With the largest and most loyal installed base at more than 27 million, or one out of every four U.S. households, Sony Computer Entertainment America is best positioned to bring online console gaming to the mass market, and envisions the online arena as one that should be open to and enjoyed by all. PlayStation 2 is the only online offering on the market that offers both analog and broadband connectivity - a strategy that continues to pay off with more than 38 percent of consumers still playing via their dial-up connection. With a registered online user base in North America of more than 1.4 million, consumers have cast their vote for PlayStation 2 online, and continue to thirst for this new compelling experience that takes gaming to a whole new level. Just two years after its launch, the company has built the largest online console gaming community, and continues to add 1,400 new registered users each day, and up to 50,000 each month, equivalent to a sell-out crowd at a Major League Baseball game.
Consumers Crave Online Console Gaming Experience
Growing demand for the online console gaming experience has created a whole new audience. Who are these gamers? More than 90 percent are male, ages 18-34, with peak registrations and online gameplay taking place between 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., key TV prime-time viewing hours and an interesting trend to watch heading into the new fall TV viewing season. According to an IDC/GameSpy Study, 53 percent of PlayStation 2 online gamers said online capabilities were a very important factor in their decision to purchase games (Q403 Gamer Survey: Online Console Gaming, IDC #30881, March 2004) . According to a Ziff-Davis media survey of U.S. videogamers, when asked how they play games online, 9 percent of respondents stated that they play via PlayStation 2 versus 6 percent for Xbox, and that number doubles for hard-core gamers at 18 percent. Gamers logon to PlayStation 2 online to experience a new level of competition and camaraderie.
Compelling Online Content is Key to Driving Consumer Adoption Sony Computer Entertainment America has proven over the past 10 years that compelling content drives the market. The company has seamlessly carried this philosophy into online console gaming as demonstrated by introducing platform-defining franchises, and bringing online capabilities to more than 60 percent of first party titles launching in 2004. The company's SOCOM franchise has become the most popular online title for PlayStation 2, and is logging more player hours daily than ALL Xbox titles worldwide. Even nine months after launch, SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs is still seeing more than 30,000 simultaneous users per day, far and away more than any other console title evidence that online capabilities extends the life of a game.
"Two years ago, we paved the way by taking creative risks for the industry to follow," said Andrew House, executive vice president, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Going into year three, we will continue to innovate through our online content offerings, and will embark on a series of initiatives that include enhanced community building and moving toward the monetization of the online initiative."