On the last day of last month, Sony announced it was releasing a new version of its PlayStation Store in "mid-April." The PlayStation 3's answer to Xbox Live Marketplace and the Wii Shop Channel, the service had been the subject of some criticism. One of the primary sticking points was its use of a slower, Web-browser-based interface versus its competitors' native applications.
Sony listened to its fans, and today launched a new version of the PlayStation Store based on new, in-console software in time for Gran Turismo 5 Prologue's launch on Thursday. As one might expect, getting said software will require downloading a new firmware update for the console, v2.30. As previously announced, the update will also add stereophile-grade DTS-HD audio.
Besides faster browsing, the new version of the PlayStation Store also reorganizes the content on the service into eight sections: new releases, downloadable games, view all by title, add-ons, demos, videos, featured items, and themes & wallpapers. The 900-plus pieces of content on the store have also been reorganized for easier access, as outlined in a video walk-through on the official PlayStation Blog.
To date, some 3.6 million PlayStation Store account holders have downloaded 66 million pieces of content from the PlayStation Store. The massive numbers come despite the fact the service is still largely bereft of the massive amount of music, movie, and television content produced by Sony Computer Entertainment corporate siblings Sony BMG and Sony Pictures Entertainment. While the Wii Shop Channel does not offer non-game-related video content, Xbox Live Marketplace has a fairly wide selection of television shows and films, including some from Sony-owned movie studio MGM.