Though it was the last of the three console makers' press conferences, Sony's E3 2008 event had a series of major announcements that were more than newsworthy, including the PlayStation 3's now-available video store and a new $399 80GB PS3, due in the fall. After attendees from the conference filed out, GameSpot caught up with Peter Dille, Sony Computer Entertainment's senior vice president of marketing, to discuss the revelations.
Several things will differentiate Sony's video store from similar content offered on Xbox Live Marketplace. Mainly, the electronic giant will offer a variety of films and shows for purchase, rather than for mere rental or streaming via Netflix.
"We heard about some of the announcements with Microsoft and Netflix, but the thing with the 360 is that you don't have a hard drive in every unit, so you're only left with the choice of a streaming service. We can offer consumers a choice: Let them download it to own if they want to or just have a VOD [Video on Demand] model for that rental experience."
The new video store is also a major factor Sony is releasing the new, larger-capacity PS3. "Once we got down to $399, that really ignited sales, but we've found people would spend the extra $100 for the 80GB model. ... This new 80GB PlayStation 3 is perfectly suited to this new video download service, give them more storage capacity."
As for the 40GB model, it is no longer in production and will soon vanish from store shelves. "It's starting to dry up today, and will be harder to find as we go forward. The 80GB will be the de facto standard SKU* in September," he said.
As previously reported, Dille also confirmed the new 80GB PS3 will have the same lack of backward compatibility as the 40GB model. "Most of our user base that's worried about backwards compatibility has a PlayStation 2," he said, "So if they want to enjoy their old games, they can do that. But I think what we showed today is there's some really great PS3 content, and that's what's driving the market."
Dille also addressed some E3 2008 news that alarmed many PS3 loyalists: namely, that Final Fantasy XIII is coming to the 360 the same day and date as Sony's console. "The game will be available on the PS3 on day one as well," he said, unfazed. "To me it's a little bit analogous to the GTA announcement. Microsoft spent a lot of money to get the development on their platform. And if you look at what happened in May, you could see there was a pretty even split between PS3 [and 360], so I'm not sure that it had the impact that Microsoft was banking on, to spend all that money to get a cross-platform game."
*Stock Keeping Units, a retail term for an individual retail product.