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Amazon Instant Video Comes to PS3

3 Apr, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

PlayStation 3 owners now have access to Amazon Prime Instant Video, with Sony Computer Entertainment agreeing to feature the service prominently on systems in the United States.

“We’re always looking for new ways to expand the digital entertainment offerings across PlayStation Network, and we’re thrilled to be the first game console to deliver Amazon Instant Video to our community,” said Jack Buser, senior director of PlayStation digital platforms for Sony Computer Entertainment America. “Working with Amazon is a prime example of our commitment to providing our community with a wealth of options so they can experience entertainment the way they want.”

The agreement makes PlayStation 3 the only gaming console with Amazon Instant Video. The application offers more than 120,000 TV shows and movies for rental or purchase, and the PS3 launch will see the first episode of more than 100 TV shows offered for free for instant streaming for both Amazon Prime members and non members.

Amazon Prime members pay $79 a year for instant streaming to more than 17,000 TV shows and movies, receive free two-day shipping on items they order at Amazon.com, and have access to thousands of Owners’ Lending Library books for the Kindle.

The Amazon Instant Video application features close to 25,000 titles in high-def, lists covering personal recommendations and recently watched titles, and a synch feature that can stream content between devices.

“PlayStation 3 is a powerful home entertainment system and is incredibly popular with our customers. Since the launch of Prime Instant Videos one of the top customer requests has been to provide customers with an app for PlayStation 3,” said Bill Carr, VP of video and music at Amazon. “Pushbutton, which we acquired specifically for their expertise in TV entertainment app development, has done a fantastic job of developing our best video app yet. We are excited to deliver the PS3 app to customers today.”

The move shows that Sony’s PS3 is aiming to keep up with rival Microsoft’s Xbox 360 in terms of being more than a gaming platform, and it shows Amazon is aiming to take on Netflix, which is available on not only the PS3, but also the Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii.

In late February Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said Amazon was the competitor to Netflix he was least able to predict, and potentially the most worrisome.

“Amazon’s strengths are that they are super long-term [and] they keep everybody guessing including you and including me,” he said.

Amazon joins Netflix, CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Crackle, DirecTV, MLB.TV, NHL and Sony Video Unlimited among video streaming services available on the PS3.

However, Barclays analyst Anthony DiClemente said that Amazon needs to do a number of things in order to become truly competitive with Netflix, including marketing its subscription VOD service a standalone entity outside of Prime to gain more members, offer a lower price than Netflix and expand to more devices.

“Should Amazon take the necessary steps to improve the competitive position of its SVOD service, we believe Netflix will have a far more difficult time gaining incremental streaming subscribers domestically,” he wrote in a research note.

DiClemente did point out that Netflix lost access to Starz content in late February, “and now Netflix has only the output rights to about 20% of the box office gross in the year to date, compared to 48% in 2011.”

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