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TGS: Sony Delays Home To Spring 2008

Sony's Tokyo Game Show keynote address has revealed it is delaying its PlayStation 3-specific Home online world from a release date later in 2007 to Spring 2008, with Sony exec Kaz Hirai waxing lyrical on the possibilities for the virtual environme
Sony's Tokyo Game Show keynote address has revealed it is delaying its PlayStation 3-specific Home online world from a release date later in 2007 to Spring 2008, with Sony exec Kaz Hirai waxing lyrical on the possibilities for the virtual environment. As part of the keynote, attended by Gamasutra, Hirai commented: "The power of the PS3, as well as the networking, by putting [these] together we can offer the realistic 3D virtualization of society -- what we call PlayStation Home. I'm sure you're expecting a lot... this was originally scheduled to be launched by the end of this year... it is going to be taking place in the springtime of next year." The reason for the delay? Hirai cited user feedback. A new service called Dress: Everybody's Fashion Entertainment will be added to Home, but there were no details. Later in the keynote the discussion turned to Home during the moderator-led Q&A session, and Hirai had plenty to say. "I've always said that I like to call it an interactive game -- something that has interactivity in my definition will be a game. I think that home is a new method or way to enjoy interactive entertainment. In the broad sense I call this a game as well." When it comes to whether or not Home is a new business model, Hirai noted: "We have had a lot of discussion within the company and we are thinking about it a lot. We have had for a very long time a very traditional type of video games business model... however in this networked society I think we can have this new world called Home, that our users can enjoy, that we can also provide applications through Home's functionality. I think that there can be many business models." Hirai touched on Home's ability to support in-game advertising, and sales in a "virtual mall." "The more I think about it, the more I think there are a multitude of business chances that can be created not just for ourselves but our business partners as well. This will also open the door for non-game companies that have not had access in the past. We have been meeting with such non-game people... we have provided some of our ideas and we have also tried to listen to the ideas that they have to see what kind of advantage that there could be for these non-game people." When it comes to Home's delay, "We want this to be a worldwide service and at the same time we want to be sure we have functionality" for all territories. "We want to be sure we have a range of services for our users all over the world -- that's how we want to start the service. So we decided to delay the service launch date." When asked how Home is different from Second Life, Hirai stated the obvious -- it's on the standardized PS3 platform. He also said, "We want to make sure that this is somewhat of a controlled environment, instead of a lawless environment. We want to make sure that we have that level of comfort and security."

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