Sony Repositions PlayStation Home With New Central Hub

Sony tells Gamasutra that it will redesign PlayStation Home's central hub, providing more exposure to Home's existing catalog of titles, as director Jack Buser says the move will reposition Home as a "social game platform."
In an attempt to emphasize the games available on its PlayStation Home service, Sony announced that it will redesign the virtual world's central hub, providing more exposure to Home's existing catalog of titles. Speaking to Gamasutra, PlayStation Home director Jack Buser said this new hub, launching this fall, is part of a larger strategy to reposition Home as a "social game platform." "When we originally launched Home as a social network, we quickly realized that games were the killer app for bringing gamers together in a social context," said PlayStation Home director Jack Buser, noting that this new hub is the first stage of what Sony is calling Home's "new core experience," which will emphasize games over the social elements of the service. The new hub, coming later this year, will replace the current central plaza, which has historically served as an all-purpose venue for Home users. Now, the hub will act more like a theme park, said Buser, offering a number of districts catered to specific types of games and genres. "The hub really up-levels this game content and puts it front and center on the service," said Buser. "When you first 'rez' into the new central hub, the first thing you'll see is a game, and that game will be [Lazy 8's] Cogs" he explained, while other games will be available elsewhere in the virtual space. Currently, Home offers roughly 230 games, with titles including The Odd Gentlemen's Slap Happy Sam, Jet Set Games' Conspiracy, Lockwood Publishing's Sodium 2, among others. In addition to the new hub, Sony will introduce a quest system for Home itself, allowing users to complete goals associated with the various games and services available within the virtual world. Buser said that with this new quest-based meta-game, Sony hopes to make Home "a game in and of itself." He was also quick to note that despite the service's new emphasis on games, "people who want to use Home as it existed years ago can continue to do so." Buser added that these updates mark the beginning of a new games-focused strategy for PlayStation Home, promising "fundamental changes" to other areas of the service in the coming months.

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