PlayStation 3 users to get free, built-in MMO

At the Game Developers Conference today, Sony unveiled what it calls "Home", a massively multi-player environment that sounds a bit like a Second Life look-alike tailored for the PlayStation 3. As Shacknews reports, Home will be available free of charge to all PlayStation 3 users, and it will allow them to socialize, play games, share music and video, and more:
Home will be a free download to PS3 and is launched from the system's Xross Media Bar. . . . Character creation is similar to that of certain MMOs as well as Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, allowing players to specify a variety of facial characteristics and proportions. Like furniture, some character clothing is freely downloadably, while some will be paid premium downloads. Additionally, some items will be unlocked simply by playing particular PS3 games.

The Home environment showcased during the presentation was a fully furnished apartment with a variety of mini-game-like social features. Among other activities, players can go bowling, play arcade games, watch movie trailers or other video content on in-world TVs, invite other PS3 owners to bring their own avatars into the apartment. Interaction with other players is conducted via a predictive text fragment system, a virtual keyboard, or voice chat, along with a variety of expressive character animations. Other players visiting an apartment will have music and video being played on the apartment owner's virtual home theater streamed to their own PS3s, with proximity-based volume.

A video of Home in action is available over on Fileshack right here. Sony is currently running a closed beta test for Home, but a larger-scale beta program is set to begin in April or May. The final product will launch in the fall.
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