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Sony unveils PlayStation community site

  • Story Highlights
  • PlayStation Home can be downloaded free of charge by PS3 users
  • Users communicate, share gaming experiences through their own avatars
  • Designed along the lines of 3-D Second Life virtual world
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(CNN) -- Electronics giant Sony launched its eagerly anticipated social-networking site Thursday for PlayStation 3 users.

A gamer plays Sony's PlayStation 3.

A gamer plays Sony's PlayStation 3.

PlayStation Home, which can be downloaded free of charge, will allow PS3 gamers to interact, communicate and share gaming experiences through their own personal "avatars," or three-dimensional virtual representations of themselves.

Users will be able to chat to each other in Home Square -- a kind of PlayStation clubhouse -- before heading over to the bowling alley to bowl, play pool or use the gaming arcade. They will also be able to access music and video.

Users will eventually be able to customize their avatars and virtual apartments with the latest virtual clothing from designers such as Diesel and furniture maker Ligne Roset.

Sony also plans to introduce Red Bull Island, where users can jump into the cockpit of a Red Bull Air Race plane and compete against other Home users.

"The idea behind Home is to create a virtual space for PS3 owners to meet up, talk and play games - the easiest way to think of it is as a hybrid of Facebook, Second Life and the prettiest game lobby ever," Tim Clark, editor in chief at Official PlayStation Magazine UK, told the BBC.

All you need to download Home is a PlayStation Network account and access to PlayStation Store. Providing you have the latest system software update installed, the Home icon will appear under PlayStation Network on the PS3 Home Menu (XMB).

"PlayStation Home is truly a promising network community service on the PlayStation platform, made possible with a combination of the power of PS3 and the PlayStation Network that covers many countries around the globe," said Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment on the company's Web site.

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