And 25 per cent of Sodium players are spending money on virtual goods, Sony chief says

Average PlayStation Home session ’70 minutes’

PS3 owners spend on average 70 minutes each time they log into the virtual world PlayStation Home, a Sony executive has claimed.

Sony also claims that the platform generated three times more money than in 2010, and for the free-to-play game Sodium as many as 25 per cent of customers are spending money.

That level of engagement, if true, would testify to PlayStation Home’s potential as a social network games platform, and now Sony has said games will be pushed even further to the front of the experience.

A new version of Home, due by the end of this year, will see the service rebuilt as a game-focused hub complete with better access to freemium and social games.

Jack Buser (pictured), director of PlayStation Home, said the update would be “a giant leap in the evolution of the platform”.

“We are going to ‘up level’ games as the heart of PlayStation Home,” he told Venturebeat.

“This means that Home itself is going to become a game. The first things you see when you get into Home are games.”

PlayStation Home, originally born with the idea that it could be a PS3 exclusive version of the online virtual world Second Life, has undergone numerous tweaks and transformations since it launched in 2008.

Now, with even more extensive changes planned, it appears Sony is keen on tearing the service away from its virtual-world roots.

The old central plaza, once a meeting point with various attractions, is due to be rebuilt as a game area called The Hub.

The Hub will integrate games, quests, community events and user-generated content, according to Venturebeat. An activity board will display what games are in progress and detail missions that can be taken by players. The Hub will split into different neighbourhoods that focus on similarly styled games. The idea for Sony is to submerge customers with games they are keen to play.

There are about 230 games on the service, Sony said, as well as some 9,000 virtual items and 65 virtual spaces.

In March the company launched version 1.5, which came with a back-end makeover for game developers to better utilise the tech.
Core Client version 1.5 allowed for real-time multiplayer, as well as a series of other features for “enhanced game development”.

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference in March, Buser said “when we launched Home, we realised that its games were the killer app.”
One of the new games that Sony will debut on PlayStation Home is Cogs, a social game developed by indie outfit Codename.

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