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PlayStation Home Redesigned as an MMO

Sony announces a PlayStation Home redesign with genre-specific hubs, game-related quests, free games, a brand-new interface

With social gaming defining how companies like Facebook and Google are interacting with their users, Sony is trying their hand at the social element with a complete redesign of PlayStation Home.

A recent press release outlines how the system will work, with PlayStation Home being divided up into "districts" that are themed on games of various genres. A new central area called "The Hub" will be the place where players will have access to "games, quests, community events and user-generated content," along with being able to purchase in-game/in-world items and interact with other PS Home users. Of the announced districts so far, the Action District, Sportswalk, Adventure District, and Pier Park will be open at launch this fall.

What may be most interesting for PlayStation 3 owners is the new "separate core client upgrade" that will accompany the new network. Although it may simply be a platform that Sony uses to smooth out the process of bringing old users over to the new PlayStation Home, Sony will hopefully be including added personal information protection with this upgrade. (Especially important for Sony, in light of recent service issues and hacks from online criminals.)

From Sony's press release:

"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 modelquickly [sic] deploys our users to many compelling free-to-play games that fit their interests," said Jack Buser, director of PlayStation Home, SCEA. "With this update, coming this fall, PlayStation Home becomes a game itself, making it the most robust gamified social experience available."

PlayStation Home's new core experience provides players with a dynamic and constantly changing pool of activities and challenges throughout the Hub and districts, with thematic content that enables players to find games that are relevant to their interests:

The Hub: The new, futuristic Hub brings games directly to players with a featured game front-and-center upon login, the Activity Board where players can engage in quests and community activities, and a direct path to free games via the teleporter.

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.

Also planned to be released this fall as a separate core client upgrade is a revamp of the underlying user experience in PlayStation Home. This update will deliver a more streamlined experience upon login with customized tracks for new, returning and regular PlayStation Home users, minimizing the time it takes for players to get into games.


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