The Daily News would like to introduce the System Update. Every Thursday, we’ll give you an update on the gaming world, bringing you quick notes, hardware previews, and, of course, some oh-so-witty opinions.
SONY MAKES WAVES . . . FINALLY
Sony didn’t exactly make the best impression at June’s Electronics Entertainment Expo. Jack Tretton‘s post-network crash apology was flat, the Vita’s 3G-on-AT&T announcement drew only mock applause, and Kobe Bryant‘s five-minute cameo couldn’t save the Move-enabled NBA 2K12 from looking downright dopey.
But a handful of recent announcements just may help Sony make a serious end-of-the-year push. The PlayStation 3 is (finally) getting a price drop. The 160GB version loses $50 off its chunky retail, falling to $249.99, while the larger 320GB version falls to $299.99. That’s not exactly college-futon cheap, but it makes the Blu-ray-enabled console a much better buy.
So too does Sony’s other big PS3 announcement: NFL Sunday Ticket streaming. That’s right, gridiron fans, you can now download an app and stream up to 14 games a week – and the Red Zone Channel – onto your PS3.
It’ll set you back $340 for the entire season, but that’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. Why? Because you don’t need one of those finicky DirecTV dishes to make it work. You just need an Internet connection. If the connection is smooth, and Internet carriers don’t block the product a la ESPN3.com, it will give Sony the edge in streaming TV offerings. Right now, the gap between Sony and Microsoft is incredibly close.
And if Sony can keep this deal exclusive, this is a tremendous add, boosting the usefulness of the PS3 and maybe swaying first-time buyers who love football. Sure, Microsoft has ESPN3, but that’s not a full run of NFL games.
VITA GOES SOCIAL
Q: The PS Vita is a portable gaming system that’s going to compete in a mobile phone world. So how does Sony plan to match it up?
A: By bringing it as close to phone-dom as possible. Next year’s big portable won’t make phone calls, but it will let you log on to Skype, Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare. That means that when you’re not gaming, you’ll still have plenty of uses for your Vita – and “coaster” won’t be one of them. Much like your iPhone or Droid, it might actually become a near-indispensable part of your life.
Coupled with the Vita’s delay until 2012, you can tell that Sony’s doing everything it can to make this new portable perfect. And yes, we’re going to call the Vita’s delay a good move. It gives Sony a chance to firm up a solid release library of games and polish its tech. Vita execs have obviously watched Nintendo‘s 3DS struggle in the face of an empty release library. And this is their way of preventing that same outcome.