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.
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.