Sony Will Offer News, Weather, Video
Through PlayStation

Barry Levine,

In addition to keeping up with battles on alien planets, PlayStation 3 will soon be able to help you stay current with planet Earth. On Thursday, Sony Computer Entertainment President Kazuo Hirai announced both Life with PlayStation, a service that allows users to see current news and weather around the world through a spinning-globe menu, and a PS3 download service for movies, music and TV shows.

A Spinning Globe

Life with PlayStation will "bring unique content centering on two axes, place and time," Hirai said.

The interface includes a globe that the user can spin, showing different parts of the planet. News headlines and weather conditions related to indicated cities can be accessed via the globe, and Sony reportedly has said the globe will also feature weather-satellite images of cloud patterns. No release date for Life with PlayStation was set.

Hirai also said Sony intends to add the capability for users to store their own photos and movies according to where and when they were recorded, and then also use the globe -- plus some sort of selector for time -- to find them.

But personal movies are not the only movies PS3 intends to offer. Hirai also confirmed that the long-expected movie-download service for PS3 will be launched this summer in the U.S., with later dates in Japan and Europe.

An official announcement is expected at the big E3 trade show in July. The service would compete with Video Marketplace on Microsoft's Xbox 360, Apple's iTunes Store movie service, and others. At the moment, no agreements have been announced with any major studios -- other than an expected deal with the company's own Sony Pictures.

'Trojan Horse'

The download service is also expected to roll out to other consumer-electronics devices, including computers, Bravia LCD TVs, mobile phones, and portable video players. There are some reports indicating the downloaded content can be moved from one device to another.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with JupiterResearch, noted that these moves by Sony are "about the evolution of the game console into something more." He pointed out that Sony, as well as Microsoft and Nintendo, have been talking for quite a while about using their advanced game consoles as an entertainment hub.

Gartenberg described this approach as resembling a Trojan horse, because people are currently buying the consoles to play games, not to watch movies or news. Even once a console is in the house, he noted, normal behavior patterns "are not to flip on the PlayStation to check the weather."

But he noted that, "historically, these things start slowly," and Sony might be able to encourage different patterns of behavior over time. Ultimately, he said, it's about content, and "if you can't deliver content, people will go elsewhere."

Sony Will Offer News, Weather, Video Through PlayStation - Yahoo! News

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