If you thought the streaming market in the UK was already saturated, think again. Sony is stepping up its game by transforming its previously limited Bravia Core service into Sony Pictures Core, now accessible on PS5 and PS4 gaming consoles.
Initially confined to Sony’s high-end TVs, the service is broadening its reach to include the UK among 23 other global markets.
But this isn’t just another platform to buy or rent films, even though that remains a significant feature with up to 2,000 movies on offer.
What sets Sony Pictures Core apart, especially for UK audiences, is its exclusive early access to select films still in cinemas, such as Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story.
However, that’s a future promise for now – this title is already available in the US, and UK viewers will soon be among the first to stream it directly from their consoles – but they have some more waiting to do.
The benefits extend further for PlayStation Plus Premium members. On top of the existing service, they’ll gain access to a curated catalogue of up to 100 films from the Sony Pictures library, at no additional cost.
This bonus feature includes standout titles like Looper, Elysium, and Resident Evil Damnation, enhancing the overall streaming experience.
From Sony Bravia Core To Pictures Core
In 2021, Sony made some noise in the streaming world with the launch of its premium service, Bravia Core.
Initially available only on select Sony TV models, the service promised high-quality streaming with its “Pure Stream” technology, offering near-lossless 4K (Ultra HD) picture quality.
The service was divided into two content libraries: the “unlimited” library, featuring a selection of blockbusters and classics, and the “Premium” library, offering a selection of at least 300 premium films in the highest streaming picture quality.
However, the service was somewhat limited in scope, primarily serving as a perk for buyers of Sony’s top-tier TV models.
Fast forward to 2023, and Sony has now rebranded Bravia Core to Sony Pictures Core, extending its availability to PS5 and PS4 consoles.
Being one of the only major studios without its own streaming service, the move might signify Sony’s ambition to make a more significant impact in the streaming market, leveraging its gaming console user base.
But what does this mean for consumers?
What’s New With Sony Pictures Core
The new Sony Pictures Core, launched today, will allow PS5 and PS4 users to buy or rent up to 2,000 movies directly from their consoles.
The new app should show up on your PlayStation’s Media section – but if you’re having trouble finding it, just search directly for the “Sony Pictures Core” app.
You can then sign up for it using your existing PSN e-mail/account.
The service will feature blockbuster hits such as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Uncharted, Bullet Train, and many more.
The digital purchase prices I’ve seen so far range between £9.99-£13.99, depending on the age of the film.
And in addition to the films themselves, you can also find featurettes, deleted scenes and special bonuses.
One of the unique features is the exclusive early access window for select Sony Pictures films.
The first film to benefit from this will be Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story, which will be available in select markets like the UK, France, Germany, and Japan – presumably before it reaches other digital VOD stores.
So far, if this sounds to you like just another digital VOD store (like Google Play Movies, Rakuten, Amazon’s Prime Video store, etc.), where you can buy and rent streaming films – you’d be right.
However, things get a bit more interesting if you’re a PlayStation Plus Premium/Deluxe member.
PlayStation Plus Premium: A Gateway To Free Streaming
PlayStation Plus is a subscription service by Sony, crafted to enhance the PlayStation gaming experience by offering a multitude of benefits, such as online multiplayer access, free monthly games, a library of games and more.
It’s structured in three distinct tiers:
PlayStation Plus Essential
The Essential tier is the entry-level membership priced at £6.99 monthly or £59.99 yearly in the UK
It covers the basics, providing access to online multiplayer gaming, free monthly games, and exclusive discounts on the PlayStation Store, forming the foundation of the PlayStation Plus experience.
PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium
Ascending the tier ladder, the Extra and Premium tiers offer more benefits.
Extra costs £99/year, while Premium is £119/year. These higher tiers add a substantial game catalogue, with Premium adding game trials, and a Classics Catalogue.
As of today, Premium subscribers will also gain access to a curated catalogue of up to 100 movies to stream on-demand from the Sony Pictures library (at no extra cost).
This catalogue will be ad-free and updated periodically, featuring movies such as Looper, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, Elysium, and Resident Evil Damnation.
This turns Sony Pictures Core into a more traditional streaming service – though obviously, with just 100 titles, this is more of a “bonus” to Premium subscribers than a fully-fledged service.
Sony Pictures Core is available starting today for PlayStation players in 23 markets globally – including the UK.
The company plans to evolve the offerings and benefits of the service over time, including a selection of hit anime content from Crunchyroll, and additional perks for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
This expansion suggests that Sony is keen on diversifying its content offerings to appeal to a broader audience. By leveraging its existing PlayStation user base and offering exclusive perks, Sony aims to carve out a unique space in a crowded streaming market.
However, only time will tell if these efforts will be enough to compete with established players like Netflix and Disney+, or if Sony will even try.