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Phil Harrison, President of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Worldwide Studios, gave today's keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference. Addressing the state of gaming consoles to the GDC crowd, Harrison talked about Game 1.0, the time of disconnected static game discs and cartridges, and Game 2.0, where the consoles were now connected, but still static. We're into the period of Game 3.0, focusing on empowering developers to take control of their creative destinies.
Game 3.0, Harrison said, is the time of the connected and dynamic console, empowered by audiences, built on open standards. Some terms he included to define Game 3.0 included customization, collaboration, socialization, emergent entertainment, creativity, commerce, extendibility, community. And to show the power of Game 3.0, he introduced the new Playstation 3 service called Home.
Due to launch in Fall of 2007, Home is a 3D dynamic community where players can customize their own space and their avatars. Sound familiar? Can you say Second Life? Or, on a more simplified level, Sims 2? We knew you could. But Home includes an added feature that Sony apparently feels will revolutionize online community space and gaming—everywhere in the Home space open to marketing and advertising. Game developers can link their games to advertising on a new scale, said Harrison.
For example, as a player walks along a road in the Home space, she can see billboards with the latest streaming trailers for a movie or game. A player can also customize his apartment with skins and such that come directly from games, movies, etc. Players can view their trophies from games that they played. Their trophies are boxcover art for the games.
With the Apple TV's multimedia support and the possibility that Apple TV will have support for casual games, and the popularity of Nintendo's Wii, Sony's looking for something to make its PlayStation 3 stand out. Nothing in Home is cutting edge or novel in any way. Everything Home does is being done somewhere else. And we are still trying to figure out how allowing developers to link marketing of their games into the Home space empowers them to take control of their creative destinies, as it seems to us that it would be the players who control some of how the marketing is used (through skins and such). Harrison also never made mention of the financial return aspect.
Omaha Sternberg is the producer and host of the iGame Radio podcast.