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Sony: Home is "imminent", avatars "par for the course"

Speaking to website Gamasutra, PlayStation Home Director Jack Buser has described avatars such as Nintendo's Miis as "par for the course" this hardware generation, but insisted that Home's contributions in this area would "leapfrog" the competition.

"Avatars are now considered "par for the course" when it comes to next-generation consoles these days, sure," he said, "but we think we've taken it a step further because we also have that personal space for your avatar."

"Users can express themselves in more ways than just how their avatar looks," Buser explained. "That's important, because in the real world you might learn some things about a person by the way that they're dressed or the things that they talk about, but you don't really know someone until you see how they live. Do they have dishes in the sink, what posters did they put on the wall…"

Providing that personal space is important, said Buser, because the decline of the arcade has meant that western gamers have fewer places to hang out.

"We really see this as revolutionizing the concept of the "friends list" for console gamers," he said. "Before, your friends were either people you already knew or people you'd met in a specific game, and with the latter, you'd probably only ever play that one game with them, and never really get to know them."

"PlayStation Home gives you a neutral space where you can really get to know someone. Even in the real world now if you're a gamer and you want to get to know other gamers, there really is nowhere left to go."

"If you're a gamer, unless there happens to be an event in your town there is no place to meet like-minded people. Home is that place," Buser declared, probably whilst grinning ear to ear. "It really leapfrogs the offerings on other game consoles."

Home hasn't had the most trouble free of gestations, of course, but Buser was confident the service would launch this year as planned. "It's imminent. We haven't announced a specific date but we will make a public announcement."