Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. Brings PlayStation®2 Online On August 27
Company Readies for Online Release With Launch Details; 13 Titles Available In 2002
FOSTER CITY, Calif.
After firmly solidifying its market position with sales exceeding 11 million units in North America, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. today announced that it is leading the charge in the next evolution of computer entertainment by offering users the option to play games online through PlayStation®2 on August 27.
As console gaming is historically a mainstream proposition, the company is taking a unique approach to the online gaming market specific to PlayStation 2 that is consumer friendly and content driven, requiring little investment and offering the newest features and gameplay. Consumers with an in-home Internet Service Provider (ISP) account and the Network Adaptor (Ethernet/Modem) (for PlayStation®2) will be able to play friends and rivals across the Internet via PlayStation 2 games specifically designed to take advantage of this capability.
The Network Adaptor for PlayStation 2, a first-of-its kind console connectivity device, will be available through retail outlets nationwide on August 27 for a suggested retail price of $39.99. Due to increased consumer interest in online gaming, the company announced product shipments of 250,000 units for the initial launch window, with a cumulative target of 400,000 units shipped by year-end. PlayStation 2 will be the first online gaming option for the mass market, and is set to amass the largest online console gaming community in just four short months.
"The record sales levels highlight the company's continued leadership of the gaming industry and speaks to our ability to provide what consumers want. PlayStation has an extremely loyal fan base, and we are committed to delivering on consumer demand through competitive pricing and innovative entertainment offerings," said Kaz Hirai, president and chief operating officer, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. "After leading the industry for many years, Sony Computer Entertainment America is obligated to deliver the next evolution of videogame entertainment that makes online console gaming a reality. Online gaming via PlayStation 2 brings us one-step closer to the company's broader vision of delivering a broadband-based, in-home entertainment platform.
"Our company studied the U.S. market for three years, and feel confident that it's finally ripe to introduce consumers to online console gaming. We will be the first to do it successfully," added Hirai.
Sony Computer Entertainment America will kick of a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to support this initiative in August, which will include the following: advertising (print, TV, online, viral), national in-store POP support, retail education program, dedicated promotional events, intensive Beta testing, direct mail efforts, and direct marketing communication through playstation.com.
PlayStation 2 Online -- How It Works
Consumers with an in-home Internet Service Provider (ISP) account and the Network Adaptor will be able to play friends and rivals across the Internet via PlayStation 2 games specifically designed to take advantage of this capability. The Network Adaptor accommodates both broadband and dial-up connectivity, so consumers will be able to enjoy online-enabled gameplay on their PlayStation 2 regardless of their narrowband or broadband preference.
The Network Adaptor comes with a bundled Start-Up Disc to ensure consumers can quickly and easily equip their PlayStation 2 with online connectivity. The disc will consist of the following:
-- Start-Up Disc connectivity -- AOL -- AT&T WorldNet Service -- Earthlink -- SBC/ Prodigy -- Sympatico -- Help video and documentations -- Interactive game demos -- Sneak peek "coming soon" videos -- Mail-in coupon -- Twisted Metal: Black™ ONLINE PlayStation 2 Online -- The Open Model
In keeping with the open environment of the Internet, Sony Computer Entertainment America has established an open model for third party developers for the creation of online content for PlayStation 2 that offers the following benefits:
-- No online platform royalties for free online gameplay; -- Freedom to establish pricing of online; -- Retain control of customer relationships and databases; -- Create online games as they choose; and -- Greater flexibility and are encouraged to build and maintain their own networks, partner with Internet Service Providers, third-party game sites, etc.
"Many developers favor Sony Computer Entertainment America's open model approach, which allows them to retain control of customer relationships and leverage existing infrastructure. In particular, Sony has already received strong support from larger developers, including top-ranked Electronic Arts, which will be critical as the company builds its library of online titles," said Billy Pidgeon, videogame analyst. "Developers also see the large installed base for PlayStation 2 and the dual connectivity Network Adaptor that lets consumers move at their own pace as advantages to working with Sony."
PlayStation 2 Online -- Titles and Software Content
Sony Computer Entertainment America will carry over equity from the company's immensely popular offline content to introduce consumers to the best in online gameplay. A great lineup of online games for PlayStation 2 is already in the works, with:
-- Sony Computer Entertainment America first party is taking an aggressive stance to support online gaming via PlayStation 2.
-- SOCOM: US Navy SEALs will be available in conjunction with the launch of the Network Adaptor; SOCOM: US Navy SEALs is a multiplayer (online) game that takes advantage of exciting new tools, like voice commands using a USB headset.
-- The company's popular Twisted Metal® series is now online; Twisted Metal:Black ONLINE will be available for FREE via mail-in coupon.
-- Madden NFL™ 2003 from Electronic Arts is a PlayStation 2 online exclusive
-- EverQuest, already an immensely popular PC online franchise, will come to PlayStation 2 in 2003 from Sony Online Entertainment.
-- Final Fantasy XI, the popular RPG series from Square, released in Japan May 16, 2002, is coming to North America in 2003.
-- In May 2002, LucasArts announced its plans to develop an online version of Star Wars® Galaxies: Empire Divided™ for PlayStation 2.
Initial list of online games for PlayStation 2 include: -- SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs from SCEA -- Twisted Metal:Black ONLINE from SCEA -- ATV Offroad Fury™ 2 from SCEA -- NFL GameDay™ 2003 from SCEA -- My Street™ from SCEA -- Frequency™ 2 from SCEA -- Madden NFL 2003 from EA Sports -- NBA Live 2003 from EA Sports -- Tribes™ Aerial Assault from Sierra Entertainment -- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater™ 4 from Activision -- SEGA Sports NFL 2K3 from Sega of America -- SEGA Sports NBA 2K3 from Sega of America -- SEGA Sport NCAA College Basketball from Sega of America -- auto modellista from Capcom About Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one™ game console, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. The PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system is set to revolutionize the home entertainment market, offering the most compelling interactive content and the capability to be used as a network terminal in the coming broadband era.
Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets and distributes software for the PS one game console and the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system for the North American market. Based in Foster City, Calif. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000510/SFW104-a
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