Sunday Thoughts: 22/11/09

As you are no doubt aware, the PSN Video Store finally released this week, bringing with it a ton of movies and a shortcut to it on the Video section of the XMB that I’ve only just noticed. You have to hand it to Sony, when they release something like this, they usually do it well. Wait – usually?

There have been reports of terror in video town. A certain Mr. Michael you may know from, well, TSA (whatever that is), apparently had a 16 hour wait for a 2 hour film to get halfway through downloading, which I’m certain had him beating his head against a wall to spice up his day. Not to mention that the trailers (available to stream by pressing ‘preview’ after selecting a film) didn’t so much play as stutter at you awkwardly as it tried to download quicker than it was playing. So more of a drip release than a stream, then.

This is a shame, because looking at the Video Store itself, it looks to be thoroughly excellent. You click Video, which is next to Game at the top of the screen, and it swooshes over like the cape of a superhero, here to save you from your movie-less boredom. In new releases right now, without even scrolling, there are no less than 14 great films. Granted, Hannah Montana the Movie is also there, but I’m ignoring that and concentrating on The Dark Knight, Star Trek, Angels and Demons and Drag me to Hell.

Going into the categories and selecting Comedy, I discovered that there are roughly a fuck load of movies on the store already at release. Whilst I’d read the actual figures (800 movies, 150 of which are in HD, and 50 added every week), it didn’t hit me just how many movies that was until I went into the Comedy category and scrolled down for 20 minutes looking at what was there. And still didn’t reach the bottom. There are 295 movies in that category. It’s also the biggest category, followed by, predictably, Action/Adventure with 261 movies, which includes Batman. The Adam West Batman.

That takes me to a mini-criticism; many, many of the films are in multiple categories. Many of these don’t even make sense (is Braveheart really a Romantic film?). Some of them, such as 300, are in a fitting category (Action/Adventure in this case), but are also in the ‘Other’ category. Surely the other category is supposed to be for those enigmas that defy proper categorisation? If so, then why are The Dark Knight and the Breakfast Club in there too? Granted, the movie’s categorisation is a minor niggle, but when there isn’t an All Films A-Z section like there is for games on the Games Store, it could be quite annoying. You could always use search, though.

There’s a Collections section in the store that includes, amongst others, a ‘Movies Inspired by Video Games’ section, which is clearly a stroke of genius for a service that is accessed through a gaming console. On the other hand, there are 4 Hellboy films in there, none of which were inspired by video games, as well as X-Men, Transformers and the Hulk. These are not inspired by video games, they’re ‘inspired’ by comics. Of the 13 films in this category, only 6 are actually inspired by video games, including Doom and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, neither of which I really recommend watching, but that part’s not Sony’s fault.

Inexplicably, there’s also a Family/Kids collection, which is a pissing category in the categories section anyway and, as such, is completely pointless. There’s also X-Men and Fast and Furious categories, which gives me the feeling that Sony should have included a franchise section, so that a film and it’s sequels can all be found together, leaving collections for actual collections of different films.

Other than the odd categorisation, the £5 minimum when adding to your wallet and the senseless inclusion of Miley Cyrus staring at me from the Video Store’s front page, it’s all been done well. The price points are pretty much spot on, easily low enough for you to consider the slight increase of price worth skipping the drive to Blockbuster. Now that the inital rush of people has subsided, film trailers are streaming rather well, so maybe Michael should give that film download another try…?