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The new PSN: What is the Sony Entertainment Network?

Sony's So Saida explains PSN's new name and iTunes ambitions...

We gamers may think of ourselves as occupying a space at the cutting edge of digital entertainment, but we can be as resistant to change to as anyone.

A case in point is the general head-scratching which has been taking place since Sony announced that it will rebrand the PlayStation Network (PSN) as the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN).

This didn't come as a massive surprise to us, since in October 2011, we received a briefing on the SEN from So Saida, senior director of global business strategy and development at Sony.

So what is the SEN?

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The Sony Entertainment Network is simple enough to explain: it's a banner under which Sony can group all of its digital entertainment services - which encompass games, music and video - in one place. In other words, it's Sony's stab at creating something which isn't too dissimilar to iTunes.

The SEN is a recent construct - it soft-launched in August 2011 and went properly live three months later.

Saida explained the general philosophy behind its establishment: "In the last few years platforms have become more consistent with the introduction of tablets, smartphones and other devices. Consumers have now caught up and they are saying, 'Why should I do this?', or, 'Why should I do that?' What we are aiming foris to bring all this digital content into one place so that the users are able to access the best-of-the-best content from one place on any device."

Strands of the SEN

Initially, that meant cleaning up and reworking several of its existing digital services. Thus its cloud-based music service, Qriocity, morphed into Music Unlimited, while the PlayStation's Video Network movie rental system was merged with all the video content apps available on Sony's Bravia Connected TVs (including the likes of the iPlayer, YouTube and Sky News), re-emerging as Video Unlimited.

The company's third strand of digital content delivery was, of course, the PlayStation Network (incorporating the PS Store). Which from now on shall be known as the SEN.

So, when all the dust-clouds thrown up by the rebranding have settled, the idea is that, whatever your Sony device - PS3, PS Vita, Sony Ericsson Android phone, Sony Tablet, Sony Vaio or Bravia TV - you'll be able to access the Sony Entertainment Network, and the personalised digital content within in it that you have paid for or rent, using one username and password.

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