety of ways in Home. They are able to write text messages to each other using either a physical or on-screen keyboard. These messages appear in speech bubbles over the avatar's head and in the 'chat log'. Voice chat, with the use of a USB or Bluetooth headset is currently only available within personal spaces and clubs or by making a 'Phone call' to a specific user. The user can also perform gestures (or "e-motes") such as waving, nodding or dancing.[35] A 'Quick chat' feature, which has predetermined phrases, is also available.

EconomyEdit

Although the service itself can be used free of charge, premium content is available to purchase from various stores in the shopping complex. Users browse and pay for items, such as virtual clothing and furniture, by accessing a shop and using its PlayStation Store interface. Items are paid for in real currency using funds from the user's PlayStation Network Wallet.[36][37] Alongside content designed by SCE, actual companies are also able to sell virtual goods through their own stores in Home. For example, Diesel and Ligne Roset are both represented in Home with their own stores where users can purchase virtual items based on their companies’ own clothing and furniture designs respectively.[38]

Advertising is prominent in Home’s public spaces. Currently, this is primarily PlayStation focused although other video gaming-related brands are also represented. Most advertising is targeted to specific regional audiences.[13]

Demonstrated at the CESA Developers Conference 2009 by Masami Kando, "a future update will allow users to load up the PlayStation Store directly from Home." "This", he said, "will allow you to do such things as download demos from PlayStation Home via PlayStation Store and play online with friends".[39] The presentation also offered a look at a variety of Home technology demos including synchronized playback of multimedia content; the player was able to access a virtual media player whose menu contained listings for real net radio and pod casts. Additionally, the player's virtual Bravia set was made to show commercials. In both instances, users were able to enjoy the content with their friends. The second demonstration showed a pet robot walking about a player's personal space. The player could do actions that the pet would respond to. Kando pointed out that "this system allows for single players to enjoy themselves and does not require a keyboard." Additionally, the robot could be used to offer pertinent information to the user.

Pre-order bonusesEdit

One of the ways Sony has used advertising in Home is with pre-order bonuses for PS3 games, mainly from Amazon.com. The first Home pre-order bonus was for the PS3 exclusive Killzone 2. Users in the North American Home who pre-ordered Killzone 2 from Amazon.com received free I.S.A. and Helghast costumes for their avatar.[40] Also, on February 16, 2009, if users located a Helghast soldier in the North American Home, they were granted access to the Killzone 2 demo.[41] Another pre-order bonus occurred with the PS3 exclusive inFamous. Users in the North American Home who pre-ordered inFamous received a Reaper costume for their avatar.[42] Also, if users of the North American Home downloaded the demo of inFamous and beat it, users received a Cole costume for their avatar on June 18, 2009 and still can continue to do so.[43] The next pre-order occurred with Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, but this time, the pre-order was from Game Crazy. If users pre-ordered the "Space Package" for the game, the users received a PlayStation Home Avatar Skin, which is just a t-shirt for their avatar.[44] The next pre-order came back to Amazon. If users pre-ordered Darksiders, they received a Ruin Head Mask and War Armor for their avatar.[45] MAG received a pre-order bonus as well. For those who pre-ordered MAG, they received an "S.V.E.R. Barracks" personal space.[46] The latest Amazon.com pre-order bonus was for Bioshock 2. If users pre-ordered Bioshock 2, they received a Big Daddy costume.[47] The vouchers from Amazon.com for the pre-order bonuses are sent out within ten days after the games release and expire 90 days after the games release. The European and Japanese versions of Home also had chances to get these pre-order costumes as well but through different pre-order promotions and events.

PlayStation Home TVEdit

On December 23, 2009, SCEE launched PlayStation Home TV to the European Home. Home TV features the latest news about forthcoming Home releases and events. If users have a community event they think should be featured in Home TV, or any other news, they can email Home TV. New episodes of Home TV will be released monthly. Episodes of Home TV are featured in Europe's Home Theatre.[48]

Avatar and Personal SpacesEdit

Users are given an avatar and an invitation-only apartment which they can personalise with their own choice of decor and furnishings. The user's avatar is the means of travel and communication. The user's personal spaces and clubs are means of expressing their selves and meeting new people and friends alike.

AvatarEdit

Users can create their own avatar or use one of several preset avatars available in Home.[49] Users can access the Wardrobe from the Menu Pad at any time and location except when in another user's personal apartment. They may customise a variety of the characters features including gender, skin tone, hair, body shape and facial structure. They may also customise their avatar's clothing and accessories using a set of standard items, items bought from one of the clothing shops in Home's shopping complex, or won items from Home's mini-games or PS3 games that support Home rewards. The user has the ability to save up to nine versions of their avatar for quick access at any time. [3][4]The PlayStation Home avatar and Harbour Studio HomeSpace.===Personal Spaces=== Each user has a Personal Space, called a "HomeSpace", which they can modify and change any time they are in it. The initial basic apartment, the Harbour Studio (a studio overlooking a harbour), is free and offers users limited options, such as a 50 item limit, for customisation and personalisation. In the future, Sony will provide tools that will enable users to have an even greater ability to create their own Personal spaces and content. Users may invite any other Home user (even cross-region) to their Personal Space and in time, will be able to stream the host's music from their console's hard drive.[50] Videos may be enabled in the future, but not during the opening stages of the beta.[51] Users can also place their own digital photographs in picture frames to display on the wall of their apartment; this feature is currently available to the Asian, Japanese, and North American versions.[52] Whilst the Harbour Studio and basic furniture is provided to all users free of charge, premium Personal Spaces, dedicated furniture for the premium Personal Spaces, and other furniture is available to purchase from the shopping complex. Some furniture and decorative ornaments can be won from the mini-games in Home and PS3 games that support Home rewards.

