Disc-less Netflix Could Mean New Possibilities for PlayStation Home

October 16, 2010Written by Mike Hartnett

Just this past week, Sony revealed the new and improved disc-less Netflix application for the PlayStation 3 in North America along with the UK’s new LOVEFiLM. This new advancement will mean significantly improved video streaming options on the console, but one has to wonder just how this will affect the PS3’s interactive social network, PlayStation Home.

Ever since its inception at the 2007 Game Developer’s Conference, PlayStation Home has shown serious potential. Unfortunately, almost four years later, only a small portion of that potential has been realized. Sure, virtual item sales are up, but the service is serious lacking in the social features department and as a result it has struggled to maintain attention.

One of the defining features shown off at GDC ’07 was the the ability to stream media including music, videos, and more from the PS3’s hard drive. On top of that, the ability to share it with friends and fellow gamers across the country through Home’s personal spaces was also included. Ultimately, this never made it to the public as Sony scrapped the feature early in Home’s early closed beta phase, more than likely due to copyright laws and bandwidth issues.

The new disc-less Netflix app is set to hit PS3’s across North America next week, and with it comes the renewed dream of being able to share media on the console with friends via PlayStation Home. Most people would agree that one of the problems with the original media sharing concept was copyright infringement on behalf of the users sharing the media. With that obstacle in mind, Netflix (or LOVEFiLM in the UK) may just be the remedy since Netflix subscribers automatically have the rights to stream and view content available through the service assuming they have a subscription active.

If Sony could implement a way for users to stream Netflix content through Home to other Netflix subscribers in their personal spaces, they could have quite the attraction on their hands. Now, considering Home’s business side has somewhat bizarre pricing strategies such as $5 for a virtual toilet, we would probably be looking at a small, one-time fee for an access key of sorts, but most would still be willing to pay for the added functionality.

With the chance for in-Home to go viral and quickly start accumulating consumer interest, this collaboration would likely prove to be lucrative for both Sony and Netflix. In even simpler terms, it’s a win-win scenario. This would undoubtedly cut down on the amount of time users spend in public spaces indulging in cheap, often pointless mini-games, but isn’t that the idea coming from a user’s point of view? We can only pray that Sony will seize this opportunity and try to put something like this into motion, because in-Home Netflix streaming would just be more icing on the PS3 cake.