Planetweb and Ergosoft have formed a business alliance to provide the Internet software and middleware for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system in Japan.
Ergosoft will publish the Planetweb Web Browser in Japan and license the TCP/IP networking components to game developers and other multimedia application software developers.
Ergosoft plans to launch sales of the PS2 browser sometime before the end of March 2001, and the company will also make it available to other firms, such as makers of modems and game console peripherals, bundled with other software titles. In addition, Ergosoft will provide software libraries for separate functions, including TCP/IP stack, HTTP protocol, HTML engine, on an OEM basis to the developers of PS2 game software who want to produce titles incorporating networking features.
The price of the PS2 browser is still to be decided, but it will almost certainly retail at less than the cost of most currently available game titles. Ergosoft expects to ship 100,000 copies of the browser in its first year on the market.
One of the main attractions of the browser that Planetweb is in the midst of developing is that it makes use of the PS2's flicker filter, which will help to ensure that it has a high standard of onscreen picture quality. The size of the browser's onscreen display is also being maximized, with the incorporation of a pop-up control menu that users call up only when needed. It will have a resolution of 640 x 480.
The browser will also incorporate automatic setup programs to ease the way for users to access the Internet via recommended Internet service providers. The browser will, of course, include e-mail software and it will even be possible for users to send their game saved data files to other users as e-mail attachments. There will also be an MP3 player function so that the users can play MP3 music files on the Web.
Also by the end of March 2001, Ergosoft will start selling a new MP3 player software that is compatible with the PS2's HDD, and will play MP3 files. It will enable users to create their own MP3 files from CDs. The retail price for this product, too, is still undecided. The company plans to sell 100,000 copies within the first year of its launch.