Sony has unveiled details of the PlayStation 3s online service and the list of 21 games available at launch.
The PlayStation Network will let PS3 owners play other gamers, chat, download extras, store images, video, or music and browse the net.
The network will be free to play or chat but users must pay to get downloadable games and other extras.
The PS3 is due to launch on 11 November in Japan, 17 November in North America and March 2007 in Europe.
While Sony is the undisputed console king with more than 105 million PS2s sold globally, rival Microsoft has set the pace online with its Xbox Live service. About 60% of Xbox 360 owners use its online system and pay a small annual fee to get access.
By making basic functions such as playing and chatting free Sony hopes to attract large numbers of PlayStation 3 owners.
The navigation system for the PlayStation Network is based on that used on Sony's handheld game gadget - the PSP.
This navigation system has a "Friends" area in which users manage online game play. In this area they can see if friends are online and what games they want to play. It also includes a basic social networking system that lets people swap text-based messages.
As well as giving users access to online gaming and the net, this browsing system gives access to any images, music or movies stored on the device. This multimedia content can be taken from the net, bought from the Sony PlayStation store or loaded via memory sticks or USB.
Via the store PS3 owners will be able to buy downloadable games, extras for games, movies and music. Downloadable games are expected to cost about $15 (£8).
A custom built version of the Opera browser is included in the PlayStation 3 for using the net.
Sony has also revealed the list of 21 titles that will be available for the PS3 when it launches.
The line-up includes a wide mix of titles - everything from sports to driving games and first person shooters. The top tier titles for the PS3, such as Sony's own Resistance: Fall of Man, are expected to cost $59.99 (£32).
In a bid to show off the high-definition abilities of the PS3 Sony said that the first 500,000 consoles sold in North America will include a free copy of the Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby comedy that stars Will Ferrell.
Date : 2006-11-25 13:37:31