I know that most of you don't pay attention to PlayStation Home. Hell, I barely do, even though the service fascinates me. It doesn't capture my interest any more than Second Life, but Home is a thing I can quickly boot into before playing a game and see what's changed since the last time I got tempted. That itch comes along about once a year.
Sony announced today it's rolling out a massive restructuring sometime this fall making games front and center in Home.
Home director Jack Buser signaled the company was heading in this direction when I interviewed him for a series of pieces about Home.
"If you look at the average Home user, they are the most hardcore gamer on the PS3," he said back in June. "They buy more games than the average PS3 user, they play more games than the average PS3 user. They also watch more movies than the average PS3 user, who is already a highly self-selective consumer. We're talking about rabid consumers of media and hardcore gamers. That's who these people are."
The people I talked to who drove the community aspects of Home, such as HomeStation Magazine, did not strike me as people particularly interested in more games in Home, but that's where it's headed.
In the fall, Home will ditch its current (and outdated) central plaza for a segmented hub that essentially splits into genres--Action District, Sportswalk, Adventure District, Pier Park. These new environments will also come packed with activities and games to interact with. Everything about the redesign seems tailored to push Home users towards more and more games.
Home was more of a "world" before, but Sony's aiming to make it a "platform," not unlike Facebook or any other networked hub where people hop online to do any number of things, like play games.
Additionally, Sony will be releasing an update to the underlying Home client to minimize "the time it takes for players to get into games." Again, it's all about the games.
I'm curious about the reaction from the more hardcore users, who may not take kindly to this approach.