PlayStation Poised to Leapfrog Xbox in Race to Launch Original Drama

Playstation XBox Deals - H 2014

Playstation XBox Deals - H 2014

With superhero comic-based "Powers," the gaming console is on track to become the first to debut a buzzy drama series.

This story first appeared in the June 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Sony's PlayStation used the Electronic Entertainment Expo in early June to make a stand in the race to develop an original drama that could rival Netflix's efforts. Executives for the gaming console said June 9 that its first original series -- Powers, based on the superhero comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming -- will premiere in December on the PlayStation Plus subscription service. Casting has begun on the ambitious live-action series.

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"We're fully utilizing [Sony's] vast resources to bring new experiences and more value to PlayStation 4," said Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House at an E3 event. Although PlayStation leads in gaming with the top-selling console in the U.S. for five straight months, it has been playing catch-up to Microsoft's Xbox, which jumped into original content with the 2012 hire of CBS veteran Nancy Tellem.

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The newly created Xbox Entertainment Studios -- which premiered the soccer-themed reality series Every Street United on June 15 -- has six projects in production and more than a dozen in development. But with Powers, PlayStation is on track to become the first of the console giants to debut a buzzy drama series.

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Xbox head Phil Spencer unveiled plans at E3 for a gamer-focused Halo digital series from producer Ridley Scott, but the console's first two big dramas, including a Steven Spielberg Halo project, won't debut until 2015. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter points to PlayStation's access to the Sony TV studio as one reason it's moving faster than Xbox: "They have a lot of creative talent, so one would think they'll do a better job making [TV] content than Microsoft."