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Sony Pins Hopes on E-Distro 99

Ars Technica reports on Sony's plans for their online service. As previously discussed, they'll be offering online play for free. They hope to make money via an e-distribution system. From the article: "Yet it is unclear what Sony intends to sell. While the 60GB hard drive in the premium console is spacious, it would not be large enough to hold a collection of HD video, although the company could sell storage add-ons in the future. We believe that Sony will initially sell other content, including music and standard definition video, as well as gaming content such as that available today in the Xbox Live Marketplace."
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Sony Pins Hopes on E-Distro

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  • Just a comment on the storage add ons. It does appear from comments made by SCEA execs, that the hard drive will be upgradeable (ugh) like a computer.

    So, storage space (shouldn't) be a problem. Unless they do what they'll likely do, which is make a specific drive that will only work in the PS3, and that will only be available from -surprise!- SCEA.
    • they have already gone on record stating that the ps3 accepts standard usb drives. as for additional internal storage? who knows...

      for the $600 ps3, i expect that sucker to be able to connect to the home network and play any and every file imaginable from any filesystem i have connected. ha...
  • A 60GB drive seems incongruous with Sony's insistance of a BD-ROM drive. Considering a BD-ROM disc can hold 25GB, that's as few as just 2 games the drive can hold. Since the console is already so expensive, couldn't they have splurged another $10-$20 per unit to double that HDD capacity?
    • I'm going to state the most probable reason and say the games will not take up nearly 25GB, Sony knows this and has decided instead to tout the POTENTIAL size of the games over the actual while saving money by including a hard drive that is suited to the minimum space really needed. In addition, they could do this while believing the games may reach 25GB, thus forcing poeple to buy expensive hard drive upgrades, further increasing profits.
  • Sounds Ok? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @11:43AM (#15524465) Homepage
    In short, it appears as though Sony plans to offer for free what Microsoft is currently charging for, and that could be a big plus ... it could convince many gamers that the PS3's expense is more reasonable

    Get Charged up front or have an optional fee later on? Hmmm ... PS3 better be incredible ... otherwise this will be another victory for MSFT.
    • >otherwise this will be another victory for MSFT.

      you misspelled Nintendo. Microsoft isn't even winning* NOW, how the hell will things get better when they actually have some next-gen competition?

      *in Japan the Gamecube is beating the 360 in weekly sales and Europe doesn't give a crap about the 360 either.
      • It was encrypted ... here's the key ...
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    • Particularly when they seem to have ignored the fact that you can buy titles from the XBox Live Arcade with merely the free Silver subscription.

      It currently appears that all three "next gen" consoles (i.e. PS3, Wii, 360) will allow you to download old games in an iTMS stylee. The success that Microsoft have had with Geometry Wars kind of made it inevitable, I suppose.
      • But what will the requirements be for a startup development studio to make and sell games for the PlayStation 3's HUB or the Wii's Virtual Console?

    • What you get (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:36PM (#15524936)
      So in a PS3 I get a whole Blu-Ray drive as part of that $100 extra cost. Only now it's not $100 more because I also get the equivilent of XBox Gold for free, which is $50 a year - thus the PS3 now only costs $50 more than a 360 (if you only plan to play online games for a year), and includes a Blu-Ray drive which allows games to hold far more data. Consider everything else is the same:

      360 premuum and $500 PS3 both have 20GB hard drives.

      360 premuum and $500 PS3 both have component out for HD video (though here the PS3 gets a nod since it supports 1080p)

      360 premuum and $500 PS3 both have just as many ports (basically USB and memory ports, the more expensive PS3 also has media ports)

      360 premuum and $500 PS3 both support the same networking options (ethernet in)

      Seems to me like Sony has priced the console pretty well against the 360.
      • So in a PS3 I get a whole Blu-Ray drive as part of that $100 extra cost
        Which is dandy if you want to play Blu-Ray movies. I don't. I want to play video games. If they were selling stand-along Blu-Ray players for $100, I wouldn't buy one. Why should I be forced to buy one when all I want is to play video games?

        Only now it's not $100 more because I also get the equivilent of XBox Gold for free
        That's an awful lot of faith you place in Sony Online to provide you a quality experience. But it's justified, because
        • Which is dandy if you want to play Blu-Ray movies. I don't. I want to play video games. If they were selling stand-along Blu-Ray players for $100, I wouldn't buy one. Why should I be forced to buy one when all I want is to play video games?

