Saturday, October 31, 2009

Like Netflix? Own a PS3? You’re in Luck

Dexter's in my instant queue...I should watch it. I had heard rumors over on the Twitter, but now it’s official.  Sony has recently confirmed that, yes, Netflix streaming is coming to the PS3.

For the past year, Xbox Live members with a Gold subscription have been able to integrate their Netflix account with the 360, streaming movies and TV straight through Microsoft’s console.  It’s a feature also available to Netflix users on their PC, but it’s found success in the gaming market due to the average 360’s close proximity to a TV. 

Destructoid presumes that Microsoft had some sort of one-year exclusivity deal with Netflix, with the latter company having planned such horizon-broadening all along.

Initially, PS3 users will have to insert a specific disc into their system to run the Netflix program (though they’ve said they’re working toward a non-disc option).  An odd choice, it seems, for a service all about digital streaming.   Then again, a quick cost analysis renders the minor inconvenience of a disc irrelevant.  A one-disc-per-month, unlimited streaming Netflix account costs $8.95/month.  An Xbox Live Gold Account (currently a requirement for Netflix users) costs $50/year.  All of the PS3’s online functionality is free.  F-R-E-E free. 

This is about more than Netflix.  This is a shot off the bow of Microsoft’s monopoly on the console online space.  The PS3 – with its price drop, clever advertising, and recent slew of worthwhile first-party titles – is becoming relevant.  If Sony can continue to siphon off portions of Microsoft’s “premium” service, things should get really interesting.