Sony had many surprises for us these past few years, but nothing can compare to its upcoming PlayStation TV service which fuzes TV and online streaming so that players can watch TV and access their games on any device from the iPad to the PS4. It’s a blend of DVR content, live cable and on-demand content. Sony is hoping that this new concept expands beyond just PlayStation platforms and onto other internet-connected devices.
The most important things to consider regarding this new PlayStation TV Service are the cost and the channels that will be available to customers. Its pricing is as mysterious as Sony’s PlayStation Now service, which combines layStation, PS2 and PS3 together, allowing gamers to access their games on any platform without a console. If the price is too high, then everyone will go to competing cable providers; if the channel lineup is ?lled with channels that not many people watch, then it’ll be tough to sell. The majority of players prefer to watch their favorite shows or news about incoming games online rather than on TV. Though this service will allow them to watch TV and games on a variety of different platforms—from the iPad to HDTVs to their PlayStations—the TV service would be of little use if both the cost and channel lineup are not balanced.
Sony plans to have television available to all of its PlayStation Network users, but at this point, very little is known about whether or not it would be free to already registered PlayStation users or if they still need to pay access for premium membership. Viewers will be able to use video-on-demand content, access DVR functionality, and even view live TV programming. Gaming consumers have a higher level of demand for customization when it comes to entertainment, and Sony had tried going down this road before with the PlayStation TV Service idea but with little success.
Though they didn’t announce how big the project was, no information has shown up regarding any deals that Sony made with other media companies. If anything, the idea has yet to be beta tested. Many assume that this new TV service would compete with other TV providers, but Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has assured the public that the PlayStation TV Service will only combine TV with other video services, not compete with other TV providers in terms of channels and costs. Gamers will simply have an easier and more affordable way to access any of their games, daily news, and live shows from any platform they choose.
PlayStation has a user base of about 70 million players and Sony believes that this gives them a competitive advantage. Where consumer electronics have struggled to morph the living room space into a more entrenched and vibrant environment by offering a plethora of different shows and showing times, PlayStation’s TV Service doesn’t have to try—the fact that it’s making itself accessible from anyplace and at anytime has already won the hearts and attention of every PlayStation user.
Netflix, Amazon Instant and other cable-television services will make it difficult for Sony to capture the attention of many more. However, Sony stated that its intent is to be part of an internet television service rather than a cable television one. If it succeeds, it would not only be a groundbreaking move in the world of media, but it would disrupt the cable service market altogether. Recent talks has shown that Sony has already approached Viacom, Time Warner and even Disney with programming deals. If it all goes well, we expect to see this “PlayStation TV”—as Sony trademarked the term to be—by the end of this year.
This “hybrid console and set-top box” was ?rst introduced in Asia in 2013 during its ?rst testing stages. The best way to describe it is a cross between a PS4 console and an Apple TV. Now, this service is coming to the U.S. and Europe. The main audience that Sony tired to reach is not hard-core gamers, but rather casual players that want a little more customization and a bit more of a challenge. Sony plans to launch its PlayStation Now service in the summer of 2014, offering a never-before-seen option to play on cloud-based consoles—in other words, so long as you have internet, you can play a PS game or watch your PlayStation TV series from your iPad or phone. Many believe that this PlayStation TV has the opportunity “to sell itself as an inexpensive game console that plays ‘real’ games” in comparison to games that are speci?cally designed for phones or PCs such as solitaire or minesweeper.
So far, technology has allowed us to experience 21st century communication, organization, gaming and entertainment, but it’s all been separate from the rest. Sony is ?nally looking to the future to provide us with the opportunity to put all that we ask, from games and movies, into one trusted carrier with one easily accessible service that we can use anytime and anywhere.