Sony ups its stake in online content as TV service launch looms

Sony is continuing to invest in its streaming-to-console strategy, with the chief of its gaming unit, Andrew House, confirming to The Wall Street Journal that it still intends to introduce an over-the-top television service in the U.S. by year-end and is in talks with potential content partners now.

The kicker? Sony intends to also stream videogames to other devices besides its $399 PlayStation console--including tablets and smartphones made by other manufacturers.

"A streaming-based approach needs to have a very wide funnel of devices, and that inherently means a broad- and manufacturer-agnostic approach," said House in the article.

Sony's game console business is the strongest point in its electronics portfolio. Its PlayStation 4 console sold 10 million units in the past nine months, the "fastest pace on record" for any of its consoles, the WSJ article said--a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy report for its electronics business in the second quarter.

Online video is an increasing part of its console business: The company said in March it would create an original series called Powers, based on the Marvel comic of the same name, for download on the PS4. This is in addition to the aforementioned OTT television service and should be available by year-end. Additionally, a YouTube native app will soon be available on the platform, according to Deadline's list of PS4 announcements from E3 in June. The article speculated that, thanks to new upload capability through the app combined with the console's Share Factory video editing software, a flood of recorded gameplay videos should hit YouTube soon.

Meantime its closest competitor, Microsoft's Xbox One, is not seeing the same level of success in the content world. While the console has plenty of streaming apps, its original content efforts appear to be over with. Xbox Entertainment Studios was abruptly shuttered in mid-July.

"Sources paint a picture of a disorganized studio that struggled to close deals and lacked a fully fleshed-out business model," wrote re/code's Dawn Chmielewski shortly after the Xbox Studios announcement was made. "This inability to execute has turned off potential studio partners, they say, complicating the process of securing premium content."

Sony appears to be moving steadily but carefully forward in its own content negotiations, setting the stage for what will hopefully be a rich viewing experience for subscribers to its online TV service.

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this story
- Deadline Hollywood had this E3 product rundown

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