After months of trials, Sony Computer Entertainment (Sony CE) is set to launch PlayStation2 online gaming on October 10. The service, available to broadband users only, will require PS2 owners to buy a $69.95 Network Adaptor.
The Network Adaptor will be bundled with a PS2 game, Hardware Online Arena. Users will also need a memory card in order to play.
The October start-up should put PS2 neck-and-neck with its rival console, Microsoft's Xbox.
Microsoft has yet to confirm a date for its online gaming launch, however the whisper is October.
Sony CE has been trialling PS2 online since March, and said it had received positive feedback on ease of set-up, gaming experience and customer support.
“Sony CE Australia has spent in excess of $2 million on Network Entertainment infrastructure alone in order to deliver the best possible network gaming experience,” A/NZ managing director, Michael Ephraim, said.
The company will offer a local customer service operation for technical support or online set-up questions.
Sony CE has preconfigured the unit’s Network Access Disc with easy set-up for seven ISPs, but users can connect using any broadband ISP. The easy configuration is available for Telstra, Optus, Ozemail, AOL 7, TPG, iPrimus and Hot Key subscribers.
Ephraim said the launch of online gaming for PS2 could drive the uptake of broadband internet in the home.
“PS2 is the first mass market device outside of the PC that takes full advantage of broadband capabilities and so represents a real paradigm shift in the home to take broadband into the lounge room,” he said.
Hardware Online Arena, a multiplayer arcade combat game, will be available only as part of the Network Adaptor bundle.
Sony CE sais there were already 20 games released or planned for release by the end of the year, including SOCOM: US Navy Seals, Twisted Metal Black Online, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, Everquest and Tony Hawk’s Underground.