Sony brings streaming baseball games to PS3 console

* Offers access to any Major League Baseball game

* PS3 only gaming console with live games

By Gabriel Madway

SAN FRANCISCO, April 21 (BestGrowthStock) – Sony Corp (6758.T: ) is
bringing baseball to America’s living rooms on its PlayStation
3 video game console, ratcheting up the competition in the race to
become the digital hub of the home.

Sony not only ups the ante in its rivalry with Microsoft’s
(MSFT.O: ) Xbox 360 console, but also positions itself as
something of a challenger to cable companies and satellite
television providers that have long been broadcasting sports to
viewers in the United States.

“This is one of the biggest deals we’re bringing to the
PS3, and it won’t be the last one, there’s lots of
conversations going on,” said Peter Dille, senior vice
president of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Sony, which has an installed base of 12 million PS3 consoles
in the United States, will offer games in high-definition through
Major League Baseball’s MLB.TV, an Internet subscription service
that is already available on computers and smartphones.

MLB charges $25 a month, or $120 a year, for a premium
subscription.

Sony designed a custom interface for the offering, and
users can scroll through live-streaming or archived games. The
PS3 provides the functionality of a digital video recorder,
allowing viewers to pause, fast-forward and rewind, and to jump
to a particular inning in any game on the schedule.

However, users will not be able to watch live games of
teams in their local market, which are subject to local
blackout rules.

PS3 users will need to be subscribers to the free PlayStation
Network (PSN) to access MLB.TV. PSN has 20 million members in
North America.

Sony and Microsoft have been duking it out to control
entertainment in the living room beyond games, offering movies,
shows and videos through their subscriber networks, PSN and
Xbox Live. [ID:nN20491380].

Both offer streaming movies through Netflix (NFLX.O: ), and
have been hunting for deals that can help transform their
gaming consoles into one-stop-shops for content.

“We’re excited about bringing MLB onto the console … this
is something you can’t find on any other console,” Dille said.

In Europe, Microsoft has struck deals with Vivendi (VIV.PA: )
unit Canal Plus and British pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB (BSY.L: ) to
provide content through the console, including soccer matches.

Sony’s PS3 has trailed Nintendo’s (7974.OS: ) Wii, the market
leader, and the Xbox in the U.S. market, although the PS3 has
generated momentum since a price cut to $299 last year.

MLB.TV is also available on the Roku set-top box and
through media provider Boxee.

Investing Research

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway)

Sony brings streaming baseball games to PS3 console