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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Video gaming will hit the big screen next month when Sony Corp unveils a new game title for its Playstation3 game console at movie theaters.
On October 5 and 6, four theaters in San Francisco and Thousand Oaks, California, Rosemont, Illinois and Bellevue, Washington, will give viewers a chance to play the upcoming action game "UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves" title -- on movie screens equipped with Sony digital-projection technology.
Those theaters will provide viewers with PS3s connected to Sony's 4K digital cinema technology, which is in about 500 theaters nationwide and which Sony says provides better image resolution than traditional projectors.
Mike Fidler, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Digital Cinema Solutions and Services Group, hopes events like this can eventually drive revenues for Sony, video game makers as well as theater operators.
"This is the first time we're doing it in a theater. We think it's a start of something for us, and hope we can build this into a standard element in the movie-going experience," he said. "Our goal in converting theaters to digital is to go beyond the traditional movie-going experience and focus on helping exhibitors find ways to fill seats."
"Gaming will be an important part of that equation."
The first night will be a private invitation-only event, while the second event will be open to the public, to be publicized through radio and social networking sites.
Theater chains have struggled to sustain revenue growth as home entertainment and the recession entices some moviegoers to stay home. And Sony, like other game console makers, is hoping for a hit title this holiday season to drive platform sales as the industry grapples with a protracted decline.
Both Sony and Microsoft Corp, the maker of the rival XBox 360, have recently slashed prices on their consoles. Sales of video game equipment and software in the United States fell 16 percent in August to $908.7 million, the industry's sixth consecutive monthly decline, research group NPD reported.
"UNCHARTED 2" is due to be released October 13.
Reporting by Sue Zeidler; Editing by Richard Chang