Premium Personal spaces are available from the Home Estates store in Home's shopping complex. The first Premium Personal space was the Summer House. A lot of the Premium Personal spaces are available to all of the regions, however, some are region exclusive. For example, the Post Apocalypse Apartment is exclusive to North America, while The Lost Dam Hideout is exclusive to Europe. There are also a few that are only available to Europe and North America. An example of this would be The London Pub. The Neptune Suite, exclusive to Europe and North America, was the first Premium Personal space to feature a mini-game, be underwater, and feature an interactive pet. Sony has released many Premium Personal spaces for Home, from both first party and third party developers, with many more to come.

Games can also have Premium Personal spaces based on them. The Visari Throne Room is based on Visari's Throne Room from the last level of Killzone 2. Users who own Batman: Arkham Asylum can unlock a special Batman: Arkham Asylum Batcave Outpost personal apartment.[53] Users who pre-ordered MAG from Amazon.com received an S.V.E.R. PlayStation Home Personal Space, called the S.V.E.R. Barracks.[46] Other games with game-based Premium Personal spaces include MotorStorm, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Warhawk, LocoRoco, Final Fantasy XIII, and Monkey Island.

Sony has given users the chance to get a free Premium Personal space on a couple of occasions. The Chamber Apartment was the first and was only available from May 14, 2009 to May 21, 2009 in the North American Home.[54] The Tree House Personal Apartment[55] was for the celebration of the first anniversary of the PlayStation Home Open Beta (December 11, 2009) and was available for free from December 10, 2009 to December 23, 2009 in the European Home. Users now have to purchase the space from Home Estates. The Final Fantasy XIII personal space, the "Eden - Primarch's Vigilarium", was avaialble for free in celebration of the launch of Final Fantasy XIII in Japan from December 17, 2009 until January 13, 2010. Now users must purchase this space from Home Estates.

Heavy Water is responsible for making the Chamber Apartment, the Post-Apocalypse Apartment, and the Wizard's Den. They have released the most content for Home to date than any other development studio.[56]

In time, Home will have a Hall of Fame which will include "Trophy Rooms". The Trophy Room is a Personal Space where users are able to display 3D representations of their PlayStation Network Trophies.

ClubsEdit

Users are able to purchase a Club. Currently, there is only one club to purchase called the Basic Clubhouse. Each club has a leader (the user who purchased the club) who can elect up to 4 sub-leaders and can have up to 32 members in total. A user can only be a member of up to five clubs and if the user owns a club, they can only be a member of up to four clubs. Also, a user can only own one club. In a similar way to Personal Spaces, the club's owner is able to set-up and decorate a private clubhouse as a meeting point for club members. The clubhouse also features a notice board where the leader and sub-leaders can post messages and announcements to other members. There is also a video screen in the clubhouse that has currently only played two interviews from the directors and actors of the films Watchmen and Star Trek. Japan's clubhouse video screen has the option to access a Home members page after they've entered their PSN info.[57] With v1.30, users can now blacklist other users from being a member of their club.[34]

Stage Sets from LootEdit

Stage Sets are premium personal spaces where users, if they have a video capture system, can make their own machinimas in Home.[58] The Stage Sets are created by Loot, a newly formed group of developers from Sony Pictures Entertainment that creates experiences and products for Home.[59] Loot has currently only made the Stage Sets available to the North American version, until April 15, 2010 when the Ghostbusters Firehouse: On Location will be released to the European version.

The first Stage Set, the Living Room Stage Set from Loot, is loaded with interactive lights, cameras, backdrops and film-related equipment to simulate a real-life studio production environment. The lighting and camera systems allow for a wide range of desired angles, movements, transitions, cuts and lens set-ups that allow users to take control of the technical and artistic aspects. Combined with twelve props and a director's t-shirt that come with the space to decorate the set, users have access to the tools necessary to create their own film when hooked up to a video capture system.

The second Stage Set to be released from Loot in joint with Atari and Terminal Reality is the Ghostbusters Firehouse: On Location.[60] This space is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Ghostbusters and it's worldwide release on Blu-ray on June 18, 2009. The Firehouse personal space is a detailed replica of the three floor Ghostbusters’ headquarters from the original film. It comes complete with the ghost containment unit in the basement, the garage and office areas on the 1st floor, plus the living room, laboratory, fire poles, bedroom and bathroom areas. It comes with the Living Room Stage Set's camera functionality, film props and portable blue screens. Users can, through the use of an external special effects/compositing programs, create images of their avatar driving the film's Ecto-1 vehicle in their own machinima movies. Users are also able to fly around as Slimer, a character from the film. Twenty-one furniture items and ornaments and a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man headwear for users avatars also comes with the purchase of the space. Ghostbusters costumes, other ornaments, and t-shirts from Loot are available at the shopping complex. This Stage Set was made available to North America on June 18, 2009. This Stage Set will be released to the European version on April 15, 2010.[61]

Public SpacesEdit

There are four main regions of Home: Asia, Europe, Japan, and North America. Countries that are not geographically related to those regions, such as Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and United Arab Emirates, join Europe. Japan is the only country with its own version of Home. Each region has different features as well as some similar ones. SCEHK operates the Asian Home, SCEE operates the European Home, SCEJ operates the Japanese Home, and SCEA operates the North American Home.

