PlayStation fans let loose on big screen

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 12:00am

Tired of playing computer games on a small TV screen? Is the silver screen big enough for you?

Sony and United Artists are planning to run cinema houses not for movie fans but for computer game enthusiasts, allowing them to enjoy PlayStation 2 games on the big screen.

Yesterday, 30 people were invited to try playing the games at UA's 16-seat private movie theatre at Taikoo Shing on a screen of 54 square metres.

James Hong Ming-sang, Sony Computer Entertainment (Hong Kong) manager, said the trend for playing games on the big screen was driven by Hollywood, which had been following up its movies with games based the characters. He cited the animation blockbuster The Incredibles as an example.

'Video games are just like movies now,' he said. 'The audio and visual effect is just as real as in films. Players now not only find enjoyment in the game itself, they also demand quality pictures, animation and sound effects.'

The companies will launch a trial run this summer and hope to make it a permanent service.

UA Taikoo Shing currently runs two private cinema houses that charge extra for their spacious seats and private-function services. Game players can rent these cinemas for $2,800 for two hours.

'We are considering setting the price at that level. This is the price for watching movies. Drinks, popcorn and, of course, the latest PlayStation 2 games will be provided,' Mr Hong said.

He believed the service would be popular among the estimated 800,000 game players in the city.

UA marketing manager Dicky Wong Wai-kei said UA was considering holding a video game competition in the summer. 'We would like to take the opportunity to introduce the service to the public. We want them to know that our private theatres are multifunctional.'