VidZone! is not only exclusive to the PlayStation 3, it’s exclusive to us Europeans, too. For once we get something really cool that our friends in the States can only look on with envious eyes. Of course, everything’s half the price over there and they’ve had the movie download service for ages, but hey, let’s gloat in this while we can because VidZone! is worth gloating over.
So, first things first, VidZone! needs to be downloaded from the Store. Depending on when you’re reading this it’ll either be up there, or will be shortly. The application, which is free, is just 20MB and once downloaded will appear on your XMB right underneath the Music column, meaning the last Firmware must have prepped your PS3 ready for this.
Once in, VidZone! is your typically slick SCEE affair, with a gorgeous (and intuitive) menu system giving you easy access to your playlists and, of course, the music itself. Sony have worked wonders with the day one artist list, there’s over 4,000 of them on there and although quite a few of them are from independent labels, VidZone! at least carries two major distributors from the off, with more to come.
These 4,000 artists constitute 10,000 music videos, which is an incredible amount, and span a wide range of genres including Alternative, Bollywood, Classical, Comedy / Themes, Dance, Hip Hop, Jazz / Blues, Pop, R&B / Soul, Rock / Metal, and World. It’s like browing through iTunes but faster and on your TV rather than your iPhone.
You can search artists by letter, and for the lazy you can quickly browse through three categories: The Chart, Recommended and Dance Hits, and of course navigating these and selecting tracks for streaming or adding to your playlist works just the same way as you’re familiar with from using the PlayStation Store. Once playing music videos can be paused, fast forwarded, rewound and skipped like magic.
Songs can also be downloaded for your mobile phone as a ringtone for £1.50. In addition, there are options for downloading the video or just the music track for your phone, however, these are currently unavailavable. The service does have a small amount of advertising and the adverts themselves can be clicked on. For example, an advert for Battlefield 1943 will take you to the PlayStation Store where you can download the latest trailer for the game. You can watch the videos in full screen, however image quality does suffer and they do not actually fill your screen.
So, yeah, it’s pretty cool. There’s a massive selection of music on there which should cater for all tastes and with the built-in options to download tracks to your mobile phone and the promise of more labels popping up soon, VidZone! has come out of nowhere and totally revolutionised your XMB and transformed your living room parties for ever. Wicked stuff.