Sony tests PlayStation streaming service in Poland

The logo of Sony’s PlayStation division. (Logo: Sony Interactive Entertainment/Graphic by The Desk)

Sony is testing a new video streaming service for some of its PlayStation users.

The service, called VideoPass, will be bundled with PlayStation Plus, a subscription service that unlocks certain networking and interactive features on Sony’s line of next-generation video game consoles.

At launch, VideoPass will only be available in Poland and will offer a limited amount of movies and television shows.

“We want to see how players will benefit from such a service — what titles do they watch, what do they care about, how often do they use them,” Nick Maguire, the vice president of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s global services division, told the Polish website Spider’s Web.

Titles that will be offered at launch include dubbed and subtitled versions of Sony’s TV shows and movies, including “Baby Driver,” “American Hustle,” “Sausage Party,” the 2019 remake of “Charlie’s Angels” and six seasons of the NBC-distributed sitcom “Community.”

The announcement comes less than a month after Sony announced a blockbuster deal that would see many of its new movies land on Netflix, starting in 2022.

Sony is not a stranger to the streaming television industry, though the company has had a mixed bag of success with its efforts.

In 2006, Sony purchased Crackle, an early entrant into the ad-supported streaming space. Crackle was available on a limited number of network-connected DVD and Blu-Ray players, on first-generation Roku streaming boxes, on TiVo and through web browsers. Eventually, the service made its way to Sony’s PlayStation consoles.

Crackle offered a rotating selection of TV shows and movies from Sony’s own library. To give it a sense of legitimacy, Sony added its own brand name to the streaming service, relaunching it as Sony Crackle in 2018. Last year, Sony sold a majority stake in the streaming service to Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Sony was also an early entrant into the streaming live television space with its Sony PlayStation Vue service. Though it was initially only available to PlayStation console users, the streaming service was adored by subscribers and eventually made its way to other platforms, including Roku.

Though it was a hit with customers, Sony decided to close down the service due to rising programming costs and a renewed focus on its video game offerings.

Last year, Sony waded back into the streaming space with its acquisition of Crunchyroll, a service that offered anime and other niche programming. The deal was valued at $1.175 billion.