Sony is reported to be in negotiations with movie studios to finally kick-start a film download service for the PlayStation 3, via the PlayStation Network.
According to the LA Times, that service could begin as soon as this summer, and would mirror the Xbox Live Video Marketplace that Microsoft has already established for its next-gen console.
While the sources for the LA Times article weren't revealed, former Apple exec Tim Schaaff is apparently pushing the project, which one analyst sees as a crucial battle that Sony must win.
"They've got to get a win in the digital, and I'd say on the electronic delivery side of the business," said Parks Associates' Kurt Scherf. "That's where the future is. They've got to establish a toehold in that space."
While Sony declined to comment on the speculation, Peter Dille, senior VP of marketing for SCEA did add these comments to the Inside PlayStation blog last week:
"Many of you have been hearing rumblings about a video service that will allow you to download full-length TV shows and movies via PlayStation Network for North America," he wrote.
"While I don't have any new announcements here for the PlayStation Nation, it's already been confirmed that we'll be offering a video service for PS3 in a way that separates the service from others you've seen or used.
"Ultimately the goal of the PlayStation Network service will be to break through the overwhelming clutter of digital media to give you the TV, movies and gaming content you want. More on this very soon..."
Meanwhile Ross Honey, senior director of Microsoft's media and entertainment group, commented: "It isn't easy to do this. There is a lot of work to be done in just making this work and getting that movie up in high quality.
"We've had over a year's experience on how to do this, so we can focus on innovating as opposed to working out the kinks."
Microsoft has already inked deals with Paramount and Warner Bros to bring titles from those studios to Xbox 360 users via the internet on a rental basis.