"Spaces" on the Navigator are broken-up into categories based on the Spaces' publisher or purpose. Home consists of locations from Sony Computer Entertainment and various third-parties. These include a central meeting point; a bowling alley and gaming arcade; a shopping complex; a café; and various game, developer, and company Spaces. The user's personal spaces and clubs are accessed through a different option in the Menu Pad.

The Spaces' names and availability vary based on the user's location. For example, the shopping complex is called the "Shopping Mall" in Asia and Japan, "The Mall" in North America, and the "Shopping Centre" in Europe.

Core SpacesEdit

[5][6]The North American Central Plaza from version 1.30The Core Spaces are the spaces made by Sony Computer Entertainment, specifically for the Home environment. These are the main spaces of Home and are updated the most. They are also where most events occur. The Core Spaces from SCE are the central meeting point, the theatre, the bowling alley and gaming arcade, the shopping complex, the café, and the PlayStation Events Spaces.

The Home Square (Europe,[62] Asia,[63] and Japan) or Central Plaza (North America[64]) is Home's central meeting point where users commonly meet and chat. It is where much of the advertising occurs, and it connects all of the core Home spaces together. Currently, they have two video screens, advertising posters, and region-specific features (such as Listen@Home for North America).

Also in the Central Plaza, there is a mini-game "Saucer Pop". With update v1.30, a World Map Travel Centre was added to the Central Plaza, which lets users access the Navigator, as well as a kiosk that offers free content from events and content from PlayStation Network.[65] The European Home Square has the mini-game "Helicopter Hit", and a place to play chess and draughts/checkers. The Asian and Japanese Home Squares have a pier, located behind the Game Space. The Asian and Japanese Home Squares, from time to time, feature an attraction in the middle of the Home Square.

The Home Theatre[66] (Asia, Europe, and Japan), or Movie Theatre Lobby (North America) is a virtual cinema where users can view a range of video content. This content includes film, game trailers, video game features from third-party publishers such as Eurogamer, and full-length TV shows. Videos are displayed in the 3D environment on virtual video screens which can be viewed full screen. Users can walk around the cinema that they are in and sit in the seats. The Move Theatre Lobby also features a shop where users can purchase film related clothes and a few other items.[67] Japan's theatre occasionally has a kiosk of a sort set up for events that are occurring.

At the Bowling Alley (Europe[68] and North America[64]) or the Game Space (Asia[69] and Japan), social mini-games such as 10-pin bowling and pool billiards can be played; it also features a variety of arcade-machine games including Echochrome. Prizes are awarded for beating the arcade-machine games. Currently, there are pool tables, bowling lanes, arcade machines, video screens, and dart boards (Game Space only). The Game Space also features arcades from the Namco Museum.comm PSN downloadable game.

The Shopping Centre (Europe[70]), The Mall (North America[64]), or Shopping Mall (Asia[71] and Japan), is where all purchases are made. The shopping complexes allow users to buy new clothes, accessories, premium locations (such as new Personal Spaces), and other items. Purchases use PlayStation Network Wallet funds, and work in a manner similar to the PlayStation Store. Currently there are stores, a video screen, advertising posters, and a place to play chess (unavailable in the Shopping Mall). The current stores for Asia, Europe, and Japan consist of "Home Stuff", "Home Estates", "Home Threads", a Home "furniture store", 'Ligne Roset' furniture, 'Diesel' clothes, Alter Ego, and The Original V-Shirt Store. The latter four are unavailable in Asia and Japan. With the February 18, 2010 update, North America's shopping complex stores include Home Threads, Home Furniture, Home Estates, Home Costumes, Diesel clothes, and five new stores for Home Exclusives, Loot, EA Sports, Sodium, and a LucasArts Store, which sells Star Wars and Indiana Jones content.

The Home Café (Asia[63] and Japan) or The Gamer's Lounge (North America) is a two-story building where users can meet up and chat. There is a water feature, a wine gallery and chairs.[72] The space has featured a "developer talk" which occurred on March 4, 2009 in The Gamer's Lounge with the developers of Street Fighter IV. Users got to ask the developers questions about the game.[73] On April 15, 2010, The Gamer's Lounge updated and now features a Liar's Dice mini-game, a ticker that is pulled from the Official PlayStation Home Twitter account, and a survey that rewards virtual items. The Gamer's Lounge is also now the host space for the Featured Game parties in North America which was previously hosted at the Listen@Home kiosk in the Central Plaza. For a time, Japan’s Café was sponsored by Famitsu Game Magazine which featured Famitsu's mascot and a display of their office. The Home Café for Japan has been remodeled as the "Music Café" and features the first floor as a "Sound Space" for a dance club-like feel with music and on the second floor, a "Gallery Space" displaying various Sony entertainment products such as Bravia televisions, VAIO computers, Walkman products and a Questionnaire with rewards.[74] The Café is still closed for Asia and is unavailable to Europe.

