October 26, 2009, 7:56 AM — Remember back in August when Microsoft was rolling out its new dashboard update? One of the features it was talking up was Netflix streaming, and it said "This exclusive partnership offers you the ability to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the television via Xbox 360. Xbox 360 will be the only game console to offer this movie-watching experience..." That quote was retconned off the page at Xbox.com but was preserved for posterity by Engadget.
Microsoft has always seemed rather enthusiastic when it comes to throwing around the word 'exclusive' and here is another case in point. Netflix and Sony have announced that Netflix streaming is coming to the Sony Playstation 3 as early as next month. In this case, 'exclusive partnership' seems to have meant 'we launched it first' rather than 'we inked a deal with Netflix preventing this feature from appearing on the competition's hardware.' You can read the press release or the post on the Playstation blog.
This implementation feels like a real rush job (Sony no doubt wants this as a selling point for this holiday season), given the fact that (from the press release): "Initially, watching movies instantly streamed from Netflix via the PS3 system will be enabled by a free, instant streaming Blu-ray disc that is being made available to all Netflix members." This statement seems to imply that the disk is a temporary measure and that Netflix functionality will eventually be baked into the PS3 OS. Still, points go to Microsoft for avoiding the clumsy step of requiring a disk. On the other hand, Xbox users have to be a "Gold" (aka paying) member of Xbox Live to access the Netflix service; Sony's Playstation Network doesn't have a paid tier so all PS3 owners with Netflix accounts will be able to use the streaming service.
Interested Playstation 3 owners can sign up to be notified of Netflix availability for their system.