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Sony’s Online TV Service Expands to Los Angeles, San Francisco

Sony is expanding its over the top service.

PlayStation Vue, currently available in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, is expanding to San Francisco and Los Angeles effective immediately, the company announced at its pre-E3 press conference.

“We have something very special with PlayStation Vue,” said Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment International.

To help drive PlayStation owners to the service, Sony said it will offer discounts to members of its PlayStation Plus subscription service – and, starting in July, will offer a la carte channels nationwide, letting members subscribe to individual channels – including Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus — without purchasing a multichannel bundle.

Sony spent the bulk of the presentation, however, talking directly to the core gaming audience – announcing a series of long-awaited games tailored to longtime fans of the videogame industry.

It kicked off the presentation by giving those players something they’ve craved: “The Last Guardian” – a game that was first teased six years ago for the PlayStation 3 then was never heard from again. Many people feared the company had abandoned it, despite overwhelming consumer demand, and they’d never get a chance to play it.

They’ll finally get that chance in 2016 – though Sony stopped short of being more precise than that.

The publisher additionally announced a new agreement with Activision, which will give PS4 owners first crack at downloadable content – supplanting a deal Microsoft has held for “Call of Duty” for several years.

“PlayStation is the new home of ‘Call of Duty’ – and we look forward to telling you more soon,” said House.

Also on display was “No Man’s Sky,” a wildly ambitious open world game, populated by thousands upon thousands of explorable universes. Last year it left gamers gobsmacked – and hungry to learn more. They saw gameplay this year, but Sony and developer Hello Games still aren’t ready to say when it will be released.

Media Molecule, makers of the “Little Big Planet” franchise, unveiled their next IP – a curious content creation game called “Dreams.” Users are able to create characters and produce their own narratives, seemingly jumping between environments – though the developer deliberately kept things vague.

“Every person who has seen it in the past four years has said it takes a while to sink in,” said Alex Evans of Media Molecule.

Other announcements included a limited exclusivity for the remake of “Final Fantasy XII” – the most popular game in the franchise, “Street Fighter 5” and exclusive content for “Hitman” and “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.”

Accalimed developer Yu Suzuki also announced the long, long awaited return of his beloved “Shenmue” series – which put its first two chapters on the Sega Dreamcast. After failing to find a publisher willing to make the game on his terms, Suzuki announced a $2 million Kickstarter campaign for the game.

The campaign raised more than $523,000 before the conference was over – roughly 30 minutes after Suzuki launched the campaign.

It was a lot of games designed to excite the player base, but most of the big titles on display won’t be out until 2016, at least. The company’s lineup of exclusive titles for 2015 still remains thin.

Beyond games, Sony used the presentation as an opportunity to promote its virtual reality headset – Project Morpheus – which will be out next year. House announced the ability to play multiplayer games on the show floor. However, he quickly noted that Morpheus will never be a mandatory peripheral.

“Morpehus, like all of the entertainment features on our platform, is a choice,” he said. “[But it] adds value and life to the cycle.”

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