Mark your calendars baseball buffs, because Sony’s bringing Major League Baseball to the PlayStation 3 and you’ll be able to sign up for the service by the end of this week. According to the New York Times, Sony and Major League Baseball are joining hands to offer out-of-market baseball games live over the Internet courtesy the PS3. The move comes just a few months after rumors that rival Microsoft was courting ESPN to stream live sporting events on the Xbox 360.
The service will be subscription-based, meaning you’ll pay for the privilege, though it’s not clear how much it’ll cost. MLB.TV charges $99.95 per year or $19.95 per month for basic service, and $119.95 or $24.95 a month for the premium alternative with home or away game selection and enhanced playback controls.
Invoking a year-old marketing pitch, Sony Computer Entertainment America vice president Peter Dille says the company’s “repositioning” the PS3 as a ubiquitous media hub and not just a high-end video games system.
“This is more than just a game console,” Dille told the Times. “This is a device that is redefining how content is being delivered to the living room.”
Redefining? Well, sort of. PC’s have been capable of streaming live video to living room TVs for over a decade. Game consoles like the PS3 or Xbox 360 don’t bring much new to the table, they simply offer service providers an opportunity to ratchet up subscriber numbers.
That’s enough to shake the tree in itself, of course. “Redefining” or no, demonstrable mainstream demand for centralized media services has instant ramifications for the biz–ramifications that dovetail with a push toward “cloud-based” computing. It reassures and encourages risk-averse content providers to green light hub versions of their own services, say offering alternative cloud-based versions of things you can only get currently through cable or satellite packages. How long before majors like HBO or SHOWTIME offer live streaming options through set-top consoles like the PS3 or Xbox 360? The cable news channels? Local affiliates? We’re already able to watch non-live shows and snip-clips from channels like Comedy Central or The Cartoon Network. What’s standing between that and live streaming alternatives?
Presumably this won’t go over well with cable TV providers, though MLB chief executive Robert Bowman dismissed suggestions baseball fans would migrate away from cable or satellite viewing. “There’s no empirical evidence I see that our fans are substituting one for the other,” he said.
Say what you will, the writing’s on the wall. Today we run multiple physical lines to our homes to access disparate services from telephony to multiband media. In the last half decade, that’s been converging. I don’t have a landline because my I manage home office telephony with a Skype number and a computer headset. I don’t need cable TV because the shows I don’t wait for on disc have live (or just-after-live-broadcast) online streaming options.
After all, everything I’m up to these days, media-wise, requires just one thing: an IP address.