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PS3 film service to launch this summer?

Sony in studio negotiations, apparently.

Sony may be launching a PS3 downloadable film service as soon as this summer, and has apparently begun talking to major studios already.

Word comes from the LA Times, which wouldn't reveal its sources but claimed former Apple man Tim Schaaff was pushing the project.

Sony declined to comment on the speculation, but Sony US marketing bigwig Peter Dille offered his comments on the PlayStation blog last week.

"Many of you have been hearing rumblings about a video service that will allow you to download full-length TV shows and movies via PlayStation Network for North America," he wrote.

"While I don't have any new announcements here for the PlayStation Nation, it's already been confirmed that we'll be offering a video service for PS3 in a way that separates the service from others you've seen or used.

"Ultimately the goal of the PlayStation Network service will be to break through the overwhelming clutter of digital media to give you the TV, movies and gaming content you want. More on this very soon..."

The service would be a direct competitor to the digital distribution dream of Microsoft and its Xbox Live Video Store, which it continues to boast about in the wake of the HD-DVD format collapsing.

Microsoft Entertainment suit Ross Honey says getting a downloadable service like this up and running is much harder than it looks, too.

"It isn't easy to do this. There is a lot of work to be done in just making this work and getting that movie up in high quality," he said.

"We've had over a year's experience on how to do this, so we can focus on innovating as opposed to working out the kinks."

Microsoft has already inked deals with Paramount and Warner Bros. to bring titles from those studios to Xbox 360 users via the Internet on a rental basis.

Unsurprisingly, analysts suggest this online distribution market is a crucial area for Sony, and a battle it must fight back in.

"They've got to get a win in the digital, and I'd say on the electronic delivery side of the business," said Kurt Scherf from Parks Associates. "That's where the future is. They've got to establish a toehold in that space."

GamesIndustry.biz is a good film, even if it is based on fact.

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Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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