updated 03:10 pm EDT, Tue July 10, 2007
PS3 HD Store Comment
Sony's latest console may soon have the ability to buy and download HD movies, according to a passing comment made by a spokesman for the PlayStation division. The company hopes to take advantage of the 80GB PlayStation 3 and the lower price on the 60GB model by letting users buy both full-length features as well as TV shows. Rental options and other details weren't revealed, but the future service is expected to make good use of Sony's role as a movie studio and offer at least its own content on launch.
A formal announcement of the store's development is expected at its E3 opening presentation tomorrow, though details are to remain hidden until Sony is truly ready to show its features, according to the report. The store is still said to be in mid-development and thus lacks the pricing and final content deals that will reach the finished store.
Sony's choice to enter downloadable video follows several months after Microsoft unveiled its Xbox Video Marketplace in November of last year, which allows anyone with an Xbox Live account to buy or rent movies and TV programs that are stored locally on its hard drive. Microsoft's implementation also includes an account history that lets owners clear purchased movies from the hard drive but download them later for another viewing.
Also confirmed today is that the 80GB PS3, and likely future 60GB models, will drop the Emotion Engine chip that provides native support for PS1 and PS2 games. The move will reflect changes made during the European and Korean launches that shed the chip to save costs, relying instead on software emulation similar to the Xbox 360 that works only with supported titles. The company hopes to expand the list of compatible games over time as its emulator is taught to recognize more legacy code.