Sony Unleashes PlayStation 3

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Industry Trends

Talladega Sony Computer Entertainment America has turned to Will Farrell's NASCAR legend, Ricky Bobby, to help hawk PlayStation 3s and Blu-Ray Disc technology. After promoting everything from Wonder Bread to EA Sports in the hit film, which raked in over $150 million at the box office, Ricky Bobby is one of three new BR-D movies from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to feature a full 50GB of content on one disc. The first 500,000 PS3s sold in the U.S. will include a BR-D copy of the movie. For technophiles, this has been the selling point of BR-D versus the competing HD-DVD format--more space to store more extras and bonus features. It also happens to help Sony PS3 game developers pack more game content onto one disc.

While Xbox 360 uses a standard DVD-9, a disc that holds 9GB of storage space, BR-D hold 50GB. One of Sony's first-party launch titles, Insomniac's "Resistance: Fall of Man," takes up 16GB of space, which means this content wouldn't fit on an Xbox 360 disc. Over the long run, as game developers get a handle on Sony's Cell processor, this could ultimately deliver more immersive experiences on PS3.

At E3, it was hard to tell the difference between PS3 and Xbox 360 games from a graphics standpoint, but I think, over time, Sony may win out this battle--at least on single-discs. Microsoft can always bring out multiple-disc games, but I've never been a fan of swapping mid-game.

I think where Sony can also get an advantage is with its corporate synergy. Sony showcased movie trailers from Sony Pictures' "Casino Royale" and "Spider-Man 3" at its press conference in San Francisco last night. When you factor in the many movies, TV shows and music that Sony has to delve into, its PlayStation Network has an advantage over Xbox Live. Sony showed a music channel in its demo, but did not go into details. High definition movie trailers and content will be downloadable to PS3. Taking things a step further, PSP and PS3 will work through Remote Play, which means that when connected to a Wi-Fi home, or hotspot down the line, movies, games and content can be viewed from PS3 to PSP anywhere in the world.

Anyone who remembers the PSP launch knows that the "Spider-Man 2" pack-in went a long way in wowing consumers with UMD movie capabilities. That lead to an onslaught of UMD movies from the Hollywood studios. While that's now slowed to a trickle, it did show that synergy can sell multimedia. And PS3 is all about multimedia, even though gaming is the key focus at launch.

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