The SCEE announcement follows the highly successful launch of PlayStation 2 online gaming earlier this year in North America and Japan. In both regions, PlayStation 2 has become the leading online console gaming platform.
In North America, SOCOM: US Navy Seals, the first online console game with voice communication between players, and Electronic Arts' Madden NFL 2003, have become instant online hits with thousands of regular players taking part. In Japan, there are already over 100,000 PlayStation 2 Computer Entertainment Systems connected to the network.
Key components of the new PlayStation 2 network gaming experience from SCEE are:
A Broadband Gaming Pack which includes a PlayStation 2 Ethernet Network Adaptor, an online game and a start-up disc featuring demos of upcoming online games This pack will be sold at the same price as a regular PlayStation 2 game through selected retail and B2C channels, and will enable PlayStation 2 owners to access online multiplayer games through a participating Broadband network.
From Spring 2003 going forward, an exciting range of network enhanced games will be launched. These will be available through selected retail and B2C channels and will include SOCOM: US Navy Seals, Hardware: Online Arena, Destruction Derby Online Arena, Twisted Metal Online, Frequency 2, My Street, ATV Offroad, This is Football 2004 and World Rally Championship Online from Sony Computer Entertainment studios.
A completely new PlayStation 2 version of Everquest, the world's most successful on line game, from Sony Online Entertainment.
An exciting range of network enhanced games from key SCEE partner publishers such as Capcom, Electronic Arts, Activision, Take 2 and Eidos.
A highly diverse network platform that enables content companies, games publishers and ISPs to provide gamers with the broadest selection of new online experiences and entertainment. The network will not be constrained by any one company acting as a gatekeeper of the content or the consumer.
Commenting on SCEE's plans for the launch of network gaming, Chris Deering, President of SCEE said, "PlayStation 2 owners with broadband Internet access will be able to purchase a Network Adaptor and immediately start playing a great selection of multiplayer games online. It will be simple to set up, exciting to play and affordable. Our philosophy is to have a very diverse and inclusive platform that will enable content companies, games publishers and ISP portals to provide consumers with the broadest selection of new online experiences and entertainment from a variety of sources."
The existence of a secure online environment is a crucial long-term consideration for gamers and content providers alike. The PlayStation 2 network will benefit from the proprietary Dynamic Network Authentication System (DNAS) that will offer a secure environment for business partners and consumers.
David Reeves, EVP of Marketing and Sales at SCEE said " I have no doubt that the line-up of innovative network enhanced PlayStation games from Sony Computer Entertainment studios and from our publishing partners, when coupled with the simplicity and affordability of our network gaming pack, will accelerate broadband adoption in Europe and provide a catalyst for rapid expansion of the total gaming market."
The PlayStation 2 network gaming experiences will be accessible through a wide range of broadband network partners and will be available through both cable and ADSL connections. Consumer trials will commence in the UK before the end of 2002 with network partners.
More details on the development of PlayStation 2 broadband network gaming will be posted on www.playstation.com as they become available. The PlayStation website will also act as the focus for recruitment of PlayStation 2 gamers for the initial trials in each country.