Beefed up PS3 goes Xbox route with online movies

16 Jul 2008

Sony’s PlayStation 3 is ramping up from 40GB to 80GB with a new model that will remain the same price as the original, but the big news is Sony has decided to go the way of Microsoft’s Xbox Live service and provide online movie rental and purchase through the PS3.

The movies, which for now will only be available in the US, will cost from US$2.99 to rent and from US$9.99 to buy. TV shows will be available for rent for US$1.99 and will come from Fox, Disney, Paramount and of course Sony Pictures, so expect shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy coming to a PS3 near you soon.

The main advantage Sony has over Microsoft in this arena is portability: downloaded movies and TV shows can be ported to the handheld PSP games console for viewing on the go, although Microsoft does has a kick-ass deal with Netflix for streaming movies through the Xbox 360.

In Sony’s keynote speech at the E3 conference for the gaming industry in San Francisco, Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA), said 2008 “is the kind of year that makes me proud to be in the gaming industry”.

He noted that the industry had already generated US$6.6bn revenue in the first five months of this year alone with NPD market research predicting this figure will reach as high as US$23bn by the year’s end.

Sony has had its own slice of this success with 1.8 million PS3 units sold so far this year in the US alone and 1.6 million PSPs, while over 100 million PS3s have been sold worldwide to date.

Tretton said that in the middle of all of this Sony, armed with the PS3, is the “industry equivalent of ocean-front property”. But with the lack of exciting new announcemetns from the company at this year’s E3 expo, maybe this ocean-front property is based in a Florida retirement housing development.

However, Sony has decided to begin distributing its PS3 consoles in Latin America this year and will be bringing out a ‘Greatest Hits’ line of games at a lower price point, which will include best-sellers like Resistance: Fall of Man, Need For Speed: Carbon, Elder Scrolls and Call of Duty 3.

By Marie Boran

Pictured: Lego Indiana Jones, new to the PlayStation 3