The first of Sony's GDC 2011 announcements isn't a new piece of hardware or a major sequel, but rather a new version of its virtual world, PlayStation Home. Version 1.5 of the core Home client, due this spring, is the most significant since the service's launch in terms of new technology.

Specifically, Sony is making new features available to developers looking to make games that run within Home. The most significant improvements involve low-lag realtime multiplayer gaming, paving the way for first-person shooters, racing games and other fast-action genres within Home. To (literally) drive this home, Sony showed off an early glimspe of Sodium Two: Project Velocity from Lockwood Publishing, which unlike its arena-shooter predecessor is a Wipeout HD style racing game.

We'll be getting our hands on Sodium Two later this week on the show floor, but we're already impressed with its fast, super-smooth framerate -- the result of new graphics engine capabilities. Its gameplay should provide a sense of the improved physics client Home 1.5 will offer. We have a sneaking suspiscion it will play a lot like Wipeout, but you never know.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

ilomilo 'Autumn Tale' DLC arrives in time for spring