The Hong Kong/Korea/Taiwan/Singapore Lounge is a new Home Core Space only available in the Asian Home. Unlike other pan-Asia spaces such as the Home Square, this lounge is exclusive to users of the same region only. Here, users can find other users coming from the same region and learn about special events for their own region.

PlayStation Events SpaceEdit

The PlayStation Events Space[75] opens to the public in the occurrence of a special event. This space consists of four known spaces - Events Landing, The Gallery, the Presentation Podium, and The Backstage Pass - and is a venue for special events, announcements, and parties.

The first event was the "PSP-3000 Treasure Hunt" and began on January 29, 2009 and went until February 12, 2009. It featured "Events Landing" and "The Gallery". When first entering the space, users received a PSP Loco Roco hat for their avatar. In this event, users had to search for eight codes in the events spaces and enter them into the Touchpad for a chance to win a PSP-3000. Events Landing featured a mini-game called Tri Sphere and two video screens. The Gallery featured animated LocoRocos, a 'Touchpad', which accessed the PSP-3000 Treasure Hunt, a music-playing sphere, and two video screens. During this first event, the space was only used by Europe.[76] The Presentation Podium was first used for the E3 2009 event in Europe and North America that occurred from May 21, 2009 to June 18, 2009. It featured a jumbo screen that showed Sony's E3 press conference during and after E3. North America also had exclusive virtual shirts during this event for the users to obtain by finding voucher codes spread out through Home's core spaces.[77] The Backstage Pass was first used during the Heavy Rain: Evidence Analysis event in Europe from January 28, 2010 to March 24, 2010. This event required users to enter into the big doors behind the jumbo screen in the Presentation Podium which lead to The Backstage Pass. After doing so, users were presented with another security door which would only open when certain criteria was fulfilled. If users could get through this door, they were be able to play the "Heavy Rain: Evidence Analysis" mini-game that had a special reward.[78]

There is an event currently going on that began on March 4, 2010 using Events Landing. This event is for Hustle Kings and is called "Hustle Kings Ball Dodge Challenge!" Users will be transported onto a giant pool table, where they’ll have ten seconds to find a safe spot to stand before a shot is taken. To win users will need to pocket plenty of points; the big scores will be chalked up by those closest to the travelling balls. If users survive ten shots, and they'll win a Hustle Kings Cape for their avatar. If users can be the in first place on the leaderboard, they'll win the ultimate prize: a bejewelled Hustle Kings Crown topped with an iconic black 8 ball.[79]

Other events that have utilized the PlayStation Events Space include E3 2009 using the Presentation Podium, Fat Princess: Quest for Cake using Events Landing and The Gallery[80], Gamescom 2009 using the Presentation Podium[81], Buzz! Tomato Challenge using Events Landing[82], PSPgo: Team Trial using the Presentation Podium[83], an event celebrating the launch of Groove Armada's album "Black Light", which was in association with VidZone, using the Presentation Podium[84], the Gravity Crash: Maze to the Mothership! using the Presentation Podium[85], the Heavy Rain: Evidence Analysis using the Presentation Podium and The Backstage Pass, and the White Knight Chronicles Photo Challenge! using The Gallery[86]. The Presentation Podium is the most frequently used PlayStation Events Space. Most events that have utilized the PlayStation Events Space were only available to Europe. North America used the space during E3 2009 and the Fat Princess event. Asia also used the space for the Fat Princess event but it took place right after Europe and North America's Fat Princess event ended.

Game SpacesEdit

Main article: List of PlayStation Home Game SpacesSony Computer Entertainment and various third parties can create dedicated "Game Spaces" for specific games. These spaces generally depict a level of the game itself and have mini-games or interactions related to the game. There are currently thirty Game Spaces that have been released for Home. These Game Spaces vary depending on the region the user is in.

The first five Game Spaces released for the Home Open Beta were Uncharted: Drake's Fortune "Sully's Bar",[87] Far Cry 2 "Reuben's Office", Far Cry 2 "Train Station", Minna no Golf Lounge, and Siren: New Translation Lounge. The first three were released in the North American Home and the last two for the Japanese Home at the launch of the Open Beta. The Resident Evil 5 "Studio Lot" (or Biohazard 5 "Film Studio") is the first space to offer an in-lounge shop. The inFamous space is the first space to broadcast exclusive media from the games developer, which in this case is Sucker Punch Productions. The Dizzee Rascal VIP Room for the SingStar space was the first space to have a performance by a musical artist.[88] The Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Game Space makes the Uncharted series the first series to have a Game Space for both games of its series. R-Type Tactics II: Operation Bitter Chocolate is the first PSP title to receive a Game Space. The SOCOM: Opposing Force Game Space is the first space to award items for use in the game itself. Users can win a Golden AK-47 for use in SOCOM: Confrontation.

