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PlayStation gives Sony big boost

Redesign, price cut helps move more units

Sony has been on a winning streak lately, moving more of its PlayStation 3 into homes, fueled in part by a redesign and a price cut last year. The company’s PlayStation Network is now reaping the benefits as a result.

Sony used this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to report that the PlayStation Network now has 70 million registered accounts, which has helped boost traffic to the PlayStation Store by 60% and revenue by 70% over the past year.

The video portion section saw sales increase 80% in 2010. Store has 31,000 downloadable movies and TV shows.

Activity on the PlayStation Network can be considered the latest indicator of how more consumers — and not just hardcore gamers — are using their videogame consoles as a platform to access a wider array of entertainment, especially via downloads or streams.

Sony said 80% of its PS3 consoles are now connected to the Internet.

Microsoft’s rival Xbox Live service claims more than 30 million members that pay to access content.

The PSN network, which is also accessible on the PlayStation Portable handheld device, offers up online games, movies and TV show sales and rentals, the Qore magazine and original properties like reality series “The Tester,” entertainment offering “Pulse,” along with Netflix and Hulu.

The store boasts nearly 950 games, including popular exclusives like “Flow” and “Flower,” created by gamemaker Thatgamecompany, which is now readying “Journey.”

Separately, the PlayStation Home now also has grown to 19 million users, who spend on average 70 minutes per visit in the virtual world. Venture added 3 million members last year.

Sony Computer Entertainment’s digital distribution manager Pierre Gravreau said the company has sold 41.6 million units of the PS3 worldwide.

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