Next Generation has the scoop on Sony's upcoming Xbox Live-killer. What you need to know:
  • The service will be called "PlayStation HUB" and it will support "chat, downloadable demos, independent games and online play."
  • It will also serve the PSP. Will the seldom utilized infrastructure mode now be called PlayStation HUB mode?
  • Good things don't come cheap. The service will be a "subscriber service," similar to Live now. No more free Socom guys. No word on what the details of the subscription will be, but expect equal to or less than Live.
  • Sir Howard Stringer, Sony's big boss man, wants the service to dish out media content, like movies and music, positioning the service as an alternative to Apple's wildly popular iTunes store.
Looks like the ambitious plans for a Live-killer may be coming to fruition. There will be many a surprised gamer--and more than a couple surprised suits in Redmond--if Sony manages to pull this off. There is one more thing that Next Gen managed to dig up from their "well-placed industry sources": namely, the anticipated console launch date!

The early word is that the system will see a near-simultaneous launch in both Japan and North America; September 16th in Japan and September 21st in North America. This date is, of course, subject to change, but an earlier fall launch may help them work out any manufacturing kinks several months before the vital holiday buying season.

It is not clear if the HUB service will be Live (pun alert!) when the system launches in September. Here's hoping!

See also:
Sony declares "full-on assault" on Xbox Live
Sony's "full-on assault" on Xbox Live continued

[Thanks, m3mnoch]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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