Playstation, Sony Entertainment

Sony confirms in a press release that this Tuesday, February 7, the PSN name will go bye-bye and all PSN account holders will be magically transformed into SEN — that’s Sony Entertainment Network — account holders. The release makes it clear that the coming shift is “a change in name only.” Your username and password will be what they always were and anything you purchased digitally for your PSN account will now belong to your SEN account.

Here’s what Sony had to say about the reasoning behind the change in identity: “This transition is based on Sony’s goal to enhance its unique digital entertainment offering. As a series of these activities Sony started last September, PlayStation Network will be aligned with ‘Sony Entertainment Network.’ This helps us get closer to our goal of establishing a global comprehensive network platform of services across games, movies, music and more, all accessible from one convenient account.”

It also probably doesn’t hurt that last year’s high-profile hacking which brought all of Sony’s online services to a halt for a full month was largely associated with a service that will soon no longer exist (in name only, of course). You might read that and scoff, but don’t underestimate the power of brand identity. This year is necessarily going to be a year for Sony to rebuild and repair its image, and dumping the “PlayStation Network” name will only help that effort.

The official reason that Sony offers is also undeniably accurate. “Sony Entertainment Network” speaks much more directly to the company’s overarching goals for the PlayStation brand. All of the console manufacturers need to start working on making their technology an indispensable part of any user’s home media center. With TVs coming out that feature built-in support for services like OnLive, it behooves company’s like Sony to expand the concept of “console gaming” into something more all-inclusive.

Interestingly, the press release also notes that the change will not be implemented on PlayStation Portable handhelds “at this time.” That presumably includes the PSP Go as well. It looks like the future of Sony’s portable gaming is going to be all Vita, all the time.

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