During the CES 2013 event in Las Vegas last week, Sony’s Chief Operating Officer Shawn Layden revealed that the Sony Entertainment Network has launched in the US. It follows the release of SEN in Europe last December 2012; much like what the company did for the redesigned PlayStation Store.
How Sony Entertainment Network Works
SEN allows users to buy content through their web browsers and have it downloaded on their Sony device automatically. However, it was reported that this feature is not yet available and will come later.
As of the moment, SEN serves as a useful web-based PlayStation Store. It allows users to look up what content is available no matter where they are. Additionally, Layden mentioned that the redesigned PlayStation Store brought in double-digit growth in Europe and in US.
There were also reports that old PSN links and usernames still work. Nevertheless, gamers from North America can sign into SEN.
Shawn Layden on Sony’s Music Unlimited
Aside from the Sony Entertainment Network, Layden also talked about Music Unlimited. It appears that the company is still struggling with their music-streaming service, as it continues to live in the shadow of Pandora, Xbox Live, and other competitors.
Music Unlimited boasts 18 million tracks, over 1 million active users, and it is now available in 17 countries. Compared to last year, the service saw an increase of 3 million songs, minimal hype in users, and available in additional four countries, including Japan.
To encourage more people to check out Sony’s music-streaming service, Layden said that they will increase its baseline streaming codec from 48 Kbps to 64 Kbps AAC. They will also add a high-fidelity 320 Kbps options for all of their songs. However, the COO noted that it will be long before Sony can update their entire catalog, although new songs will automatically have that option.
But despite the promising updates, offering more songs than Pandora, and streaming music without ads and interruptions, many people are still unaware of the service. When asked why Music Unlimited remains unpopular to users, Layden told Christopher MacManus of CNET:
We need to see a greater alignment with our partner devices to make Music Unlimited more front and center. We have the partners, we have the devices, and a presence in retail. As we bring those factors into greater alignment, we expect a snowball effect in 2013….
Music Unlimited and the launch of Sony Entertainment Network are said to be just two of the company’s many steps to “bring more content to more regions, expand the number of compatible devices, and design a common user interface across device categories.”