Those of you who spent the weekend eagerly anticipating the chance to waste even more of your free time immerse yourselves in the new virtual world that is PlayStation Home now have a solid launch window to look forward to, thanks to a FAQ uncovered by Gamesindustry on Sony's developer site; according to the ten-page document, a closed 15,000-user beta will run from April to August, followed by an open beta for 50,000 people until October, with the service going live sometime before Halloween. The FAQ also clarifies some details that were omitted or glossed over during Phil Harrison's GDC keynote, such as integration with cellphones (hopefully not just Sony Ericsson handsets) and PSPs, and the fact that launching multiplayer games from Home and so-called "environmental persistence" will not be ready at launch. Specifically, this means that avatars will not initially be able to segue into cooperative gaming mode from within the Home environment, nor will their digital swag like apartments and cars exist when they're offline. Finally, this fact sheet also shows Sony playing both sides of the fence when it comes to in-world ads and commerce: the company is quick to reassure gamers that Home is primarily focused on socialization and entertainment and that advertisements will be kept to "palatable" levels, while in the same breathe wink-wink-nudge-nudging advertisers and content providers that there will be significant opportunities for them to capture plenty of gamers' hard-earned euros, dollars, and yen. So in conclusion, Home-lovers should be breaking out the Sharpies right about now and drawing a big circle around the entire month of October in their calendars; Home-haters may actually want to do the same, but only so they have a timetable to prepare their inaugural grey-goo or flying Wiimote attacks. [Warning: PDF link]

[Via Gamesindustry]

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