#dlrconf/PlayStation Launching The Next HBO

15Dec09

John Koller, Director of Marketing for Sony PlayStation dazzled Digital Living Room this morning as he announced that PlayStation is launching its first gamer-oriented reality show 1Q 2010.  PlayStation now has an in-house production unit with its own showrunners and is working on a development slate of branded entertainment.  Box strategists view original programming as the differentiator for connected devices but unlike FLO TV hosting My Damn Channel, Xbox hosting The Guild, and Roku hosting indie channels, the only place to watch PlayStation’s original programming will be on the PlayStation Network, in the same vein as HBO.  Similar to Little Big Planet on PlayStation and Lips on Xbox, to enjoy you have to be on those consoles or hope for a clone … and good episodic programming is harder to clone than mere karaoke and UGC games.

Content Makes The Difference
Offering 2400 movies and 15000 TV episodes from Fox, Disney, Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony, WB, Adult Swim, A&E, Cartoon Network, Discovery, Fox, FX, History, Sony Television, TLC, truTV, as well as Amazon VOD and Netflix titles, PS sees itself more as a media company than a gaming company with pay once, use everywhere content and products that bring it all together.  PSP is a now a portable extension of PS3 with PSN as the connective tissue.  Starting a movie or game on PS3 and taking it with you on PSP provides a significant cost and convenience advantage over Nintendo whose been slow to make Wii and DS games interoperable. Once PSP becomes a smart phone and motion controller, Sony with its vast content libraries will rule the world.  Right now PSP is second to DS in handhelds with an installed base of 16mm North America and 56mm worldwide.  PS3 is third to Wii and Xbox in consoles with an installed base of 9.8mm North America and 27mm+ worldwide.

More for Less
The recent price drop has created a surge in purchase intent with nearly 1 in 3 gamers wishlisting a PS3. With movies, shows, games, events, parties, WiFi, Blu-ray, and a hard-drive, the $299 PS is significantly less expensive than the $299 Xbox which to be comparable still needs a $99 WiFi adapter and $50/year for Xbox Gold for Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm.  (We’ll go into greater detail about PS features when we demo it after CES)

Focusing on Full Integration
Like Microsoft and Nintendo, Sony touts the console as a 10y product and will not utter a mention of a nextgen.  The sole focus is on integration, features, acquisition of premium programming and development of exclusive original content.  By 2011, Sony plans to have 90% of its products connecting wirelessly to the web and to each other.  It will be interesting to see how the integration between the PS Store (behind the walled garden) and Sony Online Store (available to everyone) will play out, til then it’s exciting to see Sony moving in this direction.

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