The next generation of consoles has yet to even arrive, but their potential to reshape the way consumers play and share games, enjoy movies and music is already being seen. Now, it seems that Sony has taken yet another massive step forward into bringing cable channels into American homes over the Internet.
It was revealed today that Sony and Viacom have reached a “tentative agreement” that would see the company allow several of its popular cable channels to be carried by an Internet TV service that Sony has yet to name or detail. The company has yet to comment on whether the deal means the PlayStation 4 will allow owners to watch cable through the console, but it’s the first step in that direction.
The reports come from the NY Times, claiming that a source who wishes to remain anonymous has confirmed prior reports stating that Sony and Viacom had reached an agreement in principle. The exact specifics of the deal – and whether they would apply to the PS4, the PS3, or any and all Sony devices capable of supporting the content – have yet to be even be commented on officially, but expect word soon if the reports are accurate.
Obviously, the idea of streaming television channels onto a games console isn’t the most shocking idea – even if it’s somewhat surprising that Sony would make the first significant deal, after Microsoft so heavily focused on replacing the cable box in their Xbox One reveal. But despite the growing shift towards streaming content, traditional cable carriers like Time Warner, Comcast or DirecTV have kept their heels dug in; knowing full well that a-la-carte or streaming cable channels directly from the provider is a monster that can’t be put back in its cage once freed.
Given that, it’s also not surprising that Viacom – a content provider known for butting heads with cable carriers – would be the first to have their name attached to a streaming deal. Until the deal is officially announced, it could collapse at any moment. That being said, it’s seeming more and more like console manufacturers will do whatever it takes to get cable programming onto their systems. Especially since this generation will be fought not over hardware specs, but services.
It’s possible that Sony has made Viacom an offer so rich they can’t refuse – we know they’ve got more money to spend this time around – but we’ll be shocked if a major media company signs an exclusive deal with one console over another. Microsoft has traditionally had deeper pockets when it comes to signing exclusives, but there’s a first time for everything.
How do you feel about this (upcoming) announcement? Is it just a matter of time until cable packages follow gamers around with their respective game libraries, or should we prepare ourselves for a disappointing reveal when the deal is announced? Sound off in the comments.
The PlayStation 4 releases Holiday 2013.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: NY Times