Consumer Demand Fuels Burgeoning PlayStation®2 Online Community
Company Doubles Network Adaptor Fiscal-Year Shipments to One Million Units By Month End
FOSTER CITY, Calif.
In just six months, the PlayStation®2 online experience has surpassed expectations to become the largest online console gaming community in North America, announced today by Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. Consumer demand for PlayStation 2 online gaming has been greater than expected, and sales of the Network Adaptor (Ethernet/modem) (for PlayStation®2), the gateway into the PlayStation 2 online arena, exceeded the company's original expectations with more than 500,000 units sold through to consumers. The community continues to expand at an astonishing rate with an average of 2,500 new members joining per day. Due to consistent, high demand the company confirmed that it plans to double its projected Network Adaptor shipments to a cumulative one million units by the end of its fiscal year, March 31, 2003.
With 42 percent of users playing online games via dial-up and 58 percent via broadband, the inclusive offering of PlayStation 2 is clearly meeting consumers' needs for online console gaming, regardless of their connectivity preferences. PlayStation 2 is the only next generation system to cater to all online users. Since its launch, the Network Adaptor has consistently ranked among the top 10 accessories sold, according to NPD FunWorld, a division of the NPD Group, an independent research group. In fact, the most recent report indicates that the Network Adaptor outsold the Xbox Live Starter Kit by more than 63 percent during the month of January.
"To say that we are encouraged by the massive consumer online uptake in such a short period of time is an understatement," said Andrew House, executive vice president, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Consumer choice is central to our platform strategy and to our approach to online gaming. We're delighted that we're leading in this space with unique content and an open approach to content providers."
Driving the impressive growth of the PlayStation 2 online community is an unmatched offering of quality online games. With the largest and most diverse software library, PlayStation 2 is known among consumers as the console of choice when it comes to games, a perception that now extends to the online world as well. According to a recent Sony Computer Entertainment America survey, the overall game experience and the best online titles were top reasons for choosing PlayStation 2 to explore online console gaming. With 13 titles currently available and five more coming this month, PlayStation 2 also offers the most diverse online library with titles spanning top genres, including action, sports, racing and role-playing games. In addition, of the top 10 best-selling titles for the month of January three were PlayStation 2 online-enabled titles, including SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs and ATV Offroad Fury™2 from Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Madden NFL™ 2003 from Electronic Arts.
More than 15 companies are developing content with online-enabled features. As one of the first companies to publicly announce support for the PlayStation 2 online initiative, Electronic Arts has seen much success with its sports franchises.
"More than 400,000 people have registered to play Madden NFL 2003 online -- just one of our games that support PlayStation 2 online," said John Riccitiello, president, Electronic Arts. "The enthusiasm shown by players is very encouraging -- we plan to build this capability into many more PlayStation 2 games from Electronic Arts."
Sony Computer Entertainment America understands that it must lead the online charge with great content from its own development studios. Its premier online game, SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs, an action adventure title that places gamers in the role of an elite Navy SEAL team, has become a key driver with more than one million copies sold since its release on August 27, 2002 in conjunction with the Network Adaptor. More than 30 percent of all users are active online, racking up around 8.5 million player hours since the beginning of the year. In the past week, online gameplay exceeded one million hours alone. On a daily basis, between 50,000 and 60,000 people host online sessions, with up to 13,000 users playing simultaneously for three hours on average. Currently only available in North America, the global company is preparing to release SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs in Europe, Japan and Korea.
