Sony is making some tweaks to their non-gaming PlayStation apps. Biggest among these is that the company’s Music Unlimited service, which allows people to pay a monthly subscription fee for unlimited access to various popular songs from their Sony device, is being terminated.
Music Unlimited will be shut down on March 29th, across all 19 countries that support the app. Fortunately, Sony has a new plan for accessing music libraries on Sony/PlayStation devices, as they will soon be launching a replacement app called PlayStation Music! Apparently, this new music app will be offered in 41 different territories, between North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and more. The new app will offer over 30 million songs and 1.5 billion playlists, not only on PlayStation platforms, but also on Sony Xperia smartphones and tablets. It also teases of exclusive benefits for members, though Sony didn’t go into specifics.
Those using PlayStation Music on PlayStation 4 will be able to freely play their music over any game of their choice however! Sadly, this feature isn’t offered on PlayStation 3.
PlayStation Music comes from a new partnership between Sony and Spotify, which will immediately take the place of Music Unlimited in “nearly” all of its supporting countries on March 29th. Anyone with an active Music Unlimited subscription on February 28th, will receive a free 30 days until March 29th, when the app shuts down. If you maintain your Music Unlimited subscription upon shutdown, you may be offered an introductory Spotify Premium trial. Should you already have a Spotify account however, you can easily carry that over to PlayStation Music, as well as purchase additional Spotify Premium time directly with your Sony Entertainment Network wallet, as soon as PlayStation Music goes live.
On top of the new PlayStation Music app replacing Music Unlimited, Sony will also be disabling a handful of apps for PS Vita. Maps, YouTube and elements of Near will be shut down on Sony’s handheld, over the course of several near future updates. The only specific date given was for the YouTube app, which will be removed on April 20th, though the app will be unavailable to download for those who don’t already have it as of today, January 28th.
Don’t panic about this being a bad sign for PS Vita though. Sony claims that removing the YouTube app is simply due to redundancy, since the handheld’s built-in web browser supports YouTube, and any other streaming service. Despite this, competing Xbox and Nintendo platforms still have a dedicated YouTube app and a web browser simultaneously however, so it’s unknown why Sony suddenly wanted their online services streamlined on PS Vita alone. The removal of Maps likely comes from the PS Vita userbase largely being dominated by wi-fi users and not 3G users, who could just use Maps more easily on their smartphone. As for the downscaling of Near, well, it may simply come from the fact that the feature isn’t that popular, especially in contrast to the competing StreetPass features in Nintendo’s 3DS and 2DS handhelds.
Bottom line, these app shifts are nothing to worry about, and are probably just part of a small restructuring of the PlayStation business’s priorities for Sony. As PlayStation has found massive success with PlayStation 4 especially by putting gamers first, it’s probable that they’re just trying to streamline and get rid of apps that prove distracting or redundant, with PS Vita in particular now wanting to move away from multi-purpose mobile devices, and function more as a gaming-focused handheld.
Keep streaming Eggplante for all news and updates on PlayStation devices.