For those of you who've been living under a rock for the past year or so, there's this new online service called Home that's coming to PS3's around the world early next year.
With all its fancy graphics and mountains of features, you'd expect Home to cost you a pretty penny. On the contrary, when Phil Harrison first announced it back in March at the 2007 Game Developers Conference, he informed the masses it would be absolutely free of charge.
How can Sony afford such a thing? Small micro-transactions were always cited as a way to counter development and upkeep costs of the online universe, but we were skeptical as to whether they could fully support Home. However, it appears in-game advertising will have a far greater impact (and therefore greater presence). In fact, in-game advertising is what is keeping Home free.
Darlene Kindler was recently appointed SCEA's head of in-game advertising strategies. She'll work in conjunction with Nielsen Media Research on the type of ads we'll be seeing in Home (and possibly future online PSN fare).
Don't worry, the ads won't be ludicrous and out of place - no coca-cola ads engraved in trees in the Fairy Realm of one of Home's online game rooms. We'll be seeing ads that are both "dynamic, [and] relevant".
What's your take on all of this? Would you rather pay for Home, or have to walk past a GAP billboard on the way to and from your Home Space?
Let us know in the comments section. As always, we'll keep you updated on all things PlayStation Home.