Following on the heels of Microsoft’s much hyped XBox 360 content download service, Sony’s PS3 is reported to one day offer a similar video content download service.
Sony Computer Entertainment President Phil Harrison revealed in a recent interview that he plans to expand the PS3′s content download capabilities to include movies, music, and HD content in addition to game titles.
The move is said to be part of of the PS3′s “10-year plan,” thereby making a firm launch date for the new service elusive at best.
Considering the XBox 360′ “XBox Live Video Marketplace” already launched in November of lat year, each day that goes by without the PS3 offering a similar service or further cements its widespread image as a “what could have been” console, one with a laundry list of failed expectations.
“Well we made a very conscious decision in putting a hard drive in every machine and a minimum of 20GB, 60GB and who knows in the future, maybe that will rise — you know, that tends to be a trend,” said Harrison, adding that he sees the long term benefits of the hard drive. “The ten year plan of allowing people to download all kinds of digital content to their PlayStation 3 — not just games but movies, music, HD, standard definition TV, you name it. And that was a significant investment, but it was absolutely the right thing to do.”
But, what he fails to address is that will the Ps# be able to survive long enough against the competition to be able to roll out this new video download service?
…I completely agree that the ability to deliver content into somebody’s home through broadband network is not just the future it’s the reality of now. Look at the way that people are consuming music, the way people are consuming television shows — games clearly are going to be the next that trend. But this is not to replace Blu-ray disc. This is to operate beside Blu-ray disc and the games that you buy on Blu-ray disc may actually end up being a key that takes you into a dynamic content-lead experience where you meet other people, you see other people’s content.
It’s not just about digital distribution of the game itself, but it’s about re-distribution of the experience after you’ve bought into that particular game. It’s got nothing to do with any plan that we have to eliminate retail. That’s just ridiculous. I mean clearly the cheapest and most efficient way of getting 50GBs of stuff into somebody’s home is to put it on a Blu-ray disc and to sell it in a store. But we think there are opportunities to engage users and players in very meaningful ways after they buy that game, either through commercial or non-commercial means.
In response to a question if the PlayStation Network could soon see something comparable to Microsoft’s “XBox Live Video Marketplace,” Harrison said that official announcements weren’t yet ready, but did say that “We have a hard drive, we have a commerce engine, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we will have that on the network very shortly.”
I think it’s incredibly important that we establish what PlayStation 3 stands for. And I think PlayStation 3 needs to stand for gaming and digital entertainment in the living room pushing the envelope of high definition, pushing the envelope of broadband, and of course that includes more than just games. We don’t have the announcements that you’re probably looking for today, but it is digital data. We have a hard drive, we have a commerce engine, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we will have that on the network very shortly.
Considering that Sony loses some $300 USD bucks on each PS3 it sells, the service could be an important means of recouping this lost income by introducing an additional source of revenue.
In my opinion the video download source will probably be rolled out sometime late this year or early in the next but, like I said, the fact that Microsoft already rolled its out last November only makes the situation all the more imperative for Sony if it is to succeed in the long run.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
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