Sony yesterday discussed its plans to open a download shop similar to iTunes or Amazon Digital Downloads.
Reportedly given the tentative name “Sony Online Service,” the online store would make the many different types of Sony digital content available in a single place. The company has a number of content portals already, but each is geared toward a related piece of hardware and run by a different business unit of the giant Sony conglomerate.
For example, PlayStation 3 and PSP users can download new games, movies, and TV episodes from the PlayStation Network, but users of the Bravia Internet Link on Sony’s HDTVs get content directly from Sony Pictures services such as Crackle. Users of Sony’s e-Reader family can get content in The sBook Store from Sony, but users of Sony’s Walkman family of portable media players are encouraged to get their music from Sony MusicPass, which was launched to replace the defunct Connect music download shop that closed in 2008. There is also a substantial overlap in content with Sony’s mobile phone joint venture Sony Ericsson and itsPlayNow arena..
Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s executive vice president for networked products and services, says the service will be modeled after the popular PlayStation Network, which now has more than 33 million registered users. Hirai however, expressed doubt to Businessweek that users of PlayStation Network would actually migrate over to a new service.