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Sony Launches Movie and TV Service Tonight, Slashes PS3 Price

15 Jul, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi

LOS ANGELES — Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. used the historic Shrine Auditorium to announce and showcase its new PlayStation Store movie and video download service. The game giant also announced that beginning this September, the 80GB PlayStation 3 will sell for $400, which is $100 less than the current price; the current 40GB $400 PS3 model will be discontinued.

This move counters Microsoft's temporary $50 Xbox 360 price cut yesterday, which was only for its $350 20GB Xbox 360 Core model.

Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA, said the PlayStation 3 was designed as a powerful digital distribution system for games, movies and TV content, social interaction, and the sharing of photos and content.

Sony recently gave the PlayStation Store a facelift and starting tonight, gamers will be able to rent high-definition and standard-definition movies, and buy SD movies and TV content from Hollywood studios such as Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, MGM Studios, Lionsgate, Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner and Funimation.

Additionally, SCEI will be introducing original exclusive content such as “Xam'd: Lost Memories,” an anime series developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, delivered in SD and HD. At launch, more than 300 movies and 1,200 TV episodes will be available.

During the live demonstration, movies were shown grouped in multiple ways, including by genre, studio, new arrivals, HD content, purchase and rental. There were also channels for TV content and anime. Some of the films in the kiosk included: Jumper, The Eye, 3:10 to Yuma, Bratz, Lars and the Real Girl, The Silence of the Lambs, Hellboy, Resident Evil: Extinction and 10,000 B.C.

Cloverfield was shown available for $2.99 as a SD rental, $5.99 as an HD rental and $14.99 as a SD purchase. Movies will only be available for purchase in SD and prices will range from $9.99 to $14.99. Trailers for the film, as well as information about the title, will all be easily accessible from the store.

Using progressive download technology, gamers will be able to begin watching any movie one minute into the download process. The download time for a two-hour SD film is about one hour.

Consumers who rent a movie from the video delivery service have 14 days to watch the content. Once content playback is started, consumers have a full 24 hours to watch their rental. Sony has also adopted Marlin Digital Rights Management technology, an open industry standard for protecting and managing digital content, to provide consumers with flexible access to their content while ensuring digital rights are protected.

Usage rules of the video download service will allow content for purchase to be shared on multiple activated devices including PS3 and PSP systems per PlayStation Network account, depending on the type of content purchased by the user. Gamers can connect their PSP to their PS3 with a USB cable and automatically transfer the movie to the PSP. It's also possible to download movies from a PC to PSP.

In addition, the new PSP slim model has video out connectivity so a downloaded movie can be viewed on any TV.

“We'll be adding a wide variety of TV and movie content each week,” Tretton said. “This service is important to Sony's overall strategy of bringing entertainment, both movies and games, to living rooms.”

PS3 owners downloaded 20 million pieces of content last month, which brings the total to 180 million downloads since launch.

“With PS3 we put together another 10-year business plan,” said Tretton. “Blu-ray is standard on every console. The PS3 helped drive Blu-ray to victory and now Blu-ray is ready to return the favor. The story of the year is Blu-ray winning the format war and PS3 is the best Blu-ray player on the market.”

Tretton pointed to the record first five months of this year for the U.S. game business, which has tallied $6.6 billion. He said the NPD Group forecasts that when all is said and done, the U.S. games business should rake in $23 billion this year.

Through June of this year, Sony has sold 1.8 million PS3s in the United States, 1.6 million PSPs and 1.5 million PS2s, the latter in its ninth year on the market. That's a total of 5 million hardware units across platforms in the United States alone. Tretton said Sony is the only company with three successful game platforms.

Sony also announced some new console bundles. Launching in October is the Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PSP, which will retail for $199 and come with a limited edition silver PSP slim, a copy of the game, a National Treasure: Book of Secrets UMD, a 1GB memory stick pro and a voucher to download puzzle game echochrome. This fall Sony is shipping the limited-edition LEGO Batman: The Videogame PS2 pack, which includes the LEGO Batman game, Warner Home Video's Justice League: The New Frontier on DVD and a console for $150.

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