The emphasis on online gaming in the Playstation Vita is no secret from the start, with Sony steering a clear strategy to focus on a connected gaming experience. Now, Sony has unveiled more details on its online modes: Near, Party, LiveArea and Activity.
TechCrunch - “Near” is now a “gifting” system rather than a social discovery tool; it’s for leaving presents at certain locations, accessible to certain people or everyone and consisting of in-game items, challenges, and so on.
“LiveArea” is an all-purpose update system that will show things like notifications from friends, new DLC and updates for games, and (I’m guessing) promotions like PSN game sales and what have you. There’s actually an actual part called Live, which I think Microsoft might actually take issue with.