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Sony Execs: PS3 to Do Everything

23 Jun, 2006 By: John Gaudiosi

PlayStation 3 will be the all-in-one device consumers use to play games, watch movies, surf the Web and perform computer functions, said Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison.

In an interview with German gaming site Spiegel Online, Harrison said the PS3 is a PC. And once PS3 enters the mainstream, consumers, in essence, won't need any other PC.

“Computer” always has been part of Sony's game division name since it entered the market with the original PlayStation in 1995. PS3 will be the first device that has the capacity to deliver on that promise. PS2 focused on the “entertainment” portion of Sony's name, with DVD movie and CD music playback. PS3 will offer that, plus Blu-ray Disc movie and game playback, in addition to backward-compatibility on the entire library of PS and PS2 games.

Harrison also said that Sony's PlayStation Network Platform will offer free online gaming and connectivity to consumers. In addition to downloadable games, movie and music content, he said, the publisher will build a community through this online network similar to what the Web sites MySpace.com and SecondLife.com have done.

Sony president Ken Kutaragi told Japanese gaming site Impress Watch that he believes consumers will embrace the idea of digitally delivered content within one or two years. He believes the hard video game discs now sold at retail will disappear. Kutaragi wanted to explore digital distribution with PS2, but was not allowed. Apple has opened the door to digital distribution with its iPod, and Sony plans on further expanding this online distribution method with PS3, he said.

If digital distribution replaces brick-and-mortar retail, it will eliminate a problem for game publishers: losing money to retailers that allow gamers to sell back used games.

According to online reports, Sony was trying to tie an online code to PS3 games, similar to the way many PC games require an online code to prevent illegal copies. P.J. McNealy, video game analyst for American Technology Research, said it's unlikely Sony will bind a specific game to the PS3 unless it is a game that is based on Internet-connected online play. Because not every PS3 game will be online-connected, he believes PS3 games will be sold the same way PS2 games are sold.

“Based on our analysis, we believe it is unlikely that Sony will ban pre-owned games from being sold by retail chains [that sell new hardware and games],” McNealy said. “If they did, we believe there would be two downstream effects, including a quick rise of pre-owned gaming software stores, as well as possible negative downward pressure on new game sales.”

Sony is expected to have slightly more than 1 million PS3s available for the U.S. launch between Nov. 17 and the end of this year.

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