Sony outlines Home changes

Based on beta feedback.

Sony's forthcoming PlayStation Home platform has undergone key changes in the last few months as a result of feedback from users currently engaged in its beta test, GamesIndustry.biz reports. [Isn't that how betas are supposed to work? - Ed]

The virtual world environment, first shown to the public in 2006, has had significant changes made to Home Square and the entrance points to other areas, as well as other places such as the Theatre.

New screens of a recent build of Home, shown to the audience by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's John Venables and Ron Festejo in a session at Imagina 08, demonstrated the new look of what will be every user's first view of the world.

What had been an enclosed room with a large window showing a lush view has now been transformed into a serene outside space, with plenty of room for people to interact, and tables with fully functional chess and draughts games included.

Additionally the entrance points to key content areas - the Theatre and the Bowling Alley - have been redesigned so that they're much more recognisable.

The Theatre itself, while retaining the same functionality, has had all of the screening areas moved down to the ground floor, after feedback from users that the 12-second walk to go upstairs took too long.

Venables and Festejo also revealed that it was now possible to take your avatar out onto a balcony from your own apartment, and that there would be "around eight or nine" different apartments available at launch, although no new details on potential pricing options for the premium apartments were available.

One of the premium rooms displayed was called Norwegian Lodge, a large wood cabin, much bigger than the basic apartment, and while all of the existing apartment designs were based on real-world locations, Festejo commented that he could see more fantastic options, such as a room in the clouds, becoming available should there be user demand for it.

PlayStation Home is currently on track for a Spring 2008 launch, and will be free to download for all PlayStation 3 users.

The Imagina 08 conference is taking place in the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, until 1st February.

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