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Sony Shows PlayStation Home Virtual Pet at CEDEC

Tech demos hint at future direction for PS3 virtual world.

Sony's virtual world continues to expand.

Sony is a big supporter of the CESA Developers Conference, with its developers hosting a number of lectures at the annual event. For CEDEC 2009, two Sony presentations in particular had the potential for sneak peaks at future PlayStation brand developments: a session on motion controls, and a session on PlayStation Home.

While the motion control session was closed off to press (what are you hiding, Sony?), the Home session was open to all. Famitsu.com sent out its reporters to the session yesterday and reported back on upcoming Home initiatives.

The session was hosted by Home developer Masami Kando. Kando first recapped the service's success, noting that accounts doubled from December 2008 to August 2009, going from 3.8 million to 7.5 million. One in ten users are from Japan, he revealed.

As a glimpse of what's to come for the service, Kando said that a future update will allow users to load up the PlayStation Store directly from Home. This, he said, will allow you to do such things as download demos from PlayStation Home via PlayStation Store and play online with friends.

The presentation also offered a look at a variety of Home technology demos. One demo focused on synchronized playback of multimedia content. The player was able to access a virtual media player whose menu contained listings for real net radio and pod casts. Additionally, the player's virtual Bravia set was made to show commercials. In both instances, users were able to enjoy the content with their friends.

Another demo, which was developed in five days, showed a cute (?) pet robot walking about a player's room. The player could scold the robot to make it calm down (and then get angry), call out to the robot to make it come close, and do other activities that one might do with a pet. Kando pointed out that this system allows for single players to enjoy themselves and does not require a keyboard. Additionally, the robot could be used to offer pertinent information to the user.

In the original Famitsu.com article, you can see the pet robot midway through the page. It looks like an old television set. One of the images shows the robot switching between smiling and frowning, with text noting that the robot's reaction can change depending on the user's current situation.

Both of these demonstrations were just tech demos. There's no guarantee that they will make it into the future PlayStation Home experience. But synchronized media playback and virtual pets sound like a natural fit for Home, so we can probably expect to see them in an update down the road.

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