Sony, who have proven themselves incapable of properly delivering content to the masses on several occasions but finally hit it head on with the PlayStation Network (PSN), is going to give it another go. Anyone remember their Connect service? My point exactly.
It's been made and reported and now confirmed by the European Playstation Blog that Sony is expanding the same PlayStation Network that I just mentioned in order to allow for subscription-based music. Really, who here is surprised? Come on, a raise of hands...OK three of you. All Apple fans or what? [smiles] Anyway, you didn't really expect that iTunes would suddenly show up and become the de facto music and video service on a Sony set of devices, did you? I mean, a 40 million plus army of Sony-using gamers and content consumers isn't going to cow-tow to Apple restrictions on their content and you know it. Then again, Sony isn't exactly the most open company when it comes to content either and have gone so far as to include rootkits and more in their products to prevent copying.
The service was only announced for music today, but there's no reason to stop there. From the blog:
The service will give you access to millions of songs that are stored and synchronised through the cloud and can be accessed via PS3, BRAVIA TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, Blu-ray Home Theatre systems and VAIO computers, with one single account and without the need to manage digital files.
Further details, including exactly when and in which countries Music Unlimited Powered by Qriocity will launch, will be announced soon.
The real news is in the sharing abilities. Users will be able to share said content between their various Sony devices including Vaio computers, Walkman music players, Blu-ray players and Sony Ericsson mobile phones in addition to the Playstation 3 and the PSP (Playstation Portable). That's pretty major really as it means that users won't be constrained to whatever device they downloaded the content to but will be able to switch it up as it were.
We did know this was coming. Sony hinted that something would be done in this direction and also made several acquisitions to bolster that claim. Plus, they have been shooting to get just about every Sony product Internet-connected, including their upcoming Google TV-having Blu-Ray players and televisions.
It's a sizable market, some 40 million registered users, roughly on the PSN. Plus, they have been offering video downloads in one format or another through the service for some time. The PlayStation Network has had a video store for some time both in the US and outside of it. But it's mostly been pay-to-download. Now with a subscription-based service they seem to be taking the next logical step and offering more bang for the buck.
On top of what Sony has to offer from its own film and music divisions it also recently signed an agreement with Mubi and some other providers of online video (in very strange country-specific deals).
So there's no stopping them from building their own video and film subscription service on top of the new Music Unlimited service. They have all the pieces, including the content, and could easily expand at the drop of a hat. Anyone know where I dropped my hat?