“Home,” the much talked about and long delayed virtual world from Sony, began accepting applications for beta testing in Japan. 10,000 Playstation 3 users will be allowed on the beta run, but only gamers with Japanese online accounts are allowed so far.
Sony will launch similar beta test periods in the U.S. and Europe over the coming months, although no specific dates were given.
“Home” will be Sony’s answer to other virtual worlds such as “Second Life,” “There,” and Google’s latest product “Lively.” “Second Life” and “There” were both launched back in 2003. So far Linden Lab’s “Second Life” boasts the most “virtual” traffic.
In virtual worlds, users create characters, or avatars, that pretty much do all the things people do in their real lives; travel, buy clothing, meet people, and start businesses. Virtual communities have been targeted by more and more marketing campaigns, mainly because a virtual audience is apparently more receptive to advertising.