In addition to existing online offerings, the following list includes new and upcoming online-enabled titles for PlayStation 2 from first party and third party companies:
-- EverQuest® Online Adventures™ from Sony Online Entertainment, available now. EverQuest Online Adventures is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game exclusively for the PlayStation 2. EverQuest Online Adventures gives console gamers access to a vast living game world filled with exciting combat, quests and unparalleled character development as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime with people from across the North American continent. Players can personalize in- game characters from nine races, 14-player character classes, and watch each character evolve as challenges and quests are completed. With more than 360 square miles to explore, thousands of non-player characters to interact with, and hundreds of spells and special abilities, the game immerses players into the games vast online world of Norrath. Using the Network Adaptor, EverQuest Online Adventures connects seamlessly via modem or broadband to the Internet, directing players to dedicated EverQuest Online Adventures servers. -- All-Star Baseball 2004 from Acclaim, available now. All Star Baseball 2004 includes online downloadable roster updates and statistics, providing realistic game play that mirrors real-world baseball news and events. All-Star Baseball 2004 has also enhanced the Franchise Mode and added several new gameplay modes, including Scenario Mode, which allow players to relive and change the outcome of key moments of the 2002 season. With over 50 playable reams, 75 stadiums, 200 uniforms, 20 unlockable teams, the official Negro Leagues License, and for the first time in a videogame, selectable Spanish play-by-play commentary and interviews with Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken and Negro League legend Buck O'Neil, All-Star Baseball 2004 is the game with all the tools. -- My Street™ from Sony Computer Entertainment America, available now. The first online party game for PlayStation 2, My Street is the ultimate source of online competition for gamers of all ages and supports both broadband and dial-up users. With My Street, intense gaming competition is no longer limited to who's in your living room or who's on your block. Gamers from all across the country can challenge up to four of their friends or foes to any one of seven fun old-school gaming classics including Dodgeball, Volleyball, RC Racing, Marbles, Chemistry, Lawnmowers and Chicken Herding. No two kids are the same in this vibrant, virtual neighborhood, as players can create their own online persona by designing a custom kid to match their personality or style. A fun, safe game for PlayStation 2 gamers to test out their online gaming skills, My Street also promises to be a good time for everyone in the family, featuring a handicapping system within the game to even the playing field between more experienced and novice players. -- Midnight Club 2 Street Racing from Rockstar Games, April 8, 2003. Midnight Club 2 Street Racing for PlayStation 2 represents Rockstar Games' first foray into online gaming, with online multiplayer features, making this notorious illegal street racing syndicate even more exciting as opponents face off in the streets of Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo. Up to eight players can race throughout three massive, fully open cities in one of five unique multiplayer online game modes. Players can connect and battle the world's best in any of the Career Races or Circuit Races, or use the Race Editor to customize races for the fastest and most wide open racing ever, or burn opponents in any of the Battle Modes like Detonator and Capture the Flag. Drivers can select any car or bike that they have personally unlocked in offline arcade mode, and then join or host online races. A broadband connection is required for online play. -- Amplitude™ from Sony Computer Entertainment America, March 25, 2003. Developed by Harmonix Music Systems, Amplitude allows players to become a rhythmical DJ and jam with more than 20 diverse songs in virtual, vibrant interactive musical environments while mixing and remixing hit songs in both offline and online gameplay. Taking advantage of the PlayStation 2 online capabilities, Amplitude allows players to challenge their friends online in multi-player and remix mode. Utilizing lobby chat capabilities and other unique online features, including a ladder-ranking system, players will be able to collaborate and compete with each other to form an online music community. If a player creates a remix in the online mode, they have the opportunity for the remix to be selected and posted in the online lobby for other players to listen to, enjoy and play. During online gameplay, Amplitude supports both broadband and analog users. -- Auto Modellista™ from Capcom, March 25, 2003. Auto Modellista is a highly anticipated racing action title for PlayStation 2 providing players the opportunity to race head-to-head with eight driving opponents online. Licenses from 16 different car manufactures including Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru and more are represented giving players a total of 69 real-world cars. The customizable feature lets players acquire essential components to soup- up their ride from the get go. Drivers can select specific tires, brakes, suspension, turbine, mufflers, and then challenge opponents via the Internet, showing off unique car design and race stylings during showdowns with online competitors. -- Chessmaster® from Ubi Soft, March 2003. Chessmaster, the best- selling brand in chess, is the most comprehensive chess game available and enables players to challenge each other online. Chess fans can now take their chess-playing skills to the next level by taking on their opponents live, via the Internet. This dynamic online environment alerts players with challenges from chess opponents or scheduled tournament reminders, which appear as "headlines" from a newspaper, and chess personalities change over time as the games progress. Along with the most powerful chess engine available on the console, Chessmaster also features a 3D Battlefield Chess, which recreates the atmosphere of a fantasy battle played on a checkered battlefield.
The intense camaraderie and competition seems to be attracting new gamers to the community in addition to existing PlayStation 2 users. There is a clear shift in the demographics for members of the online community in comparison to the overall PlayStation 2 user base. More than 73 percent of registered members of the PlayStation 2 online community are between the ages of 18-34, where as this demographic makes up only 47 percent of the overall PlayStation 2 installed base, illustrating that the appeal of online games is helping to further penetrate a key segment of the PlayStation 2 target audience.
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.
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