Foster City (CA) - Rollout for the Playstation 3's robust online community seems to be on schedule, as the first round of potential beta testers received e-mails to sign up for PS3 Home late last night.
Home was revealed at the Game Developer's Conference (GDC) last month, and at that time Sony said it would be opening up a select beta in April. Last night, select Playstation members received an e-mail that read, "Home is ramping up for its debut, and we're inviting you to sign up for a very special beta test. Space is extremely limited."The closed beta is limited to 15,000 users, according to earlier statements from Sony. The e-mail does not even guarantee acceptance to the program.
No change has been seen on the publicly accessible Home Beta Trial official page, which still reads, "Keep checking back on this site to register an interest in taking part in an exclusive closed Beta Trial of Home."
PS3's Home platform aims to compete with rival online communities offered by Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's Wii, as well as the PC online game Second Life. In Home, users will be able to travel around a virtual world and be able to watch high definition videos, play arcade and parlor games within the community, and feature Xbox achievement-like trophies in their own room.
A more widespread beta is planned to launch this August for around 50,000 users. The debut of the final version of the online service is currently slated for some time in October.