PlayStation launches movie service
By Sam Dallas
Sony will launch an online video delivery service across its PlayStation Network early tomorrow morning, allowing Australians the chance to download the latest releases and classics.
It continues a major industry shift towards digital distribution that has already seen movie services launched by Telstra BigPond, TiVo’s Caspa, Apple’s iTunes and Microsoft XBOX 360.
“I think the whole movie industry is obviously changing and being impacted by digital," Sony Computer Entertainment Australia managing director Michael Ephraim told INSIDEFILM.
"But what I think is good is that it will give producers more avenues and consumers probably a lot more choice.
“Digital downloads might present the opportunity for movies maybe that don’t make it theatrical or [which are] looking for broader distribution or niche distribution.”
Major studios have already jumped on board the Sony PlayStation including Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Roadshow.
Launch titles include recent major hits such as Avatar, Inglourious Basterds and The Hangover.
“You can either watch it in your living room or just put it on your PSP and watch it on the go when in a car or travelling,” Sony Network Entertainment marketing director Alison Turner told an estimated 50 people at the launch in Sydney’s south-eastern suburbs yesterday.
“I think the interesting thing about the PlayStation story is that clearly the new releases do really well but smaller titles that maybe haven’t done so well at the box office, once we put them in a collection, perform really well for us.”
She added horror, sci-fi and action would be popular with the gamers, as opposed to romantic comedies.
Joining PlayStation representatives onstage was The Waiting City actress Radha Mitchell.
“Don’t overindulge – you may have over 600 movies but make sure you eat your greens, talk to your friends,” Mitchell joked.
She also said the new service would give some of her other movies, such as Surrogates, "another life" after the Bruce Willis film posted a poor showing at the box office.
Movies will be available from $3.99 to rent (standard definition only) and from $7.99 to buy (high definition).
The movie lineup will be updated weekly and file sizes range between 2GB and 8GB.
When you rent a movie, you will have 14 days to watch the content. Once content playback has started, you have 48 hours to watch the rental in full – the same as BigPond. When you buy a movie, you can copy it to three different PSPs, Ephraim told INSIDEFILM, while still keeping it on your PS3.
Movies can be accessed like games – via the PlayStation Store icon on the PSP or PS3 XMB, using your PlayStation Network log-in and wallet management.
PlayStation also displayed its new Nintendo Wii-like motion controllers (released later this year) and 3D stereoscopic games in high definition at yesterday's event
Ephraim confirmed later this year another firmware upgrade would allow PS3s to play 3D movies.