Starting in November, Sony will revert to its old, closed-system ways by packing a PSP-ready digital copy on its Blu-ray discs.
The reasoning is obvious: If you’re an owner of one device, you’ve got a reason to pick up the other. Why buy an iPod for video when the PSP gives you a chunk of your Blu-ray collection in digital form?
Here’s the problem: Of the two Blu-ray films that Sony Pictures will launch with a PSP-ready copy, only one will include a separate digital copy on DVD, playable on your PC, according to Home Media Magazine. So while Sony is offering the full range of choices for people who buy The Ugly Truth, those who purchase Godzilla won’t get a digital copy unless they have both a Playstation 3 and a PSP.
Sony calls this a “multi-platform” solution, but the only platforms being supported are Sony’s. To me, that seems like a backwards step for the company, which in May was professing its newfound love for open systems. Here’s what Sony chief executive Howard Stringer told Nikkei Electronics Asia in an interview:
“There was a time when it made sense to divide the market with closed technology, and monopolize a divided market, but that’s just not an effective strategy any more. In the Internet universe, there are millions of stars – millions of options that have been created through open technology.”
Indeed, Sony is turning a new leaf in some ways, such as its support for the open ePub format in its e-readers. But the Blu-ray promotion sends a mixed message: We want our hardware to support lots of media, but our media will only work with our hardware.
For perspective, see how Disney’s digital copies are available as a download in either Windows Media or iTunes format, whatever the customer chooses. I’m not sure that Sony could offer those proprietary formats through its competing Playstation Network, but by removing PC-ready digital copies, the company is headed down the wrong path.