Some games, such as Namco Museum.comm/Essentials, Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil 5/Biohazard 5, SingStar (Europe), Makai Senki Disgaea 3 (Japan),[89], Minna de Spelunker (Japan), Catan (Japan), Batman: Arkham Asylum, Tekken 6, Buzz!: Quiz World, and White Knight Chronicles support Home rewards. The users receive the rewards by earning certain trophies in the game itself or by simply launching the game in their PS3. The inFamous demo and the Namco Museum.comm/Essentials demo also support Home rewards.

The PSP has support for Home rewards as well.[90] In Japan, the first and currently only game with Home rewards support is The Idolmaster SP.

In a discussion at GDC 2009 on March 25, 2009, Jack Buser stated, "You'll see about three new spaces launched a month...I'll be shocked if we ever go under that number, we have so much in the pipeline."[91]

Outso is a developing company that develops some of the Game Spaces for Home. Outso is responsible for making the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, inFAMOUS, Resistance 2, and Warhawk spaces for the respective games developer. They have also made the mini-games in those spaces as well as the "SOCOM Telestrator" in the SOCOM space, Saucer Pop in the Central Plaza, ranking leaderboards in spaces, high quality interactive mini-games, animated furniture and clothing, and user generated content, more specifically the "inFAMOUS Graffiti" in the inFAMOUS space.[92]

Game Developer SpacesEdit

Main article: List of PlayStation Home Game Spaces#Game Developer Spaces[7][8]The EA Sports Complex Red Poker Room.Video game developers are able to create "Developer Spaces" for their developing company to showcase their products in Home.[93] These spaces act similarly to Game Spaces except they are not for a specific game like the Game Spaces are. These spaces generally have mini-games related to their company or games and offer a wide range of content for purchase based on their company. Currently, only four game developers have made Game Developer Spaces for Home; Namco Bandai, EA Sports, Irem, and Q-Games.

Namco Bandai was the first to do this with their "Namco Bandai" space in Japan on December 11, 2008. It has also been released in Asia on March 26, 2009 and North America on July 16, 2009[94] . It is unconfirmed for Europe. Their Namco arcade features all of the Namco Museum collection that can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store in those regions. They have also released a game space for Tekken 6. Irem also teamed up with Home and released the Irem Square[95] on February 26, 2009, July 23, 2009, and January 14, 2010 for Japan, Asia, and North America respectively. They have also released another promotional space called the Seaside of Memories[96] on August 13, 2009 for both Asia and Japan and March 4, 2010 for North America. This space is the first space to let users go in and under the water. In addition to the two promotional spaces, Irem has also released a Game Space for their games Minna de Spelunker, R-Type Tactics II: Operation Bitter Chocolate, and PachiPara DL Hyper Sea Story In Karibu, the first two of which are available to Asia and Japan, while the third is currently only Japan. Q-Games released a museum show casing four of their games from their hit series PixelJunk. This museum was released on September 24, 2009 for Japan and October 9, 2009 for North America.[97]

EA Sports is the biggest third-party supporter for Home having released a total of five spaces, many virtual items, and are still developing more content for Home. They released the long awaited "EA Sports Complex" on April 23, 2009 for Europe and North America. The EA Sports Complex was developed by Heavy Water for EA Sports.[98] EA Sports updates the Complex frequently and it now features five rooms; the EA Sports Racing Complex, the EA Sports Golf Complex, the EA Sports Complex Green Poker Room, the EA Sports Complex Red Poker Room, and Club Fight Night, which is the game space for Fight Night Round 4.[99] The EA Sports Complex was released to Japan on October 9, 2009. Each room features a mini-game, each with different rewards. EA has also released sports jerseys for the NFL, and NCAA college football and basketball jerseys. From October to November 2009, EA Sports teamed up with the Home team to produce and distribute exclusive virtual items that served to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 100% of proceeds from these items went toward the Brees Dream Foundation in support of breast cancer research and awareness programs. The items were black jerseys with a pink number 9 on the front and the name Brees on the back also in pink.[97][100] On November 25, 2009, Fight Night Round 4 producers Mike Mahar and Brian Hayes were in Home between the hours of 4:00pm and 5:00pm PT (7:00pm and 8:00pm EST), for a live chat with the PlayStation Home community in one instance of the Club Fight Night space.[101]

SCEJ have also announced that Sony have given licenses to 24 companies to produce content for Home. As well as independent Japanese developers (such as Irem and Koei) the list also includes international companies such as Activision, Capcom, Tecmo, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Konami, Namco Bandai, Sega, and Ubisoft.[102]

Non-gaming Company SpacesEdit

Main article: List of PlayStation Home Game Spaces#Non-gaming Company SpacesNon-gaming-related companies can also create sponsored "Company Spaces" for Home.[103] These also act similarly to Game Spaces but are specifically made to sponsor the companies products.

