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Sony launches Play Community social network

Sony's Japanese gaming arm has declared its intentions to enter the social networking market, launching a site called Play Community.

Currently only available to PlayStation Network users in Japan, Play Community imports a user's existing friends list from the service. Once joined, users can exchange messages, create custom groups and find gamers for multiplayer sessions.

A user's profile page on the service is also a place to show off Trophies won on a gamer's PlayStation Portable or PlayStation 3 console, as well as a list of games played since signing up to PSN.

The launch of Play Community - which will likely spread to the rest of the world in due time - comes as various companies attempt to add social sharing services to their products, with Google launching Google Music with Google+ integration and streaming audio giant Spotify signing a deal with Facebook.

It's an interesting move for Sony to make, however: with every single one of its PlayStation Network members already having a Sony-manufactured device through which they can communicate with their friends, it seems somewhat unnecessary to launch a site centred around the same goal.

The company also has a public stigma to shed, following attacks on its PlayStation Network service which leaked personal details - including credit card information - of millions of its customers. With Play Community opening the network up - potentially to anyone with a web browser - it will have to work hard to assuage fears that the same could happen again.