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Home release will not be a "big bang" event, says Sony

Sony's Jamie MacDonald has told <i>GamesIndustry.biz</i> that the release of PS3 social networking service Home will be a low key affair, following an invite only public beta.

Sony's Jamie MacDonald has told GamesIndustry.biz that the release of PS3 social networking service Home will be a low key affair, following an invite only public beta.

Home may have a profile similar to the biggest blockbuster games, but Sony is opting for a soft launch as it gradually rolls out the 3D user community for the PlayStation 3.

"One of the challenges that we have is to get over the mentality of Home being your typical product launch," said MacDonald, speaking in an exclusive interview published today.

"In the past we'd make a game, put it on a disc and launch it in the shops. But this is so different.

"It's a constantly evolving thing. Week by week and month by month it evolves. There isn't going to be this 'big bang' launch. That's how you do it in the Web 2.0 world, if you're familiar with the launch of Gmail or something like that," detailed MacDonald.

Home is central to Sony's network initiatives, with it initially acting as 3D community for like-minded PS3 users, bringing together multiple online services for the PlayStation 3.

The free service will launch from the PS3's Cross Media Bar, allowing users to interact, communicate, play online games, shop and build their own customised spaces.

But more than a first-party initiative, Home will open up to offer third-party partners space to conduct business, advertising and services in a controlled environment.

Although no definite date has been set, when unveiling the service at GDC earlier this year Sony pencilled in an autumn release.

"It's already out there in a closed beta and we're going to an open beta in the next couple of months and then it will be available on the Cross Media Bar soon after," said MacDonald, vice president of SCE worldwide studios.

When the beta does go public shortly, it's likely to be by invite only.

"At the moment the closed beta is employees, trusted third-parties and people like that. An open beta will be a wider audience but it won't be open to everybody.

"We haven't worked out the exact way of doing it but it will be invites to people to ask if they want to be part of it, and then depending on what the response is, we'll have to have some way of deciding who can and who can't take part," said MacDonald.

The full interview with Jamie MacDonald, where he discusses the challenges of creating Home, can be read here.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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