Sony Opens PlayStation Home Virtual World

Initial impressions suggest a good, if limited, start for 3-D online community

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Avatars hanging near a virtual marina

Owners of Sony's PlayStation 3 get the chance today to download a beta of the console's much-delayed virtual world, PlayStation Home. Sony's answer to 3-D worlds like Second Life includes shopping malls, themed clubs and theaters. It's also designed to compete with the online gaming offered by Microsoft's Xbox 360.

The world features great graphics but is otherwise thin in its initial offerings, report bloggers who participated in private testing. The mall, for one, has nothing to buy, reports Josh McPherson on NexGen Player blog. But his overall impression is upbeat:

Time will tell if this highly touted and much ballyhooed gamble pays off but I think they’re going in the right direction.

Competitor Microsoft is less kind, of course, with an Xbox executive telling the Kotaku blog:

When they unveiled it, it seemed innovative. I think what's happened is now here we are a couple of years later and we feel beyond that.