PlayStation Home goes into public beta

Sony's new social networking site for PlayStation users has gone into beta today. PlayStation Home enables gamers create their own avatar and then interact with other users in a 3D environment.

Tim Clark, editor in chief at Official PlayStation Magazine UK, told the BBC that delays were expected, as the project was a 'hugely ambitious undertaking'.

PS Home will be available free to all registered PlayStation Network users, but at some point in the future, Sony will be looking to generate money from it, so in future there are plans to enable players to buy new clothing and posher homes for their electronic alter-ego, while those running virtual businesses will be able to buy premises, advertising etc -  la Second Life, but more so.

Speaking to the BBC, Alex Pell, assistant editor of The Sunday Time's gadget section, In Gear, said, "Ultimately what really matters is the price of the console and the availability of good exclusive games. You can get an Xbox 360, with four games and two controllers for £130 (€146.47). The best deal I managed to find was a PS3 with three good games for £270 (€304.22).'

He added, 'Sony needs to find new customers and while Home is great for existing PS3 users, will people rush out and buy such a pricy console on the back of PS Home availability‾ I don't think so.'