SCEA transferring 'online services operations, including your wallet and the funds in it' to SNEA on April 1

At CES 2010, Sony's Kaz Hirai -- potential successor to Sir Howard Stringer, if you're just joining us -- introduced "Sony Network Entertainment," a new corporate unit tasked with the expansion of the increasingly vital PlayStation Network architecture. At CES this year, Kaz said 2011 would find Sony "building upon the video, music, game and book offerings on our Qriocity and our PlayStation Network services to deliver a compelling, unique experience for Sony across a wide range of consumer electronic devices."

It looks like part of that plan is in progress now with the introduction of SNEA. Some of you may have received an "important message" from the "PlayStation Network team at Sony Computer Entertainment America" in your inbox today alerting you to a rather troubling change: SCEA is giving all of the money in your online wallet away ...

... to Sony Network Entertainment America! "The first time you sign in to your Sony Online Services account on or after April 1," the important message reads, "you will be asked to enter into a new Terms of Service and User Agreement with SNEA." You can take a peek at that new ToS located conveniently at qriocity.com. (Aside: Isn't it cute when Sony pretends that Qriocity is just as important as PlayStation Network?)

If your relationship with SNEA starts and stops at PlayStation Network, then nothing really changes for you; however, if you're all about Sony's networked services, having a unified wallet and identity will probably be a convenience. Until they tie your PSN tag to your musical tastes. "Hey xxXSmokezMadBluntz420Xxx, how's that new Bieber album?"

[Thanks, KB]
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An important message to you from the PlayStation(R)Network team at Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.

On April 1, 2011, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC ("SCEA") will transfer its online services operations, including your wallet and the funds in it, to Sony Network Entertainment America Inc. ("SNEA"). The first time you sign in to your Sony Online Services account on or after April 1, you will be asked to enter into a new Terms of Service and User Agreement with SNEA. If you do not wish to enter into a contract with SNEA, you may decline the terms of service and we will close your account(s) and return your funds. You can preview the new Terms of Service and User Agreement with SNEA at: http://www.qriocity.com/psnlegal/us/privacy.html

PlayStation(R) Network will continue to provide you with the highest standard of interactive entertainment. Your access to the best games, movies, TV shows, music and friends will remain intact. Thank you very much for being part of the PlayStation(R)Network online community! We look forward to continuing to bring you the best in innovative online entertainment!

Your PlayStation(R)Network password and Sign-on ID (xxXSmokezMadBluntz420Xxx) is required to sign in to your Sony Online Services account. Please go to http://us.playstation.com/support/answer/?a_id=2322 to ensure your account information is accurate and updated.

The PlayStation(R)Network Team

This article was originally published on Joystiq.