          It's also better for video games as it allows more storage - it allows for larger demo discs with more playable games. It allows for more extras in games like directory commentary and making of videos. Even if you don't care a whit for HD Pixar movies it
          s still better f
          • It's also better for video games as it allows more storage - it allows for larger demo discs with more playable games. It allows for more extras in games like directory commentary and making of videos. Even if you don't care a whit for HD Pixar movies it's still better for me, as a gamer.

            Regarding the possible extras, granted. I wouldn't mind seeing making of documentaries and such, and 25 GB does open that possibility. I still don't think it's worth the extra expense, but at least it's something that does
            • Don't confuse the PS2 with Sony Online. Sony Online is the organization responsible for such majestic hits as Star Wars Galaxies, and it's the only place Sony has to pull from if they want experience in managing an online games service. Sure, they could be starting from scratch, but then you're back to the first iteration problem. Either way, I'll only be convinced they managed something decent this time when I've seen it. Being able to borrow ideas from Apple didn't make Windows 3.x better than System 7.

              I
      • Re:What you get (Score:3, Insightful)

        by apoc06 ( 853263 )
        exactly, in one years' time the two consoles will have had an equal cost; assuming that you play games online. however you also get the added benefit of being able to play blu-ray movies and "full" backwards compatibility. even without the online capabilities, i think those two functions make up the difference b/w the two consoles.

        personally, until i get both consoles underneath my tv by the end of the year hopefully, i see them both on even ground. maybe with sony in the lead due to a better gaming lineup.
        • Re:What you get (Score:1, Informative)

          by docdude316 ( 836485 )
          I think you're a little delusional if you think that the PS3 is going to have anywhere near full backward compatibility. The PS2 doesn't even have full backward compatibility with PS1 games and it isn't using a software solution like the PS3 will be. Personally I see them having just as many bugs and non-playable games as Microsoft has at this point. It seems to me that the only console that will come close to having "full" backward compatibility is the Wii (yes I know it uses a software solution for games
          • i used full in quotes for precisely that reason. currently we do not know what backwards compatibility solution will be in place for the ps3. i have heard rumors that they will include the hardware, and i have seen an official statement that said that they arent disclosing the full details of their BC. we know that sony has a trackrecord of providing solid BC thusfar, so until proven otherwise i will just have to take their word that 99.8% of titles will run.

            the wii will pretty much be in the same boat, at
            • the wii will pretty much be in the same boat, at least in terms of emulating the GC if teh wii processor isnt that much more faster than the GC.

              The Wii isn't using a software solution for GCN backward compatibility. Since the Wii hardware is basically an extension of the GCN the Wii will be using a hardware solution to play GCN games while using a software solution for all other platforms.
      • Re:What you get (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Ikeri ( 705533 )
        >Only now it's not $100 more because I also get the equivilent of XBox Gold for free, which is $50 There is one big flaw with your argument. You are assuming that Sony is not going to charge for their online service. They haven't even releases the API for their online sdk so there is no way to know just what it will be able to do. Part of the reason that M$ charges for the service is it cost them money to run it. If Sony is going to offer the same set of features (which I don't think they will) then
        • There is one big flaw with your argument. You are assuming that Sony is not going to charge for their online service.

          That would be a big flaw indeed if the main article itself had not quoted Sony as saying they were not going to charge for online matchmaking services. It's kind of hard to read "not going to charge" any other way unless you think it means they'll not take Visa.
    • Re:Sounds Ok? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:22PM (#15525467) Homepage
      Get Charged up front or have an optional fee later on? Hmmm ... PS3 better be incredible ... otherwise this will be another victory for MSFT.

      Or maybe Nintendo.

      I've owned a PS, and now a PS2. I don't want on-line gaming, and I won't be spending anywhere near the kind of money Sony wants for a console. I won't buy an X-box either.

      Personally speaking, my next gaming platform will be Nintendo. Both MS and Sony can go pound sand. I've been deciding I want silly, fun games to play instead of overly-complicated, impossible for me to control, eye-candy. I'll take less graphics and better game play thank you. Nintendo seems to be doing that.
  • Yet it is unclear what Sony intends to sell.

