SAN FRANCISCO - Sony is remodeling PlayStation Home to put games at center stage in a virtual world that merges console-quality play with styles of social gaming that are hits at venues such as Facebook.
Sony Computer Entertainment America on Tuesday announced that it is remodeling Home, which is used by more than 23 million people worldwide, as part of an evolution from a social network into a social gaming platform.
"We discovered that if you put a lot of gamers in a room together and tell them to get to know each other, they don't necessarily do that," PlayStation Home director Jack Buser told AFP.
"We find if you put them together and give them a game, they play and get to know each other," he added while discussing the inspiration for the redesign to be unveiled in coming months.
Home launched in late 2008 as an online world in which PlayStation 3 videogame console users represented by animated figures referred to as "avatars" could socialize and play.
"PlayStation Home's new core experience is a giant leap in the evolution of the platform and its new model quickly deploys our users to many compelling free-to-play games that fit their interests," Buser said.
The Home redesign includes the creation of a "hub" that integrates games, quests, community events, user-generated content, shopping and more.
PlayStation users with be able to "transport" their animated characters to game districts with themes such as action, sports, and adventure.
"Under the hood of all this we will be deploying a quest system that will turn Home itself into a game," Buser said.
Home is at the heart of Sony's PlayStation Network that lets owners of PS3 consoles access games, films, and other entertainment.
Home has more than 230 titles available and has been incorporating successful social game models such as free play supported by advertising or sales of premium content.