SCEA Reveals Huge, Game-Changing Home Update
PlayStation Home is about to experience the single biggest upgrade since the service was launched.
Today, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) has revealed major changes for the social service; specifically, a shift in focus that caters to the target audience: gamers. This new change will come about this fall, so get ready.
Home will be redesigned around an all-new Hub that integrates games, quests, community events and user-generated content, all the while still providing users with familiar features, like navigation, shopping, socializing and general entertainment. The Hub will connect you to four different genre-based districts; Home boss Jack Buser told us it'd be sort of like Disney World in that way. Furthermore, they will introduce a brand new questing system, which turns Home itself into one giant video game. Said Buser:
"PlayStation Home’s new core experience is a giant leap in the evolution of the platform, not to mention a major milestone for PlayStation Network, and its new model quickly deploys our users to many compelling free-to-play games that fit their interests. With this update, coming this fall, PlayStation Home becomes a game itself, making it the most robust gamified social experience available."
With a "dynamic and constantly changing pool of activities and challenges throughout the Hub and districts," Home will become a gamer's haven. Here's a brief explanation of each of the four districts:
Action District: A gathering place for the hardcore demographic, the Action District has a gritty, urban feel reminiscent of a first-person shooter level and provides a direct travel point to action and horror games.
Sportswalk: The Sportswalk has an exciting outside-the-stadium feel with instant major league sports scores, headlines and highlights, ample space for sports-themed games and provides direct travel points to sports-related games.
Adventure District: The Adventure District drops you in a lush island jungle with an air of mystery, hidden treasure and discovery, where players will be able to launch directly into adventure-themed games.
Pier Park: A waterfront boardwalk leads players to carnival, puzzle, outdoor and arcade games. Take a ride on the Pier Park Ferris wheel or visit the arcade for some bright entertainment.
In addition, Sony will release a separate core client upgrade as part of the revamp; this upgrade "will deliver a more streamlined experience upon login with customized tracks for new, returning and regular PlayStation Home users." Home has soared since its inception in December 2008; there are over 23 million users worldwide, the average session duration per user is 70 minutes, and there are no less than 230 games ready-to-play.
The end result? A new service that still lets you do everything you always did (that won't change) along with a new centralized focus on our favorite hobby. Stay tuned for more; later we'll deliver Buser's thoughts on this when we talked to him last week.
8/23/2011 9:14:21 AM Ben Dutka