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Sony outlines PS3 online strategy

Speaking at the pre-E3 press conference in Los Angeles, Sony has finally revealed the details of its online strategy for the PlayStation 3, including digital distribution of new content and back catalogue software.

Speaking at the pre-E3 press conference in Los Angeles, Sony has finally revealed the details of its online strategy for the PlayStation 3 - including digital distribution of new content and back catalogue software.

In a similar fashion to Microsoft's Xbox Live Silver service, PS3 owners will have immediate access to certain online and community-based functions from the outset. These services include player profiles, game and player rankings, friends list, voice message, text messaging and video chat.

The PS3 will also feature an online store, where gamers can buy new in-game items, dashboard and system accessories and more, all of which will be stored directly on the HD. More importantly, Sony is making a determined effort to fully utilise its immense back catalogue of titles on both PlayStation and PS2, offering digital distribution directly from the online store to the console.

Content pricing remains a mystery for now, but Phil Harrison demonstrated purchasing new music tracks for launch title SingStar, confirming that the PS3's in-built flexible parental controls could be used to limit the amount spent online.

Older formats are being more than covered by Sony's new machine, and the PlayStation Card (similar to the Microsoft Points system for Xbox Live purchases) can be used to purchase original PlayStation content via digital distribution, which can then be played on the PSP from a memory stick.

Clearly, Sony has taken a lot from the success of Microsoft's next gen online services, but by the same token, looks to be putting in the effort to offer something more, creating more than just a gaming community by offering a broad range of alternative digital entertainment.

Pricing is very much at the forefront of consumers' minds however, and at this stage, without any solid information to go on, only time will tell whether or not Sony's online efforts will amount to success or failure.

Author

Paul Loughrey

Contributor