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10/20/2006
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Sony Debuts PS3 Games, Online Strategy

Sony ticks off a list of video game titles and lays out its online strategy for the PlayStation 3 game console, which is expected to ship in November.

It's game time for Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.

The company rolled out a list of video game titles and unveiled an online strategy for the PlayStation 3 game console, expected to ship in North America on Nov. 17.

Sony will have more than 20 games available for the PlayStation 3 console when it goes out to costumers next month. The two largest game publishers, Electronic Arts Inc., and Activision Inc., are developing more than 50 titles for PlayStation 3.

In a separate announcement, EA said it will offer for the PS3 "Madden NFL 07," "Need for Speed Carbon" and "Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07" when the console launches.

Sony also unveiled details of the PlayStation Network, which will allow players to play against others via the Internet, and purchase additional games and entertainment.

The PlayStation Network enables the Xross Media Bar navigation system that offers a complete suite of entertainment content for gaming, network and Web connectivity, as well as movies and music.

"Sony has the right strategy because they combine the traditional PSP feel with some Xbox Live features," said Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst with Lazard Capital Markets LLC, on Friday. "What's nice about the PS3 online network is Sony made a lot of the basic services free, such as games demo and some miscellaneous content, whereas Microsoft's Xbox charges a subscription fee."

While Microsoft charges for online play with the Xbox Live online network, Sony will allow gamers to try some casual games and access select content for free.

The XMB interface, already on more than 20-million PSPs, will allow PS3 users to experience multiplayer games across the network; communicate with other players via chat, voice or video; browse the Web; download gaming content; store or view pictures and video; download and listen to music; and shop online.

"One of the more impressive features in the online service is how the PS3 interface connects the user to the store, and how you can access the store within games," said Billy Pidgeon, IDC gaming analyst. "The layout is similar to Apple iTunes which is good, because it works. Plus, there are a couple of unique video games for under $15."

Buying music and other content from console to load on the PS3 is technologically possible and probably, Pidgeon said, though Sony didn't mention plans for any such service.

The PlayStation 3 console, both $499 and $599 versions, will ship with a drive to play Blu-ray discs.

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