Sony's new version of PlayStation Home virtual world goes live Wednesday

Sony’s PlayStation Home virtual world for PlayStation 3 gamers will get a makeover tonight and re-open Wednesday morning.

Version 1.5 of PlayStation Home will introduce new technologies that third-party game developers can exploit. Sony promises the world will be “bigger and better” than ever. Home is a virtual world like Second Life where users can create their own avatars, or virtual characters, and wander around virtual spaces. One of the things that Sony is doing is re-focusing Home as a gamer’s paradise.

If all goes well, Sony will be able to avoid the fate of other virtual worlds, mainly by targeting the people that use the PlayStation 3 the most: hardcore gamers. And if Home continues to grow, it will help differentiate the PS 3 from rival consoles from Nintendo and Microsoft.

So this version of Home will feature games with real-time multiplayer characteristics, improved physics, and more realistic graphics and animations. The image above is a scene from Sodium 2: Project Velocity, a sci-fi racing game from Lockwood Publishing. Lockwood’s earlier Sodium game is one of the most popular titles embedded within Home. With the new update, developers will be able to create live action first-person shooter games and peer-to-peer multiplayer racing games.

Players will be able to save more versions of their avatars (24 altogether) use new face-building features, manage furniture in their virtual homes more easily, navigate more easily, and place objects within a personal space more easily. There will be more chat log options and new spaces such as Sodium Blaster’s Paradise, pictured below.

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