Sony Announces 'Day 1 Digital' Program, Offering Downloadable Games At Lower Prices On Their Release Dates

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By Yannick LeJacq | September 26, 2012 7:36 AM EST

In its quest to extend the lifespan of its current-generation hardware, Sony Corp. (NSYE: SNE) surprised competitors and analysts alike with a unique strategy to lower base-line prices to draw in more customers when it unveiled its new “Day 1 Digital” campaign on the official U.S. Playstation Blog on Tuesday.

Gaming hardware -- including the Playstation 3 home console and its mobile counterpart, the Playstation Vita -- would not immediately drop in price even though the company unveiled a new slimmed-down version of the PS3 recently and openly admits its devices are prohibitively expensive. Instead of winning on the hardware front, Sony is planning to expand its digital alternatives by offering more blockbuster titles through its online platform Playstation Network (PSN) immediately on their release date at a lower price than their physical retail alternatives.

The 10 percent discount rate for popular titles like “Need For Speed: Most Wanted” and “Dishonored” is only available to PSN users that subscribe to the $50-per-year premium service known as Playstation Plus, however.

Unlike its close console competitor Microsoft Corp.’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) online service Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), Playstation Network is, by default, free to Playstation 3 users who want to use the service for multiplayer online play.

A 12-month subscription to Xbox Live (known as a “Gold Card”), in contrast, costs $47.39 on Amazon without any specific retail deals besides the occasional promotions and fire sales that any digital distribution platform offers. By offering this new incentive for premium subscriptions, Sony is trying to monetize an increasing percentage of its users while still keeping PSN itself a fundamentally freemium service.

The full list of titles announced for the new service is below. Day 1 digital will premiere on Oct. 2.

·         Resident Evil 6 (Available for download on October 2 – $59.99)

·         NBA 2K13 (Available for download on October 2 – $59.99/$53.99 for Plusmembers, with pre-order) (available for pre-order)

·         Dishonored (Available for download on October 9 – $59.99/$53.99 for Plus members, with pre-order) (available for pre-order)

·         DOOM 3: BFG Edition (Available for download on October 16 – $39.99/$35.99 for Plus members, with pre-order) (available for pre-order)

·         007: Legends (Available for download on October 16 – $59.99) (-10% off for Plus members)

·         Medal Of Honor: Warfighter (Available for download on October 23 – $59.99)

·         Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Available for download on October 30 – $59.99/$53.99 for Plus members, with pre-order) (available for pre-order)

·         Assassin’s Creed III (Available for download on October 30 – $59.99) (available for pre-order)

Sony added that more titles will be announced soon. Currently, the campaign is only available in North America. 

Sony share prices dipped in trading throughout the day, closing at $12.05 on Tuesday.

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