It’s been a busy few weeks on the PlayStation Network with several big announcements and new apps launching. In the month of November alone, we announced the launch of the NHL GameCenter Live application, the availability of Hulu Plus outside of PlayStation Plus, the VUDU app on PSN, and BBC America programming in the PlayStation Store. We’ve also shared a new episode of The Tester 2 each week and just last week we announced a number of new games on PlayStation Home, as we marked the 2-year anniversary of the platform. And, in addition to the PSN updates we’ve shared, there have also been a number of new updates for PlayStation Plus subscribers and new features in the PlayStation Rewards program.
There’s no doubt that PSN is in the midst of tremendous growth as we continue to expand our entertainment offering. We recently surpassed 60 million registered accounts worldwide – an increase of 53% in North America in just the last year – and we continue to see our users soak up the new entertainment content offerings. In fact, movies and TV series purchased on the PlayStation Network video delivery service increased 42% compared to a year ago and we’re seeing that our users are quite engaged, with well over 70% using PSN weekly.
It’s been busy and we’re certainly excited about how far we’ve come in a short time, but the busyness has also kept me away from addressing some of your questions and there have been some great ones. I wanted to take some time before we ended the year to look back at previous posts and address some of questions that you have. I’ve also cleared my schedule this afternoon to answer any further questions you might have on PSN and about some of our new services and partners, so drop your questions in the below comments and I’ll do my best to address them.
We’re lucky to have such loyal users. Thanks for continuing to come back and please keep on sending us your questions, thoughts and suggestions. They are important and we are listening!
Q: Field Runners was in the July 6 and the upcoming December 14 publish. Will content continue to be recycled? – ExPresident (December 1, 2010 post)
A: PlayStation Plus has circulated a lot of great content since the service was launched in June and based on what we think our users want, we’ll look to bring back some of those popular items. This will not affect our goals to bring new experiences and discount options to PlayStation Plus subscribers.
Q: Are there any plans to add a digital rental service to PlayStation Plus? – JacobeAbam (December 1, 2010 post)
A: While we don’t have any news to announce around a digital rental service for PlayStation Plus, our goal is to include a full game trial each month when possible, which allows gamers to try out PS3 titles for up to one full hour. Recently, we’ve launched full game trials for Red Faction Guerrilla, Warhawk, inFamous, God of War I, ll and Prototype, and we’re looking forward to upcoming releases, like Borderlands. And, don’t forget your PlayStation Plus includes access to PSP minis and PSone games as part of your subscription.
Q: Europe received the Fallout 3 DLC and Sam & Max season for free when we receive older titles. When can we expect newer discounted or free content? – Vengeance88 (October 20, 2010 post)
A: Content for PlayStation Plus subscribers differ for each region and that is dependant on a lot of different variables that aren’t always determined by us. Sometimes it’s our publishers that make decisions on how many or where to share certain content and sometimes it’s simply a case of where it makes the most sense for a particular game or feature. Having said that, we’re always looking for ways to extend the content we offer across different regions and hopefully you’ve seen that in some of the recent content that we’ve released, like the December 14th publish that included the upcoming featured download of the Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse season.
Q: When does the free three month promotion end for PlayStation Plus? – eatthemall (PS+ FAQ post)
A: The promotion that currently adds three months to your 12-month subscription is ongoing and users who subscribe to the promotion will now get 15 months of PlayStation Plus for the 12-month cost. If you’re not yet a subscriber, what other promotional offers would help you make the decision to subscribe?
Q: Can we have a progress update on cross game chat and any other features that will be available for PlayStation Plus subscribers? – xKOROSHIYAx (PS+ FAQ post)
A: I don’t have any progress updates to share at this time, but I can tell you that we’re listening to the things you want and whether or not we can release them now, we take all of the features you’ve been asking for seriously.
Q: When will the PlayStation Rewards program be available to Canada? – Chowbacca (October 27, 2010)
A: The PlayStation Rewards program is currently in beta and only available to GAP members and PlayStation Plus subscribers (who have opted into marketing emails as of October 24). If everything goes well during the beta period, our plan is to extend the offering to Canada in Spring 2011.
