Sony Network Entertainment’s Chief Operating Officer Shawn Layden recently told CNET that the company is planning to roll out a Web browser version of the PlayStation Store in the U.S. sometime later this month. At launch the browser version of the store will only allow users to look through the catalog and make purchases, however, Sony plans to expand the service to include automatic downloads to users’ PlayStation 3 consoles at some point in the future.
In an effort to conduct tests, the company (secretly) updated the European PlayStation Store with a similar Web version last month. Currently that store lets gamers look for and buy PSN content through their browsers but it does not yet allow for automatic downloads. To install content purchased through the browser users are first required to log onto their PS3 or Vita and then initiate the download from the system’s download list.
Layden also revealed that the recent PlayStation Store revamp has doubled the growth of the store in both the United States and Europe. He noted that the prior design of the store was “a frustration due to its lack of change”, and now users are “spending more time browsing there”.
While I can personally attest to having spent more time browsing the PlayStation Store since the update, I’m not sure that I would count that in the “win” column for the redesign. In my experience, the load times for the store have shot up so significantly that I have gotten into the habit of avoiding browsing the store by using the PlayStation Blog to pre-plan out any purchases. Hopefully the Web browser version of the store runs a little faster and offers a viable alternative to ever having to access the store from the PlayStation 3 itself.
We will keep an eye out for the official announcement of the U.S. launch of the Web browser version of the PlayStation Store and update you as soon as Sony reveals an exact release date.