PlayStation Home renovations make 'a true social game platform'

PlayStation HomeThe idea of PlayStation Home was always an intriguing one: Rather than simply log into a service, go to a more literal destination to connect with your game friends. While Home has enjoyed 24 million users worldwide, Sony hasn't exactly capitalized on that healthy player base. Since its launch in 2008, the company has listened to feedback, and here we have the new Home, "a true social game platform," Sony says.

Now, wait a minute, we thought social games were reserved for social networks or at least connected to them. Well, consider this Sony ... redefining the term "social network." The new core of PlayStation Home is the aptly-named Hub, which serves as the main place for PS3 gamers to socialize in real time through their avatars.

This Hub also provides players with quests that span a number of new free-to-play games and community events through the Activity Board. The Hub, as its name implies, also connects players to the various districts of Home:
  • Action District: A gathering place for hardcore gamers, 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 and sports-themed games.
  • Adventure District: At the launch of the PlayStation Home redesign, the Adventure District will present the Uncharted 3: Fortune Hunter total game integration event, providing a third-person adventure experience including a partial recreation of the Yemen level from Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception multiplayer mode and a cover-based shooting system complete with weapons and gameplay inspired by the hit series. Players can unlock content that can be used in the Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Blu-Ray Disc game as well as additional PlayStation Home rewards.
  • 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 more games.
  • PlayStation Home Theater: The PlayStation Home Theater features an ultra-modern architectural design and hosts a wide range of videos programmed specifically for PlayStation gamers, including episodes of Pulse and Qore, trailers and interviews from the PlayStation Blog, and exclusive user-generated videos in the popular Community Theater.
  • PlayStation Home Mall: The PlayStation Home Mall is loaded with thousands of pieces of content from some of the most popular games and entertainment in the world. Shop for PlayStation Home games, extravagant personal spaces, costumes, clothing items and other avatar enhancements, and tons more in the redesigned Mall.
PlayStation Home Cogs
But what sounds most "social" to us are the several new free-to-play games strewn across the new Home. These new games are supported by microtransactions, much like the Facebook games you likely play daily. However, most of these games certainly cater more to the traditional gamer, and here's why:
  • Bootleggers '29: Set in the seedy underbelly of the Roaring Twenties, this PlayStation Home exclusive first-person shooter found in the Action District pits cops vs. criminals in a Prohibition-era game of Capture the Cask. Boasting real-time multiplayer action, a variety of vintage weapons and unlockable rewards, and the unique ability to play as your PlayStation Home avatar, Bootleggers '29 is a 100% free-to-play game that introduces a classic narrative to the modern shooter genre.
  • PlayStation Home Hold 'Em: A series of backroom poker tables hosted in the brand new Sportswalk district, PlayStation Home Hold 'Em squares players off in a no-holds-barred, winner-take-all battle of the bluffs. Only the best of the best will progress to the high stakes tables and collect all the prizes in this free version of the wildly-popular Texas Hold 'Em card game.
  • PlayStation Home Sports Trivia: Test your sports expertise against the PlayStation Home community and unlock a series of themed rewards in this massive sports trivia game, found in the Sportswalk. Packed with over 10,000 trivia questions, this game will challenge the memories of even the most die-hard sports fans.
  • RC Rally: Build and customize your own remote controlled car and race against friends over multiple courses, performing stunts and tricks and unlocking numerous upgrades along the way. This fast-paced PlayStation Home original game can be found in the new Pier Park.
  • Cogs: A 3D version of Lazy 8 Studios award-winning Steampunk puzzle game, Cogs can be found front-and-center in PlayStation Home's new Hub. Build a variety of machines from sliding tiles and unlock exclusive PlayStation Home rewards in this highly-addictive puzzler.
PlayStation Home RC Rally
The new focus for Sony's PlayStation Home is the games, according to PlayStation Home director Jack Buser. However, we're still hung up on this whole "social" thing. (And not only with Home, but with that PS Vita, too.) Whether Home will better connect players through its increased focus on games will be seen starting tomorrow. PlayStation Home launches on the PS3 on Nov. 3, but until then, tease yourself with this trailer.

What do you think of the new PlayStation Home? How about Sony's overall focus on social through both of its leading consoles? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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