Microsoft’s Xbox 360 will not be the only gaming platform with the ability to stream movies from Netflix platform for long. After a long period of speculation, the streaming Netflix option will be coming to Sony’s PlayStation3 in November.
The press release says only ‘next month’, so we don’t yet know the official launch date for the service. When it does go live, Netflix subscribers who have at least the $8.99 per month plan will be able to stream movies to the PS3.
Microsoft was touting Netflix exclusivity as recently as August of this year, but Netflix must see the business advantage of expanding to other consoles. Just last week the company reported that their subscriber base had expanded to 11.1 million users, with many recent users gathered thanks to the streaming Watch Instantly service accessed via computers and the 360. With nine million PS3s out there, a significant number of additional users may subscribe to Netflix starting next month when the system rolls out. (Netflix says it expects up to 12.3m users by the end of the year.)
Initial implementation of the Netflix service won’t be quite ideal: you’ll have to get a free Blu-ray disc mailed from Netflix, then use that in the console to access the service. That’s said to be a short-term solution, pending a PS3 software update that will integrate Netflix. But that update won’t happen until next year. Sony just released PS3 system software 3.0 in September.
(Request a disc for the service here: http://www.netflix.com/InstantStreamingDisc)
When the service launches next month, users will be able to browse the Netflix catalogue and add streaming titles to their queue directly from the PS3. Xbox 360 users only got that option late this summer, after a year of being able to browse only their instant queue on the 360.