Sony today confirmed its online strategy for the PlayStation 3 (more breaking news and commentary from Sony Gamer's Day can be found at our live press conference coverage
), which is set to debut in North America on November 17. The company also revealed that it anticipates more than 20 first and third party titles
will be released for the new console through the holiday season, with most titles expected to retail under $60.
As has been previously reported, the PlayStation three will ship to retail in two different packages, a lower priced 20GB HDD PS3 system for $499, and a premium model with a 60GB HDD for $599. The 60GB version will also include memory stick/compact flash slots, as well as WiFi connectivity out of the box.
PlayStation 3 Peripheral Pricing
Sony also announced the prices that consumers can expect to pay at retail for first party PlayStation 3 peripherals at launch. The peripherals that will be available in North America on day one will include separately sold SIXAXIS wireless controller, which will carry an MSRP of $49.99, and a memory card adaptor for transferring game save information from PlayStation and PlayStation 2 Memory Cards onto the PlayStation 3's HDD for $14.99. In addition, the company noted that a BD remote control will be released for the console soon after launch for $24.99. The HDMI cable necessary to run games in their top 1080i resolution will not be included in either of the console packages, and is expected to sell separately at launch for $49.99.
In addition, Sony revealed that to properly highlight the system's integrated hi-def Blu-ray playback capabilities, the first half million PlayStation 3 consoles shipped will also come packed with the Blu-ray version of Sony Pictures Entertainment's feature film "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." The movie will be sold separately in stores starting December 12, 2006.
PlayStation 3 Network Explained
Sony also unveiled its online and network services which will be used by the PlayStation 3, and also emphasized that these services will be free to consumers. The company also noted that game developers will benefit from the PlayStation 3's "open platform policy", which will allow them added freedom in the development of games and online/network services.
Sony also unveiled the Xross Media Bar, or XMB, as the way in which the PlayStation Network will be accessed. Essentially the same navigation interface that is already used for the PSP, the XMB will offer content broken up into three distinct categories: gaming, network and web connectivity, and other entertainment such as movies and music.
PlayStation 3 users will be able to create an online persona, in a similar fashion to the Gamertags used by the Xbox 360, which will allow for communication between users, as well as shopping in Sony's so-called PlayStation Store. The PlayStation 3's online branded store, much like Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace, will allow users to browse through and download content such as demos, as well as casual games developed by Sony Computer Entertainment World Wide Studios. Sony notes that games will be purchased using an "electronic wallet", and downloadable first party titles will cost less than $15 at launch. The company also announced that new content will be added regularly.