The first company to do this was Red Bull with their "Red Bull Space" released on January 8, 2009 for Europe and North America which features the Red Bull Air Race mini-game.[104] The "Air Race" is a virtual version of the real-life event. On November 26, 2009, Red Bull released two new spaces for Europe and North America, one for the Red Bull Illume and the other for the Red Bull Flugtag. The "Illume" space has an exhibition of action and adventure sports photographs from Red Bull Illume. The winning photograph from each of the competition’s ten categories is displayed on large illuminate cubes, imitating the real-life exhibit. The "Red Bull Beach" space has the Red Bull Flugtag mini-game where users can compete against one another by launching one of five flying machines off of a 30-foot high deck to try and achieve flight. It also features a Red Bull Jukebox with ten different tunes from Red Bull.[101]

In the Japanese Home, Coca-Cola had placed a vending machine in Home that took users to a space called the "Georgia Break Station". The vending machines also distributed original avatar items and presents, along with "C-pons", digital coupons that could be used to get real drinks from real vending machines. This was to promote Coca-Cola's Georgia series of canned coffee. The space was a lounge that functioned similarly to The Gamer's Lounge in North America. It had two in-lounge avatars that spoke to the users regarding the Georgia coffee with exclusive limited time items and was available from September 7, 2009 to December 17, 2009.[105]

At Gamescom 2009, SCEE president Andrew House announced that Audi would be supporting Home starting off with content in Home's theatre and then later, a dedicated Home space.[106] Audi is the first carmaker to develop a space for Home. The Audi Space features two spaces: the "Audi Home Terminal", and the "Audi Vertical Run" which accesses the mini-game. The Audi Space was released on December 17, 2009 to the European Home[85]. The Home Terminal features an Audi TV channel delivering video content as well as an internet portal where users can get information off of the internet from Audi. The mini-game Vertical Run is a futuristic mini-game featuring Audi's e-tron concept. Players collect energy and race for the highest possible speeds and the fastest players can earn their very own "Audi Apartment". Audi has stated that additional content will be added in 2010.[107]

Sony have also released spaces dedicated to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Liar Game. These are only available in Japan.

Phil Harrison stated that locations built around famous coffee, drinks, clothing, and record companies; along with major retailers and other such companies could feature content depending on the company's desire to create Home content.

Game LaunchingEdit

Game Launching is a feature in Home which allows users to launch PS3 games while in Home. There are two types of Game Launching: full and simplified. "Full Game Launching" support allows users to organize and start multi-player games with other Home users, who may or may not be on their friends lists. Users can set up a full game launching session by going into their Menu Pads, selecting "Game Launching", and setting up a session with advanced options, like how many players and the map or level and settings, for the game they want to launch. They can also join an existing session. When users have set up a game that is ready to launch, the name of the game and how many players have joined the session is shown under the users' names above their avatar's head. By using the Game Launching feature, users are entered directly into the game, bypassing the normal title screen. After the match ends, users can either quit the game and be returned to their XMB, or they can quit the game and be returned back to Home.

Currently, games that fully support game launching are Warhawk, Resident Evil 5/Biohazard 5, Everybody's Golf: World Tour/Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds/Minna no Golf 5, Namco Museum.comm/Essentials (Asia & Japan), Minna de Spelunker (Asia & Japan), Catan (Japan), Street Fighter IV, Resistance 2, Crash Commando, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, Far Cry 2, Buzz!: Quiz TV, Buzz!: Quiz World, the Lost Planet 2 Co-op demo, Tekken 6, LittleBigPlanet, and Hustle Kings.

"Simplified Game Launching", also known as Universal Game Launching, was implemented with Core Client update v1.30. With simplified game launching, users simply insert a game into their PS3 while in Home and follow the on screen directions. Users have a limited number of options to select with simplified game launching. For instance, they cannot choose what map or level they want and what settings for the map or level within Home, they must do that after the game has been launched. The name of the game and how many users have joined the session is also shown under the users' names above their avatar's head. This allows any PS3 game to be launched from Home.[34]

User-generated contentEdit

User-generated content for Home is slowly being implemented. In time, Home may have a greater ability for user-generated content, but under strict moderation.[108] Picture frames are the first feature to support user-generated content with photo sharing. The inFamous Game Space also supports user-generated content by allowing users to create their own unique graffiti designs in the graffiti mini-game and save it to their PS3s HDD to display for their friends.

On October 16, 2009, Rockstar Games began having "Beaterator Parties" at the Listen@Home station in North America's Central Plaza. Beaterator is a PSP game that allows users to mix their own music and produce their own loops. Rockstar Games will be playing users uploaded Beaterator tracks at Listen@Home during the Beaterator Sessions.[109]

GamesEdit

XiEdit

Main article: Xi (alternate reality game)Xi (pronounced /ˈsaɪ/ (UK) or /ˈzaɪ/ (US) "zee" in English.) was the world's first console-based Alternate Reality Game. The game was an adventure to help find "Jess" and the meaning of Xi by collecting fragments and butterflies that took place in a series of secret areas in Home that changed frequently.[110] The game also involved the users to search for clues in the real world.[111] This game was created by nDreams who released several spaces for Xi including, "The Hub" and another space called "Home Maintenance" as well as "Alpha Zones 1", "2", and "3" within The Hub and "Party at Jess's Apartment" within Home Maintenance. When users completed Xi, they were no longer able to access The Hub, but could access the "Xi Alumni Hub" in its place. Xi was advertised via clues and hints during the month prior to its release on March 23, 2009. The clues were hidden in the Menu Pad and videos in the central meeting point. Xi and all of the corresponding spaces were exclusive to Europe and North America. The only spaces users can access now that Xi is over, are the Xi Alumni Hub and Alpha Zone 1 - Game Test Area, Maximum-Tilt Lobby, & Adventure Lobby; the Alpha Zone 1 spaces are accessed through the teleport in the Xi Alumni Hub. The Xi Alumni Hub was added to the world map on July 2, 2009 alongside the Xi logo.

