The US Blog has just updated with a release date for Home 1.3: it’s tomorrow, and by all accounts it’s pretty damned awesome. The latest update to the PS3’s avatar-based social service will, as of tomorrow, feature game launching for all games (although any without ‘full’ support will just start the game up and nothing more), in-store item previewing, new actions for your avatar, lots more items and a few bug fixes and other tweaks. Here’s the official changelog:
- Universal Game Launching. Come this Thursday, you’ll be able to launch from Home into any game whose disc you have loaded into your PS3. This is how it works: Titles that fully support game launching (like Street Fighter IV, Resistance 2, MotorStorm, and Far Cry 2) will be identified by separate icons that appear over an avatar’s head and will have varying degrees of additional multiplayer functionality built in. Simplified game launching will take you from Home to the start menu of your favorite games with ease. Never again will you have to sign out of Home to play with (or against) your friends. Simply insert the disc of your choice while in Home and follow the on screen directions.
- In-Store Item Previewing. This feature will allow you to preview items of clothing on your character in 3D (including the ability to check out multiple items simultaneously to see what combinations best suit your taste). You’ll be able to preview all furniture in 3D as well, complete with zoom and rotate options so you can check your potential purchases from all angles.
- New Emotes and Actions. You can flip a coin with your friends to decide whose apartment to retreat to, or play the old “pick a number between 1 and 100” game to decide who is hosting the next party in Central Plaza. You will also be able to pose your avatar in a variety of ways, adding significantly to your ability to express yourself in-world. Heck, there are even new dances to hit the SingStar Rooms with.
- More Item Types. Including limited use items (like the brand new Shrink Cake that lets you shrink your avatar to a tiny size) and portable objects (think: Bubble Machine). These will be available shortly after the launch of the client. This list of objects includes a free camera that you can use to snap pictures from either a 1st or 3rd person view. The photos will automatically be saved to the Photo section of the XMB, from which you can then upload to the picture frames you have hanging in your personal spaces. Dates for the camera and other items will be announced very soon, so stay tuned to this blog (and be sure to check the Latest Updates tab in your Menu Pad, under Community).
- Tons of Improvements. We’ve added some new categories of clothing (composite and outfits) that will allow you to customize your avatar with greater ease. We’ve optimized the targeting system. We’ve fixed a bunch of the bugs you’ve been reporting on the official Home Support forum. We’re even giving you the option to determine your cache size (you can choose from 3, 5, 8, and 12 GB).
In addition, American Home users will find a brand new Home Square (above) with a brand new World Map Travel Center to find all the other areas that are dotted around Home, which will be located right next to the new and improved [email protected] kiosk, where you can listen to music and participate in community music events. US gamers will also get the new new Neptune Suite personal space, which according to the Blog is also released this Thursday and shown below.
In this “highly-interactive underwater abode, you can play a variety of built-in mini-games like the multi-player shooter Blast Zone. It even comes with its own pet that interacts with your avatar. And to top it all off, we’re even bringing the popular Hot Shots Golf game space over from Japan for all of you North American fans of this hugely popular franchise.” No word on a European release date for either the updated Home Square or the new space, but let’s hope we’ll hear soon enough.