Feb 4, 2012

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Goodbye PlayStation Network, Hello Sony Entertainment Network

If reported emails from Sony are to be believed, the PlayStation Network as we know it may be seeing its last days. A NeoGaf user recently posted an email he received regarding his PlayStation Network account, and it seems that a name change for Sony’s free online service is impending.

Dear Psyko_2000,

On February 8, 2012, your “PlayStation®Network account” will be renamed a “Sony Entertainment Network account” or a “SEN account” in conjunction with Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation®3 system software and PlayStation®Vita system software updates. (Note, this change will not be applied to the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system at this time.)

For general purposes, this account change is a change in name only. Your username or password will not change, nor are we asking you to change them. In accordance with this transition, some necessary naming changes will be made to the TOS and Privacy Policy.

This transition is based on Sony’s goal to enhance its unique digital entertainment offering. As a series of these activities Sony started last September, PlayStation®Network will be aligned with “Sony Entertainment Network.” This helps us get closer to our goal of establishing a global comprehensive network platform of services across games, movies, music and more, all accessible from one convenient account.

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support during this transition.

Sincerely,
The Sony Entertainment Network Team

Signs of the Sony Entertainment Network’s reach can already be seen, as resetting content activations for your PS3 or PSP requires logging in through SEN servers. SEN, as the email notes, is Sony Corporation’s movement toward a unified network infrastructure across all media platforms including games, music, and movies. Sony plans to have many devices integrated through SEN in some fashion, with consumer accounts being shared across all for convenience. This goal has already been realized to some degree: “Music Unlimited” and “Video Unlimited” can be accessed with Android phones, Sony Tablets, Bravia TV’s, Blu-Ray players and more.

Does this mean the PlayStation Network as we know it will cease to exist? Probably not. For now, the change is only to the technical name of your PSN account. “PlayStation Network” can still exist as one of the three services offered by Sony Entertainment Network (the other two being Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited). However, I do foresee further changes on the way. If a next-generation Sony console is indeed in the works, it would be the perfect time to further integrate PlayStation Network with a new name and branding, perhaps “Gaming Unlimited” or “PlayStation Unlimited”. Down the line, will access to online gaming and browsing the PlayStation Store still be free? The more I think about it, the more I doubt it. Neither Music Unlimited nor Video Unlimited are free,  functioning as a subscription service and pay-as-you-go video store, respectively. The closer Sony moves PSN to the SEN umbrella, the easier it will be to adopt the subscription model that Microsoft has used with Xbox Live since 2002. If newly appointed President and CEO Kaz Hirai truly wants to reverse the company’s financial woes, that would be my first recommendation.

What this means for PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation gaming down the road is still unknown. Keep it here at Vivid Gamer for every detail as the story unfolds.

 

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About Kyle Prahl

You can friend him on PSN (geist226) and follow him on Twitter: @PaybackPrahl