Sony’s PlayStation 2 launches
online video game service
LOS ANGELES — Gamers on Sony’s PlayStation 2 can now battle each other online with the release Tuesday of adapters that connect faraway players over the Internet.
Players in North America who purchase the $39.99 connector can link to Sony’s network through a number of new games, including the military shoot-’em-up “SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs” and the football simulator “Madden NFL 2003.”
The service is designed to expand the community of PlayStation 2 gamers beyond friends playing together on the same console, said Kaz Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America.
“If you know you’re good, instead of beating up your friends all the time you can go out into the network and compete with others who are just as cocky as you are,” he joked.
Sony hopes to ship about 400,000 of the adapters by the end of the year, Hirai said. About 11 million PlayStation 2 units have been sold in North America.
Amid fierce competition between three major console manufacturers, Sony is first to roll out its online service.
Microsoft’s Xbox plans to launch its own version in November. Although Nintendo’s GameCube has the capability for Internet connectivity, the company has no immediate plan to connect users online.
Recording industry reports
further decline in CD sales
LOS ANGELES — Compact disc music sales decreased 7 percent during the first half of the year, a further indication that online music sharing sites are hurting the recording industry, a trade group said Monday.
The new figures, compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, follow a 5.3 percent drop in CD shipments last year and 6 percent falloff in 2000, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
In addition to the sales data, the RIAA released a separate survey of Internet users’ music habits, which found that most consumers between the ages of 12 and 54 bought fewer CDs as they downloaded more tracks.
Previous studies independent of the music industry have suggested that access to free music on the Web actually encourages consumers to experiment with new acts and by more CDs.
“We find a striking connection between people who say they are downloading more and buying less,” said Geoff Garin, the pollster for Peter D. Hart Research Associates who conducted the survey of 860 consumers for the RIAA in May.
Report: San Diego executives worked
as FBI informants
SAN DIEGO — Local sporting good executives reportedly worked as undercover FBI informants in an investigation of global price-fixing by makers of carbon fiber, a crucial material in the U.S. defense industry.
Executives at Horizon Sports Technologies said that for nearly two years they wore wires and recorded phone conversations with representatives of the carbon fiber companies, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.
The strong, lightweight material is used in satellites, stealth aircraft and a wide range of other military equipment. It’s also used in graphite golf club shafts, bicycle frames and race cars.