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Sony's Online Service Takes PlayStation Network One Step Beyond

Sony puts its PlayStation Network on steroids, networking more devices and providing more downloadable content.


What is yet unclear is how the company will deal with digital rights management (DRM); families that download content on one device will want to share it and use it on other devices they own.

The move is designed to restore luster to the Sony brand, which was highly regarded as an innovative manufacturer of products such as the Walkman. It is also meant to bring a collaborative approach to the many diverse divisions within Sony. The company was reorganized at the beginning of the year into three main business units. As a result, areas such as software development, sales and marketing are all now handled by groups that comprise multiple electronics groups within Sony.

According to published reports, the Sony Online Service is an extension of the company's PlayStation Network that has 33 million users and provides a mixture of free and paid content. Currently, the PlayStation Network carries movies from the major Hollywood studios and many major U.S. TV networks, as well as some original content, features the company is aiming to continue and expand upon through the new service. The company has said the new service will not do away with free content. Sony projects 2009 sales from the PlayStation Network to hit $563 million (U.S.); it hopes to rake in six times that much in 2012.

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