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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 10:42 GMT
PlayStation looks to the future
Playstation 2
Playstation 2: More than 100 million sold
Online gaming for the PlayStation 2 console will become a reality from April in Japan, electronics giant Sony has announced.

PlayStation BB will give users access to online games, as well as internet browsing, e-mail and instant messaging services, mp3 music file access and video streams.


People always seem to worry when we break into a brand new market all by ourselves

Ken Kutaragi, Sony
The company says the development will turn the PlayStation 2 console into a "home terminal".

The service will cost about $7.50 (5.20) a month to access the PlayStation 2 network, which will include rental of a broadband adaptor and possibly an add-on 40 gigabyte hard disc drive.

Sony says its broadband services will be "more enhanced than what is available on PCs today".

Many commentators see online gaming as a crucial development for consoles such as PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

'Threat'

Microsoft is also working to get its online services for Xbox off the ground in the US by the end of 2002.

Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi said he did not see Xbox as a threat.

PlayStation online features
Online games
E-mail/instant messages
Jukebox with mp3 files
Internet browsing
Video via Realplayer
"Microsoft wants to expand its network operations like we do, so we don't see them as a threat as much as a competitor progressing in the same direction as us.

"People always seem to worry when we break into a brand new market all by ourselves so I'm kind of happy to see another company enter the field."

Sony has signed agreements will all of Japan's major internet service providers.

There is no launch date yet for online services in Europe.

'Growth'

A spokesman for Sony PlayStation Europe said the situation was "more complicated" but Telewest and BT are working with the company to develop services.

A console that provides a range of services including music, video, online and games is the holy grail of many electronics manufacturers.

Mr Kutaragi said he expected there to be only "gradual growth" in the beginning of the service.

About 30 games have been lined-up to provide online gaming for users.


In DepthIN DEPTH
Video games
Console wars, broadband and interactivity
See also:

12 Feb 02 | New Media
Legal fight over vibrating joysticks
08 Feb 02 | New Media
PlayStation row erupts in Australia
16 Jan 02 | New Media
Microsoft 'plans home console'
Internet links:


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