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Sony delayed its Home virtual world closed beta launch until the summer. Home is a world like Linden Labs’ Second Life, layered upon the PlayStation Network online gaming service for the PlayStation 3. Sony announced the service in March, 2007, and this marks the second delay.

This isn’t a good sign. And it’s probably time to ask whether it’s really worth it. Microsoft considered doing a virtual world for its Xbox Live service in 2003 or so. It decided not to because of the estimated resources it would consume, according to Shane Kim, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios.

Kaz Hira, head of the Sony game business, said in a statement that the company needs to deliver a more focused gaming service than what Home can deliver today.

The Home open beta now won’t be available until this fall. That’s pretty late in the console war to get a key, differentiating service off the ground.

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