Take Home PS3's virtual world

With Xbox Live hitting six million subscribers we were wondering when Sony might come up with its answer to the multiplayer arena. Well now we can won

With Xbox Live hitting six million subscribers we were wondering when Sony might come up with its answer to the multiplayer arena. Well now we can wonder no more because it finally unveiled its long awaited riposte: PlayStation Home.We'd already been primed to expect a Live meets Nintendo's Mii channel but we weren't quite expecting such a heavy dose of Second Life too.The official screenshots show a slick online world populated by conversation-making, body popping, personalised avatars with programmable moves and text or voice chatting.Users get their own Jetsons meets Llewelyn-Bowen apartment, ready to be styled and furnished to taste. After meeting up, online PS3 peeps will be able to invite each other over, plopping a hard-disk-stored MP3 on the stereo or screening a film from their media library on the apartment’s virtual plasma.Oh, and of course, there'll be some gaming going on. Mini arcade games abound as well as bowling alleys, basketball shoot-outs (pictured) and other mini games. Users will also be able to tag up for multiplayer mayhem on compatible full titles. The download is gratis but there will be the odd ad floating around in there to keep the boss happy and there'll also be some pay-for services, such as additional threads for your man. Now, over to you Microsoft.

Essentials

PlayStation Home Price: Free On sale: Autumn (Beta version launches April) Contact: Sony PlayStationRelated stories: PS3 shows its online hand