Sony Computer Entertainment and America Online, Inc. today announced a strategic alliance that will enable the companies to accelerate the development of next-generation entertainment through PlayStation 2, the world's favorite computer entertainment platform, and America Online (AOL), the world's leading interactive service.
Under the agreement, SCEI and America Online will work together to deliver the AOL experience to consumers on the PlayStation 2 platform and fuel the development of a new class of Internet-enabled entertainment by incorporating popular AOL features, enabling consumers to use instant messaging, chat and e-mail while enjoying some of their favorite content on the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system.
SCEI will offer consumers a network adapter for PlayStation 2, allowing them to enjoy an AOL experience and play Internet-enabled games and entertainment. Also under the new agreement, SCEI and AOL will explore other interactive entertainment opportunities, including broadband technologies and the development of a Netscape browser to optimize the Internet experience on PlayStation 2. Additional hardware including a hard disk drive, LCD display (NTSC/PAL and XGA compatible), keyboard and mouse will be available to allow consumers to enjoy these more advanced interactive features. These new products are expected to be available by the end of the year.
In addition, the AOL features will be incorporated into the PlayStation 2 Software Development Kits (SDKs) available to content developers. "Given our shared corporate vision and power for the evolution of online computer entertainment, AOL and SCEI make ideal partners," said Ken Kutaragi, president and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "With AOL by our side, Sony Computer Entertainment will begin to provide the world's content creators access to a new community for digital entertainment and distribution.
Just as PlayStation 2 ushered in a new era of computer entertainment, we are now escalating the evolution of great gaming experiences into what will become a highly interactive, real-time broadband network environment." "Sony Computer Entertainment and AOL are both committed to delivering the most compelling interactive content and applications possible for consumers," said Barry Schuler, Chairman and CEO of America Online, Inc. "By combining AOL's industry-leading infrastructure and trademark convenience with the media-rich power of PlayStation 2 to turbo-charge the gaming experience, we'll be able to provide our members with another exciting way to connect by extending our AOL Anywhere strategy to a powerful new interactive platform." Schuler also noted that AOL members have long enjoyed online gaming through the AOL games channel, which is done in partnership with Electronic Arts. Electronic Arts will continue to be the games channel partner across AOL brands. The agreement represents an important first step in offering AOL's more than 29 million members worldwide and the more than 30 million PlayStation loyalists in North America a new way to experience connected entertainment like gaming.
Sony Computer Entertainment and AOL will host joint technology concept demonstrations relating to this new alliance at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (May 17-19) at the Los Angeles Convention Center in SCEA's booth #2416. These demonstrations include a version of the AOL experience on PlayStation 2 and a Netscape browser for the platform.