“At PlayStation, we’re always looking for new opportunities to give our fans the best entertainment options on our devices,” Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) senior vice president Phil Rosenberg wrote in a statement. “Today we’re proud to share that EPIX, the premium entertainment network, will bring its library of more than 3,000 new release and classic feature films, world-class concerts, comedy specials, sports, and other original programming to PS3 [Playstation 3] and PS Vita owners across the U.S. this year.”
As a television channel, Epix primarily serves as an outlet for premium movies broadcast relative soon after their DVD (about 90 days). The company has already signed major licensing deals with the prominent video streaming services Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) Instant Video, making them more flexible with regards to content-sharing than most of their fellow cable companies.
Rosenberg said that the Epix app will become available for PS3 users within the current fiscal quarter, while the Playstation Vita app will arrive sometime “later in the spring.” The app will allow pre-existing Epix subscribers to access the content on the Playstation Network. Presumably, the app will also allow users to sign up for Epix service independently of the cable, satellite, or telecom services previously required to access the content.
Since Epix content is readily available through Netflix and Amazon’s native Playstation apps, the new partnership might seem redundant at first. But the partnership could grant Sony significant leverage against Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), its chief rival video game console which began to step into Hollywood late last year with its hiring of Nancy Tellem. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console doesn’t currently support Epix, but still has Amazon Instant Video and Netflix apps of its own.
Both Microsoft and Sony are expected to release next-generation game consoles some time in 2013, making these late-stage entertainment deals a possible preamble to whatever plans they have in store for their respective home entertainment devices in the coming months.