Now that Kevin Butler is back and “It Only Does Everything” has become “Long Live Play,” Sony is taking steps to streamline and organize its vast catacombs of digital content in a way that it describes as “both simple to use and beautiful to behold.” To that end, Sony is combining all its offerings under a single banner, dubbed Sony Entertainment Network.
Unveiled yesterday alongside Sony’s Android tablets (the Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P) and a head-mounted 3D visor (the Personal 3D Viewer), Sony Entertainment Network is made up of three services: Music Unlimited (formerly Qriocity), Video Unlimited, and the PlayStation Network. All three are designed to be accessible through a number of devices, including Android phones, Bravia televisions, PSPs, PlayStation 3s, and PCs.
Names aside, the services themselves will remain largely unchanged. Music Unlimited offers streaming, subscription-based access to a library over 10 million tracks. Video Unlimited allows users to rent or purchase films from every major studio. The PlayStation Network will continue to operate exactly as it always has.
Kazuo Hirai neatly encapsulates Sony’s aim for the re-branding:
“Through ‘Sony Entertainment Network,’ we can provide everything that Sony customers value — and want — in a convenient, comprehensive manner that is uniquely Sony in its presentation and delivery.”
Sony is touting the Network as the “next evolution towards the goal of realizing a single, global comprehensive network platform of all network services which will be accessible from one convenient account.” It’s an ambitious goal, particularly after the disastrous PSN attack this year that left millions of users with compromised accounts.
So, are consumers really ready to put all of their digital eggs back in Sony’s basket despite the public embarrassment of the PSN breach? PlayStation Network subscriber numbers suggest that they are. No less an authority than Sony CEO Howard Stringer delivered the news:
“I’m pleased to tell you that the PSN is more secure and better than ever. We are aggressively expanding its content. We have more than 3 million new customers since the network came back online, and sales are exceeding what we had before the cyberattacks.”
In moving into the combined movies/music/games space, Sony pits themselves squarely against Apple and the ubiquitous App Store. Additionally, ever more streaming media services are becoming available — practically by the day. Amazon, for instance, has rededicated itself to its streaming video initiative, and the fantastic Spotify music service is currently rolling out across the United States. Even Microsoft is rumored to be bringing a new streaming video service to the Xbox 360.
Still, as a global producer of tech, films, and music, Sony is in a unique position to achieve this goal of unified digital media distribution. Continuing partnerships with Live Nation, Hulu Plus, Lollapalooza, MLB.TV, and NPR can only help.
What do you think, Ranters — will you be using the Sony Entertainment Network? Can Sony be as successful a vendor of digital products as Apple has been?
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