Specialist media group Future Publishing is to launch PSN's first interactive magazine show in partnership with Sony and alongside the Official PlayStation magazine that it has published since 1995.
The weekly offering, called PlayFirst, will be available to UK gamers from March, priced at 99p per episode, or £8.99 for a three month subscription.
Each show promises HD reviews and previews, as well as exclusive download content. Six premium video slots per episode will also be made available to advertisers.
Talking about type of content the show will offer PSN users, Tim Clark, editor-in-chief of Future's Official PlayStation portfolio told GamesIndustry.biz he was confident it would be unique and compelling enough to justify the 99p price tag.
"Yes, the PlayStation Store is full of content, and one part of our offering is filtering the best stuff out - which can be pretty intimidating when you're talking about over a million LittleBigPlanet levels," he said. "But fundamentally FirstPlay is an editorial offering, bringing you really authoritative coverage of the biggest and best PS3 games - all in hi-def. And in terms of editorial content, there really isn't anything on the UK PSN currently."
The team – partly made up of existing Official PlayStation editorial staff – had worked closely with Sony on the show, he said, but editorial independence wouldn't be affected by that relationship.
"Obviously, just as the Official PlayStation mag is, FirstPlay will be an enthusiastic brand advocate for PlayStation but I'm not worried about interference at all. I've been working with Sony for almost a decade, and in that time they've never pressured us over scores or tone. That same hands-off approach to the editorial will be the same here. I actually think the freedom Sony give us - is testament to their confidence."
"The finished product looks great," added Ray Maguire, senior VP of SCEE and MD of Sony in the UK. "Future has blended the impartial editorial stance it takes with the Official PlayStation magazine and delivered it in the digital arena of PSN. The result is dynamic, fast moving but also encourages a thirst for consumers to delve further through the printed edition, creating a great, complimentary, online and offline experience."
Maguire said there were no concerns that the new show would confuse consumers by offering demos and content similar to that available through the official PlayStation Store.
“The fundamental role for PSN is to offer consumer choice. FirstPlay still offers an impartial view on all things PlayStation. Consumers are aware of the Official PlayStation proposition and the PSN simply allows for a more dynamic delivery medium whilst not detracting from the more, in depth, editorial found in the printed edition," he explained.
Following FirstPlay's launch in the UK, the show will be rolled out across other PAL territories and selected European countries later this year.
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