Fantastic move by Sony \ Playstation.
I love the idea of having a 'virtual space' for PS3 users. Hope it will result in some funky new things, both for players and for evil corporate people like me.
I can imagine this morphing into some kind of virtual ad space. I think the key will be to resist being overtly commercial. We had a presentation from Bebo the other day who said it was important to be seen 'as part of the community'.
Personally I think the important thing is to show members that the advertising is giving something to them.
Advertising is expected on a free platform - the majority of people understand that someone has to pay for the service. The key is to get the balance between awareness and annoyance. Ads need to be positive, and be a reward for getting the consumer to do something.
I love the idea on this service that certain things will be unlockable. obviously the initial rush will be to extract money (kids are willing to pay for mobile backgrounds, why not virtual T-Shirts?). However, I think the best thing will come from earned rewards. What if people who have completed a certain game then get some kind of obvious identifier?
World of Warcraft shows the lengths some people are willing to go to show off their 'prowess' at playing games. The home space for the PS3 users could easily morph into that. Competitions could be run, with the winner getting a large statue in one of the communal areas (sponsored?).
If Sony can recruit a good team capable of running this area effectively, it could easily become a very strong community. It could even end up representing something very valuable for Sony?