The trademarked PlayStation Home logo - Image courtesy Kotaku
Sony set to upgrade PS3 with PlayStation Home; No more EE+GS chips after April

The 2007 Game Developers’ Conference is less than a week away, and many eyes are on Sony for what is supposed to be a significant announcement planned for the event. GDC Director Jamil Moledina is appears to be privy to the keynote topics, and said to GameDaily last week that Sony will be delivering news that would make PlayStation 3 owners very happy.

Gaming blog Kotaku has posted what could be the subject of Sony’s massive announcement: PlayStation Home. According to the rumor-filled story, the PlayStation 3 will soon be getting its own version of “Mii avatars” and “Xbox 360 achievements.” As a new requirement for all future PS3 titles, each game will feature its own virtual room, where users “will receive items with which to adorn the room that are specific to the game,” as part of an achievement system.

The anonymous source also says that Sony is bringing social networking concepts to the console in a manner that should be similar to MySpace. Voice and text chat, along with video are to be some of the new features.

Another source from the Neoseeker forums mirrors some of the information found in the Kotaku story. According to forum member “DevelopersHeart,” Phil Harrison will be delivering a keynote at GDC to announce a new firmware update that will be available on March 8 that will include new features such as a more refined PS Store frontend, Connect Store support for movie and music downloads, and wallpaper options. A social networking feature, similar to MySpace and YouTube, is also mentioned, except that it is named by the message author as being called “PlayStation Lifestyle” rather than “PlayStation Home.”

On the topic of name, Sony Computer Entertainment has recently registered the trademark for “PlayStation Home,” defining it as an “electronic games services provided by means of the Internet,” for the “creation and development of virtual and interactive images and environments,” and “introduction and social networking services, namely introducing electronic game players to others.” The trademark description certainly lends credence to the rumors.

Also said in the post by “DevelopersHeart” is that the Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer chip will be removed in North American and Japanese consoles in April, unifying the two territory’s machines with the European spec.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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