GDC - Phil Harrison Unveils PS3 Community

GDC - Phil Harrison Unveils PS3 Community GDC - Phil Harrison Unveils PS3 Community

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco Sony Computer Entertainment unveiled two PLAYSTATION 3 titles: "Home", a real-time, networked 3D avatar-based community that serves as a meeting place for PS3 users from around the world, and "LittleBigPlanet", a community-based game where users play, create and share what they build with other worldwide PS3 users. These new networked titles are part of the Game 3.0 vision introduced during a keynote by Phil Harrison, President, Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment.

The power of consumer creativity via Game 3.0 leverages trends such as online collaboration and user-generated content with the goal of creating an engaging new experience in interactive entertainment and new streams for creative game development. In contrast to the current game development and publishing paradigm, Game 3.0 reverses the trend of pushing content dictated solely by the developer, and puts the spotlight back on the consumer, encouraging them to become part of the game creation process. What is different is how this can be applied to an even broader degree creating new business models that expand the audiences and scope of interactive entertainment.

Technology innovation is part of the culture at SCE as evidenced by our influence on real-time 3D computer graphics and the optical disc format in the 1990's, to the more recent innovations such as Cell Broadband Engine computing and the use of Blu-ray in PS3, said Phil Harrison, president, Worldwide Studios, SCE. Our vision for the future, Game 3.0, will continue our track record of industry advancement by leveraging the convergence of technologies, from broadband and video chat to supercomputer-speed processors, to make gaming more interactive and dynamic than ever before.

Demonstrating this vision of Game 3.0, SCE unveiled a new real-time 3D avatar-based community and communication service for the PS3 platform. The new service, Home, puts users into a real-time, networked 3D community, where they can interact, join online games, communicate, share content and even build and show off their own personal spaces. Home will be available this fall as a free download from the PLAYSTATION Store. Other notable features include:
- Making your own personalized 3D character or avatar. These realistic human characters are highly customizable with different body types, skin tones, ages, clothing and accessories, creating a unique personality for each user.
- Exploring the 3D community that is Home - a sleek, modern indoor space featuring spacious common areas, retail shops, game lobbies and extensible, customizable personal apartments.
- Communicating with others through text, audio and video chat, along with sophisticated emotional animations for each character.
- Being assigned an apartment in Home where others can be invited to join you as you show off your own style in an area you can personalize yourself with furniture, art and other items. You can even show your video, pictures and music content stored on your PS3 hard drive.
- Hall of Fame, where you can display new 3D trophies that will be unlocked through in-game milestones in PS3 games.

Another innovative example of the Game 3.0 vision is a brand-new community-based world called LittleBigPlanet. LittleBigPlanet starts with players learning about the powers of their chosen characters to interact physically with the environment. There are obstacles to explore, items to collect and puzzles to solve - requiring community-based teamwork and brainpower. As players begin to explore, their creative skills grow and they will be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings - the first step to sharing them with the whole world. Ultimately, levels of the game will be user generated on a worldwide scale and will change everyday as players create, publish and share their own levels.

Users have the power to design, shape and build both objects and entire locations for others to play. Players can make their world as open or as secretive to explore as they like. When it's ready, they can invite anyone within the LittleBigPlanet universe to come and explore their patch, or they can go and explore everybody else's. Other notable features and characteristics of the community-based game include:
- Players craft their own individual experience. There's not just one way to play.
- Unlimited possibilities for user-created content - players can customize everything: their characters, the landscape around them and their own "patch" on LittleBigPlanet.
- Players discover and win new skills and items to aid them on their creative journey.
- Online and offline multiplayer modes - work as a team or get competitive.

A fully-featured sample version of LittleBigPlanet is expected on the PLAYSTATION Network this fall, with a full version expected to be made available in early 2008.

Simplifying Development for PS3

SCE also introduced advanced graphics tools and technologies for PS3, including PLAYSTATION Edge-a new set of cutting edge technologies that will be released to PS3 developers via the existing developer support network. Exploiting the technology of its highest performing games, SCE has chosen to create specialized systems that demonstrate best practices in making use of the Synergistic Processing Unit (SPU) in the Cell Broadband Engine, and utilization of the RSX™, a graphics chip co-developed by NVIDIA Corporation and SCE for PS3. With industry-defining features, a tool for RSX performance analysis, GCMReplay, is used extensively in the tuning of first-party titles and was also unveiled.