In direct comparison this means that the Sony games-console will now be able to trump Microsoft’s offering by the simple fact the PlayStation Network is free, compared to the Xbox Live “Gold” membership required to use Netflix on an Xbox 360.
PS3 owners will need to insert a special BD-Live enabled disk, delivered as part of subscribing to the Netflix service. Once the disc spins up, and PSN connectivity established, consumers will have access to the 17,000 stream enabled programmes (movies and TV shows) from the Netflix range.
According to an Associated Press report, Sony is planning a TV advertising campaign targeting consumers between 18 and 49 years old with the tag line "It Only Does Everything,” The inference being that the console is more than a games machine.
"I think we always knew we made a significant investment in the PS3 and we were ahead of the time in terms of technology," said Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America. "But technology that was mystifying to the consumer three years ago is being coveted now."
By enabling the Netflix feature, Sony is putting increased pressure on Microsoft to justify the value of the subscription based LIVE service. Microsoft can still argue that infrastructure and feature wise, Xbox LIVE is still a superior service to that offered by the PlayStation Network, but the gap is definitely closing.