Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
logo design by man bytes blog

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sony's Free HUB And It's Not So Free Content

Ars Technica sums up Kutaragi's description of the Playstation 3's networking services:

Kutaragi's comments clearly suggest that online play will be free, up to and including meeting up with other users (the matching service). Voice and video chat, messaging, and ranking services are also expected to be available for free, stemming from comments made by Kutaragi in March. This does not rule out additional value-added services, however, and until the service is officially announced, we can only call these plans tentative.

Kutaragi also said that Sony has plans to sell "content" online, saying that they had wanted to do it as far back as 1999. He hinted that the American market was still too dominated by modems at the time, however, and so they had to cancel plans and wait for the opportunity to return with the PS3. In the meantime, he says, "Apple realized e-Distribution. So we figured it was about time for us as well." He added that, "In a year or two, I think everyone will just expect [commercial content distribution over networks]."

Yet it is unclear what Sony intends to sell. While the 60GB hard drive in the premium console is spacious, it would not be large enough to hold a collection of HD video, although the company could sell storage add-ons in the future. We believe that Sony will initially sell other content, including music and standard definition video, as well as gaming content such as that available today in the Xbox Live Marketplace.
-- Sony to offer free online play, placing its online revenue hopes on e-Distribution

Invoking Apple's name, I'm thinking, is not a coincidence. Sony's probably still a bit miff that the walkman of the modern day is .. well not a walkman. They're acknowledging that iTunes is a major part of that and, in doing so, that they haven't been able to keep up with Apple. Sony's been salivating over downloadable content and convergence devices for some time now, and the PS3 is their chance to make it actually work. While they've been mocked recent for referring to the PS3 as a "computer", I'm not really sure what the hangup here might be. Games, e-mail, web browsing and IM ... that would be the golden apps these days. E-mail and IM would be troublesome without a keyboard ... but unlike Microsoft they've got nothing to lose with adding one.

It's entirely possible that the reason Sony is being met with so much suspicion right now (OK, other than them being an evil megacorporation...) is simply that until the PS3 gets hooked up to it's HUB ... it won't really click. Microsoft has made Xbox Live into a major selling point. Whether Sony can keep up with both Microsoft and Apple could make or break the PS3.

tagged: ,

No comments: