Sony to launch Sony Entertainment Network? (scoop)

A name change aimed at unifying a broad range of Sony consumer services is coming soon, CNET has learned.

Sony's various content distribution services may soon be operating under a new, unifying name, CNET has learned.

Sony's Kaz Hirai during the introduction of Sony Network Entertainment at CES 2010. Christopher MacManus/CNET

The Japanese electronics giant currently operates several entertainment stores, such as Qriocity, Sony's streaming music and video service; PlayStation Network; and others. Several sources tell CNET that Sony may roll out a new name for those services during IFA 2011 next month in Berlin. That name is currently known within the company as "Sony Entertainment Network," or SEN.

Does this mean people will turn on their PS3s or PSPs one day in the near future and see Sony Entertainment Network instead of PlayStation Network? Not quite. Our sources indicate that Qriocity Music Unlimited and the VOD service would be first to move under the SEN umbrella. Other services would possibly then be moved to SEN later; this may include the PSN and the Reader Store.

A possible reason for the transition, our sources say, is that soon-to-be-chairman Kazuo Hirai desires a unified Sony user experience, as it has been fragmented over the last decade. Hirai oversees all of Sony's consumer electronics, including PlayStation products, so the PSN transitioning to the rubric of SEN seems plausible. It also wouldn't hurt to move away from PSN after the embarrassing hacking scandal that breached millions of accounts and caused service interruption for 23 days.

The name-change information also aligns nicely with the Sony S tablet ad sheet revealed yesterday by Engadget, which shows that the name "Qriocity" is curiously missing from the literature. The only listed stores include "Music Unlimited" and "Movies Unlimited," while a small Q logo is nearby; those will be the names of the two stores under SEN.

So long, farewell? Sony Network Entertainment

Qriocity arrived in a "soft launch" nearly two years ago as a streaming movie portal, and added music streaming months later. The oddly named store marked the beginning of Sony's broad aspiration to compete with the horde of cloud-based streaming services.

Despite a wide range of features, shared log-in with PSN, and an expansive catalog, the service never really took off. Qriocity was also the first major project of Sony Network Entertainment, a subsidiary company that launched in 2010. One CNET source believes another motivational factor behind the big name change is that the name "Qriocity" didn't resonate with consumers .

Further strong evidence of the name "Sony Entertainment Network" can be found in the WHOIS lookup for Sonyentertainmentnetwork.com, which lists Fara Becker of Sony Network Entertainment International LLC as the registrant.

 

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