Showbiz gets game on via portable platforms
There were few big announcements at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, which wrapped May 16 in Los Angeles, but showbiz companies that bank huge licensing checks from the vidgame business did find some juicy prospects.The biggest deal was Sony’s surprise announcement of the PlayStation Portable, or PSP. Loaded with tons of features, an unknown price and a late 2004 release, the handheld would use an optical disc half the size of a CD with three times the capacity and strong anti-piracy protection. Sony Computer Entertainment topper Ken Kutaragi says the device also would play music and movies. But it doesn’t take a visionary to see the opportunities such a device might hold for record labels and movies studios. Think of hack-proofed music mixed with video content, portable DVD-quality movies (MPEG-4 compression software will cram far more information on a disc than DVD’s MPEG-2 format) and new cross-media combinations mixing games, video and music. Other notable news:
- Tiny price cuts. Sony will pack its $39 online adapter into slightly improved $199 PlayStation 2s beginning in June, clearing out older models for $179. Microsoft responded by cutting the $199 Xbox price to $179.
- The burgeoning wireless game business.