Sony redo of PlayStation Store links games, movies
Sony Corp. is revamping its PlayStation Store as it prepares a common storefront across devices from its game console to its Web-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and phones.
The rollout began for PlayStation 3 users in Europe on Wednesday and will continue in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Mexico next Tuesday.
The store puts related game and movie franchises together on one page. That will allow fans of video games like "Resident Evil" or "Lego Harry Potter" to buy or rent movies from the same series more easily. Alphabetic searches are also easier with a game controller now than before.
Sony's general manager of global digital video and music services, Michael Aragon, said Sony plans to roll out similar storefronts on TVs and other devices in the coming months.
The makeover is the first major redesign of the store since it added video in 2008. It was built using Internet programming language HTML5, which will make it easier and faster to update — a process that could take weeks instead of years, Aragon said. It will also make it easier to adapt the platform to other connected devices or to future gaming consoles if and when Sony updates its PS3.
The store also links what had been disparate Sony user accounts spread between connected TVs and users of the 64 million PlayStation 3 units sold worldwide.
"In the siloed past, there was a lot of different groups doing their own different things" at Sony, Aragon said. "We had to have one account, one wallet. That was priority No. 1 by a long shot. Then we had to fix the user experience."
The overhaul of the store is one step of many as the Japanese electronics maker attempts to better meld its hardware and software services together. It is also rebuilding the trust of consumers after hackers compromised personal information including credit card data on more than 100 million user accounts in April 2011. There are now 110 million user accounts on the network.
Sony plans to make several future updates. For example, it is considering allowing users who buy or rent a movie on one device, say the PS Vita handheld, to be able to pause and then resume watching on another device, say, the PS3 connected to their TV. Currently, playback is locked to the device used to start watching. It may also in the future allow users to save purchases of games and movies online rather than on their device's memory, Aragon said.