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GDC 2007 PlayStation Home annoucements

By dcacho
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 at 11:58 am in Gieson Cacho.

10 p.m. The press line is still small. It barely spills over the stairs. To our right, regular attendees wait in a separate general admissions line.

10:09 p.m. The line swells to a giant mob outside the Esplanade Ballroom of Moscone Center South. It is an endless stream of people and when you think the last of them have filed in, here come more of them. Most of them are men age 18 to 34 I guess. A few women are sprinkled in. It makes me wonder what the Shigeru Miyamoto line will look like.

10:11 We begin moving. There are cameramen standing on planters and filming the surging masses. If this was a video game, we would be “Pikmin” and Phil Harrison would be our helmeted master.

10:16 We’re in the ballroom. Rock music blares from speakers hidden behind the shadows ad blue-purple light. The Sony stage is pretty grand compared to other keynote-speaker sites. There’s a tree and soccer ball on the left side and to the right is a spinning gear and an orange. A PlayStation logo shines in the center in what looks like the background of a PlayStation 3 screen. I sit 10 rows up.

10:19 I run into Michael Hernandez, who is covering this for a blog site called I met him last November in the PlayStation 3 line. He came with his friend Norm. Michael is from Antioch and he says he has permission to skip class.

10:23 “Nobody Loves Techno” blares in the background. Soon, it’s followed by Nirvana. I wonder if all this music is owned by Sony. I bet it is. I feel like I’m in a “Casino Royale,” a movie in which all products we’re made by Sony.

10:33 We’re still waiting for Sony Executive Phil Harrison. He is nowhere to be seen and the keynote speech was supposed to start three minutes ago.

10:36 The staff members are tossing giant Sony soccer balls. The crowd is punching them in the air. Some unsuspecting members of the press just got clocked in the head. Photographers are flashing their cameras because there’s nothing else to take a picture of. We are a bunch of children, easily entertained. I guess there are goal posts on each side of the room.

10:41 I’m on the left side and we’re getting a beating by the right crowd. The score is 12 to 14, and apparently when it comes to crowd soccer, we are abysmal. There is a guy wearing a robot mask. I think he’s from destructoid.

10:43 The game ends.

10:44 The head of GDC speaks on stage. He’s introducing the head of SCEA worldwide. He walks in stage left and congratulates the right side for winning. The left side boos and he has just lost half the audience.

Harrison’s speech game is titled “3.0” and he points to the Time magazine proclaiming the public as the people of the year as inspiration. He breezes over the past five years and talks about Web 2.0 and applying the concepts of socialization, customization and user-generated content to video games.

He describes the NES and Genesis as Game 1.0, an era in which the system was closed and games came in cartridges. He went on to say that the PlayStation 2 represented Game 2.0, in which consoles were connected to the Internet but games still came in close-ended discs. The advent of Game 3.0 focuses on the lessons of Web 2.0. It’s trying to bring the same ideas into the industry and that’s where the new service PlayStation 3’s Home service comes in.

As previously reported in Kotaku and other media sites, PS Home is a downloadable service that will be available in the fall (betas start in April of this year). It acts almost like Linden Lab’s “Second Life.” Players create a customizable avatar and they move through a virtual space of public and private spaces.

In this virtual world, you can wear branded T-shirts or ones that are unlocked when you buy a game. For example, say you buy “Heavenly Sword.” Well, on the disc, there will be virtual T-shirts%2

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