Sony announces new PSN features, Home content

Written by Joe Martin

August 19, 2009 // 11 a.m.

Tags: #audi #cologne #events #gamescom #home #iplayer #playstation-3 #ps3 #psp #singstar #sony #vidstore #vouchers

GamesCom 2009 Speaking in an epic-length press conference just before the start of GamesCom in Cologne this year, Sony dropped details on a bunch of new features heading to the PSN download service in the near future. While most of the announcements are quite small, there are a few good ones, particularly when it comes to video features for the console.

New vouchers will apparently be available in stores globally by the end of this months and will be available in two denominations – 20 and 50 Euros. No UK or US prices were explicitly mentioned. Other notable additions to the PS3 features include the option to watch catch-up TV formats - in the UK this will include BBC iPlayer, while several other countries through Europe will get local equivalents (Spain, for instance, will be getting RTVe).

The focus on broadening the media appeal of the PlayStation 3 apparently extends to a new Vidstore too, which will allow users to download movies. It’ll launch in the UK this November and while details were slim for the moment we did note an option to either buy or rent films.

The PlayStation Store will also be getting a bunch of new navigation options and smaller features, including a ‘What’s new?’ section to see what the latest content available is. It’ll also be getting the option for some dynamic themes, including one which we were shown that had the ubiquitous Sackboy from Little Big Planet jogging in the background.

At its press conference, Sony was also keen to talk up the apparent success of PlayStation Home and detailed some of the new content that it’ll be getting in the common months – including at least two new regions and a bunch of activities. While our own thoughts about Home are ambivalent at best, Sony says it’s delighted with how well the online life sim and chat-platform has done – racking up more than 72 million content downloads since launch.

“We’re very much committed to Home going forward,” said one Sony executive in the official presentation. “New content is the draw going forward.”

That new content will apparently include a new SingStar themed region from Sony itself, which seemed to be based around a disco aesthetic judging from the promo videos and which would include interactive dance floors and new events.New third-party regions will be headed to Home in the future soon by the looks of things – Audi is down to add a new car-based area to the online world by the end of the year, though details were few.

Smaller announcements than the unveiling of the PS3 Slim perhaps, but enough to interest you? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

More on Sony at GamesCom 2009: PS3 Slim, PlayStation AppStore announced, Get Gran Turismo PSP for free, Marvel comics coming to PlayStation.

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