Analyst scoffs at PlayStation 3 video download plan

A leading video game industry analyst says he doubts Sony's plan to add functions to its online video game network that include movie downloads and television will meet with success.

Sony's plan to add functions to its online video game network, including movie downloads and HD television, is unlikely to meet with success,a leading video game industry analyst says.

The company's 10-year plan for its latest video game console includes "allowing people to download all kinds of digital content to their PlayStation 3 — not just games but movies, music, HD, standard definition TV, you name it," Phil Harrison, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s worldwide studios, recently told 1Up in an interview published on the video game website last week.

Atleast one industry analyst was skeptical about when — or whether — Sony's plancould be successful, especiallywith movie downloads.

"Never — the file sizes are too big," Michael Pachter, managing director of Los Angeles, Calif.-based Wedbush Morgan Securities told CBC News Online on Tuesday.

The 60-gigabyte hard-drive in the premium version of Sony's flagship console is "too small," Pachter said.

Harrison had noted in his interview that the inclusion of a computer hard drive in the PlayStation 3, launched late in 2006, was a critical component of the system and the console's future.

"I think PlayStation 3 needs to stand for gaming and digital entertainment in the living room —pushing the envelope of high definition, pushing the envelope of broadband, and of course that includes more than just games," Harrison told 1Up at the DICE video game industry conference in Las Vegas, Nev.

"If Resistance: Fall of Man is 30 [gigabytes in size], how big is a movie going to be?" Pachter asked rhetorically, referring to Sony's flagship PS3 game. "It's not going to happen. Cable guys will dominate this before Sony does."

Pachter pointed to the problems that Microsoft Corp. had with the launch of its Xbox Live Video Marketplace online download service in November 2006 as evidence of the kind of challenge Sony faces.

People who tried to download content over the Xbox Live network initially complained they were unable to download or view television shows they had bought or movies they had rented; others said they had been charged multiple times for failed downloads, or that the process was taking days.

"Nothing goes smoothly when you do it for the first time," and that's a hard lesson Sony will have to learn, Pachter said. "They're running before they can walk."

But Sony mayhave better luck with digital downloads after 2010, once the technology has been further developed, Pachter said.

Sony spokespeople could not be reached for comment.