The $39.99 connector allows players to connect to Sony's network and play each other through a number of new games, including SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs
and Madden NFL 2003
. Unlike Microsoft's upcoming Xbox Live service, which Microsoft will tightly control and will eventually charge a monthly subscription, Sony's online service is free and less structured -- games can run off of game servers hosted by the game publishers or off of Sony servers, and gamers will likely have multiple user names for different games.
Another difference between the Sony and Microsoft networking plans is in the connection: Sony's new network adapter supports both 56k dial-up access and broadband (cable or DSL) connection, whereas the Xbox is broadband only.
Microsoft's edge lies in the fact that the Xbox is already network enabled, so every console sold will support Xbox Live when the service launches. Sony said it hopes to ship 400,000 of the new adapters by the end of 2002 to its current install base of 11 million PS2s in North America.