Sony unveils PlayStation 2 website

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) is rolling out a new pan-European website to back next month’s launch of games console PlayStation 2.

The site, at www.scee.com, has been developed by Internet consultancy Icon Medialab. It will span 14 country-specific sites, with content provided in 21 languages.

Icon Medialab has developed a central server to provide a platform for local websites. Each country is appointing its own marketing manager, who will tailor the content to local consumers. They will be allowed to block out undesirable information, for example, reviews or downloads of games considered too violent in their markets.

The UK site is due to go live in October. It will eventually feature bulletin boards, chatrooms and free e-mail services, enabling consumers to vote for their favourite games and post reviews. Individual websites can share bulletin boards for issues which are relevant to multiple markets.

The platform has been developed to allow easy integration of services such as WAP and interactive TV.

SCEE’s new media manager, Stephen Fuller, says the site will become a community for PlayStation 2 users, with a database of information on 900 PlayStation games. He adds Scee.com will play a key role in the first marketing campaign for the console – the launch date for which has been confirmed as November 24.

Icon Medialab was brought on board in May last year to update the current PlayStation site, which has 1 million hits per month – ten per cent of the website’s capacity.

Magnus Helander, international project manager for Icon Medialab, says: “PlayStation 2 is a truly global brand. We want PlayStation fans to talk to each other, using the site as a medium.”

Icon Medialab operates in 24 different countries and has clients including Coca-Cola, American Express, Compaq and Volkswagen.

Shares in Sony fell sharply last week following the latest rumours over the shortage of components for PlayStation 2. The console is due to launch in the US later this month, but Sony is warning that it may now have to cut the number available from 1 million to 500,000. A similar problem exists in the UK, where customers have had to order consoles because of the manufacturing delay.

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