Sony considering PSP game rental and music download services

pspIt’s looks like Sony may finally be getting serious about its download service for the PlayStation Portable (PSP), with the company considering a subscription-based game rental offering and a la carte music downloads akin to the iTunes Store.

The computer games blog Joystiq reports on a survey being carried out by Sony soliciting consumer apatite for an on-demand gaming service whereby PSP owners would pay a monthly fee to access a set number of titles on a rental basis.

You are now going to see a series of different possible rental download services which could be developed by PlayStation. Each service described will provide access to an extensive existing catalogue of PSP games that can be downloaded.

The service will enable you to download a fixed number of games during your subscription period (the subscription might renew weekly, monthly, or some other period), you will be able to change the games you have chosen for the download once your subscription term renews. At launch there will be an extensive catalogue of games to choose from, with more titles being added to the catalogue each month.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated report from CNET, Sony is said to be in talks with at least some of the major record labels about launching a music download service for the PSP (and possibly, PlayStation 3?). If the company does so, it’s likely that the service will embrace an industry standard format, such as the ubiquitous MP3 or AAC, without the use of DRM. This would be inline with both the music industry trend of abandoning copy-protection technology for a la carte downloads, and recent comments from Sony’s CEO Howard Stringer that moving forward the company plans to take a more open approach:

“If we had gone with open technology from the start, I think we probably would have beaten Apple,” Stringer told Nikkei Electronics Asia recently. “Sony hasn’t taken open technology very seriously in the past. Its Connect music download service was a failure. It was based on OpenMG, a proprietary digital rights management (DRM) technology. At the time, we thought we would make more money that way than with open technology, because we could manage the customers and their downloads.

“This approach, however, created a problem,” Stringer said. “Customers couldn’t download music from any Web sites except those that contracted with Sony.”

See also: Rumor: New PlayStation Portable betting on Sony PSP App Store

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last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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