SCEA releases standalone USB headset for Playstation 2

- Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. today announced the availability of the USB headset (for PlayStation 2) that utilizes Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and voice recognition technologies for use with online and offline games, exclusively for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system. The strengthened support of voice technology underscores the company's commitment to expanding the capabilities of the PlayStation 2 while delivering on the promise of a great online and offline entertainment experience for consumers. The USB
headset has a suggested retail price of $29.99.

Sony Computer Entertainment America was the first company to utilize VoIP technology with last year's launch of the military strategy game SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs. The impressive consumer response to the 1.6 million-unit seller provided a compelling case study in how voice technology can enhance a title and create a richer, more intense gaming experience. With the goal of creating a diverse library of voice-enabled titles, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced the launch of a stand-alone USB headset earlier this year and encouraged first and third party developers to incorporate the technology into PlayStation 2 titles. Developers quickly embraced voice technology, recognizing the success of VoIP with SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs and realizing the potential applications of voice-recognition technology as demonstrated by first party titles such as NFL GameDay 2004. As a result, first and third party developers are creating nearly 30 voice-enabled online and offline titles for PlayStation 2 that will be available this holiday season including SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, the sequel to last year's online hit with increased chat functionality, making it one of the most interactive and dynamic team-based games available to date.

"We've seen first-hand how voice technology can enhance gameplay, providing consumers with a dynamic experience and a more intuitive way to interact with the game, as well as other gamers when it comes to online play," said Ami Blaire, director, product marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "With the launch of the stand-alone USB headset, we've opened the doors for our first and third party developers to incorporate voice technology in new and creative ways with the goal of providing our consumers with a completely immersive experience."

The new USB headset boasts innovative features including a sleek re-design that is more comfortable and durable, a higher quality boom microphone for superb voice recognition, volume controls and a mute button to provide an even more compelling voice experience.

Sony Computer Entertainment America first party titles that utilize USB headset technology include:
-- SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs (available now)
-- NBA ShootOut 2004 (available now)
-- NFL GameDay(TM) 2004 (available now)
-- NCAA(R) GameBreaker(R) 2004 (available now)
-- NCAA(R) Final Four(R) 2004 (available on November 11)

In addition to first party content, top third party publishers have created titles for PlayStation 2 that utilize voice technology via the USB headset including:

-- FIFA Soccer 2004 from Electronic Arts (available now)
-- Madden NFL(TM) 2004 from Electronic Arts (available now)
-- NBA Live 2004 from Electronic Arts (available now)
-- NCAA(R) Football 2004 from Electronic Arts (available now)
-- NCAA(R) March Madness(TM) 2004 from Electronic Arts (available
November 2003)
-- SSX 3 from Electronic Arts (available now)
-- Trivial Pursuit(TM) Unhinged(TM) from Atari (available December 2003)
-- NASCAR Thunder(TM) 2004 from Electronic Arts (available now)
-- ESPN NFL Football from Visual Concepts (available now)
-- ESPN NBA Basketball from Visual Concepts (available now)
-- ESPN College Hoops from Visual Concepts (available November 2003)
-- ESPN NHL(R) Hockey from Visual Concepts (available now)
-- NHL(R) 2004 from Electronic Arts (available now)
-- Tony Hawk's Underground from Activision (available now)
-- Medal of Honor(TM) Rising Sun from Electronic Arts (available November
-- The Lord of the Rings(TM) The Return of the King from Electronic Arts
(available now)
-- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(TM) Jungle Storm(TM) from Ubisoft (available
December 2003)
-- The Sims(TM) Bustin' Out from Electronic Arts (available December
-- LifeLine from Konami (February)
-- Karaoke Revolution(TM) from Konami (available now)
-- SWAT(TM): Global Strike Team from Vivendi (available now)
-- Tiger Woods PGA Tour(R) 2004 from (available now)
-- Manhunt from Rockstar Games (available November 2003)

(Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2003, 4:25PM GMT)

- Press Release posted by Harry

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