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Home » Featured, Headline, Views

PSN and Cloud; a viable alternative to illegal downloads

Submitted by on Friday, 26 June 2009One Comment

psn-logo-300x216The PlayStation Network looks set to expand across non-gaming devices in the near future, and it seems that Sony are looking for the PSN to play a part in helping provide a viable alternative to illegal downloads.

In a recent article by Fortune, extensively detailing the current executive strategies Sony are undertaking, you can clearly understand the importance of the PlayStation Network to the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

Let’s take a closer look at some of their recent statements.

Our first ‘pointer’ regarding Sony’s thought processes comes from a recent panel discussion, taken over a breakfast meeting co-hosted by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and The New Yorker.

The event was supposed to be about the future of film-making, but it made Internet headlines when Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive officer Michael Lynton made the following statement:

“I’m a guy who doesn’t see anything good having come from the Internet. Period.”

Whilst that might seem like a sentence that is in stark contrast to the direction every major company has been moving towards of late, Lynton was only really stating publicly what many media executives would like to have said themselves. The constant erosion of sales through piracy clearly touches a raw nerve within the industry.

We know from public executive briefings we’ve been party to that Sony are clearly looking to offer services that make the distribution of movies, music and other media easy and cheap. Indeed, in an experiment last year, Sony sold downloads of its movie Hancock to people with Bravia TVs equipped with their new Internet-to-TV device several weeks before the movie was available on DVD.

Reading through the Fortune article, we can see how Sony’s thought processes are panning out.

While Sony executives are short on the specifics, Hirai says the new service will overlay the backbone of the PlayStation Network but will be broader and more open. The service would make easier such things as putting images from a camera on TV, displaying and editing video, sharing with friends, and storage. Brand loyalists would be rewarded with incentives like discounts and premium services.

Stringer has intimated that the company is in a position to make acquisitions that will accelerate the effort, and Hirai says the first glimpse of the new service should be seen by next spring. “It’s now a matter of what all the services need to look like for each device, and coming up with a rollout plan,” says Hirai. “It’s like city planning here, and we can start small. We don’t need to build New York City overnight.”

Whilst Hirai and others are quiet on what specific devices the PSN would appear on, the recent restructuring of the ‘gaming division’ to include Vaio, Walkman and other devices is a clear indication of the direction Sony are taking our beloved network.

We’re not betting people, but we’ll stick a ‘gentlemen’s wager’ on the PSN coming to Bravias, PCs, Vaios, Walkmans and other devices in the near future. With the Remote Play capable Aino already revealed, we wonder just how far Sony can take the idea of inter-device compatibility, helping Sir Howard Stringer’s vision of a united Sony come true.

As long as they make the process of downloading and watching/listening to content easy, and keep the prices keen, Sony are well-placed to offer the regular consumer a viable alternative to illegal downloading. Of course, the fact that we still don’t have the video download service in Europe is a fly in this particular ointment – should Sony go this route, it has to be a global move and not be restricted by region.

Before we leave you, spare a thought for the much-discussed PlayStation Cloud patent.

After all, if you wanted to deliver the PSN, Life with PlayStation and PlayStation Home to devices like HDTVs, wouldn’t you do it using a thin-client cloud-computing based system? Let the further discussion commence…