The new, free service allows video-game players to set up a PlayStation Network account, download free stuff, or purchase content directly from the PlayStation Store to their PSP without using the PlayStation 3 (PS3).
Rather than using a memory stick or flash drive to transfer content, users can connect their PSP through a USB cable and push content directly to the device. They can now download game titles from the PlayStation Store for the PC at store.playstation.com. Full-game downloadable content includes titles, such as "Syphon Filter: Combat Ops," "Gangs of London," and "WipEout Pure," as well as PS One classic titles like "JetMoto" and "Crash Bandicoot."
The site teases gamers with marketing material on upcoming game releases, highlighting trailers for future titles, add-on game items, promotional videos and themes for PSP that allow users to customize their PSP menu color and background. Icons of XrossMediaBar will become available through the PlayStation Store for the PC, too.
Michael Cai, director for broadband and gaming at research firm Parks Associates, says hardcore gamers won't need an incentive or marketing promotion to buy video games. They are self-driven. For others, exclusive content to the platform and the Blu-ray high-definition DVD disc player will drive up sales.
"PlayStation Store is nice to have, but few will buy a PlayStation 3 or PlayStation portable just to access the store," he says. "The PS3 has been attacked by the media for slumping sales, but the PSP and the PS2 are doing fairly well."
Cai says Sony has allowed PS3 owners to download PS One games through the PlayStation Store to transfer on other devices, but it wasn't free. Gamers who viewed the approach as a marketing ploy accused Sony of trying to trick them into purchasing a PS3.
Through the PlayStation Store for the PC Web site, PSP users can establish and use their network accounts and virtual wallets for PlayStation Network, providing a seamless online commerce experience on both PS3 and the PC. Gamers who already have a PlayStation Network account can use their existing username and password to log in to the PlayStation Store for the PC.
Industry insiders say opening the PlayStation Store to PC users will likely boost sales this holiday season, but it is difficult to estimate by how much.