Oct 4, 2013
Back in August at their Gamescom Press conference, Sony announced a lot of information, including price cuts for both the PS3 and PS Vita. And then there was this information, that Virgin and Sony have teamed up, with Virgin Media acting as the official internet service provider for the upcoming PlayStation 4 console.
The concept of ‘always-on’ connectivity is something that was both important and controversial for next generation consoles. However this news shows Virgin are ensuring people can get the most out of their new PS4 when launched, with all the online functionality.
The new move for Virgin, is there foray into gaming-centric television. Joe Lathan said that “we’re the only provider to be offering a channel with dedicated gaming content,” proving that the gaming audience is something Virgin wish to establish themselves with. Not only this, but it allows people watching television to become enamored by gaming, who perhaps had no interest beforehand. The channel Virgin are pushing is Ginx, currently expanding into Sweden, as the company look to provide channels for niche interests.
Virgin are also at the heart of the TiVo box, which streamlines all the content that interests you. Virgin are essentially going to use this method to ensure people see Ginx TV. Aside from this, game trailers will also be available with the service, allowing publishers to showcase their new clips on their set-top box. Although available online, this easy access could prove effective in ensuring new audiences see what is in store for the gaming world.
TiVo also has it’s own gaming community, in the form of Play Games, which hosts a range of simplistic puzzle games, similar to other Smart TV devices. This shows that Virgin are after the casual market, as well as going after the more hardcore audiences that may purchase a PS4, and thus need good broadband coverage to suit their online gaming needs.
In a blog post, Jon Jame, the executive director of broadband and digital entertainment, stated “there’s going to be loads of exciting benefits for our customers but we have to keep the details under wraps for the time being.” It seems that there is a lot more information to come, hopefully more than a mere partnership, perhaps with specific benefits for joining Virgin Media as a gamer.
What could this information be? Well, it is likely there will be package deals, offering a PS4 at a discount when undertaking a new contract with Virgin Media, perhaps. But this is purely speculation, and time will tell what benefits this partnership will bring for either company.
Sony are partnering with different ISPs across Europe, hoping to ensure that their console is predominantly online. This brings a few benefits for Sony, as it is more likely people will subscribe to PlayStation Plus, alongside making the console better overall, and more of an engaging online experience. Internet connectivity is crucial within the next-generation of gaming, and with the prowess of Xbox Live, Sony have to put up a fight to ensure the PlayStation Network gains a similar reputation.
What matters for Virgin is that this is an opportunity for them to connect directly with the gaming community, something which reliable and fast broadband speeds is necessary, as most games have online components these days. It seems they are distancing themselves from being a mere ISP, but want to provide a lot of media content. And as the gaming community grows, Virgin wish to establish their brand with this audience, who are likely to consume the media Virgin wishes to spread.