E3 unveils big news for Netflix, Xbox, PS3 users
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, basically the largest video game convention in the world, convened earlier this week to give the yearly swath of game announcements. Amidst the big game news of Final Fantasy XIII heading to the Xbox 360 and Nintendo offering motion control+ came some film news that's perhaps more important than anything else announced at the event. At least, it is if you're as interested in movies as you are in games.
First, Microsoft announced a joint venture with Netflix to turn its 360s
into a streaming video players. Remember those set-top boxes that were
released in May to allow Netflix subscribers to play the service's free
streaming videos on their televisions? Well, the announcement is that
all Xbox consoles will effectively turn into those, and while the player
is only guaranteed for SD streaming, Netflix's current boxes only do SD
as well. The only requirement for using this service is a normal
Netflix account. Since the inception of its streaming service, the
main criticism has been that no one wants to watch movies on their
computers or have to buy a $99 piece of hardware that allows nothing
else, but it looks like this announcement will help continue Netflix's
domination and help make Xbox's even more useful.
The next day, Sony had its presentation which attempted to compete with Microsoft's announcement the day before. Whereas Microsoft is working with Netflix on a subscription-based model, Sony is going for a more traditional rental/purchase model where a consumer pays by the download. Television episodes start at $1.99, while movies are $2.99-$5.99 to rent and $9.99-$14.99 to buy. The service already has backing from Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Fox, MGM, Lionsgate, Disney, Paramount, Turner and Funimation. The best part is that this new store hit the PS3 almost immediately after the announcement. Content bought on the store can also be transferred from the PS3 to the PSP.
Xbox, though, already has a similar service, and this agreement with Netflix makes them the clear winner whenever this happens. But that won't be for a while, since the new functionality isn't planned to hit until the around holiday season. There's also nothing, at least that we know about, keeping Sony from taking the idea and giving Netflix the same offer with its system.
Kotaku: More on the Xbox 360/Netflix deal
1up.com: Sony details video download service
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