Sony pushes PS3 synergy

Buyers to get free Blu-ray movie

In an effort to show consumers what its 50 GB next-generation Blu-ray Disc technology can add to movies, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will give the first 500,000 PlayStation 3 owners a free copy of Will Ferrell's summer hit "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

Sony synergy abounded at the news conference in San Francisco that unveiled the 22 launch titles and key functionality of the long-awaited PS3.

During a demonstration of the PlayStation Store, part of the free online community that gamers can plug into, trailers were shown for Sony Pictures' upcoming "Casino Royale," which shares the Nov. 17 launch date with PS3, and next summer's "Spider-Man 3," which has a PS3 video game in development by Activision.

The PS3, which will be available with a 20 GB hard drive for $500 and a 60 GB hard drive, HDMI cable and built-in WiFi for $600, will offer high-def video games and movies in 1080p. In addition to playing Blu-ray Disc games and movies from an assortment of studios, gamers will be able to download HD video content, including movies down the line.

PS3's PlayStation Network broadband service also will allow gamers to download music, videos, original games and gaming content straight to the hard drive. Most of the downloadable content will be free. In addition to playing games and communicating with friends online, gamers will be able to surf the Web for free.

Sony will have 400,000 PS3s available in North America for launch with a total of 1 million hardware units shipped by year's end. About 80% of the PS3s will be the $600 versions, in which early adopters are more interested.

Even though hardware will be in short supply throughout the holiday season and likely into the first quarter, Sony will have a huge retail presence that will allow consumers to test the hardware. Beginning Thursday, Sony will have 15,000 PS3 kiosks at retailers nationwide.

"Universally, PlayStation products will have the lead-in position," Sony Computer Entertainment America vp Jack Tretton said. "They will have dominant shelf space. In addition, these kiosks will be networked so they can stream game demos and they'll no longer be dependent on someone carrying a disc into the store to load it up."

Electronic Arts, which is developing 30 PS3 games, will have four titles available this year, including such popular franchises as "Madden NFL 07," "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07," "Fight Night Round 3" and "Need for Speed: Carbon." Activision is bringing such key franchises to PS3 as "Call of Duty 3," "Tony Hawk's Project 8" and "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance." Sony will have a trio of exclusive titles: "Resistance: Fall of Man," which is in development in Burbank at Insomniac Games; "NBA 07," the first sports game in 1080p; and "Genji: Days of the Blade." Sony Online Entertainment will introduce "Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom" to PS3 gamers.

"Untold Legends" was a franchise born on PlayStation Portable that has migrated to PS3. Sony plans on making it easy for gamers who own PS3 and PSP to share content through Remote Play. The cross media bar onscreen display that Sony introduced last year with PSP is being used by PS3 and by the new Sony Bravia HDTVs, which allows for seamless navigation.