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Future and Sony reveal FirstPlay

15/02/10 – Future, the special-interest media group, and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) have today announced the launch of FirstPlay – Europe’s first HD interactive show for gamers, available exclusively through Sony’s PlayStation®3 (PS3™) consoles connected to its fast growing PlayStation Network (PSN™).

The weekly FirstPlay episodes will be available to UK gamers from March and will roll out across selected European and other PAL territories later in 2010.  FirstPlay promises PS3 gamers HD reviews and previews of the latest games and exclusive access to downloadable content.

FirstPlay’s bespoke content is being created by a hand-picked team of TV and gaming veterans with the reviews and previews coming from the team behind the respected Official PlayStation Magazine.

PS3 registered users will be able to buy a three month subscription at £8.99 or purchase single episodes for 99p.

Featuring just six premium video advertising slots per episode, FirstPlay will enable advertisers to target an engaged audience of gamers with HD video advertising slots, directly through their PlayStation 3. FirstPlay delivers the impact of TV along with the transparency of the web with total user views and other key user data available as well as click throughs to deep web links and to the PSN Store.

With over 3m PSN accounts in the UK, Sony sees the network as an increasingly important way of adding value for its growing audience of gamers.  Recent statistics from the BBC suggest that the PS3 is now responsible for 8% of iPlayer traffic, while the Vidzone streaming music video player became the world’s largest, delivering over 200m videos to users in its first six months.  FirstPlay brings to PSN compelling, games-focussed editorialised content that will enable users to get more from the PS3’s range of entertainment services.

The launch of FirstPlay marks the next phase in a long-standing and creative publishing partnership between SCEE and Future, which began in 1995 with one Official magazine and today operates on both sides of the Atlantic with a portfolio of print titles and digital content.  Future introduced the first ever cover-mounted playable console disc on the Official PlayStation Magazine in 1995.

Ray Maguire, Senior Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment UK said:

“As PlayStation 3 moves the gaming experience to a more social and competitive online environment through the PlayStation Network, so it becomes critical that we’re offering gamers the very best content and services through this channel.  FirstPlay is a great example of this. Future has an outstanding track record in producing content for gamers that is informed, impartial, relevant and with the right production values, so we see them as a natural partner to work with as we move to on-console media development.”

Robert Price, Chief Executive of Future UK added:

“FirstPlay is a ground breaking development, not just for gamers, but for the media industry, and we are delighted to be partnering with Sony on this pioneering project.  On-console delivery is an exciting next step in Future’s strategy of providing high quality content for readers and integrated media solutions for advertisers.  We believe that we’ve created a product that will appeal to gamers in a uniquely effective and targeted way.

A trailer for FirstPlay is available now at http://www.firstplay.co.uk

ENDS

About Future
Future plc is an international special-interest media group that is listed on the London Stock Exchange (symbol FUTR).  Founded in 1985 with one magazine, today we have operations in the UK, US and Australia creating over 180 special-interest publications, websites and events for people who are passionate about their interests.  We hold strong multi-media market positions in games, technology, film, music, cycling, automotive and crafts.  Our biggest-selling magazines include Total Film, T3, Classic Rock, Digital Camera, Guitar World, Official Xbox Magazine, Official Playstation Magazine, Nintendo Power, Maximum PC and MacLife.  Our websites include gamesradar.com, bikeradar.com, techradar.com, musicradar.com, dailyradar.com and photoradar.com.  Future produces nearly 4 million magazines each month; we attract more than 27 million unique visitors to our websites; and we host 27 annual live events that attract hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts.  In addition, Future exports, syndicates or licenses its publications to 90 countries internationally, making us the UK’s number one exporter and licensor of monthly magazines.

About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®3, PlayStation®2, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, over 27 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level.  Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 140.7 million systems worldwide.  Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 55.9 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market.  With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, over 31 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 650 million items have been downloaded.

For more information
Will Guyatt, Media Relations Manager, Future UK, 01225 822517.
Victoria Bacon, Head of Group Communications, Future Plc, 020 7042 4033.