As of September 2009, since Xi's release, the number of visits to the spaces, including the remaining spaces, has exceeded 5 million visits.[112]

SodiumEdit

Main article: Sodium (PlayStation Home)Sodium[113] is the first Home based Massively multiplayer online game released on December 17, 2009 to the European and North American versions of Home.[30] This game was developed by Outso and published by Lockwoood Publishing. This new MMO will continue to grow and expand as Home does. Like in Xi, there is a space for the game that can be accessed through the Navigator. The space is called the "Sodium Hub" and is a futuristic setting where "interstellar travel, rapid colonization of the galaxy, inexhaustible energy, advanced Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and the power of travel between quantum realities" all feels very real. Users start somewhere in the Nevada desert. An in-lounge avatar named "VICKIE" assigns the objectives that puts the users into individual or multiplayer combat, which allows users to earn credits and rewards that can be redeemed later. Sodium boasts several different types of games, including "meta-games, full arcade-style games and community events." The very first section of the game is called Sodium One featuring the "Salt Shooter Game," which is where users must hunt "self-replacing robots with tanks in order to control their population." Salt Shooter is accessed through the free personal space called the "Salt Shooter Game" accessed through a teleporter in the Sodium Hub or in the users Menu Pad. The first five levels are entirely free; after which, users can unlock additional levels and new experiences with the purchase of virtual items (ranging from $0.99 to $4.99 USD). New games, virtual items, and community events will continually be added. Sodium One is the first part of a four series game for Home.

Sodium 2: Project Velocity was released on June 16, 2011. Sodium 2 is the first game for Home to utilize the new tools and features introduced with core client v1.50. Sodium 2: Project Velocity is a completely free to play (unlike Sodium One) high-speed extreme racing game, similar to the WipEout series of games. Sodium 2 features a single player mode that allows users to hone their skills and progress through the Sodium 2 XP system. Users can build XP, complete objectives, earn Sodium Credits or compete on the world-wide leader board. In addition to single player, Sodium 2 features real-time multiplayer, the first time in PlayStation Home, where users can race against friends or strangers through a growing selection of courses.

EventsEdit

Home plays host to many types of events, such as developer interviews. They are organised by Home and its affiliated content providers. Live events such as sports and concerts may also be broadcast within Home.[114] Premium events may well use the PlayStation Network Wallet. Special events are held at the 'PlayStation Events Space', the 'Home Café' and 'The Gamer's Lounge'.

December 11, 2009 marked the one year anniversary of the Open Beta. During this time, the European and North American Home's treated the PlayStation Home Community for the anniversary. In the European Home, the Home team gave away a free personal apartment, the Tree House Personal Apartment, for two weeks as well as having a winter event in a redesigned Events Landing space. It was renamed the "Winter Wonderland" and featured daily activities for the users to gain rewards.[55] In the North American Home, the Home team placed a Festive Tree in the Central Plaza that had different puzzles daily for different rewards. The first reward was a commemorative Open Beta Anniversary T-shirt. Each days riddle commemorated an event from the first year of the Open Beta.[115] On December 26, 2009, the Festive Tree poofed into smoke to become the PlayStation Home ball which dropped on New Year's Eve counting down the new year. Asia also celebrated the one year anniversary with a Treasure Hunt game from December 10 to December 27, 2009. Users who found the secret code and messaged it to the specified moderator had the chance to win a HK$100 PSN voucher or a PSP go Virtual Tee.[116]

There are some events in Home where users can win PS3 games. Between the hours of 8 am PT November 5, 2009 and 12 pm PT November 6, 2009, users in the North American Home (only U.S. citizens) had the chance to win the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Fortune Hunter Edition. Users had to go to the Uncharted 2 space between those times and play the "Mask Mayhem" mini-game. The user who placed first on the leader board in the Uncharted 2 space received the Fortune Hunter Edition.[117] Users had another chance to win the Fortune Hunter Edition in the Uncharted 2 space between the times of 8 am PT November 20, 2009 and 12 pm PT November 21, 2009. Between those times, users had to try to get in first place on the "Fortunate Thieves" mini-game leader board to win the Fortune Hunter Edition.[118] In a recent blog post, it was mentioned that there would be another chance to win the Fortune Hunter Edition. Users have one final chance to win the Fortune Hunter Edition from 8 am PT December 18, 2009 to 12 pm PT December 21, 2009. Users must play the "Torch Race" mini-game and be first on its leader board in the Uncharted 2 space.[119]

