I've been confused about a couple of things regarding PlayStation Home, the free virtual world now available to all PlayStation 3 users, so I recently shot the Sony public relations department a pair of basic questions.
I wanted to better understand the point of the Clubs option (this was before I discovered this excellent FAQ about it). And I wanted to know what happened to the virtual PSP, which had initially been presented as the interface Home users would operate to manage their time in the virtual world but has been replaced with a generic virtual gadget.
Here's what I learned:
MTV Multiplayer: What happened to the virtual PSP user interface in the closed beta?
Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) public relations spokesperson: We felt that PlayStation Home deserved its own navigation device, so we built a user interface that was dedicated to just that purpose. We have found the new user interface to generally be more intuitive for many of our users.
MTV Multiplayer: I want to know more about clubs, what they should be used for, what the costs involved are for both short-term and long-term and anything else noteworthy.
SCEA: Clubs are a natural extension of the PlayStation community. People can set up Clubhouses for a variety of reasons; maybe they want a place where just friends from work can always meet up before a night of gaming, or maybe fans of a particular genre of games such as FPSs need a place where they can brag about their favorite game. A PlayStation Home user can be a member of up to five clubs (meaning they can be leaders or members of five clubs). Every club has one leader (the owner who purchased the club [Note from Stephen: this costs $4.99]), up to four sub-leaders and up to 32 members. In functionality, they work similarly to other personal spaces such as your apartment with some additional features such as a bulletin board where the leader, and optionally the sub-leaders, can leave messages for the whole club to read, such as tournament announcements or meeting times. As with many aspects of PlayStation Home, this will be one of the areas that will expand and evolve as the beta becomes more robust and features are added. Over time, new premium designs will become available as will other tools and services to support your club.
The pending holidays don't leave much time for follow-up until next year, but I do hope this information was helpful for some Home users. I'll be digging into the service over the break and will hopefully finally write the Why PlayStation Home Isn't Second Life story I've had in draft for weeks.
Until then, have fun Quincying or whatever you're doing in Home.