No doubt about it: PlayStation Home has its hardcore devotees. And their numbers aren’t negligible: According to SCEA, 24 million users have visited Home worldwide, and the average time spent in Home is 70 minutes per session. Still, plenty of PlayStation gamers have completely eschewed Home, while others have visited at one time or another, to never return. How to lure more people into Home? It’s a challenge Sony is taking seriously, and their answer lies in the complete redesign of Home, launching tomorrow.
The biggest change: new genre-based districts, along with a fully redesigned Hub. The goal, according to PlaStation Home director Jack Buser, is to minimize the time to fun. “One of the big pieces of feedback we got from new users in Home is they would come into Home, and they couldn’t figure out what to do,” Buser told us in a recent interview about Home. A major problem, considering Home currently has more than 230 games and 800 community events. The new Hub, however, will greet visitors with a game right off the bat: indie gem Cogs will be playable the moment denizens enter Home, right in the center of the Hub. From the Hub, visitors can also access an Activity Board that includes a listing of everything available, ranging from community events and games to a full-featured questing system that will remember a gamer’s progress in any of the multitude of interconnected subquests.
From the Hub, gamers can also visit the different districts, all of which will launch with a selection of free-to-play games. FPS aficionados might want to mosey over to the Action District, where they can exchange bullets in Bootleggers ’29, a Prohibition-era shooter. Virtual jocks can belly up to the bar in Sportswalk, where they can test their knowledge in a round of sports trivia. Pier Park is for the puzzle and arcade gamer, and includes the stunt racer RC Rally. And the Adventure District – which will launch with an Uncharted 3 “total game integration event” – also includes Home Hold ‘Em for the gamblers among us.
Speaking of gambling: What do you think of Sony’s doubling-down on Home? Will you be checking out the redesign tomorrow? Either way, let us know what you think in the comments.