Q: Will the PlayStation Rewards program be available in Europe? – Coheno (October 27, 2010)
A: The other regions have shown interest, but we haven’t announced any plans to expand in Europe at this time.
Q: Why do trophy counts not affect the PlayStation Rewards program? I think trophy level should determine a gamer’s status in the program. – Mirauder (October 27, 2010)
A: The PlayStation Rewards program is still currently in beta and will remain an evolving program post-launch. Currently, we have incorporated the use of trophies into the Quest system announced earlier this week. Quests tie into more than just games, giving PlayStation Rewards members opportunities to gain progress from all aspects of the PlayStation Network, such as PlayStation Home, original programming and more.
Q: How long is the beta period for the PlayStation Rewards program? – LightAce (October 27, 2010)
A: We are expecting PlayStation Rewards to come out of beta in April 2011.
Q: Will the PlayStation Reward levels be based on games we beat from this date? Or will it include the games/trophies we have already beaten/earned on PS3? – cdsly16 (October 27, 2010)
A: The PlayStation Rewards program is not retroactive. It will take into account all the new games that you have played since the launch of the program.
Q: Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t Hulu, VUDU, Netflix, and the Store all be competing for purchases of the same content on each and every PS3? – JBracin70 (November 16, 2010)
A: Actually, no. There are quite a few differences in terms of the type of content provided across the different services, the window of availability of content, and the payment options, etc. The bottom line is that we’re extending our content offering with a choice of partners to bring you the entertainment experience you want.
Q: Isn’t this video service cannibalizing on Sony’s current PSN video service? – Neil (November 16, 2010)
A: No, actually all of the different options haven’t cannibalized the PSN video delivery service, as proven by the 42% year-over-year growth. The PSN wallet and the compatibility with the PSN cards on PlayStation Store purchases have proven to be a great solution of convenience that complements our other content offerings.
Q: When will the service be available to Canadians? – Jeanse27 (November 4, 2010)
A: At this point, we don’t have any news to share on the exact timing for bringing Hulu Plus to Canada, but I can tell you that we’re exploring ways to bring our Canadian friends more of the content we’ve released in the US. However, it does bear mentioning that these plans are also contingent on Hulu Plus and when they extend their services to Canada.
Q: Any chance we can get Move support for both the Netflix and Hulu Plus app down the road? – Philaroni (November 4, 2010)
A: While you can use the Move controllers to navigate through the XMB, we don’t have anything to announce today for full support of Netflix or Hulu Plus. VUDU has announced that they will support PlayStation Move motion control with their new UI, VUDU 2.0, which will automatically update to your PS3 sometime this month.
Q: Do I have to pay for the monthly service with my credit card or can I use my PlayStation Wallet? – Rene_Led (November 4, 2010)
A: At this time you will have to pay for your Hulu Plus subscription with your credit card on Hulu.com, but we’ll certainly share updates on payment methods as they become available.
Q: Can you consider including Canadians in your contests or at least run Canada specific contests? – krae_man (November 2, 2010)
A: Great suggestion, and we’ll most certainly be thinking about ways to integrate Canada and/ or Canadian specific challenges into future Tester series. Please continue to share your suggestions as we evolve the series, contests and overall experience.
Q: Will we see similar sports applications, such as the NFL Sunday Ticket or NBA League Pass, on the PlayStation Network? – TABBYG87 (November 11, 2010)
A: We’re focused on providing you with many choices for your entertainment needs. We’ll continue to expand the catalogue of content you have access to on the PlayStation Network, however today we don’t have any news to share specific to NFL Sunday Ticket or NBA League Pass.
Q: Will the free NHL GameCenter app go away after the PlayStation Plus subscription has ended? – Dagger_32 (November 11, 2010)
A: The app itself won’t disappear from your XMB, but the free access to the app will discontinue once your PlayStation Plus subscription has ended and you will need to purchase it. As with all of the other content offered through PlayStation Plus, only subscribers will have access to the exclusive, free or discounted offers within PlayStation Plus, which includes the NHL GameCenter app being free to subscribers.