Not to be outdone by its rival Microsoft Corp., Sony Corp. plans to launch a broadband network gaming service for its PlayStation2 gaming console next spring in Europe.
The online network will appear first in the United Kingdom, with expansion plans slated for Germany, France, Australia throughout 2003.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe plans to roll out a Broadband Gaming Pack that includes a PlayStation2 Ethernet network adapter, an online game and a start-up disc that features demos of upcoming online games. The pack is expected to retail for roughly $70.
The service will be available through both ADSL and cable modem connections. Ahead of the commercial launch, Sony expects to begin consumer trials with various network partners by the end of the year.
Sony launched its online gaming service in the North America and Japan earlier this year, ahead of Microsoft.
Microsoft plans to launch its online gaming service in the United Kingdom in March, with other European countries to follow. Yesterday, the software giant announced that 13 U.S. and Canadian broadband service providers are supporting its Xbox Compatible program, an initiative designed to make it easy for gamers to experience the forthcoming multiplayer Xbox Live service. Xbox Live is slated to be up and running in the United States next month.