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.