PlayStation Store – Frequently Asked Questions

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Hi everyone,
My name is Angela Madronero and I’m the European PlayStation Store Manager. For a while now, we’ve seen a number of recurring questions about the PlayStation Store appearing on the blog. Many of the questions can’t be covered in the weekly PlayStation Store update; therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to respond to some of the most frequently asked questions.

How has the European PlayStation Store grown since its launch? Are there any plans to increase the reach of the store further?

The first thing to say is that the “European” PlayStation Store is also available in non-European countries. Basically, the countries that make up the SCEE region (which historically operated the PAL TV system) all come under the banner of Europe. For the purposes of this blog I’ll continue to call it the European Store, which operates alongside our sister stores in servicing American, Japanese and Asian markets.
We have 29 stores across 25 countries, which require the use of 13 currencies and 8 languages. As you can imagine, it takes a significant amount of coordination and operational support to maintain our existing stores; however, our current list of countries is by no means final. We are definitely interested in further geographic expansion of the PlayStation Store.
The PlayStation Store is a commercial enterprise; therefore, we need to prioritise the roll-out of additional stores by reviewing a country’s PLAYSTATION 3 installed base, broadband penetration and e-commerce environment. These reviews are completed on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, the roll-out of additional countries needs to make commercial sense.

What improvements have been made to the PlayStation Store since launch?

Those people who have been using PS Store since 2007 will have seen many changes in such a relatively short space of time. The changes are usually made in response to user comments, or to improve operational efficiency.
From a user point of view, over the course of two years we’ve:

  • Re-launched the PS3 store with a significantly improved layout and design using a native PS3 technology rather than the original browser-based store. This dramatically improved the speed performance and provided a richer graphical experience. We were also able to configure the same store design to both High-definition and Standard-definition TV.
  • Implemented an ‘A-Z’ search section throughout all stores.
  • Rolled-out a ‘Preview Button’ for sneak peeks at content.
  • Launched the PSP Store and made PSP content available via the PC (Media Go).

Our most recent updates include:

  • Design refresh
  • Search functionality within English language stores; roll-out across non-English language stores to follow
  • Additional rotating advertising slots in order to highlight new content

Why is the navigation different across different regions?

There are times when different regions choose slightly different navigation flows or ways to reach content. Basically this choice is a reflection of the type and quantity of content on offer, as well as the differing operational requirements of each store.
Clearly with so many stores in so many different languages, there are some unique operational and consumer facing requirements for the European Store, but our basic approach is to provide navigation that allows users access to content in the quickest time and with the least number of clicks.
In order to ensure the best user experience, we conduct surveys and user tests to analyse the ways in which consumers access content. These tests are completed in many countries in order to make sure that all requirements are captured and considered before the final decisions are made.
We have been asked whether it would be possible to have a demo category that allows for direct entry to demos from the Store Top (home page). Research to date has shown that the download figures for demos in the US Store and the European Store are very similar, so it seems that most visitors to the European Store are able find demos easily in whichever store they visit. For this reason we are not planning to change the placement of demos in the store; instead we are concentrating our efforts on changing the navigation flow in some other ways.

Why is there different content on the European Store from the US and Japanese stores?

This question often gets asked. In fact, all Stores have different content depending on their local markets. We are committed to working very hard to ensure that our first-party content (the games created by our own Sony Computer Entertainment development teams) is published across all the PlayStation-Stores, simultaneously. We know how important this is to you, and I hope that you’ve seen an improvement in synchronised, worldwide releases over the past six months.

Why is there a difference in third party content?

The decision about whether and when to release a game for sale is in the hands of the individual publisher (companies like Capcom, EA, Konami, Ubisoft, etc.).
In the same way that the publisher decides when to launch the disc version of a game, they also decide if and when PlayStation Network content is made available.
There are many reasons why our third party partners may not be able to launch content in one region on a particular time/date; this may be due to technical glitches, digital rights issues, localisation requirements etc. So the issues are a little more complex than may first appear.
We know that there is a lot of frustration when content is released on one store but not another. I can confirm that from a PlayStation Store point of view, we are committed to supporting our third party partners in bringing as much content as possible to the European Store.

In addition to accepting credit cards, the US allows you to use pre-paid cards within the PlayStation-Store. Will we be getting a pre-paid cards system and, if so, when?

This is something we’re definitely looking into for European Store users. I can’t give you any further information at the moment but I can assure everyone that we will be bringing you more news in the not too distant future, so please hang in there!

When will Europe get a video and music download service?

We recently launched VidZone – a great EU first, free of charge music video streaming service. We have received very positive feedback and are thrilled with its successful launch, with over 1 million downloads in less than 8 weeks.
At Games Convention in August last year, we announced that we had a long-term plan to launch a video on demand service for some countries in the SCEE region. This is still our plan, and as soon as we have all the details locked down, one of my colleagues who is working on the programme will give you an update on when and what will be available.
I hope that answers some of your immediate questions. Keep the comments and feedback coming, and I look forward to updating you as and when I have more information to share.

