The New (and Improved?) Playstation Store
As some may have noticed, Sony has officially released the updated Playstation Store to Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The European Playstation faithful have already received this update, although an array of problems caused a delay in the update reaching this side of the Atlantic. As of November 3, Grace Chen posted a brief article on Playstation Blog describing the new additions, including “[g]reat new features like streaming trailers, improved search, new filter and sort options, as well as improved graphics, more game and video information, and easier access to add-ons are just some of the highlights.”
Personally, I love the new look of the updated store, although the longer load times and frequent lag spikes I have been experiencing significantly detract from the overall experience. Sony seems aware of this issue and is working to resolve it. Perhaps the strongest feature of the new store is the search functionality. As users input each letter, the search results are updated in real time, and also restrict potential possibilities. For example, when searching for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, upon inputting the letter “X” the new search function skips the letters “B” or “D” because there are currently no known products that start with “XB” or “XD.” Furthermore, when hovering over “C” as the next letter, the recommended results are for XCOM and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Clearly, this is an effective method for searching. However, some users may miss the ability to simply type what they are looking for.
Another point worth mentioning is the clearer division between each of Sony’s three systems. The Playstation 3, Vita, and Playstation Portable now each have their own channels for games and apps on the store, while retaining separate channels for television shows or movies. Such a drastic change has split the consumer, many wishing for the original store to make a return. While I am somewhat disappointed with the current performance of the new store, I think this is a necessary step for Sony. For European consumers, the store update aligned with patch 4.3, which now allows Playstation Vita trophies to be visible on the Playstation 3. The coalescence of these two updates suggests that Sony is attempting to bring more attention to the much-overlooked Vita.
Overall, the way the Playstation Store is organized feels much the same as it did before. For example, there is still no way to filter through any past downloads, something that would be quite useful to users that download a significant amount of content. Considering this is the first major store update since the original release of the Playstation Store back in 2007, this was a much needed change.