Hands-on with the new PLAYSTATION Store

This is just going to be a quick and short ‘hands-on’ with the Store; much more succinct than my ‘in-depth’ articles on City In The Clouds (I hope). I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to get to grips with the new Store for quite some time now. Now that I’m back home for a couple of days I can test the Store for myself and ask: was the update worth it? Well, yea; it looks visually impressive, it’s lightning fast and it just works, really. Just the way you’d expect.

The new style of the Store is visually gorgeous; great colour scheme, clear and simplified layout and new artwork for all of the content. Due to the Store now being an application built into the PS3‘s operating system, rather than being a website, the speed improvement is phenomenal.  Also the whole structure looks a lot cleaner; everything is laid out exactly where you’d expect it, making what you want easy to find.  There’s also a red PLAYSTATION Store bag showing you any purchases you’ve already made.

New-look PLAYSTATION Store

The big question though- any faults or failings with the new Store? Not really, jut minor niggles you could say. The first thing I noticed (after being impressed by the new visual design) was that the Store was a bit small on the screen. I have a 32 inch HD widescreen TV and the Store only used about two thirds of it, and so the Store felt a bit squashed and could do with taking up a bit more screen real estate in my opinion. As I say- minor niggle.

Onto a couple of other things; some of the text is a bit small, like the instructions on the PSP downloads page of how to transfer games to your PSP, however the text size problem is an issue on the PS3 in general. Lastly, each game/video/piece of content has a little square icon, but whilst navigating about for what I wanted and then waiting for quite some time, most would not load. Now I don’t know if this is a problem on the Store’s part, or whether it is my internet connection (though at 8Mbps I’d be surprised).

Overall conclusions? The new-look PLAYSTATION Store is a fantastic update over the original Store, but possibly there’s a few minor niggles that need ironing out. Does this detract from the user experience? Possibly, but if everything works as intended it’ll make getting games, updates and videos etc a lightning fast, seamless, and painless experience.

NB: The PLAYSTATION Store (PC) for PSP also got a similar visual refresh, and of course, remains in website form.

Firmware (v.2.30) Details and Store Walkthrough

Firmware (v.2.30) Details and Store Walkthrough– Posted on the PlayStation.Blog, showing off a video demo of the store by Grace Chen.  Worth a watch of the store in action, it looks very fast and responsive.  Top sneak peek of the week (wow, I’m so awesome at rhyming).

Gorgeous new PLAYSTATION Store

I would have posted this as an aside, but I wanted to include the a picture of the new visual style of the store:

New PLAYSTATION Store preview

(Click the above image for high-res goodness)

The update to the PLAYSTATION Store will be around mid-April, during which there will be a firmware upgrade required for the PS3 in order to use the new store.  This is because the store will be software-based, and not a website, as is currently the case.  There will be no content updates due to the store between now and the update.

Visually the store redesign seems to have taken a page off the SingStar Store, which is no bad thing.  Seriously though, this is great news.  Whilst the old store could have said to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, the new design doesn’t seem to have any critics (so far).

Who benefits from the update?  Only PS3 users at the moment, although the PC version of the store will probably be updated sometime in the future.  The new store should be very fast, compared to the old store, due to its software-based nature.  I have to admit, whilst browsing the store, it has felt like wading through treacle.

Anyhow- here’s to more good stuff coming from Sony!  (And to some extra content for the store after the redesign).  Yet what I’ve noticed on the official forums, has been an ever-increasing demand for the release of Home and the long awaited in-game XMB.