Announced during Phil Harrison's GDC keynote, Sony's E-Distribution initiative promises to be an integral and revolutionary feature of their new console ... just like Xbox Live Arcade has for the Xbox 360. Kutaragi (like Bill Gates) even says it will be the future. Answering what Sony sees in digital distribution, Sony's John Hight outlined for Gamasutra the usual suspects: remote markets, cheaper distribution, inventory risk and, of course, piracy.
Most telling is how Hight sees the service in relation to Microsoft's XBLA: "We're looking for fresh, new ideas that fully exploit the power of PlayStation 3. Our 1st party projects are all unique to PS3. Some of our games, by virtue of their design and hardware demands, simply couldn't work on Xbox 360."
For starters, it's great to hear that Sony is supporting the service with first-party projects;
we have yet to see anything on XBLA made internally by Microsoft Games Studios (just give us Marathon already) Microsoft's Carbonated Games has given us Hexic and UNO, but we're still waiting on something a little more AAA, size constraints be damned! Come to think of it, we've yet to see anything on XBLA in quite some time. Now, if you believe that the PS3 and Xbox 360 are fundamentally identical systems with a few minor technical differences (Blu-ray, 1080p, DualShake controller), then the design and hardware demands Hight alludes to suggest unique tilt-sensor gameplay. Yup, we're thinking Marble Blast with the DualShake also.
[Update: Added Carbonated Games info. Thanks, Ben!]