If one console manufacturer is fully on board the social games movement, it appears to be Sony. The company just announced a slew of new features to its once rumored, now confirmed PlayStation Home community that aims to be the PS3’s user-generated epicenter.
First up are details regarding the network itself. PlayStation Home will attempt to recreate the Second Life experience for PS3 owners, complete with customized avatars and outside advertisers. Gamers will be allowed to saunter the virtual realm, chat with other gamers, buy new digital threads at an unspecified price, play retro arcade games, and invite others to play online over the PlayStation Network. Furthermore, the network allows gamers to keep track of their accomplishments Xbox Live style, something that Nintendo Mii avatars currently don’t support outside of Wii Sports. Sony also disclosed details on their upcoming SingStar game confirming their desire to become the YouTube of karaoke.
These announcements are significant for several reasons. First, the embrace of in-game achievements and customized game avatars by Sony give credibility to what Microsoft and Nintendo have already done on their respective systems. Sony’s mashup of sorts could take the idea further. Second, Sony’s betting big on the social games movement, something that’s in its infancy. If they can execute that strategy, they’ve just significantly diversified their PlayStation revenue model. Lastly, with the world’s largest home console maker backing user-generated content, it’s likely its existence on consoles is here to say.
Keep in mind, however, that low barriers to entry are paramount to social media, and there’s nothing low about the PS3’s $600 ticket price. That hefty MSRP could continue to haunt the company moving forward despite adding several product features.