Sony ‘Home’ 3D to push revenues

Monday, December 15, 2008, 18:52 by Tech Correspondent

Sony will soon unveil its online 3-D social networking service, named Home. The new service has been created in such a way that it would let people create virtual characters, or avatars, to interact in cyberspace.

The launch of Home brings to an end the long wait by users of the company’s PlayStation 3 video-game console. The company has said that PlayStation 3 users will be able to join the virtual world through a free software download. Besides offering mini-games, videos, and special events, Home will make it possible for users to create their own social networks and set up meetings in their own virtual apartments or in public gatherings. Home will offer instant messaging, voice, and video communications.

Features of Hoe include addition of new features to PlayStation 3’s V1 wireless headset which would allow users to issue voice commands that can control the headset as well as the cell phone. In fact, Home is the latest online service for the PS3.

It may be recalled that Sony had a short while ago added video downloads to the PlayStation Network. This in turn had managed to rope in 15 million subscribers worldwide. The company is now banking on Home to help itself take the struggling video games unit to profitability. It has reportedly lost about $3.8 billion over the last couple of years.

The company said that PlayStation 3 users will get Home at no extra cost. However, in it bid to earn revenues, Sony will be charging companies to interact with participants. According to first reports, companies such as clothing designer Diesel, furniture designer Ligne Roset, energy drink maker Red Bull, film studio Paramount Pictures, and video content providers Hexus TV and Eurogamer have joined Home already.

International technology media had reported that Sony first announced Home in March 2007. And after the company announced the first delay in October 2007,and again in April 2008, the Home product is now on stream. Sony had also launched a trial of the service to a limited number of PS3 users in August. The company expects Home to take it ahead of rival Microsoft, which makes the Xbox 360.

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