July 7, 2006

Sony Talks PlayStation 3 E-Distribution

Posted in General at 5:34 pm by playstation3

There’s an interesting story on Gamasutra about Sony’s plans for the PlayStation 3 E-Distribution Initiative (EDI), a service that will supposedly help both first and third-party developers digitally distribute their games via download, directly to the PS3. You can think of it as an alternate Xbox Live if you will, and it will clearly compete with Microsoft’s digital delivery service for the Xbox 360. But before you jump asking whether Xbox Live Arcade titles could be ported to the PS3 E-Distribution and vice versa, rest assured that Sony already has a pretty straightforward answer for that:

“We’re looking for fresh, new ideas that fully exploit the power of PlayStation 3. Our 1st party projects are all unique to PS3. Some of our games, by virtue of their design and hardware demands, simply couldn’t work on Xbox 360.”

Currently, the service is still in the pre-production stages, but interested developers can already submit their game ideas on the PlayStation Beyond website, which has been online ever since GDC 2006, when Sony’s Phil Harrison announced its presence. He now explains the concept a bit further:

“The E-Distribution Initiative (EDI) will provide an alternative publishing opportunity for the direct download of games and other content to the user. The EDI will be managed by Sony Computer Entertainment’s development and studio organizations in North America, Europe, Japan and Asia (collectively known as SCE Worldwide Studios).”

The PlayStation Beyond submission website also notes that “Partnerships resulting from EDI will allow the developers’ downloadable games to be published for individual purchase or subscription over SCE’s direct distribution methods”, indicating that the company may be considering subscription-based method of consuming content, as well as individual downloads.

Will Sony’s E-Distribution be as successful as Microsoft’s Xbox Live service? Well, so far there’s simply not enough details on what Sony’s EDI will be capable of in terms of functionality, and let’s not forget that in order to have a successful service, first they need to have a successful PlayStation 3. And they aren’t really topping any popularity charts right now.

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