DC Comics, publisher of Superman, Batman and dozens of other monthly titles, took a leap towards the digital future today with the announcement of an app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and digital comic sales on Sony's PlayStation Network, servicing their PlayStation Portable gaming device.
The free application, first available on iTunes shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, will both sell e-versions of the publisher’s titles and act as a reader for the digital comics. Marvel Comics, DC’s main competitor, released a similar app on the same day as the iPad’s launch in early April.
DC’s initial offerings on the app will include more than 100 issues throughout the company’s vast library, with plans to roll out that many each month. Issues will be priced from $.99 to $2.99, and include titles from the company’s major imprints: DC Comics, Vertigo, WildStorm and Zuda.
Like the Marvel app, the DC Comics app was developed by comiXology, a leader in digital publishing for the comic book industry. Digital editions of DC Comics will also be available for sale on the comiXology “Comics” apps and through comiXology’s Web site.
The PlayStation Network program launches with more than 80 issues, with more than 50 scheduled to be made available each month, with digital comics viewable on PSP gaming devices. Fitting with the audience, video game adaptations "Free Realms," "God of War" and "Resistance" will be available digitally exclusively through the PlayStation Network.
Digital distribution of comics has been a controversial issue due to fears that it could lead to some of the same problems faced by the music industry: rampant piracy, and eroding sales of the physical product. Much like how many record stores have closed over the years, concerns linger that comic book shops could meet the same fate.
As a result, publishers have been hesitant to fully embrace the digital format, especially with current releases. Though most of the product sold through DC’s app will be older issues, a currently ongoing miniseries, "Justice League: Generation Lost," will be available digitally on the same day as it comes out in comic book stores.
DC’s digital plans keep the brick-and-mortar stores is mind with a “Retailer Affiliate Program.” Details have yet to be revealed, but the publisher said it involves “a portion of digital revenues to be invested back to and on behalf of comic book retailers in a variety of initiatives.”
Available now on both the application and PlayStation Network is a 10-page preview of Superman #700, an anniversary issue starting the “Grounded” storyline, announced today and featuring Superman on a walking tour of real cities across America.