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7 Author Replies

  • Great FAQ! Looking forward to PSN cards! :D

  • What about a Demo section for the store, This has been LONG overdue.

  • Regarding the “demo section” of the store, you say the figures of demo downloads are similar in both Europe and the US – I don’t really understand why that warrants not having a demo section in the EU store.
    Sure, some people are finding it easy to get their demos – but a lot of people are not. If anything, placing a demo category in the store could help even more people find their demos. I just think that if it is something your customers are requesting, then it would make sense to put it in there.
    Either way thanks for the FAQ – pretty much everything else makes sense I think :)

  • Demo section pleeeease.
    Also more PSN demos! I know this is up to the Devs but Its a requirement on the Xbox 360 and seems to work well, so many PSN games would benefit from this because of the people that say “no demo no sale”

  • Wouldn’t it be easier to have just one playstation store in EU? One store with multiple languages!

    • Thanks for your feedback!
      It would be great if we could have one EU store; however, we need to account for 13 currencies and 8 languages.
      If we were to include all of this information in one standard EU store, it would be incredibly cluttered and not very user friendly.

  • Guys, better catagories on the store are needed! A Demo section!

  • When will the rest of Europe get access to the VidZone service? At the moment, it’s just England and the other ”big” countries in Europe that have access to it, right?

    • It’s VidZone’s intention to roll out to new territories in the near future, where possible. We have not received exact roll-out dates, as of yet.

  • Ahh the old (browser based) PlayStation Store…good times ;)

  • To all the moaners out there please take the time to read this and understand that a lot of work goes into updating the PSN store each week. We should appreciate this free service and not complain each week at pricing and what isn’t on the store.
    To Angela, thanks very much for the updates and a ‘behind the scenes’ look at PSN. Its good to know that you are working on prepayment cards and a video service for the EU.

  • Demo section…I don’t care if people know where the demos are, its still utterley confusing and makes no sense at all

  • Also i notice that the video store will be for *some* countries in Europe.
    I see a LOT of [DELETED] off people…

  • Firstly, wel done, a blog entry such as this was needed.
    Regarding the demos, I am not convinced that the US/EU store demo downloads are anywhere near similar, mainly because there are more demos on the US store. I had to get the PixelJunk Monsters demo from the US store for example, before choosing to buy it.
    Somebody who owns a certain other platform correct me if I am wrong, but don’t all downloads require a demo?

  • And what about the situation in german store? Can I hope for some 18+ demos and content?

  • Can you shed any light on why Fat Princess cost more in the UK and Europe than it did in America? Almost all $15 titles convert to £10 (including the Watchmen 2 release on the exact same day as Fat Princess), so why did $15 convert to £12 for Fat Princess?
    As you’re the Store Manager I assume the decision was either made by you or came past you at some point, was it simply (as I imagine) a case of squeezing more money out of people in Europe?

  • Nice FAQ! =)
    Surprise us on GamesCon, Sony!

  • @ #9
    Did you just say “this free service”???

  • Also i notice that the video store will be for *some* countries in Europe.
    I see a LOT of annoyed people…

    • We will be making an official announcement regarding our forthcoming Video Store, next week, at Gamescom! :)

  • So what they are saying is that we should stop downloading demos from the EU store and start doing it from the US store instead until they fix it. (Just because we’re smarter then the Americans and still find the demos, doesn’t mean we don’t want to find them even easier. ;)
    The country doesn’t matter for me, I get the same speed anyway.
    The lack of a “New Demos” and “New DLC” Section makes the store very frustrating to use.
    Also, WHY oh WHY doesn’t the movies I download from the store show previews? when all my DIVX content does?

  • Dear Angela,
    Although your lengthy yet pointless post does indeed answer the vast majority of our questions, one still remains unanswered: Currency rates conversions. I kindly ask of you to please enlighten me on the following:
    How does the SCEE currency rates conversions work? I have yet to fully comprehend how -for instance- the PSN exclusive ‘Fat Princess’ is sold at $15 on the US Playstation Store, while it is sold at a horrifyingly shameful €15 here in Europe. Now according to Live rates at 2009.08.11 14:32:54 UTC:
    15.00 EUR = 21.1889 USD
    15.00 USD = 10.6130 EUR
    1 EUR = 1.41259 USD
    1 USD = 0.707918 EUR
    I would therefore like a clear explanation on why are you forcing all of us Europeans to pay €5 more than the regular price?