    How about games? It seems pretty likely to me that they're going to be offering downloadable gaming. If a selection of PS1 games will be available for download on the PSP I'm sure they'll allow the same offering for the PS3.
    • Let's not forget music and movies... although there's no way they're going to send you any HD over the wire, which kind of defeats the purpose of having this all-HD system. Sony would like to sell their music, and send it only to a heavily DRM'd platform; enter the PS3. The only question is, do they support PlaysForSure, or just the sony ATRAC crap?
      • "although there's no way they're going to send you any HD over the wire"

        what do you mean? surely sony would love the chance to broadcast their HD trailers via internet straight into consumers homes. as for buying full length movies... maybe not, but who is to say that other providers wont be able to tap into the captive ps3 market? the ps3 has an integrated web browser builtin, so in theory anyone that can set up a website can transmit streaming HD signals to any ps3.
        • They might do trailers, but the bitrate for full HD is pretty abusive even using MPEG4.
          • yeah, i think sony is banking on the gigabit ethernet port in the ps3, and providers such as verizon and the universities to provide the extra bandwidth. overall i dont see it being that huge a problem unless they plan to sell full HD movies.

            i just dont want to have to wait hours to finish the download of the latest system update or the newest game demo or trailer. what i would like to hear is someone like sony jumping behind the bittorrent protocol or something similar for mass transmission of these huge f
  • Is it just me, or did $ony (oh, cmon, if we can do it for Microsoft, why not for Sony, especially given the huge price tag of the PS3, and the evil of the rootkits?) throw innovation out the door this time around? Sure, they threw in the Blu-Ray, but copying the Wii-mote functionality, and now following up on the Live service? It seems to me that they are just following on the innovation of the other 2 consoles, maybe hoping that people will think 'Well, the Wii has this controller, and the Xbox has a grea
    • >In my mind, it might have both, but a substandard rendition of both...

      the controller is definitely substandard - it just has nowhere near the modes of freedom of the wiimote, plus the wiimote has the nunchuck component which is also motion sensitive.

      and it's hard to imagine Sony will do better than xbox live without charging anything for it. when was the last time you heard about Sony actually making life enjoyable for its customers? remember the official announcements from Sony about how important they
    • Yes, you pushed it too far with P$3. The resident atroturfer will take that as evidence that the PS3 will really only cost three dollars after the MSFT "tax" is removed :)

      Of course others of us might take it as an indication that the PS3 is as phony as a three dollar bill - and that might be going too far as well.

    • Another thing to think about is that gamepads with tilt suck, or at least the one I had did; the microsoft sidewinder 3d pro usb grand poobah. IIRC it had a gamepad, about four buttons, a throttle, and two tilt axes. The simple fact is that it was horribly cumbersome and nothing about the playstation controller's design will change that. Trying to use controls and tilt at the same time was frustrating to say the least. The Wiimote gives me more hope, because you only need one hand to hold it, and additional
    • The iPod was also just a combination of things that had been done before, but refined and polished. Even if any individual component of the PS3 is not exactly innovative, if the execution is really good then it can be very popular.

      Of course Nintendo is very good at innovating and at the same time adding the polish to make it work from the start, so I think the Wii will do well. I just think the PS3 has a very good chance of still being the sucess the PS2 was, and more - because they have taken the time to
      • Hehe... trolling here, but did you really just use the words 'refined and polished' in the same post as the word Sony? Really, though, I don't see Sony having the same success as they did with the PS2. The PS2 was the much anticipated follow-up to the PS1, and while MS attempted to get into the console business at the same time, and spent ALOT of cash to achieve that, the developers flocked to the PS2 because it was a 'given' that it would be successful. This time around, though, the cards are up in the ai
        • Sony still has much of the Japanese development force on its side though, at least over the 360 (the Wii has a similar advantage).

          As for polish I am only talking about the Sony gaming stuff here. I think the PS2 is actually pretty well designed and does have a lot of polish to it, they are pretty much the only division of Sony I'd trust to produce something I'd want to buy (as a rule of thumb I avoid Sony video and audi equipment, except for camcorders which are decent).
        • "I don't see Sony having the same success as they did with the PS2." Really, The fucking console isn't even released and you have summed this up, thanks Please go back to your parents basement with your Xbox360 son!
        • right now, with the exception of halo3 and gears of war, sony has the bulk of "killer" exclusive titles. here, im defining killer as third party franchises that can be extrapolated to sell well into the 1M mark. halo isnt third party, but its guaranteed to move enough consoles, that i'll include that one.

          thusfar, sony still has the metal gear, tekken, unreal tournament, devil may cry and final fantasy series exclusively. each of these will push lots of numbers. all of the wii first party frnachise titles wi
          • Thank you for a little more comprehensible reply then Format see left... heaven forbid I voice an opinion on the PS3 not having the same success as the PS2 (BTW, Format, I was out of my parents basement making 6 figures and starting a family by the time you were just moving in with your ragged copy of Club magazine and a half full jar of Vasaline.... boi)

            Anyhow, more to the point was a quick google of the titles you mentioned show that Tekken and Unreal Tournament are possibly going to be released for t
            • i dont think the ps3 will do as well as the ps2, but i dont foresee imminent death for sony either.

              the problem particularly with console game news, is that there is alot of misinformation across the net. tekken6 is only going to be released on ps3, haven't even heard a rumor to the contrary. so if you can provide a reputable link, i'd like to check it out.

