Sony Computer Entertainment Australia has confirmed it will sell its new PlayStation 2 Entertainment Centre online.
By ZDNet Australia Staff
AUSTRALIA 25 July 2000 - The company is to spend AU$11 million establishing an online store, which is expected to be launched at the beginning of October -- three weeks before the console is released.
The site is to be created using SAP Australia's mySAP.com solution and customers will be able to browse a product catalogue, collect their merchandise in a virtual shopping cart and complete their order over a secure connection.
SAP will also provide a call centre service and its Business Information Warehouse for monitoring site performance and collecting market data.
SCEA chief executive Michael Ephraim said the site would not replace retailers but operate in conjunction with them.
When SCE Japan launched a PlayStation 2 site prior to the release of the DVD-based console earlier this year it received 600,000 hits in the first two minutes of operation and accounted for about a third of 980,000 orders placed in the first week.
However, Ephraim does not expect the Australian site to have the same effect as Australians are more reluctant to purchase goods online.
He said there were no plans to make games and movies available for download until broadband Internet connections were much better established in Australian homes. He expected that to take two to three years and until then it was not worthwhile, as it would take several hours to download a movie over a 56K connection.
Sony went live with a SAP R/3 transaction backbone earlier this month and has tentatively set October 5 as the launch date for the site. However, Ephraim warned that could be put back by 'a week or two' because of possible delays in the launch of PlayStation caused by a shortage of consoles.
"What ever happens we will have PlayStation 2 on the market in time for Christmas he said.
The console, which Sony is billing as a complete entertainment centre, is capable of playing games and running DVD movies. The Australian version will have provision for up to a 30GB hard drive and a network pack for broadband connection to the Internet.
Ephraim said it was expected to sell in Australia for AU$699 and the company should be in a position to start taking advance orders from retailers from the end of August.
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