  • You are too slow. The video service should have already been launched. Sony is always too slow, always behind. You can’t give any more information about PSN cards? Why not? This is another problem, the lack of information and transparency, everything has to be vague and secretive. Make a plan and announce it, give regular updates and feedback.
    As mentioned the PSN store needs a demo section.
    If a 3rd party can’t release a game in line with other regions, explain to the customer base why. Don’t just leave customers in the dark.

    • Hi Kenshin 71,
      We are trying our very best to deliver a variety of additional services to our consumers, as quickly as possible.

  • I’m really looking forward to PSN-cards news! I hope they’ll launch in October! Then I can buy FlOwer & Fat Princess!
    Also: (it has been said above me, thanks for the idea oGGe45) Just make one EU store with multiple languages! I had to wait like three months after official press release of the fact the Titan Map Pack was released in the EU. Well… After two months of waiting I already had decided to check out other EU stores. That’s when I made my UK account and downloaden the huge map pack which actally was there in the UK store which we didn’t get in the NL store!
    A demo tab would also be nice:)

  • @20
    Not to mention that Watchmen (released on the same day a FP) was $15 in the US, but only £10 in the UK (not sure about Euros, but definititely wasn’t 15)

  • nice and clear PSN FAQ!
    but I also must say we surely NEED a DEMO section! maybe demo downloads are “equal” but if I need to search 5 mins to find the demo it’s really annoying! just give ALL!!!! of us a DEMO section!
    Further I really HOPE vidzone will find new markets soon (Benelux, Scandinavia, etc.)!
    Also looking forward for the PC @ Gamescom next week! 3 hours off goodness (I hope :P)
    QUESTION: Will there be a livestream (video) where we can follow all the goodness?

  • Video store, Vidzone in all EU countries and PS2 games playable on all ps3s, please ;)

    • We are going to run a press conference at Gamescom next week where we will be able to share more information with you.
      I am thrilled to mention that we will also have LIVE blog coverage during the press conference! :)

  • “Research to date has shown that the download figures for demos in the US Store and the European Store are very similar, so it seems that most visitors to the European Store are able find demos easily in whichever store they visit.”
    This is dumb research. It shows Europeans want demos as much as Americans but have to put more effort in. Your research should have been:
    Do you want a demo section on the PSN?

  • Although the situation has improved, we germans still get the finger now and then. I am way beyond 18 and i still have no option to buy certain titles without censorship (like green or gray blood), if at all. I’d love to buy Zombie Apocalypse eventually, but i doubt it’ll even come to us at all.
    The situation in Home is actually getting worse. I am not even allowed to enter the event space (Fat Princess themed), because it is rated 16+…

  • Prices from the UK compared to the US almost never follow exchange rates, this is par for the course with games in general and not a complaint that should be leveled at the PSN staff specifically.
    Take Arkham Asylum, has it for $53.49, or £32.42. sell it for £34.99.
    I figure a couple of quid difference isn’t that big a deal anyway.

  • thank you it was a interesting read i pick up 1 or 2 things from it i start with this 1: “are able find demos easily in whichever store they visit.” that to me sound like account hopping, so the question is.. can you tell us what‘s is your take or scee on the subject (i have a keen eye i spotted that) lol, & 2nd you said about psn cards “you cant give details yet” is that because of next weeks gamescom & 2 little follow up questions, the 1st one about the videostore, will that be announce next week at the gamescons, & lastly i read in the official SCEE forums, about 2 things comming next week they are Firmware 3.0 update & that will give us a New psn, can you confirm that what is the new psn, MB has rule out about pay&Psn, is it just a new look to it, or the latter by the way i like vidzone ;).

  • Hi!
    What’s need:
    1) The demo category on the Store Top
    2) “What’s New” and “TOP 10” sections on Home Page (Store Top)
    3) “PSN Exclusives” folder on Home Page or “PSP Games” Section
    4) File size of games (demo and full)
    5) And i would like to see screenshots of game when i want to buy it.
    Thanks for FAQ

  • I can’t see the point of having a demo section – new demos are released almost every week, so finding a new demo is as easy as going to the ‘New’ section on a Thursday and see what’s there.
    If I want a demo from an older game, then it follows that I already know what that game is and the A-Z section comes in very handy.

    • Based on the comments that we have received, I appreciate that demos are an important subject.
      Sowasred2012’s comments reflect similar feedback that we obtained during our in-depth research.

  • There should be more PS one Classics. I understand it’s not that simple, digital rights issues and all, but would anyone else love to see Tombi! and Tombi! 2 on the store? I wouldn’t just love to see them there, I would love to buy them… once we get the PSN cards, of course! :D I will also buy Crash Bandicoot 3, perhaps my favourite PS1 game, and Castle Crashers when it hits the store.

  • @30 – Crash 3 is already there ;)

  • We need a PSN game section on the Store front to house PSN games like Flower, Trash Panic, Fat Princess, Battlefield 1943 a la Xbox Live Arcade.
    It’s just too hard to navigate the Store at the moment to find PSN titles.

