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Sony PlayStation Network Ups Movie, TV Downloads

2 Jun, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Sony Computer Entertainment America June 2 bowed a series of new software products designed to enhance the Sony PlayStation Network in the escalating market to deliver movies, TV shows and video games electronically.

The unit of Sony Corp., which made the announcements at the E3 media summit in Los Angeles, said owners of the PlayStation Portable (PSP) would for the first time have access to content downloads.

SCEA unveiled a free software application, Media Go, which allows PSP users to manage their digital content on a PC.

The company said it secured 16 movie license deals, including Twilight from Summit Entertainment, Righteous Kill from Overture Films, and Zack & Miri Make a Porno from The Weinstein Co., in addition to content from Mark Cuban’s HDNet and Magnolia Pictures, among others, to significantly increase its electronic film slate beyond Sony Pictures fare.

In addition the PlayStation Store now features TV shows such as Showtime Networks’ “Dexter,” E!’s “The Soup,” G4’s “X-Play” and Starz Media’s “Painkiller Jane.”

A new anime channel includes downloads of Anime Network’s “Appleseed,” Starz Media Manga Entertainment’s “Dead Space,” Toei Animation’s “Fist of the North Star,” Viz Media’s “Naruto” and WEP’s “Voltron.”

Sports programming features HDNet Fight’s “Inside MMA,” wrestling from TNA’s “iMPACT!,” UFC PPV events and Video Action Sports’ “That’s It, That’s All.”

Sony also announced 200 new game title downloads. For the PS3, Gravity Crash from developer Just Add Water melds a vintage gravity-based arcade shooter with HD graphics, and Hustle Kings, from VooFoo Studios, is the system’s first photorealistic billiards simulator.

For the PSP, Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake features a strategic medieval battle. In addition the PlayStation Store will deliver more than 60 PlayStation Classics by the end of the year, in addition to launching Final Fantasy VII and Medal of Honor June 2.

This fall Sony said it will bow many PSP game titles on the UMD format, in addition to adding nearly 300 new games to the PlayStation Network.

The company also bowed the PSP go system hardware, which is designed for downloads with 16GB of internal flash memory, and will be priced at $249.99 when released in October. The device comes preloaded with games Gran Turismo 5, LittleBigPlanet and Resident Evil.

Other PSP titles include Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, ModNation Racers, MAG and God of War III, among others.

In an effort to remain competitive with Nintendo’s Wii, Sony showcased a prototype wireless controller that detects the natural movements of the hands in 3-D, allowing the camera to project users onto a TV screen to play and interact with onscreen objects.

Sony said the PlayStation Network has nearly 1,900 movies and 9,400 TV episodes, including 35% available in high definition, with a subscriber base of more than 24 million registered members at the end of May.

The PS3 is also a Blu-ray Disc player.

Independent analyst Rob Enderle said Sony and Microsoft’s transformation of their gaming systems into full-entertainment CE delivery channels presents a double-edged sword when it comes to revenue.

“If folks just watch content and don’t play games, both firms take a margin hit because their profits are largely designed to come from game royalties,” Enderle said.

He said Sony and Microsoft are entering markets completely different from games that require alternative marketing and distribution strategies.
“Eventually the dominant media services will likely have to expand to all [genres], including TV, movies, games, and music,” Enderle said. “This will make it interesting for every player as they each have their own unique strengths.”

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