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Sony discusses PlayStation Home's shift from social network to 'game platform'


Aside from providing a venue for a wonderfully childish gender bending game, PlayStation Home initially failed to offer PlayStation 3 users much of a playground. But the various Home spaces and minigames implemented by third-party developers have changed Sony's thinking, according to platform director Jack Buser: "In the early days when we built Home, we really were building a social network for gamers ... through that, over the last year, it's developed into a game platform, first and foremost."

Speaking at a San Francisco meeting -- documented in detail by Gamasutra -- Buser described Home-based games as a "low-risk and high-margin" opportunity for developers. "Home is a high definition environment where you can create extremely polished games but with very rapid development cycles," he explained. "You can have small teams of developers -- a couple of engineers and a few artists -- crank out very sophisticated social gaming experiences in very small amounts of time."

Buser also highlighted the value of community input in the "evolution" of Home, though he didn't indicate whether Sony had also stopped listening to that guy in the office who's really into Snow Crash. But even that guy might see the sense in Sony's vision, which is "about social, repeatable, fun, and dynamic games that are always changing and being fun for people."

We haven't seen the "killer app" yet (we're still waiting in line), but renovating Home into a social games platform -- even if it's built atop the PS3's actual game platform -- seems like a much better use of all that segmented real estate.

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