Sony has released their version of a virtual environment called the PlayStation Home. To enter this world, users must own a PS3 (currently costing $399 USD). It doesn't sound any different than a lot of other online 'games' in that users create their own avatars, interact with other players, and walk around. The graphics look cool.
Implications - Not everyone is sociable, but the rise of the Internet has also spawned many forums for identity-hidden interaction. The gaming industry has taken it one step further by creating virtual worlds with avatars that bring social life straight to the screen. As social media websites such as Facebook receive widespread acceptance, people will become even more dependent on the online world as the basis of communication.
The Sony PlayStation Home Lets Players Interact With Avatars
Alex Covert — December 17, 2008 — Tech
References: us.playstation & gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes