Sony prepares for huge PS3 "Home" overhaul

Posted by Mike Luttrell

It's Extreme Makeover: Playstation Home Edition.

Sony is getting ready to undertake a sweeping overhaul of the massive online virtual world that millions of PS3 owners flock to every day.

Director of Playstation Home Jack Buser has announced the platform will shift "from a social network to a social game platform," in a quotation cited by Ars Technica.

Buser went on to boldly say, "We're going to be designing the core experience inside Home not unlike the way they’ve designed Disney Land and Disney World, where you have a central transportation hub surrounded by themed districts. Except out districts are going to be themed off of game genres."

If you look at the numbers, it's hard not to call Home a success. 23 million users have connected to the virtual world, third-party publishers have pledged strong support, and there are more than 230 mini-games for players to explore while they're roaming around.

Yet from day one, something has felt incomplete about it. While millions of people may log in and roam around, many end up asking themselves, "What am I supposed to do here?"

That's a question Sony has been struggling with since the service launched a few years ago. Of course, it has a team working day in and day out trying to optimize the experience, and there's no denying that it has exploded both in sophistication and user interaction since its launch.

Nevertheless, the company's push to make Home a sort of 'alternate dimension' version of Facebook, where users could literally walk around with their friends even if they're thousands of miles apart, has never really panned out. It has instead just felt like a bunch of random content and advertisements shoved into a virtual world.

Buser is now realizing that the initial vision for Home may not be the right one, so he's changing it to a focus on games. It will be a completely different experience, but for now, there is no timeframe for when the radical change is expected to happen.