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Sony Brings Social Net, User-Gen Aspects To PS3; Viacom Extends Distribution Deal With Microsoft

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In a move designed to maintain its competitive strength in the increasingly crowded video game space, Sony will unveil its new online, social network for the PlayStation3 console at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today, according to various media reports. The PS3 has experienced some bad press regarding product shortages and its relatively high price tag of $600. The new site will allow users in the PS3 to form a community and share videos and entertainment content they have created, the NYT reports. Games connected with social nets are perceived as one way Sony can grow the market past its mostly young male audience that largely favors console-based action titles. Nintendo’s Wii already has followed Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Xbox 360 by adding online social functions.
MKTW: In his scheduled keynote, Phil Harrison, Sony’s worldwide game studios president, is expected to describe new components of the PS3 network designed to bring in a social gaming aspects of virtual worlds like Second Life. Harrison has identified the new evolution in gaming as “Game 3.0,” because it also relies heavily on user-generated content. The major feature of Sony’s new effort is a service called Home, which can be accessed through the PS3 console, and allows users to build avatars that can interact with other users in the 3D online world. As in Second Life, users will be able to buy items such as apartments, clothing and decorations.
One feature of Home will tie into other PS3 games: players will be able to collect trophies and other objects from their various console games and add them to the Home world.
Viacom-Microsoft: MKTW: Viacom and Microsoft have extended an Xbox content deal. As part of the agreement, Viacom will place more of its entertainment programming onto Microsoft’s Xbox Live, the second online distribution deal Viacom has signed since it broke off licensing talks with YouTube last month over copyright issues. Additionally, the deal comes as a Microsoft launched a critique against what it called Google’s ongoing violations of copyrighted works.
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