              UT2007 is only going to be on ps3 and the pc [with linux and mac ports down the line], although there is alot of wishful thinking for a x360 port as well.
    • It's " $on ", to better reflect its... rich cultural heritage.
  • Sony is using the "Developers control Internet Gaming" solution used in PS2.

    Problems?

    -Every developer has a ton more work to do. There isn't an Xbox Live framework to work from.
    -Each developer could decide to charge for basic gaming privelidges. Someone needs to pay for the Servers and the bandwidth.
    -Games will have unique online systems, destroying continuity across the platform.

    A couple bucks per month is worth these advantages. Why buy a hot-rod $600 PS3 and pay nothing for a junky onlin
    • RTFA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:26PM (#15524843)
      The article itself talks about Sony providing matching services, which is just what XBox live offers. That means there will also be a framework to make use of these services...

      It also says that service is free, so where do you get the idea that game makers can or will charge for online play?

      As for unique online systems, again SOny is providing a centralized online hub for free. So it pretty much blows that theory out of the water.

      Basically think XBox Live Gold, only I don't actually have to pay to play games with other people online. I think it's pretty funny you're raising the boogeyman of people MAYBE having to pay for online PS3 games when you already have to for just about every 360 title.
      • Basically think XBox Live Gold, only I don't actually have to pay to play games with other people online. I think it's pretty funny you're raising the boogeyman of people MAYBE having to pay for online PS3 games when you already have to for just about every 360 title.

        And I find it amazing how certain you are about the details of a service that no one outside Sony has even seen a glimmer of. Maybe you're right, of course - maybe Sony is unswayed by the proven fact that people will pay $50/yr for a quality on
        • And I find it amazing how certain you are about the details of a service that no one outside Sony has even seen a glimmer of. Maybe you're right, of course - maybe Sony is unswayed by the proven fact that people will pay $50/yr for a quality online service.

          I find it amazing you are attacking me for repeating what the ARTICLE says, which quotes Sony! Of course I have not seen the service but it doesn't take Columbo to be able to say "online matchmaking is free" when Sony publically says "online matchmaking
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The second to last nail was the death of the image constraint token. It made clear why there was a 499 PS3 version with no HDMI connector since you can play 1080p movies and games over component now that the ICT isn't going to see the light of day this next console generation.

      The last nail in the 360 coffin was the official confirmation of free online play and matchmaking and global player IDs. So now anyone wasting 50 bucks a year for something that is going to be given away for free with the PS3 looks lik
      • If you actually were unfortunate enough to pay only $400 for a 360 you still have to pay $100 more just for a 20GB HD, the same size as the one in the cheaper PS3.
        • The Premium 360 ($399) comes with a 20gb hard drive. Right now comparing Live to the PS3 online services is pointless, and I hope you all realize that. If Sony provides the same level of service as Live, then it's a win in the Sony column. They've hyped a lot of things in the past that didn't live up to the hype--at this point, it's much wiser to take a wait-and-see approach.
        • Huh?

          The $400 360 is the premium version, which most assuredly has a 20GB hard drive. I say this with some confidence, since I spent $400 on a 360, and it has a hard drive.
          • I agree my response made little sense, I was thinking of the non-premium version when I wrote the bit about the HD being $100 - it was more a point that it brings the cheaper 360 up to the price of the premium 360, which is in turn then within $100 of the $500 PS3 model.
      • their weaker and troubled console

        WTF are you smoking? All the specs for the PS3 point to a system that will barely (if at all) outperform the X360. The RSX isn't as powerful as the Xenon and it doesn't have onboard DRAM to do 4xAA for free. Coupled with the news that yields of the Cell are crap and that it will have to be underclocked to 2.8GHz to get decent numbers of chips off the production line I don't think Microsoft have anything to worry about except making sure they get a decent flow of exclusive th
        • o do 4xAA for free
          Explain me the part where processing four 4 times the number of pixels, thus applying 4 times more often each shader, make 4xAA for free?
        • you mean coupled with /rumors/ about the ps3 cell yields, and underclocking...

          first of all, how are you comparing the rsx to the xenon? the xenon is the xbox360s CPU, the RSX is the ps3's GPU. the x360 GPU is c1 or xenos. officially the name is c1.

