How much time have you spent in Home lately? In amongst the impossibly pretty but slightly scary looking people dancing the robot you may have noticed that there seems to be an increasing amount of things to do and mini-games to play. The downside of this expansion however is that if anything the space is too unwieldy, with the majority of in-world navigation needing to be done through menus which obviously detracts from the “virtual world” feel. Hold on to your bubble machines though, because PlayStation Home is due for some changes.
Technically still in beta, a lot of user feedback has been taken into account and a completely new version of Home will be due to clog up your broadband pipes in the autumn (or fall if you insist!). The feel of the area will now be very much influenced by theme parks like Disney World, with attractions split into several areas. The main reason for the change is to give users even more things to do with their time spent in Home, with Jack Buser who is charge of the whole kit and caboodle saying; “No longer will people come into Home and say ‘I couldn’t find anything to do, we want to jam fun right in your face'”. Sounds painful.
The first of the new areas will be the Hub, which functions like the Home Square in the current version, although presumably with less chess. This area will be your entrance point to the experience and themed like a sparkling mall. Think Playstation’s version of Main Street USA. From the Hub you will be able to access Action District, Sportswalk, Pier Park and Adventure District.
Action District will be the place to hang out for those hardcore gamers into things like Call of Duty and Resident Evil. It will be themed with an “urban feel reminiscent of a first-person shooter level” that “provides a direct travel point to action and horror games.” Expect mini-games and areas like the ones built around the Killzone and inFamous franchises here.
Adventure District sounds like it will have more of a Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones feel, based around a “lush island jungle with an air of mystery, hidden treasure and discovery.” Basically if you are into your Uncharted, Adventure District will be the place to be.
The other two areas are for perhaps less hardcore gamers, with Pier Park hosting various carnival or fairground type games (think the lobster flinging game currently located in Home, or the Midway carnival area) and Sportswalk having an “outside the stadium feel”. OK, who fancies a tailgate party? This area should also serve as a meeting point for gamers wanting to start a Madden of FIFA session, and will also broadcast live scores and sporting news. ESPN eat your heart out!
In addition to these theme park styled areas, we are also promised overarching missions and games that will take over Home for short periods, akin to the Xi quest of a while back. If nothing else this should temp users to spend more time in the space, rather than just checking out the changes and then logging out. Download time will also hopefully be improved, with Buser saying “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.”
So what do you guys think then? Have you never visited Home before, and if not are you tempted to check it out? Are you a long time user who likes it just the way it is? Let us know your thoughts below.