  • I suggest you do some better research SCEE…..

  • PS2 games; demo section; top section; each game with own folder including demos, wallpapers, music, addons, etc; more price cuts, games has same price for too long; same content as US Store especially PSOne games (MGS, RE1). Thank You.

  • Also, i can understand some price differences because the UK has different Tax amounts, but Battlefield 1943 cos $14.99 for US and £9.99 for the UK BUT Fat Princess cos $14.99 for the US and £11.99 for the UK.

  • …and Polish PSStore doesn’t has Bionic Commando: Rearmed. I understand I should write to Capcom with complaint?

  • This is genius:
    “Many of the questions can’t be covered in the weekly PlayStation Store update; therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to respond to some of the most frequently asked questions.”
    Yet the questions that people asks the most doesnt even get a look in, in this Q&A.
    Also why is it when ever a Q&A you make up your selfs, never ever reeeeeally give out any true info… its all very vague. i mean we all know PSN cards are coming, we all know video store’s coming?!
    Please tell us something solid? i’d be SO SHOCKED if one day an blog entry actually comes out with solid dates about a firmware or something as important as that. It’ll never happen. why?

  • Hi there,
    Thanks for the update and hopefully this will quell the constant stream of comments that occur most frequently.
    I have to say though that your post leaves quite a lot of ground uncovered. Some things like what you guys in the blog actually oversee and what you don’t. Such as whether you have any influence in anything but the commercial distribution of the titles. I think the majority of the questions are posted without knowing whether you and Mike could actually answer them or not.
    All in all though the changes to the store have been good and helped in navigation and draining my pockets :D
    Well done to you, Mike and the rest of the PS Store team ;)
    – RM

  • Whilst I understand that demos are certainly possible to find by most users, they are still confusingly entered into the store making the experience less than ideal.
    However, for me, this isn’t my major issue. I buy many PSN games, and I like to browse for more. However, the PS3 Game folder isn’t just full of games, it’s also full of demos and add-on game material, making it hard to find new PSN title I may wish to purchase. Please, could you separate full games, extra content, and demos? They are a nightmare to navigate when lumped together. Note: I am not saying that I can’t find what I want (quite the opposite, I can with time); what I’m saying is that it’s a pain to find what I want, especially when I’m just browsing. I want visiting the PSN Store to be an enjoyanbe experience; however, barring grabbing the weekly update material, it often isn’t as it can be difficult to find what I want.
    Besides that, I really do love the service, it’s just not perfectly implemented, and it seems, as an outsider, that just a few tweaks could make a good store a great store.

  • When all europe union countries will have PSN?

  • Demos section would be a good idea, as would expanding the PSOne section to include some of the games on the US store such as Metal Gear Solid, and Castlevania.

  • “Why is there different content on the European Store from the US and Japanese stores?”
    Why is there less content on the European Store than the US and Japanese stores?
    Fixed it for you ; )

  • To the vocal people who are unhappy with the quality of service so far, this tells us nothing new. Its basically telling us ‘wait and see’ mixed with the same PR drivel.
    I think SCEE need to wake up and smell the coffee. Screw the focus groups. . .ask everyone what they want.

  • Thanks for answering our cries :)

  • How would I know if there is a demo for a game ? browse through every game ?
    Third party content the answer is simple, SCE need to make publishers release content everywhere unless this changes SCEE will continue to look third party among SCE regions.
    Can you answer why dollar conversion rates are so poor and the EU Store always has signigicantly higher prices (Who is accountable for pricing) ?
    As the UK is the 2nd biggest game market, why is the EU store the smallest in terms of content and sales when compared to Japan & US stores ?

  • @33 – Yes, I know but I can’t buy it you see :P

  • Please dont take my last messege as im nagging or moaning (much) because the truth is i want PS3 and Playstation as a brand to succeed, but its really hard to wittness SCEE make errors or carry nothing but “coming soon”.. “coming soon” and more “coming soon”.
    Like i give you an example: why would you mention the video service in aug 2007 and its been a year and were still hearing “coming soon”
    and to make things ironic to say the least Sony obviously has Sony Pictures and Sony Music, yet MS are already there in terms of services that their consumers can take advantage of NOW?!
    It baffles the hell outta me?!?!
    This is what “WE” need:
    1. Demos for EVERYGAME
    2. Video Store
    3. Music Store
    4. PSN CARDs
    5. BC for all the best PS2 games (its possible)
    6. Equality in regions with content
    7. Communication on a regular basis
    8. EU blogs updates (not just for singstore or Vidzone plz)
    9. Accelerate worthwhile content for HOME
    10. Break away from what MS is doing and Create features for PSN not just Emulate..
    Just a few pointers Angela Madronero.
    Thanks for reading

  • New avatars yesh? :)

  • Quote button here would be nice as well ;)

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