Sony Puts Net PlayStation Games in 7-Eleven

Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) reportedly announced today it has signed a deal with Japan’s largest network of convenience stores to distribute PlayStation games sold on the Internet.

According to a Reuters report today, Japanese fun fans will be able to order a game online and collect it at their local 7-Eleven, a network of 8,000 convenience stores across Japan.

The move is seen as an aggressive assault on the fiercely competitive video-game business, the report said.

New Partnerships

In addition, Sony’s wholly-owned unit, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE), reportedly unveiled partnerships with 11 blue-chip companies, led by 7-Eleven and including Culture Convenience Club Co., operators of 970 “Tsutaya” video and music CD shops, as well as DigiCube Co. Ltd., a leading wholesaler of video game software via convenience store chains, Reuters said.

The new alliance is tied to SCE’s newly-established e-commerce arm PlayStation.com (Japan) Inc., launched on Tuesday to sell PlayStation games and hardware via the Web ahead of the launch of the next-generation PlayStation2 in March. The partners also have future plans to hawk music CDs and DVD video discs via the convenience store network, according to the report.

Analysts said the convenience store outlets for e-purchases are seen as a stop gap measure until consumers are able to download games directly from the Net.

Top Game Designers Involved

The new alliance also includes several top Japanese game software makers like Namco,Ltd., Square Co. Ltd., Enix Corp., and Capcom Co. Ltd., who would hold a combined 20 percent stake in PlayStation.com by the end of March, Reuters said.

On Tuesday Sony astonished Japan’s closely knit dealer network by announcing it will sell consumer electronics products online in Japan. The new e-sales effort kicked off by offering VAIO personal computers, making Sony the country’s first manufacturer to sell a range of consumer electronics products online, the report said.

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