Some events are used to promote upcoming films. In Europe, there was a treasure hunt occurring in Home to promote the film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In this event, the users had to go to a poster in one of the Home spaces that was advertising the film and click the link option to open the Web Browser which took them to a web page where the users played a game. If they beat the game, they were rewarded a Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen themed t-shirt for their avatar and then could proceed to the next game when it was released. When the next game was released, it was in a different Home space from the previous game. There were a total of six games over the course of June 6, 2009 to June 24, 2009; the last game required the users to solve the previous five games again and rewarded a Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen trophy for users personal spaces.[120]

In the European and North American Home, the Home management team have set up days for game launching events for some games that fully support game launching. For example, in the North American Home, there is a "Resistance 2: SRPA Seige Night" which is every Friday from 6 pm PT to 10 pm PT.[121]

The first several events in Home required the users to either answer questions or suggest ideas on the Official PlayStation Home Forums for a chance to win a prize. A couple of these events were the "12 Games of Christmas"[122], a question and answer event for the 12 Days of Christmas, and "Name the New Home Space", which determined the name of the North American Home Space known as the 'Home Café' in Asia and Japan.[123] The prize was generally a $10 USD product voucher for virtual items in the shopping complex. These events were organised by the PlayStation Home Managers.

SecurityEdit

Sony says that they are strict on the behavior of users in Home.[124] A variety of potentially offensive words and word combinations are automatically censored in messages that users write to each other, and administrators are able to block a users' console and IP address from accessing the service if a user behaves illegally, inappropriately or against the terms of use of the service.

Users are able to report the inappropriate or offensive behaviour of other users to moderators by accessing the PlayStation Home Safe Screen.[125] Users are also able to change their communication settings to block messages from users who are not on their friends list.

UpdatesEdit

PlayStation Home undergoes a weekly maintenance, which comes with biweekly or weekly content updates. The core updates provide bug fixes and expand the social and gameplay aspects of Home. The beta has received several updates such as giving the users the ability to access the patio of their Harbour Studio,[150] to access the 'Menu Pad'; and to access the shopping complex. Other features such as Home Trophies, pets, weather, and seasons have yet to be released. After location-affecting updates, the location must be re-downloaded. Content updates do not affect the version number; only the core client updates affect the version number.

Key updates:

  • Version 1.0 was released on November 21, 2008. This version was available to beta testers as a 77 MB download from the PlayStation Store by redeeming a code sent to their email. Upon installation, 3077 MB of hard disk space is reserved for the application. Additional downloads are needed to access the different locations such as Home Square and the Bowling Alley. Those locations' download sizes vary from 16–45 MB each.[127][128]
    • Version 1.03 was the first open beta version and was released on December 11, 2008.[129] The Home icon automatically appeared under the PlayStation Network category on the XMB when players turned on their PlayStation 3 on that day.
  • Version 1.30, released on October 1, 2009, included key features such as Universal Game Launching, 3D item previews in the shopping complex, a camera that lets users take in-Home pictures and save them to their PS3's HDD (this was added a week after the update), new emotes, an advanced targeting system, and users can now determine their cache size (3, 5, 8, or 12 GB) to make navigating Home a smoother experience.[34][65]
    • Version 1.35 was released on March 11, 2010. Key features included faster loading times, an enhanced login process and a new navigator with categories for Favorites, Personal Spaces, Friends, Explore, and Recommended.[154]
    • Version 1.40, was released on November 11, 2010. Key features include: Grouping and Voice Chat (public voice chat with groups of up to 8 users), Wardrobe improvements (better organization capabilities), update to Chat Log, Character Status (a status for the avatar is displayed below the User's ID), Menu Pad and Navigator improvements, Cross Game Invites, as well as other minor updates.[42] V1.41 improved chat log features added with version 1.40 and fixed several bugs.[155]
    • Version 1.50, released on April 20, 2011, introduced real-time multiplayer, improved physics and graphics, and greater control over collision detection as part of a suite of new technology that developers can use to create connected gaming experiences.[37] Also with v1.5 are more avatar save slots (24), new facial building features, better furniture management, various graphical tweaks to the Navigator, improved object placement options within the personal space, and increased Chat Log options.[35][156]
    • The current version of Home is version 1.55 released on September 29, 2011. This update included updates to the Start-up, Wardrobe and Furniture Browser, Menu Pad and General updates. Start-up; improved the layout, design, color scheme and text of the start-up flow and the start-up flow will now display a variety of information depending on how recently the user last visited PlayStation Home. Wardrobe and Furniture Browser; when browsing through a category of items in the wardrobe or furniture browser, it will display the name of the object highlighted (there is an option to turn off display, only display selected items, or display all items; clicking L3 displays more information about items; loading speed is also increased). Menu Pad; added "Help" option for new users and added "Redecorate" (only available in personal space or owned club). Also included is more "Loading Screen Tips" and improved stability.[2]

Room for PlayStation PortableEdit

Room for PSP, a cancelled service, similar to PlayStation Home was being developed for the PSP.[157] Named R∞M, it was being beta-tested in Japan. It was to be added to the PSP in an update and could have been launched directly from the PlayStation Network section of the XMB. Just like in Home, PSP owners would have been able to invite other PSP owners into their rooms to "enjoy real time communication".[158] A closed beta test began in Q4 2009 in Japan.[159] Development of Room halted on April 15, 2010.[160]

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