          "...Internally we called the GPU, interchangeably, C1 and Xenos. C1 was a code name defined before we had the contract, Xenos was the project name after the contract was won - but C1 stuck in everyone's minds. Once we started calling it C1, it was hard to change."
  • What was left out of the original translation from japanese is that Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi said that they would be offering everything from cellphone ringtones to a XBox 360 game emulator for the PS3, which he stated, 'Just involves turning a bunch of features off'.
  • spacious? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wileyAU ( 889251 )
    While the 60GB hard drive in the premium console is spacious
    I'm sorry, but 60 gigs hasn't been 'spacious' in several years. Now its the size of my iPod.
    • "Spacious" is a relative term. In terms of a desktop PC, no it's not that big. But seeing as how the Xbox360 has a 20GB HD and the Wii has no HD (although it has a USB storage drive port), I'd say a 60GB HD is spacious for a game console.
    • It's spacious relative to bandwidth. Suppose you were to download content to you PS3 at 30KB/s. (Obviously the limiting factor here would be the server sending you the data not your bandwidth, but 30KB/s seems pretty generous to me, based on my experiences d/ling torrents). It would take 3 weeks and 2 days of continuous downloading to fill the hard drive.

      Thusly, 60GB is spacious.
  • Music? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flooey ( 695860 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:05PM (#15524678)
    including music and standard definition video

    Selling music seems like it would be a giant flop. Nobody I know of listens to music on their (CD-playing) consoles right now, I can't imagine anyone would want to purchase music to play on their PS3. Especially since it wouldn't be transferrable to an iPod, and knowing Sony, it may not even work on music players from people like Creative.
    • No, but I bet it will work quite well with the PSP.
    • I'm guessing that it will PlayForSure. They've been banging on about the PS3 replacing your PC recently; if absolutely nothing else I expect any downloaded music to sync with a PSP or mp3 Walkman device from Sony.
    • I agree that selling music online is probably not going to work out well for Sony, but I'll bet because of the rivalry in consoles they will not do so becase they'd have to support the Microsoft DRM on the console - giving Microsoft a small payment for every PS3 sold!

      The basic theme of the PS3 seems to be openess, so I am thinking they'll let you copy MP3's and unprotected AAC files to the PS3 to make use of them. I could even possibly see a partnership with Apple where they would allow ITMS sales from the
  • by steveo777 ( 183629 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:00PM (#15525220) Homepage Journal
    Should read


    Sony to nickel and dime gamers to stay afloat

    I really don't like the idea of episodic content. I'm not paying any developer, publisher, or hardware maker more money for a game I bought (non subscription, I do play WoW) just so I can get a better gun, or a new level, but I am okay with real expansions.

    • If you're so against the idea of an episodic video game business model, then let me guess: you don't watch TV either, and you buy all your TV series in DVD box sets.

      • You're right. I don't watch TV. If I do, it's a baseball game at a friend's house. I have a TV for my games, but I don't even have an antenna for the thing. For me, TV is a waste of time. One day I got so fed up with commercials (I'd been muting them for years) that I decided I really never wanted to see one again. So I shut off the TV. That was three years ago.

        I read, play softball, train in kung fu, play board games and video games, go to a Twins game, jog, clean... What do I do if I need to just w

    • Uh... so you don't like episodic content. Have you tried Half-Life 2: Episode One?
    • So what defines a "real" expansion? I'd rather pay $2 for a (good) new level than $20 for an expansion that sucks.
      • That's a good call, but like I said. Nickle and Dime. I'd read an interview with a Sony rep who used the example I gave in my original post. A dollar for a new gun. Not a big deal to begin with, but it adds up quick. People have used that scheme for years. Ever buy a car? Well, you can get that cool looking spoiler for another 750 bucks! Only another 20 bucks a month with the financing.

        Dell does it on their site too. 2Gigs or RAM for 100 bucks more, but hey, that's only another $3/month, so you can

    • I'm not paying any developer, publisher, or hardware maker more money for a game I bought (non subscription, I do play WoW) just so I can get a better gun, or a new level, but I am okay with real expansions.

      Similarly, I won't eat anything with onions or mushrooms on it, but I'm okay with red peppers.

      You do see my point, I hope?

      • Not really. See, if I went to Subway and got a foot-long turkey breast sub with onions and mushrooms, and they tried to make me pay a quarter for the mushrooms and 35 cents for the onions... I'd probably quit eating there. Not the greatest analogy.

        Let's say I got a gym membership. (online service cost/month+initiation fee) Let's say they have everything I could want. Free weights, machines, and some cario machines. Say they put up a sign that says I have to pay them another 20 bucks for use of every n

  • Wait wait...Sony intends to make more money through "E.D." ?

    Sounds like Pfizer might get a run for their money.

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