By now, I have lost count on the number of times Sony (NYSE: SNE) has started working for movie/video download services for either Playstation or PSP, and has launched some variations of its in different countries, or shelved it altogether. Now comes another one, this time for PlayStation 3. LAT reports that it is preparing to launch an online video service through PS3 as early as this summer. It has been talking to studios and networks on the deals for a few week now. As the story points out, Sony's forays prior to the PS franchise have been Movielink (now part of Blockbuster), and then Sony Connect, another disaster which is being phased out.
For the new service, Sony plans to embrace open standards that would make its offering compatible with a range of computers and hand-held devices, including PSP, though Sony's reputation on openness isn't exactly stellar, or anywhere close to it. Sony could as well be spelt "Silo", and would be the best description of the company: as the story points out, that's what Sony CEO Howard Stringer has been battling against. The PlayStation group in Foster City, CA, has been notoriously aloof, and has previously scuttled plans for a movie subscription service for the PSP even though Sony Pictures had supported the initiative.
This is the best quote to come out of the oft-quoted Richard Doherty in a while, by the way: "Sony has this blessing and curse of [having] some of the world's smartest intellectual property lawyers, who've never built or marketed a product in their life, who are good at saying, 'no'...The sun never sets on the Sony lawyers, they're around the world, in Tokyo, London, New York."
It would compete against the Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) XBox Live service, which has about 10 million subscribers. The service has 4,800 hours of video, a quarter of them in HD. That includes 350 movies and more than 5,000 episodes of TV shows.
By Rafat Ali