Is Sonys PlayStation Network rebranding really necessary


first_imgAs device manufacturers eye the living room as the next great uncharted frontier (with an increasing nervousness about Apple’s impending TV set), they look for any “in” that they already have. Video game consoles provide as good of an entryway to the living room as there is.We’ve already seen Microsoft expand the Xbox 360 software to include some TV integration, including voice control. Now Sony is preparing to make a similar shift, by transforming the PlayStation Network  (PSN) into a full-fledged entertainment suite. To match that change, it will soon be rebranded as the Sony Entertainment Network.The kicker is, the PlayStation Network is already an entertainment suite. In addition to playing and purchasing games, you can already rent and buy movies, stream music, and watch Netflix and Hulu Plus.Why would Sony bother? Apparently it thinks that the moniker “PlayStation Network” has too many associations that aren’t working to its benefit. In addition to its longstanding association with video games, it also reminds people of the company’s great PR disaster of 2011. That’s when the PSN was hacked, passwords and credit card information was stolen, and Sony had to pay millions of dollars in identity theft insurance, free games, and months of free premium access.It’s understandable why Sony would make this move, but is it worth it? On the one hand, you’re stating “this isn’t just video games anymore, it’s a full-fledged entertainment suite.” But you’re also foregoing an established househould name in favor of a new brand that isn’t familiar. Additionally, outside of Netflix and Hulu Plus apps on various TV platforms, smart TV hasn’t really taken off. Manufacturers are assuming that Apple will storm in with its iTV, help to create the next big thing, and they will all ride Tim Cook’s coattails into the promised land.That’s making lots of assumptions though. First, Apple’s TV set is completely unconfirmed. It could be a product that doesn’t hit the market for another year or two (content deals could throw a wrench into the works). When it does launch, who’s to say that these other TV sets will fare any better next to it than Android tablets have next to the iPad?This integrated living room fever among manufacturers reeks of a desperation to not be beaten again by Apple. Instead of obsessing about your competition’s next move, why not find your own unique brand of innovation and design, and evolve that through the years? That’s what Apple did in the late 90s and early 2000s, and it has worked out pretty well.last_img

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