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Home finally sees public launch

PS3 virtual world platform enters open beta following delays and network issues

Sony's much-anticipated virtual world, Home, finally opened its doors to all PlayStation 3 owners last night, following some delays and network outages that threatened briefly to push the launch back a day.

The PlayStation Home button appeared on XMBs a little after 9pm GMT, although the sheer number of people attempting to download the software and and log-in caused severe network issues and many people were unable to access the service for any length of time.

But after 12 hours of being live those problems appear to have calmed down, and the platform is busy, but stable.

"I am so very happy to announce that PlayStation Home has now officially entered into Open Beta," wrote Home director Jack Buser on the PlayStation blog. "Restart your PlayStation 3, and you will see the PlayStation Home icon under the PlayStation Network column of the XMB. Click on the icon, and you are in.

"Getting to this point has required a tremendous amount of participation, input, care, and passion from the thousands of beta testers who helped make PlayStation Home what it is today. So to all of you that have tested, from all of us on the PlayStation Home team here at Sony: 'Thank You!'"

To begin with the service will feature brands including Diesel, Red Bull and Eurogamer, with the Movie Theater, Shopping Mall and Bowling Alley zones, although this will evolve over time.

"For those of you that are new to PlayStation Home, be sure to plug in a USB keyboard (or pair your Bluetooth headset) and start meeting your fellow PS3 owners," continued Buser. "And remember, even with all the spaces, rewards, items, and activities available today, what you see now is just the beginning.

"Home will grow, change, and evolve very quickly – and it is all based on your feedback. This is your community, and we are listening."

Home was originally scheduled to launch much earlier in the year, but Sony took the decision before E3 to postpone the opening up of the service to add polish and redesign some sections.

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Phil Elliott

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