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No 'big bang' for Home launch

Public beta to be invite-only.

Sony's Jamie MacDonald has told our old friends GamesIndustry.biz that the release of social networking service Home will be a low key affair, following an invite only public beta.

"One of the challenges that we have is to get over the mentality of Home being your typical product launch," said MacDonald, speaking in an exclusive interview.

"In the past we'd make a game, put it on a disc and launch it in the shops. But this is so different. It's a constantly evolving thing. Week by week and month by month it evolves.

"There isn't going to be this 'big bang' launch. That's how you do it in the web 2.0 world, if you're familiar with the launch of Gmail or something like that."

Home is central to Sony's network initiatives. It's a a free-to-use 3D community for PS3 owners and will bring together multiple online services for the console. After launching Home from the Cross Media Bar you'll be able to communicate, play games, shop and fill your virtual living space with all sorts of virtual accoutrements.

Sony has yet to give a definite release date, but when unveiling the service at this years Game Developers' Conference "autumn" was mentioned.

"It's already out there in a closed beta and we're going to an open beta in the next couple of months, and then it will be available on the Cross Media Bar soon after," said MacDonald, vice president of SCE Worldwide Studios.

When the beta does go public shortly, it's likely to be by invite only. "At the moment the closed beta is employees, trusted third-parties and people like that. An open beta will be a wider audience but it won't be open to everybody.

"We haven't worked out the exact way of doing it but it will be invites to people to ask if they want to be part of it, and then depending on what the response is, we'll have to have some way of deciding who can and who can't take part," said MacDonald.

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Why not read the full interview with old MacDonald over on GamesIndustry.biz.